When Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama publicly said “spreading the wealth around” was better for the country, it caused some of his critics to cry socialism.
Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” responded Oct. 20 claiming it was an ad hominem attack on Obama’s campaign with ulterior – and racial – motives.
“I hereby propose a similar adage – not for online discussions, but for American politics,” Rachel Maddow said. “I hereby submit, that the longer it’s clear that liberals or Democrats are going to win an election, the longer it’s clear that liberals or Democrats are winning an argument, the more likely it becomes that someone is going to get called a commie, socialist, Bolshevik, commie Pinko, comrade, five-year planner.”
Maddow pointed out two specific instances of Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain using the word socialist in the late stages of the presidential campaign as an attempt to “scare” voters away from Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
“At least in
According to Maddow’s analysis, McCain was trying to reinvent an era of racial division. No, not the late-1800s or even the 1950s and 1960s, but she claimed it was “racially divisive code” from the decades of the 1980s and 1990s.
“Welfare, where’d that come from?” Maddow said. “Welfare? Yeah, the great racially divisive code word from the ‘80s and ‘90s that has no bearing whatsoever on Barack Obama’s tax policies. But that word does create a vague impression that this candidate might want to give out welfare handouts.”
Maddow cynically suggested the socialist and welfare claims were part of a plot by the McCain-Palin campaign to “summon and stoke” the Bradley Effect – a political phenomenon when election results vary from polls because some voters tell pollsters they’re voting for a black candidate, but once in the voting booth, they don’t.
The charges of socialism became more prominent in the campaign when Obama was confronted by a
“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going to be good for everybody,” Obama said in the now famous Oct. 13 “Joe the Plumber” incident. “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
Obama’s tax plan isn’t pure socialism, according to some avowed socialists. However, the “spread the wealth around” remarks by Obama are socialist in nature. The textbook definition of socialism from “Marx for Beginners” shows some similarities: “An economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class. In practice, such a distribution of wealth is achieved by social ownership of the means of production, exchange and diffusion.”