Monday, April 14, 2008
GOP Buzz: Obama Is a Commie
Kristol advances that Obama's words mirror Marx, which leaves the question open as to whether Obama shares his economic worldview as well.
I haven’t read much Karl Marx since the early 1980s, when I taught political philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Still, it didn’t take me long this weekend to find my copy of “The Marx-Engels Reader,” edited by Robert C. Tucker — a book that was assigned in thousands of college courses in the 1970s and 80s, and that now must lie, unopened and un-remarked upon, on an awful lot of rec-room bookshelves.
My occasion for spending a little time once again with the old Communist was Barack Obama’s now-famous comment at an April 6 San Francisco fund-raiser. Obama was explaining his trouble winning over small-town, working-class voters: “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.”Howling Latina had been hearing gathering whispers about Obama and his Marxist roots. It began with Republican hacks bemoaning the fact that Obama didn't wear a flag lapel; oh, and did you know he was a Muslim as well; something foreign about the man; you just couldn't trust him.
It gathered dust with the wind of Michelle's comment about how for the first time she was really proud of her country. And in the meantime, HL's 84-year old mother insisted that Obama was just like Cuba's Fidel Castro, a raging Communist; her brother-in-law agreed.
As anyone who's read the howler's posts during the last few months knows, HL is a staunch Hillary supporter. Period. But Obama as a Communist...???? Give her a break; this is the new millennium, after all, not the 1950s.
Yesterday during a visit to the howler's sister, sis -- who voted for Obama in February -- said a friend's husband who is president of a very large corporation said he met Obama and was duly impressed with his comity and knowledge but...at the core of his soul, he believed that Obama's political views were not only Marxist but Communist
These attacks are beyond the pale but not beyond what Obama can look forward to should he be the Democratic nominee in the fall. The whisper campaign is getting louder and louder in a crescendo of crap.
And William Kristol has more than a passing familiarity with Marxist thought. He pretends he just read Marx for school, but his father, Irving Kristol, was once a leader in the Socialist Party, USA before becoming a neo-con. Kristol, Sr., changed positions in the 1970s, so little Billy was raised on Marx.
In fairness, though, the socialists were not communists. They did not believe in the violent overthrow of governments and they were committed to democratic reform. Nevertheless, their economic views were more in line with Karl Marx than with Milton Friedman and Adam Smith.
Meanwhile, there is evidence that Irving and William Kristol were once Marxists (albeit not revolutionaries) and no evidence that Obama was.