UP@NIGHT

Mitchell Aboulafia

Archive for October 19th, 2008

McCain’s Latest Desperate Move: Obama’s a Red, a Socialist (who will take all of your money and nationalize your toothbrush)

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Yes, well, I know, it’s all very confusing.  Red states are supposed to be Republican states and Blue ones Democratic.  But McCain and his surrogates are running around suggesting that Obama is a socialist, which is of course just a kinder and gentler word for communist or Red.  In any case, socialist/communist, what difference does it make if McCain feels that he can use the epithet to help him defeat Obama.  Here is McCain’s latest campaign “strategy” as reported in today’s Los Angeles Times.

By Bob Drogin and Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 19, 2008
CONCORD, N.C. — John McCain sharpened his attack on presidential rival Barack Obama’s economic proposals Saturday, accusing the Democrat of seeking to turn the United States into a socialist country and convert the IRS into a giant “welfare agency” that would dole out cash at Washington’s discretion….
McCain, delivering a national radio address before setting out for stops Saturday in North Carolina and Virginia, said Obama’s approach sounded “a lot like socialism.”

McCain’s claim is patently absurd.  Increasing income taxes on Americans making over 250,000 a year–by making their rates equivalent to what they were during the Clinton presidency–and lowering taxes on the middle class, doesn’t exactly sound like socialism to most Americans. And of course it’s not.  As a matter of fact, only the most die-hard, right-wing ideologue, one who is opposed to progressive taxes, social security, medicare, etc, would be likely to make such an outrageous claim and actually believe it.  So we have couple of choices here: McCain is an extreme right-wing ideologue OR he is lying and knows it.

Given the history of Red-baiting in this country, and the number of lives it destroyed, this is dangerous territory.  Further, McCain is playing with fire on another front.  He can’t directly raise the issue of race.  But he can try to make Obama appear foreign and  unamerican (you know, he “pals around with terrorists,” according to Palin).  Here is a recent attempt from Palin to play the all-American card:

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Sara Palin, October 16, 2008

Now the really big guns have been brought out.  Not only is Obama from the wrong part of the country–raised in Hawaii and schooled in big cities, so he is not really pro-American–but he may also be a socialist.  If you know anything about actual socialism/communism, this is too silly to be believed.   And it is even beyond silly, if that’s possible, since a conservative Republican administration has just semi-nationalized part of the banking industry.  Nationalization is a lot closer to socialism than modest changes in our tax rates.  (Marx would have a good laugh over this one, while he is turning over in his grave.)  But one doesn’t have to be a pundit to figure out what is really being said here.  Obama is not one of us, that is, don’t forget white America that he is black.

It’s time for McCain to feel a little shame.

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