Monday, February 09, 2009


I don't know if Jon Meachem and Evan Thomas really understand what they're doing in this Newsweek cover story. They may actually think they're addressing rational adults who, upon learning that the prescribed medicine for a serious and life-threatening illness is described in other contexts as a poison, will respond to the irony with a thoughtful nod and then calmly continue the necessary treatments. Meacham and Thomas may really not get the extent to which they're inflaming the rabble; whoever settled on Newsweek's cover may not understand that it's a prop rabble-rousing Republican politicians will brandish self-righteously in the coming days and weeks:

We Are All Socialists Now

In many ways our economy already resembles a European one. As boomers age and spending grows, we will become even more French.

... Whether we want to admit it or not ... the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.

... it was ... under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly. People on the right and the left want government to invest in alternative energies in order to break our addiction to foreign oil. And it is unlikely that even the reddest of states will decline federal money for infrastructural improvements.

... All of this is unfolding in an economy that can no longer be understood, even in passing, as the Great Society vs. the Gipper. Whether we like it or not -- or even whether many people have thought much about it or not -- the numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European direction.... As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French....

You and I, reading this, know that when Meacham and Thomas say "socialist," they mean "kinda-sortalike European countries that are partly kinda-sorta Marxian." But the voters who keep Republican House and Senate members in office won't read it that way. They've been primed -- by Reagan, by Limbaugh and Murdoch, by the astonishingly irresponsible and reckless McCain/Palin/Wurzelbacher campaign -- to believe that any amount of "socialism" is indistinguishable from pure Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism. They've even worked the argument that Bush was a "socialist" into their belief system -- yes, and that's why he was a failed president! Because he was a big-government liberal!

The ignorance of these people, carefully cultivated by the Republican Party, will, if it succeeds, destroy not only the Obama administration and the Democratic Party but the United States of America. This Newsweek article, inadvertently or not, feeds the rage of the rabble.

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