As an American living in Europe where the root word “social” is considered a democratic value, I often tell people about how growing up in the U.S. in the 1970s and 80s we were taught to fear all things “social” as dangerous manifestations of Soviet communism. Being called a “commie” or a “socialist” was an insult, for everyone knew that “commies eat your mommies”.
So it’s is kind of funny to hear, almost twenty years after the so called “Fall of Communism”, the Republicans accusing Barack Obama of being a socialist. Sarah Palin recently said on the campaign trail that Joe the Plumber thought Obama’s tax plan sounded like socialism, as if either Sarah or Joe actually knew the definition of socialism. The bailout is wealth redistribution, and taxes, by definition, are wealth redistribution.
But when I thought about it more closely, I wondered, why are the Republicans so obsessed with reliving the Cold War? Between the time they have dedicated to Bill Ayers, the anti-Vietnam War terrorist from when Obama was eight, and now this absurd fear of socialism, you’d think that McCain Palin wanted to go back to 20th Century and fight the spread of communism all over again. Maybe with a new surge we could finally claim victory in Vietnam.
McCain would obviously rather cast himself as a Reagan than a Bush. But does that really justify revisiting 20th Century rhetoric for addressing 21 Century reality.