Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is Obama a Socialist?

This is a question that has been hoovering around Obama since the start of the campaign. It gained new traction following Senator Obama's remarks to "Joe the Plumber." So is he?

I doubt Obama is a socialist in the traditional Marxist nationalizations context. Granted, President Bush, by effectively nationalizing the banks, insurance and automobile industries has got the ball rolling should President Obama consider further nationalizations.

Rather, Obama strikes me as a "managerial state" type. James Burnham developed the concept, which has become mostly popular in "paleoconservative" circles as a criticism of modern society. (Of course, the positive spin you could place on Obama's beliefs could be that he is a "Galbraitian" and a believer in the idea of a "new class" to guide society.) I am no paleo, but I think the concept holds some validity.

I think an Obama administration will be very interventionist and regulatory, i.e., very "managing" but not instituting direct state ownership or control. Is there a difference? To some extent yes. But I worry that it will stifle innovation and increase our reliance on the state.

2 comments:

Libertarians For Obama said...

Obama will probly be less "socialist" compared to what George Bush and the Republicans have done.

George Bush Socialism

sending out...
--"spread-the-wealth" stimulus checks,
--creating a Medicare [socialized] Drug Plan,
--spending hundreds of billions on war,

and let's not forget Bush's initiation and push of the...
--$700 billion dollar bank/Wall Street bailouts/government [Fannie/Freddie] takeovers using tax dollars that Republicans close their eyes to and think it isn't "Socialism" when it actually is.

As far as "spreading the wealth" ahh, that's actually "Capitalism" and in Obama's case he's NOT handing out welfare checks to non-workers -- his plan is to let middle class WORKERS aka "Income Earners" KEEP what they have EARNED. That is not "Socialism".

As far as the wealthy, they would be at Clinton era tax rates, when the rich were actually able to make money because the economy was pretty good.

Capitalism includes workers providing services in exchange for money AND then spending the money "THAT THEY EARN".

Businesses NEED customers with money to spend on their services and products, otherwise they are out-of-business.

Capitalism IS about "spreading-the-wealth" and circulating cash and making loans -- NOT billions sitting in a vault collecting dust. What good is that?

Otherwise see what you have now, NO MONEY CIRCULATION, NO loans, NO job growth, No income to buy things and grow businesses.


When intelligent Libertarians examine Barack Obama, they see his high intelligence and intellect as an asset, conducive to rational [libertarian-style] thinking.

Combined with his background as a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor who is favorable to voluntary, free community organization, and who as a Senator, took a daring stand against the Iraq War — it becomes easy to see that Barack Obama is more “libertarian” than not.

McCain is highly “pro-war” which would mean at least another four “Bush Years” of endless billion dollar [war] occupations, plus more BIG GOVERNMENT SPENDING, “taxes-from-the-middle-class-to-finance-wealthy-tax-cuts” and “socialized” corporate profits/bailouts with little, if any “trickle down” effect of job growth which, by the way, has NOT happened in spite of Bush’s tax cuts provided to big corporations and the Warren Buffet wealthy.

Just as bad, is voting for Bob Barr, who would be a dangerous “wasted vote” this year. After all -- he’s NOT going to win.

“Wasted Votes” and [conservative] Libertarians who voted for G. W. Bush,[2000/2004] helped Bush win two terms — and those “Neo-Con Libs” helped enable the incompetant, religious conservative, G. W. Bush -- to take us from a “Democratic Budget Surplus/Thriving Economy” to a “Republican Record Deficit/Expensive War/Economic Meltdown.

Obama is the best [major] candidate to work on these top libertarian reforms:

1) Iraq withdrawal
2) restoring the separation of church and state
3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use
4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

...and favoring
5) a ban on torture
6) gay rights
7) privacy
8) free speech
9) pro-choice

but also...
10) against a ban on flag burning

Libertarians living in the real world know that only Obama or McCain can actually win.

And in that real world, Bob Barr is an ex-CIA Republican -- and on that basis he is questionable as being truly “Libertarian”. Because Bob Barr spend most of his political career as a rather right-wing conservative Republican, many long-time Libertarians don’t see him as a “true” Libertarian but some sort of right-wing conservative Republican infiltrator.

With a history of hostile right-wing conservative Republicans infiltrating the Libertarian Party over the years, and it confirms my point when Bob Barr's LP VP, Mr. Root is featured on a "Libertarian Republican" blog. They have driven out long-time, true Libertarians and founders.

This hostile LP take-over by conservative Republicans is not easily forgotten — and well, as a backlash — I can see a lot of Libertarians wanting to get Republicans out of power.

And the best way to do this is by voting for Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.

William R. Barker said...

Hey... I'm voting for Barr and detest George W. Bush on most levels, however...

The "spread the wealth" (increase the deficit/debt!) "stimulus" checks were cheered by Bush, Pelosi, Reid, and most politicians. I won't bother to check the numbers, but I'd guess that of those few House Members and Senators who voted AGAINST the stimulus bill, the vast majority were those one would identify as conservative Republicans. (*SHRUG*)

As to the medicare drug plan, though it had/has serious flaws, the intent makes perfect sense: If providing drugs at X cost can be expected to prevent hospitalization and other treatments at X+ cost... (*SHRUG*)... then it's wise and responsible to do so.

Finally... as to the war... again, most Democrats as well as Republicans deliberately signed over to George W. Bush Congress' Constitutional powers and obligations as they apply to issues of war and peace. (*SHRUG*) On this one call me a Ted Kennedy fan.

Regarding Obama's pledge to reduce taxes for 95% of Americans... yeah... it's income redistribution as well as irrational and counter-productive social and tax policy. And YES... giving "rebates" to those who pay no federal income tax (and to those who actually come out ahead just on the EITC) is "redistributistic" and in that sense "socialistic" in terms of the broader connotation of popular understanding of the term. (*SHRUG*)

I certainly don't see Obama as libertarian. Not quite sure where you're getting that from based upon his own writings, proposals, and voting record. (*SHRUG*) To equate Obama's background as a former civil rights attorney and constitutional law professor who is favorable towards voluntary, free community organization is simply... bizarre. To put it less pejoratively... I'm not seeing the connection you apparently do. (*SHRUG*)

You do make valid points with regard to McCain's foreign policy views, but just as McCain tends to favor an American led "free world," Obama also wants to entangle us in NATO expansion on the military end as well as the UN and other "international bodies" on a host of economic, social, environmental, and other issues.

As to separation of church and state... we've got it; perhaps too much so. Where is it you see Obama as being more libertarian than McCain in terms of religion per se?

Gay "rights?" Sure. As president Obama will probably do away with "don't ask, don't tell" whereas McCain probably won't; still, on the major question of "Gay Marriage," there's not all that much separating the two men - both oppose "Gay Marriage."

As for "the war on drugs," I imagine a President Obama would be very much inclined NOT to identify himself with the "pro-legalization" signature libertarian position NOR can I imagine him doing ANYTHING - in a first term at least - that could be used to make the case against him that he's "soft on crime" in any way.

Abortion? I don't see this as a libertarian issue. Or rather, I can see BOTH an "extreme" "pro-choice" as well as an "extreme" anti-abortion position as being in line with libertarian philosophy. It all depends upon a particular libertarian's view of the meaning of "life" as it applies to a fertilized egg. (*SHRUG*)

"Torture...?" Again. I don't see this as a black/white "libertarian" issue as much as I see it as a constitutional issue directly connected to protections of citizens vs. non-citizens.

Anyway... good read.

BILL