Some Republican National Committee members want to make “socialist” the official GOP slam for President Barack Obama and his party.
They’re pushing a resolution claiming the Democrats are out to restructure “American society along socialist ideals.” The measure, which its supporters hope to bring up at an RNC meeting this month, also invites the Democrats to “rename themselves the Democratic Socialist Party.”
My guess is the Democrats will stay “Democrats.” Brian Moore says they should.
“Obama is not even a liberal, much less a socialist,” claimed Moore, the Socialist Party U.S.A. candidate for president last year. The Democratic Party isn’t socialist either, according to Moore.
Democrats support “a free market economy [and] for profit corporations,” he said. Democrats also uphold capitalism, “which rewards the few at the expense of the many,” according to Moore.
Doubtless Democrats disagree that they favor rich people over poor people. But they probably would go along with Moore’s charge that Republicans are guilty of cold war-style “red-baiting” and “fear mongering” when they diss Democrats as “socialists.”
Of course, demonizing one’s political enemies is nothing new. It goes back to the earliest days of our republic.
Thomas Jefferson’s more staid Federalist foes dubbed him and his Democratic-Republican “rabble” America’s “Jacobin” party. The Jacobins were radical French revolutionaries who sent King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette and many nobles to the Guillotine.
Before the Civil War, Republicans weren’t just “Republicans” to pro-slavery Democrats. They were “Black Republicans” because they opposed putting Africans in bondage.
Obama isn’t the first Democratic president the GOP tagged a “socialist.” In the 1930s and 1940s, anti-New Deal Republicans said Franklin D. Roosevelt was a “socialist” because he supported unions and fought the Depression with government programs like the WPA, TVA and Social Security.
After Sen. Joe McCarthy, the GOP’s red-baiter-in-chief, was exposed as a fraud, the Republicans retreated to “liberal” as their standby slur for Democrats. I’m not sure why the party returned to “socialist” for bashing Democrats.
Maybe it’s because the Republicans are afraid Obama may be another FDR, who was one of America’s most important and most beloved presidents. In any event, slamming Democrats as “socialists” is more proof of just how far right the party of Lincoln and Liberty has swerved.