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Top U.s. Socialist Says Barack Obama Is Not One

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http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/09/09/to...ot-one-of-them/

Frank Llewellyn, the National Director of the Democratic Socialists of America, the country's largest socialist organization, said Obama is most definitely not one of them.

Llewellyn:

It's silly, surreal, uninformed, and it certainly doesn't reflect what modern socialists think, and it doesn't reflect what Obama thinks. Obama's a market guy! Obama believes in markets. He probably spoke more about the role of the markets in the primary than Clinton did. So, there's no question that the Republicans are doing the same thing they did when Roosevelt was president -- confusing somebody who is trying to save capitalism from itself with somebody who is trying to destroy it. He's not trying to destroy capitalism.
Q. Is Obama a socialist?

A. No.

Q. Is he a secret socialist?

A. He's not a secret socialist. He's not any kind of socialist at all. He's not challenging the power of the corporations. The banking reforms that have been suggested are not particularly far reaching. He says we must have room for innovation. But we had innovation -- look where it got us. So I just...I can't...I mean laugh out loud, really.

I was on Glenn Beck recently and he said Canada is a socialist country. Well, there is a party in Canada that's called "socialist" within the Democratic party, that's won some provincial elections, never won a federal election. It would be news to them that Canada is socialist. So it's just unserious.

They always use socialism to try to defeat moderate reforms...just because something is government run doesn't mean it's socialist. I've never heard anybody say we have a socialist army.

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The real story here is that someone managed to find an American socialist. I thought they were an urban myth.

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He doesn't fit one man's definition of Socialist. Got it.

He doesn't fit one Socialist's definition of Socialist.

Merriam-Webster:

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

I've never heard anything like this come out out Obama's mouth. I have heard it come out of Bill O'Reilly's mouth, and Glenn Beck's mouth, and Sean Hannity's mouth... but not from Obama.

2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

a. Hmmm... I'm pretty sure we have private property and that the Obama administration has no intention of seizing it.

b. Again... am I seeing different speeches and news conferences?

3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

The only unequal distribution of goods and pay in this country is done by capitalism... not by any socialism...

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What Americans* call "socialism" is closer to social democracy but probably to the right (that is, toward capitalism and classical liberalism) of standard social democracy. It's nowhere near real socialism.

Obama is probably a plain old liberal but it's hard to tell at this point.

* Socialist excepted, of course.

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What Americans* call "socialism" is closer to social democracy but probably to the right (that is, toward capitalism and classical liberalism) of standard social democracy. It's nowhere near real socialism.

Obama is probably a plain old liberal but it's hard to tell at this point.

* Socialist excepted, of course.

Well, I'm glad that issue is settled.

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This type of semantic nit-picking works on both sides of the political aisle.

It's also comparible to a tech argument that goes around occasionally concering what, exactly, defines a "hacker." Oh, there are all the dictionary definitions, there are several definitions held by various people or groups, and then there's the common useage of the word. I fall into the camp that accepts the common useage of a word, as opposed to some high-falutin', extremely narrow and highly restrictive definition.

Almost any expert in almost any speciality will argue why their definition is the only one. It's a doomed argument, you can't stop words from eventually being co-opted by common useage. You. Can't. Stop. It.

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This type of semantic nit-picking works on both sides of the political aisle.

It's also comparible to a tech argument that goes around occasionally concering what, exactly, defines a "hacker." Oh, there are all the dictionary definitions, there are several definitions held by various people or groups, and then there's the common useage of the word. I fall into the camp that accepts the common useage of a word, as opposed to some high-falutin', extremely narrow and highly restrictive definition.

Almost any expert in almost any speciality will argue why their definition is the only one. It's a doomed argument, you can't stop words from eventually being co-opted by common useage. You. Can't. Stop. It.

The problem then is, if conservatives believe that Obama fits under the much more moderate definition of Socialism... then how is comparing him to Marx or Hitler applicable, let alone logical? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

If you believe Socialism == Social Democracy == Obama

then Obama != Marx != Hitler

Edit:

After posting the above, I realize that my statement generalizing the beliefs and attitudes of conservatives is unfair. Let me apologize for that and attempt to reiterate what I'm trying to say.

The problem that I have--and perhaps its a problem with the media--is that many conservatives on TV, the internet, and in newspapers, are constantly portraying Obama with words like "Marxist", "Hitler", Nazism", "Communist", etc. You cannot deny that this is the frequent topic and delivery from high-profile names like Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh. They clearly are equating Obama to such extreme concepts as cold-war communism, or Nazi-German fascism. Then, I see stories of people at town hall meetings with signs defacing Obama to look like Hitler. Shortly after, I see the Student Conservatives at my University doing the same things!

So, I then believe that conservatives really do equate Obama to the far-narrow definition of Socialism. After all, if one is comparing him to Hitler or Marx, then they obviously(?) are using the Merriam-Webster definition.

So, JDoors--and anyone else who'd like to be in this conversation, my questions for you are:

What is your definition of Socialism?

Is Obama one, and why do you believe that?

Do you equate Obama to Marx, Hitler, etc, and why?

Hopefully this will steer the conversation in a better direction than what my original comments may have done.

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This type of semantic nit-picking works on both sides of the political aisle.

It's not nitpicking. Socialism, social democracy, and liberalism are distinct ideologies. In much of the world they're represented by different political parties.

Almost any expert in almost any speciality will argue why their definition is the only one. It's a doomed argument, you can't stop words from eventually being co-opted by common useage. You. Can't. Stop. It.

In common usage in the US, socialist is a derogatory term for a person on the left. It has no real definition. It's barely even a word.

The problem then is, if conservatives believe that Obama fits under the much more moderate definition of Socialism... then how is comparing him to Marx or Hitler applicable, let alone logical? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The comparisons of Obama to Hitler might be partly tit-for-tat for the comparisons of Bush to Hitler.

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... The problem that I have--and perhaps its a problem with the media--is that many conservatives on TV, the internet, and in newspapers, are constantly portraying Obama with words like "Marxist", "Hitler", Nazism", "Communist", etc. You cannot deny that this is the frequent topic and delivery from high-profile names like Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh. They clearly are equating Obama to such extreme concepts as cold-war communism, or Nazi-German fascism. Then, I see stories of people at town hall meetings with signs defacing Obama to look like Hitler. Shortly after, I see the Student Conservatives at my University doing the same things! ... [emphasis added]

I can deny any KNOWLEDGE of "Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh" "constantly portraying Obama with words like "Marxist", "Hitler", Nazism", "Communist", etc." I don't watch or listen to any of 'em and frankly, I'm surprised that you watch, read and listen to them with enough regularity to know this to be the case. If you're getting this second-hand, I don't pay much attention to liberal outlets (I get my news from essentially unbiased local sources) so I can deny even HEARING about it (there are plenty of third-hand sources, though I don't put much stock in third-hand sources).

I did see the artwork of Obama's portrait with the word "Socialist" under it though. I thought that was clever and reflected many people's belief in what's currently going on and the direction we're headed in Washington. The first Nazi reference at a town hall meeting I saw and understood what they were saying, not that Obama IS a Nazi, they were saying (and it was clear) that they did not want this country to go in that direction. The second Nazi reference was by a liberal activist that doesn't fit your narrative so I won't address it.

Bush was depicted as Hitler, burned in effigy, derided, demeaned, the list of lies and hate directed at him is practically endless. Why weren't you defending the literal definition of Nazi and why it does not apply to Bush? Or did you think Bush was, literally, a Nazi? Maybe you agreed that the common useage of the epithet applied? (Which is my point vis-à-vis Socialism and the Obama administration and why it can, in many cases, be justified, my personal beliefs aside.)

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I can deny any KNOWLEDGE of "Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh" "constantly portraying Obama with words like "Marxist", "Hitler", Nazism", "Communist", etc." I don't watch or listen to any of 'em

Ok, that's fair.

and frankly, I'm surprised that you watch, read and listen to them with enough regularity to know this to be the case.

I actually do try to cycle through MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News. While I have my opinions, I do like to watch the other side and listen to what they're saying (though CNN really annoys me since all they talk about these days is their Twitter updates <_< ). I don't agree with most things said on Fox News, but I have it on at least once a day. And, like you, I try to turn to local sources as well... but its rather hard to watch/read/listen that much in a day--it doesn't always happen.

Bush was depicted as Hitler, burned in effigy, derided, demeaned, the list of lies and hate directed at him is practically endless. Why weren't you defending the literal definition of Nazi and why it does not apply to Bush?

You're right, Bush suffered the same thing. As much as I didn't like him, though, I never called him a Nazi. Why didn't I defend him in that sense? Well, we didn't have a "World and Politics" forum then and it wasn't the topic of this thread.

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This type of semantic nit-picking works on both sides of the political aisle.

It's also comparible to a tech argument that goes around occasionally concering what, exactly, defines a "hacker." Oh, there are all the dictionary definitions, there are several definitions held by various people or groups, and then there's the common useage of the word. I fall into the camp that accepts the common useage of a word, as opposed to some high-falutin', extremely narrow and highly restrictive definition.

Almost any expert in almost any speciality will argue why their definition is the only one. It's a doomed argument, you can't stop words from eventually being co-opted by common useage. You. Can't. Stop. It.

The problem then is, if conservatives believe that Obama fits under the much more moderate definition of Socialism... then how is comparing him to Marx or Hitler applicable, let alone logical? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

If you believe Socialism == Social Democracy == Obama

then Obama != Marx != Hitler

Edit:

After posting the above, I realize that my statement generalizing the beliefs and attitudes of conservatives is unfair. Let me apologize for that and attempt to reiterate what I'm trying to say.

The problem that I have--and perhaps its a problem with the media--is that many conservatives on TV, the internet, and in newspapers, are constantly portraying Obama with words like "Marxist", "Hitler", Nazism", "Communist", etc. You cannot deny that this is the frequent topic and delivery from high-profile names like Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh. They clearly are equating Obama to such extreme concepts as cold-war communism, or Nazi-German fascism. Then, I see stories of people at town hall meetings with signs defacing Obama to look like Hitler. Shortly after, I see the Student Conservatives at my University doing the same things!

So, I then believe that conservatives really do equate Obama to the far-narrow definition of Socialism. After all, if one is comparing him to Hitler or Marx, then they obviously(?) are using the Merriam-Webster definition.

So, JDoors--and anyone else who'd like to be in this conversation, my questions for you are:

What is your definition of Socialism?

Is Obama one, and why do you believe that?

Do you equate Obama to Marx, Hitler, etc, and why?

Hopefully this will steer the conversation in a better direction than what my original comments may have done.

Not to belabor the point, but shouldn't a nationwide debate also candidly point out that communism/ socialism is diametrically opposed to nazism/ fascism?

One cannot be both at the same time.

True, Hitler and his Nazis did use the world "socialist" in their political party name, but they were NOT socialists by any stretch of the imagination.

I understand that this fact is probably way too complicated for the Glenn Beck/ Joe Wilson crowd. But shouldn't they at least do a LITTLE reading before labeling the President of the United States as both a socialist AND a fascist? Please! I know that illiteracy is a big problem in certain parts of the country, but audiobooks are readily available at most public libraries.

Just my opinion.

Edited by irregularjoe

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Not to belabor the point, but shouldn't a nationwide debate also candidly point out that communism/ socialism is diametrically opposed to nazism/ fascism?

One cannot be both at the same time.

True, Hitler and his Nazis did use the world "socialist" in their political party name, but they were NOT socialists by any stretch of the imagination.

I understand that this fact is probably way too complicated for the Glenn Beck/ Joe Wilson crowd. But shouldn't they at least do a LITTLE reading before labeling the President of the United States as both a socialist AND a fascist? Please! I know that illiteracy is a big problem in some parts of the country, but audiobooks are readily available at most public libraries.

Just my opinion.

While that is technically true, many political scientists have abandoned the linear definitions of Communism and Fascism--with one on the far left and the other on the far right. Many have adopted an idea that the spectrum is more like a 'circle' in that if you go far left through Communism, you eventually start hitting ideals of Fascism. By this theory, the same applies for if you go far right.

Regardless, I agree with you. For the context that any of this is being used, Communism != Fascism. That is, if you are using the Merriam Webster definitions.

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While that is technically true, many political scientists have abandoned the linear definitions of Communism and Fascism--with one on the far left and the other on the far right. Many have adopted an idea that the spectrum is more like a 'circle' in that if you go far left through Communism, you eventually start hitting ideals of Fascism. By this theory, the same applies for if you go far right.

Political spectra (circular or otherwise) are essentially functions that map ideologies onto points on a line. I can't think of any way to map communism and fascism near each other. On the capitalism-communism and authoritarian-communitarianism-individualism spectra I think communism wraps around to Christian conservatism or Christian democracy and on the authoritarian-anarchism spectrum it wraps around to libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism. I have no idea what fascism might wrap around to.

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Couldn't really explain this too well myself, so I did a quick Google:

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2336142/posts

In regards to Communism on the far left and Fascism on the far right:

There is something nonsensical about a political spectrum that spans the range between tyranny and ... tyranny. If one end of the spectrum is the home of tyranny, then shouldn't the opposite end of the spectrum be the home of liberty, tyranny's opposite?

Edit:

However... this doesn't quite fit the "ring" idea.

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Couldn't really explain this too well myself, so I did a quick Google:

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2336142/posts

Freepers are the creationists of political science. And biology.

There is something nonsensical about a political spectrum that spans the range between tyranny and ... tyranny. If one end of the spectrum is the home of tyranny, then shouldn't the opposite end of the spectrum be the home of liberty, tyranny's opposite?

The first spectrum he presents is nonsensical because he interprets leftness and rightness as measures of tyrannicalness and because he omits ideologies that don't fit into that interpretation, such as (left and right) anarchism. The second spectrum is just a summary of how conservative libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives view the standard political spectrum.

Communism has its own political spectrum. At one extreme you have authoritarian communists like Stalin and at the other you have anarchist communists like Kropotkin. You could argue that authoritarian communism should be grouped with fascism due to the similarities between their political systems in practice (and despite the differences between their ideologies) but I don't think you can reasonably argue that 'moderate' communism and especially anarchist communism are even remotely similar to fascism.

The basic problem is that communism is primarily an economic ideology and fascism is primarily a political ideology. In order to compare the two you have to select a particular instance of communism with an associated political system, like Leninism or Maoism, and use it for your comparison. That comparison will only be valid for that particular form of communism.

(Going the other way doesn't work because fascism is associated with a very narrow range of economic systems. Just one if you accept the argument that the word fascism should only be used to refer to Italian fascism.)

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Couldn't really explain this too well myself, so I did a quick Google:

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2336142/posts

In regards to Communism on the far left and Fascism on the far right:

There is something nonsensical about a political spectrum that spans the range between tyranny and ... tyranny. If one end of the spectrum is the home of tyranny, then shouldn't the opposite end of the spectrum be the home of liberty, tyranny's opposite?

Edit:

However... this doesn't quite fit the "ring" idea.

Intellectually this "ring/ circle" theory doesn't make much sense to me. I do understand the schematics of it, but people do not generally ride a political mery-go-round during their lifetime. Except of course the political slime that blow with the prevailing wind. But I don't think you are talking about them, are you?

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if you come down to the soutjh pacific

you will se socialism practied in its true form

practiced to the peoples needs

australia- new zealand-all pacifis islands

and england was until tony blair turned the labor party supporting bush

and the public soon changed that

many south american countys have tiurned to socialism

thev had enough of the american right wing greedy

take all politics

the recent crash will vouch for this statement

obama is trying to stop that trend

weather he succeds or not will

be a matter if he lives long enough

god i hope so

read this

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8279777.stm

Edited by martymas

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