by Paul Donovan
Oct. 30, 2008
“It’s kind of hard to figure how Warren Buffett endorsed me, Colin Powell endorsed me, and John McCain thinks I’m socialist.”- Barack Obama
Numerous attempts have been made throughout the presidential race to link the Democrats Party nominee with some now well known controversial political and religious figures, or to use the establishment’s words “domestic terrorists and extremists”. For those that can’t buy into the notion the Junior Senator from Illinois is an actual Islamic terrorist, McCain had a “plan B”, which was to suggest that Obama’s inexperience and past associations were strong evidence of how dangerous, and naïve he could be, or more simply stated “do we really know who the real Barack Obama is”?
In the waning days leading up to the November 4th election, the McCain campaign has rolled out a “plan c” or what could be called “plan communist”. McCain and Palin are trying to paint Barack Obama “red” by using cold war McCarthyist tactics. McCain suggests that Obama’s plan of downward wealth redistribution, in the form of a 3% progressive tax, is somehow socialist. It should be noted, that to McCain’s credit he is somewhat correct, in so far as that redistributing wealth in order to achieve some modicum of equality is a quasi-Socialist tool.
Rarely is this economic instrument implemented by the American elites, who tend to be more fanatical about the wonders of the free-market than our European counterparts. However, in extreme cases these methods have been relied upon to breathe life into an again ailing Capitalist system, and to quiet the feelings of anger, fear, betrayal, and frustration among the working public. More often than not, all of this is not done out of some genuine humanitarian concern for those who work the hardest and receive the least, but simply to shut people up. The irony of Barack Obama is that he may actually be using this brand of progressive populism out of genuine concern for the mob, which could be the reason the public is so enamored with his inspirational stump speeches. Either Barack Obama is an honest man, or he should have picked a career in acting instead of politics.
All too often it seems that when the Capitalist’s castle catches fire they are forced in a panic to dial 9-11, and have a big red socialist fire truck extinguish the blaze, as FDR was forced to do by implementing the Socialistic New Deal. Often these systemic conflagrations in the Capitalist system are caused by decades of deregulation, lowering wages, speculative bubbles, booms and busts, predatory policies, regressive taxes, shameless greed and excess on the part of the moneyed elite, or mania by those who preside over our political and economic institutions. In simplest terms, the outlandishly wealthy 10% of the population have been partying hard at the public’s expense for far too long, just the same as they did in the “Roaring 20’s”, yet to their dismay, could be forced to call again on the ideology they hold in highest disdain to bail them out, as they did with the New Deal. As is with any egomaniacal group of overgrown children, some of the lords are too proud, and would rather choke on the smoke; while some of the sensible elites, such as FDR in the past, or Barack Obama today, decide it may be best to lose a little face to prevent the whole house party from going up in flames. Whether Barack Obama actually cares about everyday people or not is a small factor to consider. The question is what policies will Barack enact to fix a horribly malfunctioning corrupt system?
It seems that maybe Ronald Reagan’s deregulatory revolution may finally be coming to a close to the dislike of Bush, Cheney, McCain, and whole cast of other G.O.P. screwballs. Moreover, some factions of the ruling elite (simply a majority of Democrats and even some disgruntled conservatives) are turning to Barack Obama as their resurrected FDR/JFK, while the crankier factions of the oligarchy would rather continue on the same suicidal path due to an aggravated case of narcissism, and myopia.
One has to wonder if John McCain, in all of his alleged independent spirit and infamous childish fits of rage, has ever reached across the aisle to point at Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and scream Pinko! At least that would be a politician coming to grips with his true hatred, and just maybe that contention may motivate this privileged house of distinguished lords to fight amongst one another enough to raise public awareness on real issues. After all, we can’t depend on the paid for corpo-media to do anything but serve as echo chambers for partisan political rhetoric, and character bashing.
Is McCain correct…Is Obama a Socialist, or just another bleeding heart Capitalist?
John McCain states that Barack Obama is some kind of wild-eyed Socialist because he wants to redistribute wealth to working people. McCain is half correct, in so far as that redistributing some wealth is a principle of Socialism, and not Capitalism. According to Wikipedia, Socialists’ believe “that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.”
If elected, Barack Obama wants to raise taxes a total of 3% on the wealthy, or levy a small progressive tax, and leave those earning 250,000 dollars a year or less alone. In this context, I would be hard pressed to make the argument that Barack Obama is anything like Socialist President Hugo Chavez. That is, Barack Obama hasn’t threatened to nationalize Exxon Mobil and Hess, rename them PDV-USA, which if he did in reality, may give American’s ownership in “our companies” and a real stake in the triumphs and failures of our collective labor as a nation.
In the real world, Barack Obama’s message of “CHANGE” is more or less a commonsense approach to how to live more responsibly so one day we can achieve the lost American dream, and further he wants to rewind the historical development of the Capitalist system itself to the post-war period, when there was much less reason for companies to outsource labor.
It is easy to paint Capitalism into a rosy fairy tale of honest hard work when you remove reality, the owning class, the systems predatory nature, and insatiable thirst for more profit, which only spirals into greed in the end. Obama wants to give companies tax incentives to stay in the U.S.A., yet fails to mention they can pay a worker in Mexico .08 cents on the dollar for an hour’s worth of equal labor, with less costly safety protections, and slave drive the worker for far more hours. How can Barack teach a lion to be a vegetarian? Certainly he does not plan to do this hardly appetizing tax incentives that don’t amount to a hill of beans when you measure them against the temptation to pay people starvation wages. Hope is one thing, but reality has to come into play at some juncture. It would be great if you could please everyone, and stop the class struggle, but Obama must be delusional. Some people claim Obama can walk on water, and I think they may have him convinced.
The truth of the matter is that Obama doesn’t go much further than asking parents to tell their kids to stop playing video games, and to take an active role in their education. As prior stated, Barack’s alleged cries for redistribution of wealth are so modest that it would be a strain to call them Socialist, even though it is sort of true that his policies are more Socialist than Capitalist in nature in respect to the progressive tax. As much as I think Obama is a good person, probably a great husband and father, fantastic legal mind, and probably more, the reality stands. Barack Obama is not cutting deep enough at the root causes of our socio-economic and politcal problems, and that’s why corporate America loves him. Obama is the only one naive enough to believe he can resell the American Capitalist dream.
If Barack Obama were really a Socialist, he just may advocate some of the following things in no special order:
1) Collective ownership of the means of production, and democratic organized economy
2) A clear plan to end the war in Iraq, and a bold statement that we will tolerate no more preemptive wars abroad
3) A society based on principles of egalitarianism, and social justice
4) Full access to the best education, and healthcare available, without any economic, racial, gender, or “preexisting” discrimination
5) An end to the military industrial complex, and to slash the “defense budget” drastically.
6) Abolishment of the WTO, IMF, World Bank, NAFTA, and other usurious trade agreements which hurt everyone except the elite.
7) Full implementation of green technologies, and jobs
8) Full workers rights, and protections under the constitution
9) The abolishment of death penalty
10) An end to state sponsored torture, terrorism, and the political and economic sabotage of democratically elected regimes
11) The abolishment of the Patriot Act, FISA, and the restoration of legal accountability, and civil liberties
12) Reparations paid to Native Americans and other historically oppressed minorities
Barack Obama alludes to some of these things listed above, but has never clearly defined what type of sweeping “CHANGE” he advocates. All Barack Obama has stated is that electing McCain is no different than voting for four more years of George Bush. All an Obama presidency means for America is the incredibly ruthless, cynical, and backward Republicans are dethroned for the moment, which makes me breathe a little easier as well. That is why I endorse Barack Obama in this election, but only in swing states – He may not be the man of substantive change we need, but he sure isn’t George Bush III. Maybe at this point in time what Barack has to offer is the best we can HOPE for? If elected president, will we hold Barack to his word, and will he really address the reality of extremely complicated and pressing issues in more detail?
There are already some members of Congress, and 3rd party politicians such as Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, and Cynthia McKinney who are not shy about bold and sweeping change, and already have tangible, and clearly defined solutions such as H.R. 676, which is John Conyers “Medicare for all” bill. My concern in respect to Senator Barack Obama is not that he’s a Socialist, but rather that he will vote to reauthorize the Patriot act, before publicly engaging in a debate regarding Medicare for all. The question remains in respect to Senator Obama: Is he indefinable because he hasn’t defined enough, or is he definable by his actions up until this point? My guess is that latter, and if so “Centrism is still the problem”.