June 16, 2008

Obama as Cosby with a socialist twist

On Father's day yesterday Barack Obama delivered a speech which essentially ripped off the message of Bill Cosby vis a vis the black community. Except that rather than draw scorn from the liberal media and masses as Cosby did, Obama has been lavished with yet more "messianic figure" praise.

Obama not only shamelessly co-opted the message of Cosby, he then proceeded to add his own socialistic touch to Cosby's thesis by concluding that with the benefit of yet more social programs black fathers will be better able to hang around and raise their offspring like a responsible adult. In other words, if the government hands money to black fathers then they will do what they are already "supposed to do" as Chris Rock would say.

Obama's socialist conclusion misses the point of Cosby's thesis, which has much more to do with personal responsibility than it does with the government handouts Obama favors.

But Obama's rationale on this matter is not at all surprising given the fact that to Obama, the answer to all of societies ills are found in the boilerplate principles of socialism.

As Europe, China, and Russia move away from socialism by embracing more and more aspects of capitalism, Barack Obama proposes to rush us towards socialism, the very form of government being abandoned by even the most stubborn and ardent historical proponents of it.

If you strongly feel that taxes are far too low, then by all means vote Barack Obama.


Chris said...

What about that speech is socialist? For that matter, what socialist expansion is Obama proposing?

Jaz said...

Still processing...

Chris said...

That's all right. I still love ya man!

Jaz said...

I appreciate the slack, but I've been delayed in my mind trying to determine which discussion you would like to have.

Either you are seeking to quibble about the definition of socialism and what can be fairly ascribed to it or you really are unaware as to the extent of all the new and expanded social entitlement programs programs that Obama is proposing in this clip.

So those are the choices. We can debate what socialism is and what can be fairly labeled as such or we can debate the wisdom of Obama's proposed massive expansions of tax payer funded social programs.

Call it what ever you want, but I don't think that there is any getting around the fact that Obama is proposing to re-distribute wealth and expand the size and scope of government by creating more and more layers of social programs.

That to me is socialism, maybe not to you, but I'd rather not go back and forth over semantics rather than substance.

To that end, my conclusion here still stands. Where Cosby's solutions to some of the problems found in the black community are found by enforcing family values and personal responsibility, Obama's solution is found by redistributing wealth and creating dozens of more social programs at the tax payers expense.

Where am I going wrong, old friend?

Chris said...

If there’s anything I understand it’s slacking. I’d challenge you in a slacking contest any day. It might be the only thing I’m good at.

I say we debate both. Well, okay, we don’t have to do that; I guess I’m just amazed at how quick Republicans and conservatives are to label a Democrat “socialist.” As I’m sure you are aware, Glenn Beck does it all the time. Savage calls Obama, amongst other things, a socialist every day. Disgraced former majority leader Republican Tom DeLay called Obama a socialist just the other day. Their reasoning, if we can call it that, is because Obama proposes expanding government vis-a-vis social programs. If all that is required to be a socialist is to expand government then why aren’t Republicans calling George Bush a socialist?

George Bush has done more to expand government (spending, size, social programs, etc.) than any president since FDR. Let’s do a quick rundown of Bush’s socialist expansion.

Homeland Security- the largest federal bureaucracy in America. It’s responsible for people’s welfare. It’s a social program and a defense program wrapped into one. If Obama had proposed anything similar to Homeland Security he would be called a socialist by Republicans. Now you may argue that after 9/11 a DHS was necessary. I agree. But if expanding government equals socialism then this is a perfect example of socialism.

No Child Left Behind- the first ever federally mandated education program in America. It’s on par with the Social Security Act as far as granting the federal government control over people’s lives. It’s a social program no doubt about it.

Airline subsidies- shortly after 9/11 George Bush gave the airline industry the largest subsidies in American history. Tax payer money being spent on industry. That’s socialism.

Bear Stearns Bail Out- the first time the federal government has invoked this Great Depression law. It’s taxpayer money used to bail out a privately owned entity. It’s socialism. Who could argue that the government is responsible for businesses and market intrusion while keeping a straight face about it? Isn’t that “redistributing wealth.” In a socialist society there is no ownership per se. By the government extending its power over private capital it's suggesting that the government (the people, the masses) own the business. Why is the government even bothering with bailing out a business and redistributing tax payer money (my money, your money) to an already bankrupt business? The only answer is that Bush obviously believes the government has a responsibility towards private business, which really is the very root of socialism—that privatization must be checked by the government because it exploits the citizens. There is nothing more socialist than the federal government exercising power over the individual as a means to protect the good of many.

Iraq- we are spending nearly a trillion dollars to rebuild Iraq. Tax payer money being used to build roads, schools, fund pensions, form militias, farming, and regulate the economy. Our grand adventure into Iraq is socialist when it’s broken down. If I were to argue that it’s the government’s responsibility for people to be employed, make a living, have access to healthcare, have roads to drive on, schools to attend and that all of this should be paid for by a collective taxation, I wouldn’t make it too far in a GOP meeting. Yet that is what we are doing in Iraq. Except instead of using Iraqi money we’re using mine and yours. It’s socialism by proxy—with freedom bombs and glorious liberation of course.

I could go on and on but I think you’re getting my point. There has been no president do more to socialize this country than George Bush. Yet he’s never called on it. Republicans never say a word about his big government and big spending ways. Now that a Democrat wants to expand social programs to poorer people Republicans jump all over that by calling him a socialist. It’s inaccurate, disingenuous and lazy. Apparently what qualifies as socialism to Republicans is not government expansion, it’s wanting to help the poor. All of Obama’s, as you say, “socialist” programs don’t even compare to the Department of Homeland Security, which is the biggest social program in the world. In other words, a guy you voted for twice (I’m assuming at least) has done more “to re-distribute wealth and expand the size and scope of government by creating more and more layers of social programs” than anyone in American history.

So all of this begs, then, what is socialism and who’s unaware of what?

Jaz said...

Here is a typical argument between an Obama supporter and someone questioning whether or not to vote for the man:


"Obama has little to no executive experience and is unproven."


"But neither did George Bush yet he was elected."

I have heard variations of this defense of Obama via George Bush dozens of times by now. It's as though Obama's supporters are quite content to cede that Obama is the moral equivalent of George W. Bush, a man that they despise.

Someone brings up a critique of Obama and the response is always, "Well what about Bush?".

Bush is no more relevant to whether or not Obama is worthwhile than any other past president including Jimmy Carter (who was a president who more closely resembles Obama than any other).

Still to this day, you seem more focussed on Bush bashing than you do promoting your guy. But OK I got your point, Bush expanded the size of government. When Bush endorsed McCain as a "true conservative" it was laughable given Bush's not so conservative track record.

So I'll grant you that Bush was actually a socialist. It doesn't seem to sound correct when I say it, but if it allows you to see the truth about your guy it's worth it.

So there you have it, I'll concede that Bush is the moral equivalent of Obama and that they are both awash with socialist tendencies.

Chris said...

How anyone could possibly argue that Bush is not relevant in today's election is absurd. A two term president that has taken us from peace and prosperity to war and stagnation; from the leader of the free world to Commander in Chief; from a nation fearful of "socialism" to a nation that has embraced it more than at any other time in its history. Bush not being relevant in judging how his successor might also govern is astonishing to me.

No, Bush doesn't get off the hook that easy. And no, Republicans don't get off the hook that easily. Not one word, not one segment on Fox News about the "socialism" Bush has given this nation. Not one Bill O'Reilly segment calling Bush supporters "socialist" like he did just the other day to two Obama supporters. Not one single op-ed about Bush being a socialist (Obama’s already had two). Republicans can't have it both ways. They can't try to scare the public by calling one person a socialist and then say Bush is irrelevant to "whether or not Obama is worthwhile than any other past president including Jimmy Carter (who was a president who more closely resembles Obama than any other)." Bush is relevant no matter how bad Republicans wish he wasn’t.

I’m not conceding anything, nor are Obama supporters content to cede that Obama is anything remotely close to George Bush, because he isn’t. For that matter, Obama is not a socialist and neither is George Bush. My comment was not to concede Obama’s socialism for Bush’s but rather to demonstrate just how stupid and lazy it is for Republicans to go around spouting things like “Obama is a socialist.”

If we are to define socialism as expanding government, which that is what you said and it falls right in line with how Republicans are viewing it, then calling Obama a socialist for wanting to increase benefits to the poor but not calling Bush one for increasing everything but benefits to the poor is repugnant, not to mention very hypocritical. That leaves us with socialism not being the expansion of government because Bush most assuredly did that so Republicans won’t dare use that version. Instead, rather, socialism becomes help for the poor, a moral issue if there ever was one. So saying that Obama is the moral equivalent to Bush is inaccurate as well. There is nothing moral in Bush’s big government policies.

Besides, besides…Obama’s pledge to increase social programs for the poor and extend healthcare to everyone is small in terms of dollars and scope when compared to Bush’s overhaul of Homeland Security, No Child Left Behind, his socialism by proxy in Iraq and his redefinition into how the federal government views market intrusion and distribution of wealth (Bear Stearns Bailout). Picking one of those, let’s say the trillion dollar war in Iraq, would pay for all of Obama’s programs ten times over. Or if I pick Homeland Security, all of Obama’s proposals could snuggly fit into the bureaucracy that is DHS. So, no, Obama is not just as socialist as Bush. But nice try.

Am I anti-Bush? You bet. But I’m more “focused” on honest debate and correcting false labels. I just find it entirely hysterical that Republicans now all of a sudden don’t want someone as president because they might expand government when for 8 years they never said a single word about Bush’s Big Government.

Jaz said...

I, on the other hand, am able to evaluate Obama not through the bitter prism of 8 years of Bush hatred.

Windfall profit taxes on big oil?

Against domestic drilling?

More social programs?

Retreat from Iraq?

If I can't get you to agree that Obama has socialist tendencies, then surely you could at least agree that Obama's platform is not representative of some new kind of all inclusive "third way", rather it is that of boilerplate liberalism. In fact, Obama is now the face of modern liberalism, the liberal standard bearer himself. If it's a liberal idea, he's for it.

I suppose you'll now deny that he is a liberal or has liberal ideas. Then you won't agree that he's a progressive. Is he at least fairly to be considered a Democrat? Or does he need to run away from that label as well?

Chris said...

Nice way to dodge entirely my previous comments ;) You know I always like going back and forth with you Jaz. You're a good sport.

I'm not evaluating Obama through the prism of Bush, however. Trust me, I believe Obama to have none of the miserable qualitative failures of Bush and the GOP.

All I'm saying is that Republicans have no room to talk about big government and socialist expansion. The Republican Party has done nothing but expand government and increase our dependency on socialism these last 8 years. Now, as if Bush never happened, Republicans are supposedly against "socialism" and big government.

Furthermore, if anyone is evaluating Obama through the prism of Bush it is you. You first said that Obama had a socialist twist. Then you said that, like Bush, Obama was a socialist. Now you are saying that Obama is a liberal with "socialist tendencies." To suggest such, as you do, is to say that Obama is comparable to Bush. Because it is Bush who has the actual socialist twist. It is Bush who has done the exact things that you claim Obama will do, which he won't. It is Bush, the guy you voted for twice (again I'm assuming) that has increased socialism in this country and now you are arguing that Obama shouldn't be president because he's a liberalsocialistttendency Democrat. All the reasons you list why Obama shouldn't be president are the very things Bush has given us. If anyone is evaluating Obama through a Bush prism, it is you-- unknowingly at least. A prism that is blurred without the understanding that Bush has done the very things you argue against, but a prism nonetheless.

Now saying that Obama is a Democrat with liberal tendencies is totally different from suggesting that he is a socialist, or has a socialist twist. Liberalism is not socialism. Just like conservatism is not neoconservatism.

Like I said earlier, if Obama is a big government socialist he's no more of one than Bush is. So apparently, Republicans shouldn't be concerned about Obama's proposals. However, I don't believe Obama to be a big government socialist whereas Bush has done nothing but increase the size of government and its socialist structure. The only way I can sum this up is to suggest that Republicans are against Big Government unless it's their Big Government. The moment a Democrat takes control the GOP reverts back to its small government, capitalistic, moral values Party again. Except this time, I don't think they're going to be able to pull it off.

Jaz said...

You've made some good points, but nothing that you have said here makes me feel more comfortable about possibly voting for Obama. (God knows I'm no great fan of McCain).

As usual, you've attacked the messenger and not the message.

Rather than argue that Obama does not have socialist tendencies you have made a broad and sweeping indictment upon all Republicans as not qualified to comment on the matter.

It's an interesting tactic. When someone has a reason as to why they might be uncomfortable with Obama as commander in chief, you simply come up with a reason as to why the questioner is being hypocritical for having such a concern and then declare the concern null and void due to rank hypocrisy.

You did it with Reverend Wright by slamming Mormonism and now you have answered the charge of Obama's socialism by attacking President Bush and all Republicans.

I guess when you're on offense you're not on defense, but none of this has moved my opinion one iota in favor of Obama and his candidacy.

The rationale is always: because person X is flawed, don't worry about about your concern with my guy.

Chris said...

Well, you're a little off target with your accusation that I'm not addressing Obama's so-called socialist tendencies. That I'm attacking the messenger without addressing the issue isn't true. And here's why.

My very first comment I asked was what about Obama's speech is socialist and what socialist expansion is Obama proposing. That was my very first question. Rather than answer it, or give any examples of what in Sen. Obama's speech is socialist, you talked around the issue completely. Your only suggestions were that Obama is proposing to redistribute wealth and expand government, none of which contained any examples of such proposals by Obama. You concluded by saying that you consider the expansion of government to be a socialist notion and vaguely suggested that Obama wants to create a dozen or some more socialist programs, again without mentioning a single one.

How could I possibly begin to argue that Obama doesn't have socialist tendencies without first being presented with your socialist list of Obama proposals. All you said was that Obama wants to expand government and social programs. I have no reason to argue anything against that when 1) no examples were even brought up and 2) when Republicans have no room to complain about expanding government.

If you want to debate policy proposals between candidates it takes more than just saying there isn't "any getting around the fact that Obama is proposing to re-distribute wealth and expand the size and scope of government by creating more and more layers of social programs." What programs is he proposing? And what about those are socialist? Again, I've asked the question.

As a side note, I don't comment on your blog to get you to vote for Obama. I would never do such. I read and comment on your blog because I enjoy your writing and the conversation. I have no need to campaign for Obama on a blog, nor the time. But I will take to task when someone who supports a Party that has sat idly by while President Bush creates the largest government expansion and socialist structure since the Great Depression calls Obama a socialist.

You have every right to have concerns about Obama. Question his every move and word; there's nothing wrong with that. But suggesting that he's a socialist and will expand government and socialist programs when the guy you voted for twice did the very things you argue against isn't the best way to argue any point.

My guy has tons of flaws, I would never deny that. Does he have socialist tendencies? Sure, we all do. None greater than John McCain wanting to continue our socialist government programs in Iraq, however.

Jaz said...

"We (the government) should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income."

-Barack Obama in the above clip

Kent said...

The redistribution of wealth, which Obama proposes, is socialism.

Jaz said...

It seems rather clear to me.

But because I support Mitt Romney and voted for Bush once, there is a specific set of circumstances which dictate what I can and cannot comment upon.

In Chris' world at least.

Kent said...

You only voted for Bush once? What?

Jaz said...

I don't recall voting in 2000. I wasn't all that politically engaged.

Sadly many of my friends family and colleagues are still not.