What If?

We will never get to see what the results of Obama and the
Democratic Party’s liberal agenda would have been if the obstructionists in the
Republican Party did not hold the Democrats back.  One area where this is true is in the health
of America’s economy. We will never see if loosening up on the budget a bit
would have allowed business to come back even better than it has since the
recession, because the Republicans insisted that the budget needed to be cut
and threatened to shut down government unless it was cut. So we see what
semi-austerity allowed, but we can’t go back and take that other pathway and
see what would have resulted from a little spending, not go-wild spending but
careful injections of cash. They might have acted like those cortisone shots
people get for their arthritis, but we will never know. Instead we got The
Sequester, which as far as I can see has had no positive effects on our
We could have experimented with raising taxes on the
wealthiest people and, since corporations are now people, on corporations, and
although we did get rid of the Bush tax cuts this and was not enough to cause a change in our economy. Would higher taxes
have been a shot in the arm our economy needed or would these taxes have made
the business climate in America worse as the GOP informed us they would. Since
these things are predictions and since the variables we might have examined
never included any appreciable tax increases we will never know if America
might have done even better in the Obama years than it did.
We could have experimented with some basic gun regulations
like registrations of all gun sales with records retained for use by law
enforcement. We could have done this for perhaps five years and we would already
know the results by now. Did shooters still continue to target people who are
either captive in public spaces as in the case of schools or are congregating
socially in public places as malls, movie theaters, and churches? But an
obdurate group of extremists has managed to convince Americans that President
Obama is just waiting to take away all their guns and turn himself into
President-for-Life Obama, crushing our 2nd Amendment rights forever.
We will be the new Cuba. This is nonsense. Are the perpetrators really
frightened (I doubt it) or are they just trying to have their way with the
American people regardless of who the President is. (Much more likely)
What about infrastructure? If Obama had been allowed to begin
a few infrastructure projects (not Keystone) would that have brought up the
employment numbers? Would it have helped move more people into a comfortable
financial condition? We have no idea. We did not get to find out.
So when you hear the Republicans blame Obama for America’s
slow economic recovery, unless you are totally hypnotized by FOX News and have
to get your right wing fix every day, then you must admit that there is some
truth to the things I have just talked about. Perhaps instead of saving America
by refusing to give Obama (and the American people) a decent allowance the
Republicans are actually responsible for some of the atrophy in the America
economy. Why would you trust people who want to get rid of the Federal
government to mess with the Federal Budget? How small do you want your
government to be? These folks still want to end all social programs including
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and they have already made a start on
this in their home states.  So why would
we elect a Republican President and hand them the whole kit and caboodle when
we have already been following their policies by default and they have not been
working. Think it through and you might agree with some of this.
By Nancy Brisson

You Can’t Be a Socialist in a Democracy

In his article “None Dare Call It Socialism” from the American Spectator Larry Thornberry reiterates the delightful traditional stance that Conservatives love to embrace by accusing all liberal Democrats and, specifically, Obama of being, horror of horrors, Socialist.  This seems to be just about the worst criticism Conservatives can throw at Liberals (which is now synonymous with Democrats). It implies that we will one day live in a police state where our government will control everything.  Watch Mr. Thornberry call forth this bogey man that the Conservatives have used to such effect in the following excerpts from his article:

None Dare Call It Socialism

In 1959’s Rio Bravo, the Duke is the sheriff and Dean Martin plays his deputy, a guy who’s quick and slick with a gun when he’s sober. In one scene, Martin’s character asks the sheriff if he thought he, the Martin character, was as good and as fast as another gunman. The Duke takes a thoughtful beat, as he was so good at doing, and replies, “Well, I’d hate to have to make a living on the difference.”
Well now there you are. Thanks again, Duke. What Obama and his legions are doing may not exactly be socialism, which is usually defined as government ownership of the means of production. But when you try to contrast socialism with what Obama and his crowd have put through and what they’re whooping up, if you seek to isolate real differences between socialism and Obamaism, it would be awfully hard, as the Duke phrased it, to make a living on the difference.
Consider. The Obama administration and its congressional courtiers have put the federal government into the domestic car business in a big way. They’ve gotten “health care” legislation through both federal houses that goes a long way toward nationalizing the one-sixth of the economy, they put the national debt on steroids, and they’re going for the homerun in cap and trade legislation, which would take decisions on how much and what kind of energy can be used in the economy from the private sector where they belong and turn them over to politicians and bureaucrats…
Likely what’s happened is that modern socialists have gotten smarter, or at least cagier. Contemporary socialists, in contrast to those boring old Mustache Pete socialists of decades ago who wanted to run factories and mines and mills and stuff, have figured out that actually owning the means of production is a lot of trouble, and takes away valuable time that could be more (excuse the expression) profitably spent dominating the culture. Far easier to allow some poor sod to have his name on a title somewhere and think he owns the factory (or restaurant, or car dealership, or contracting business, or, or, or…) and just make all the important decisions for him. Call this soft-socialism, smart-socialism, or perhaps just lazy-socialism.

I don’t call this socialism at all. First of all we have to consider that there is a whole continuum of political positions. Wikipedia sums it up in these terms:  Traditionally, the Left includes progressives, social liberals, social democrats, socialists, communists, and anarchists.[5][6][7][8] The Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, capitalists, monarchists, nationalists, and fascists.[9] Actually if you begin from the left it goes Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Progressives, Centers, Conservatives, Reactionaries, Captialists, Monarchists, Nationalists, Fascists.

You will find this great graphic at this site where you should be able to read it without a magnifying glass:  http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/blog-html/leftvright_world.html

My problem with the practice of labeling Liberals as Socialists is that in a true Socialist situation the government and the people have to be separate entities. America is a very distinct political structure, a structure in which the government and the people are one.  We the people are (or we are supposed to be) the American government, a government that is unique in all the world, a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” If we weren’t in dire danger of becoming a Plutocracy, and if the Congress truly represented the people, then it would be impossible to call the will of the people Socialism. If the people decide they want to spend the taxes they pay themselves on social programs, this is not Socialism. If the people like a social program and want to continue it, this is not Socialism. Name-calling is the least sophisticated of the propaganda techniques, but probably one of the most effective because it hits us in a visceral way. It engages our fight instinct and deflects us from the real issues. We could become a Socialist country, I suppose, but not by sticking to the principles of Democracy. Obama’s Affordable Health Care plan may have been passed in a rather high-handed fashion but it was being stonewalled by a political minority using questionable congressional tactics. Perhaps his stimulus was not favored by Republicans, but they did not necessarily represent the majority opinion. There is still a majority of American citizens who feel that Obama did the people’s business and he did it in the only way he could have given the total intractability of the opposition. Obama is not a Socialist and, in fact, no Liberal in America can be a Socialist until such time as the government and the people have truly parted ways. I hope that day never comes.