Obama a socialist?

This morning, I got caught up in a casual discussion of politics with a coworker of allegedly* "eclectic" political opinions who claimed--in all seriousness--to be unable to vote for Obama "because he's a socialist."

<picks self up from floor, and jaw from lap>

First, I doubt seriously that many (most?) conservatives even know what socialism is; "socialist" is just another content-free slur (like "liberal") that is used to demonize political opponents. They neither know what it means nor care to learn, as that knowledge would deprive them of a useful rhetorical cudgel when dealing with others equally (or more) ignorant of economics.

Second, Obama is most definitely not a socialist. In addition to his largely common-sense economic proposals, and his center-right economic advisers, here's what he said in an interview with CNBC's John Harwood:

"I am a pro-growth, free market guy. I love the market. I think it is the best invention to allocate resources and produce enormous prosperity for America or the world that's ever been designed."

Obama is as much as socialist as Adam Smith, but you certainly won't learn that from the mainstream corporate media. I really wish people would get their heads out of Faux News' ass...the constant GOP genuflecting is execrable, and the view stinks. (One might call their propaganda "Effluent for the Affluent.")

Snopes doesn't have a page on the "Obama=Socialist" myth yet, but they should

Obama's Fight the Smears site should also debunk this myth

*This was an overstatement on my part. Our disagreements consistently begin when I debunk the errors of right-wing talking points, which suggests--but does not prove--ideological rigidity.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


I don’t have a problem with criticisms of my style or my vocabulary, but having such idiosyncrasies used for an armchair psychoanalysis is definitely the sign of a losing argument.

I’m not familiar with Idiocracy, but it sounds like something I’d enjoy. Thanks for the tip!

LOL. Oh my.

When somebody starts criticizing your vocabulary, I immediately flash to Mike Judge's "Idiocracy." You probably know what I'm talking about. If somebody even sounds smart, the usual reply is, "You talk like a fag."

Like this line, erm, spoken by a doctor:

"Doctor: [Laughs] Right, kick ass. Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... like... you know, like, you know what I mean, like.."

I humbly disagree.

Once again, you’ve proven my point by attacking the style and tone of my writing rather than addressing any of the issues. I thought you might apologize for your false accusation of plagiarism, so I guess we’re both disappointed.

Thank you for your assessment of my capabilities, and thanks for visiting.

You just proved my point. You are incapable of not being arrogant. Thanks for the dissertation, proselytizing, history lessons, corrections, overview on my methodology,chest-thumping, and any number of attempts to make your learned points. Gee, I thought you would simply apologize for putting our personal conversation on the web. Silly me.

I’ll file this under “protest too much,” as I obviously struck a nerve. Nonetheless, a little fisking is in order.

I noticed that you managed to avoid addressing either point in my original post while penning a pompously sarcastic comment that easily equals anything I’ve written to date. Your ad hominem attacks about my (alleged, once again) intellectual superiority complex are as content-free (and incorrect) as Obama’s socialism. Your overly emotional defensive reaction to being corrected on this point says less about my self-image than about yours. Do I sometimes lapse into arrogance? Yes, but I’m not so arrogant as to presume that I can pontificate (interesting word, no?) in the absence of facts and expect to never get called on it.

Your strenuous efforts to malign me veer into the ridiculous when you invent my “insatiable need to promote myself.” If that were true, I might actually do something radically self-centered like…you know…mentioning my name, at the very least. Blogging anonymously kind of defeats that argument, don’t you think?

You may take some comfort that my “abject hatred of GWB” is tempered by the fact that he only has 152 days left in the White House before repair work can begin. (The prospect of McCain continuing Bush’s policies, as per your link, fills me with something less than hope.)

I call “bullshit” on your accusation of plagiarism. I Googled “useful rhetorical cudgel” and found (in addition to my post) four results, none of which I had seen before. I’m unfamiliar with two of the websites, don’t read the comments on the third, and haven’t seen Emmett Tyrell’s Madame Hillary. (In addition to supplying evidence of your accusation, could you please explain why I would plagiarize poor writing?)

You guaranteed that I “would flunk any creative writing course,” but my transcript says otherwise. Interestingly enough, the professor of my last writing course apologized for not being able to award a grade higher than an “A” and said that I was a better writer than she. YMMV, of course, but your “guarantee” is a failed one. (You may now congratulate yourself on having goaded me into bragging.) While I’m on the subject of writing and bragging: You stated, “I get paid for my writing. Who's the idiot in this scenario?” In our exchange so far, you propagated a political myth for free, and I debunked it for free; I fail to see how this reflects negatively on my intelligence. (Besides, do you really want to call nearly every blogger in the world an idiot for not getting paid? Is the value of everything to be determined by its price?)

Your comments about my “extensive vocabulary” and “$5 words” also smack of defensiveness. I freely admit to occasionally going overboard in pursuit of a pun or a metaphor—especially an alliterative one—but does that make me a poor writer, or merely one who enjoys wordplay? In the future, feel free to ignore my vocabulary—and my person—if doing so will enable you to focus on the facts.

You complained about my “link-filled” post, but hyperlinks are merely footnotes for the Internet Age…or did you consider it poor form because I proved that I’m not talking out of my ass? My ability to do research proves nothing about my intelligence, but it does wonders for my accuracy; parroting discredited GOP talking points does quite the opposite.

When you wrote, “just because someone disagrees with you…” we’re actually closer in opinion than you realize. Disagreement is fine; you eat meat, I’m a vegetarian, but we can still break bread together. The crux of this discussion is your claim (“Obama is a socialist”) that I showed to be—to be polite—non-factual. We can disagree about opinions and definitions and interpretations, but I supported my statements (those dreaded links!) while you provided…nothing. If misinformation is your basis for casting a ballot, then so be it. I admit to being disappointed that otherwise-intelligent people often fall for such media-disseminated nonsense, but that problem is beyond my ability.

In reference to your many snide remarks about my attitude toward religion, I am unoffended by others’ faith in whatever gods they choose. Perhaps I should just quote you: “If it makes you happy, then enjoy your fantasy.”

I’ll close with a quote that I’ve used before, but find especially apropos here:

“The desire to be right and the desire to have been right are two desires, and the sooner we separate them the better off we are. The desire to be right is the thirst for truth. On all accounts, both practical and theoretical, there is nothing but good to be said for it. The desire to have been right, on the other hand, is the pride that goeth before a fall. It stands in the way of our seeing we were wrong, and thus blocks the progress of our knowledge.”

(W.V. Quine and J.S. Ullian, The Web of Belief, p. 133)
Hey [redacted],
Big vocabulary words do not make a good writer. I learned that from my best teacher, God rest her soul. (Sorry for the God reference - I know that offends you.) I also learned that a condescending and patronizing tone typically masks major insecurities. I suggest therapy or volunteer work. That said, I know that you consider yourself the intellectual superior of everyone with whom you interact. If you want to believe that, then do. If it makes you happy, then enjoy your fantasy. You seem to derive great pleasure in your quasi-intellectual put-downs of those of us who are, in your mind, mental midgets. I personally do not like being the subject of one of your link-filled, pompously presented, incredibly bombastic blogs, but since I didn't know that our private conversation would end up as fodder for the world to see, I suppose I will just suck it up and move on. Your sarcastic appraisal of me and my "eclectic", oh wait, "allegedly eclectic" political opinions and anyone who does not share your abject hatred of GWB, is so noted. I get it. In your mind, which you religiously showcase at every opportunity (again, sorry for the religion reference) you truly believe that you are so cerebrally gifted that the rest of us plebeians can but marvel at how many $5 words you can use in one sentence. I find it laughable that someone thinks that his writings are just SO IMPORTANT that we are all waiting breathlessly for the next installment. Teach us, oh great one. We hang on every word, for you, and only you, have all the answers. Your ego is just amazing. I hope you teach [redacted] that just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they are necessarily idiots. And, be sure to tell [redacted] that the phrase "useful rhetorical cudgel" is a perfect example of poor writing--and it is plagiarized. I guarantee you that despite your extensive vocabulary, you would flunk any creative writing course due to your excessive use of big words to the detriment of your unquestioned ability to make a cogent point. Just say what you mean instead of using this forum to feed your egotistical need to impress all of us mental deficients with your robust list of vocabulary words. I am not impressed. So, I suppose your insatiable need to promote yourself and once again let the world know just how smart [redacted] is, will result in another one of your incredibly tiresome displays of [redacted] platitudes. Have at it. If it makes you feel good about yourself, I can live with it. I get paid for my writing. Who's the idiot in this scenario? Have a wonderful day and God Bless America. (Oops! Another God reference. Just can't help myself!)

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)