promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Leading socialist says Obama is not one of them

In politics on April 16, 2010 at 1:40 am

Tea partiers never seem to get tired of calling  Barack Obama a socialist. But Billy Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA and editor of the party’s magazine, The Socialist, thinks they’re mistaken.

According to him, Obama is anything but a socialist.

“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” he said in an interview with CNN. “And we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”

But tea partiers love to point to “Obamacare” as ultimate proof the president must be a card-carrying member of the Socialist Party. However, Wharton isn’t so thrilled about the healthcare takeover. He says it actually strengthens private healthcare industry.

“Most of it was authored by the health care industry,” he said. “I call it the corporate restructuring of health care.”

Libertarian-leaning Republican Ron Paul, agrees with Wharton. He says Obama is not a socialist, but actually a corporatist.

“In the technical sense, in the economic definition of what a socialist [is], no he’s not a socialist,” Paul said at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. “What he is, is a corporatist. And that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.”

Paul and Wharton are absolutely right: Obama is anything but a socialist. Like Bush before him, he is a political puppet — a tool put in place to bow to the whims of the corporate elites.

I wish Obama were a socialist, even a communist. I would rather have a sincere, honest, independent communist in the White House representing the American people than a front man representing the interests of the rich and powerful.

  1. I’m glad someone has finally pointed out that Obama’s not a socialist, that can keep the tea party quiet for some time after staging a protest at Washington yesterday. I’m not sure if Obama’s a puppet of anybody but it’s true that any commander-in-chief has to take into consideration of several factors before making any decisions.

  2. Jessica,

    “I would rather have a sincere, honest, independent communist in the White House representing the American people than a front man representing the interests of the rich and powerful.”


    Might I interpret, slightly, your above comment as prefering a communist President over a capitalist one?

    Are you a closet communist hiding as a Libertarian or a Libertarian prefering communism over capitalism? Where are the TRUE colors or sentiments here? I don’t want to put words in your mouth but the ones you just used are very extreme to me.


  3. Anson,

    No, I am not a closet commie.

    You are completely missing my point. My point is I would rather have someone “representing the American people than a front man representing the interests of the rich and powerful.”
    You seem to have faith in the American power establishment — whether it’s the mainstream media or our elected officials. I do not.
    And Obama is no more a capitalist than he is a socialist.

  4. Winston Churchill said “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Obama may indeed be the puppet of certain powerful interests (George Soros, SEIU, Acorn, etc.) but he is certainly not a capitalist. To state that he is a corporatist simply muddies the waters. This administration has made the greatest move toward socialism since FDR. The definition of socialism is: “a political theory advocating state ownership of industry or an economic system based on state ownership of capital.” Since Obama took office, much of the financial system has come under state control, along with GM, and now, the medical industry. May not be Socialism with a capital “S” but it certainly is a move that direction.

  5. Jessica,

    “Obama is not a capitalist….”. Do you believe that if he said that in a campaign that he would have any chance at winning a national election.

    Like it or not that is THE system that has prevailed for all the years of our country AND it has made us the richest by far, nation in the history of the world.

    So you now tell me that you want ot supplant capitalism as our economic foundation. No you say you are not a communist which is the polar opposite of capitalism. Are you therefor a socialist and promote such for America? No you say (suppose) you are a Libitarian.

    Well I ask, stictly in terms of an economic system, what in the hell is a Libertarian? I really have no idea. If it is NOT capitalistic, communist or socialist, what exactly is it?

    You rail against war and now rail against capitalism. Fine you have every right. BUT WHAT WILL YOU REPLACE THEM WITH?

    You NEVER answer such questions in blog replies and thus in my view greatly weaken your “railing”. Without “construction” behind your criticism, I give you only a D+ for supporting your position (Whatever it is in a positve sense)


  6. Anson,

    Sometimes I feel as if we are reading a different post.

    Where did I “rail against capitalism?” Where did I say I want to “supplant capitalism as our economic foundation?”

    I am against corporatism. And yes, libertarians believe in a true laissez faire capitalism — although I have never claimed to be such in my writings.

    The entire point of the post, which you seem to have missed, is that Obama is not a true socialist. He is a corporatist. That was my position, nothing more.

    • Jessica,

      Miss Lorri told me you are leaving for Syracuse this summer to pursue an MA in Journalism. Congratulations and best wishes.

      As to Anson assuming the role of self-appointed blog instructor, I thought your response demonstrated both restraint and professional demeanor. For someone with serial spelling and grammar issues to award you such a poor grade takes serious brass. I’m afraid I would have to fail Anson in reading comprehension and composition. I could be generous and grade his work D-, but since we’re playing imaginary university, what the heck.


  7. I’d have to agree that Obama is a corporatist, especially of the school of corporatism that trends fascist, in spite of the visceral reaction to that term. (Once again, please note that while Nazism = fascism, fascism != Nazism. Sad to have to point that out due to generally poor teaching of history and politics.) I wish, however, that corporatism had a different name, as I think too many hear the term and immediately think it means “someone who supports business corporations”, or some sort of super-capitalist. I feel that leads to a great deal of confusion. Robert Locke does a good job of debunking this (albeit eight years old) in a FrontPage Magazine article, found at Why their archives use an IP address instead of the DNS, I do not know.

    • “Corporatism blends socialism and capitalism not by giving each control of different parts of the economy, but by combining socialism’s promise of a government-guaranteed flow of material goods with capitalism’s private ownership and management.”

      Good article.

      Thanks Moose

  8. Jessica,

    Sorry, but I agree with Steve Owen, above. To that I would add that Obama clearly so disagreed with the recent Citizens United Supreme Court 5/4 decision that he broke precedent to complain to the Court’s face(s) during his State of the Union Speech. You may recall that Citizen’s United gave corporations the same power to buy ads influencing elections as individuals have. If he were a “corporatist”, seems to me he would not have spoken out like that.

    Jim Wheeler

  9. I freely admit to grammatical and spelling errors particularly in comment sections with no spell checker. But I doubt that any miss my point(s) as a result.

    So now we are arguing about a new (to me) term, a “corporatist”. OK, exactly what is the difference between a “corporatist” and a capitalist, I ask? It has been a long time since I was in school so I am not up on the new terms.

    I suppose a pure “corporatist” only stives for a corporation to make money and a capitalist wants everyone to have the chance to make money. For sure NEITHER of them would support taking money away for legitimate effort or production.

    Given Obama’s hell bent for leather attempt to take money away (just for example) insurance companies to give away to ???, that to me seems pretty anti-corporations and capitalism. Was the government takeover of GM pro-corporation? Can government REALLY do a better job of making automobiles. How about cap and trade? Who will pay for that little maneuver?

    Show me one, just one, political initiative Obama has implemented to enhance either corporations or capitalists. Don’t tell me what he has said, simply show me what he has done.


  10. Anson, as I posted before, the article at FrontPage does a very good job of explaining exactly what corporatism is. It really has nothing to do with corporations per se. Because of that, it’s a very confusing term. Once you read that, you’ll understand that Obama’s drive to control the insurance industry is exactly what a corporatist would do, in spite of the fact that term itself makes it sound as though he should be supporting them because they are corporations. Thinking a corporatist should support corporations is a bit like saying Oedipus was a “Fatherist”.

  11. Nonny and Jessica,

    OK, now I got it. A corporatists “controls” the flow of goods (production) and a socialist “owns” the flow of goods(production), right?

    To me the distinction is pretty small. BOTH control (or attempt to do so) the actions of the governed which is about as anti-libertarian (or anti-liberty) as I can imagine. I suppose that is what Jessica was originally objecting to in her blog and I agree with her on that point.

    So am I correct in assuming that Jessica does NOT want Lenin, whoever a leading socialist might be, OR Obama to be our President? I further assume that she thinks Ron Paul would be a good choice to put in place. In a way she is thus offering or at least implying a solution which was my original criticism.

    Having been taught a new term in civics I withdraw my criticism. I remain unrepentant for spelling and grammatical errors however!


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