David Asman: Hi everybody. Happy Friday, I’m David Asman. Thanks for joining us. Kicking off tonight; “Obama’s a socialist”. Now that’s the view of 55% of American voters, according to a new poll. Now this isn’t coming from a Republican pollster. It comes from Democracy Core. This is a poling group started by a life long democratic operative, James Carville and his partner, Stan Greenberg. When this group asked 1000 voters in mid June “How well does the term ‘socialist’ fits President Obama?”, 55% said well or very well. That’s a BIG group of people! Now this must scare the HELL out of the elites in the media and academia who think such talk is just a provice of folks like Glenn Beck, not the majority of voters. But YES and yes again; It IS Glen Beck and it IS the American people who now think this way.
And when you look at the evidence it IS hard to dispute it. Nationalizing companies in all industries, overriding constitutional laws regarding property rights…. these ARE socialist policies. It’s fair to assume that the man directing socialist policies IS a socialist. And Americans have always been fair. They were fair to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and elect him and after seeing him in action, they are fair to think he’s a socialist. His recess appointment of the new health czar, Donald Berwick, helps confirm that impression. Remember, HE’S the guy who says that “The only way to improve health care in America is to force the redistribution of wealth in this country.” Now that’s the kind of socialist non-sense you hear in academic circles all the time.
And in academic circles, this talk most of the time goes unchallenged. These folks believe people are poor because other people are rich. They even extend that belief to the entire world, believing that the only reason poor countries exist, the only reason they’re poor is because they were exploited by us, the rich countries. Now that’s called “Dependency Theory”, but it’s really just warmed over socialism and it’s got the same emotional core as socialism, drawing its energy from guilt, from envy and from jealousy.
When these ideas are isolated in academic circles, well they’re just another theory to argue about late at night over coffee and cigarettes. But when they’re played out in reality, they can cause devastation. The world has buried in it far more corpses resulting from the envy of socialism than it has from the greed of capitalism.
Now thankfully most Americans, even inside the beltway, understand that income redistribution is NOT the key to our social problems or to helping health care or to anything else. They understand that the ultimate outcome of that belief is to make everybody poor. Americans don’t want a society that pushes everybody down, they want one that brings everybody up, or at least that provides the opportunity for everyone to succeed as high as they can go.
And it is on those great heights that our next guest has been focused over a lifetime of service as a doctor and as a politician. Joining us now from Clute, Texas, near Houston is Republican congressman, Ron Paul of Texas. Congressman, great to see you, thanks for coming in.
Ron Paul: Thank you, David. Good to be with you.
David Asman: Appreciate you being here. So, what do you make of this poll?
Ron Paul: Haha. Very interesting. I think it is bad news for Obama. It certainly is. But you know, we could be a stickler for a precise definition of socialism, but he certainly is socialistic. He doesn’t come out and advocate total ownership of insurance companies and drug companies and health management companies, but he works very hard with them. So it’s a form of corporatism, which lends itself to socialism. I think it’s very dangerous. I usually like to use the word ‘authoritarian’. People who are authoritarian are very socialistic and it can lead to total socialism and I’m afraid that’s the way we’re going.
But there are certainly different versions. Nazism was a form of socialism, communism, Russian communism was socialism, so there’s a lot of variety. But there is no doubt he is an authoritarian, he’s a big government guy, he’s socialistic. I think it’s bad news for him. And I don’t think socialism is a good word. I don’t think the American people like it. They like the words about freedom and liberty and things like that.
David Asman: They don’t like it, but Congressman, but they are fair. The American people have this tremendous sense of fairness and they were fair, as i mentioned, to elect this guy president and now they’re looking at him, they’re looking at his policies and they think they ARE socialist. I mean, Americans; not only are they fair, they love to boil things down to simple points. And that is a simple point, is it not?
Ron Paul: There’s no doubt about it and that’s why I say it’s very bad news and it’s good news for Republicans in general, you know, in the fall because that’s not the direction that we want to go. And I think this came out, sort of, in the health care debate. The country and the people who railed against it knew which direction we were going in. We weren’t going toward more freedom and medical savings accounts and independent choices and alternatives like that. They knew we were going for more government control and redistribution of wealth as now it finds out his appointees are probably a little more blunt with where their heart really is, and that is into socialism and forced redistribution of wealth and that’s a bad sign for…
David Asman: Well you know he’s the guy who appointed him. You know, the buck stops with him. The buck stops with President Obama. As Harry Truman said, the buck stops with the president. I mean, he’s the guy who appointed him, he knows the history of this guy. He’s appointing a guy to head up, to become our health czar, to become the head of Medicare and Medicaid, who does believe that the only way to get better health care is distributing wealth. I mean, he is appointing these guys. He is nationalizing whole industries and yes he is working with the healthcare companies, but don’t you think eventually those health care companies will go out of business as the government takes over more and more?
Ron Paul: Oh yeah. They’ve taken over insurance companies already so i think that definitely will happen. But we can expect the quality of care to go down and the movement is in that direction. But Obama, on his appointees, some people give the president a pass “because it was his advisors and it wasn’t him,” but like you point out very correctly is we, whether it’s me and my congressional office, or if it’s the president making his appointment, we’re responsible because we pick these people, so he can’t duck and say “Oh I didn’t realize he had these beliefs.” He probably very well knew exactly what the beliefs are of every single person that he has appointed.
David Asman: The fact is that American people are not giving him a pass anymore. They are saying “You are now a socialist!” 55%. By the way, I have to re-emphasize. This is the democratic poll. It comes from James Carville, the most democratic Democrat around. So if Carville is saying, you better expect it to be true. So how does the president get out of this? I mean, is this a label he will not be able to duck for the rest of his presidency?
Ron Paul: I don’t see how he will. I mean the more he gets up and the more he denies it, the more attention it will draw. He’s not going to fire all of these people that he appointed and have these viewpoints and I don’t think he’s going to change HIS viewpoints. And still, I will argue the case that possibly he doesn’t have in his mind that he wants the government owning every single thing. I still think that he’s an authoritarian. I-
David Asman: Now YOU’RE giving him a pass, but the American people… I’m surprised I’m hearing Ron Paul giving the president a pass on this!
Ron Paul: Well, I think actually if you understood what I mean by corporatism-
David Asman: No, I get you.
Ron Paul: it’s a much worse system. It leads to fascism is what it is. I mean in Germany, the business people still own their businesses. You can’t have a worse type of socialism than the German fascism did. So the word itself is a healthy word to identify what’s happening. That’s why I would slightly qualify it; socialistic means he wants to take over and to go in and run things and take care of his buddies and bail out his friends. I mean, they’re still involved with a monetary system where they bail out banks and their friends. That isn’t pure socialism when they use this banking system and the Federal Reserve to bail out big banks and big corporations. So he’s in the pocket of big corporations and big banks and that’s a form of authoritarianism, which just for me is a better description.
David Asman: Well again, a rose is a rose. The point is that politically it’s a killer. This label, if he doesn’t get out from this label, it is really devastating politically. Congressman Paul, stay with us please. We want to bring in James Taranto. He’s a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, he’s written about this also. Tim Carney, of the Washington Examiner, who has also written about it. Tim, first to you. You agree with Ron Paul, by the way, about how socialist is the wrong term, right?
Tim Carney: Well, I absolutely agree that corporatism is the right word. I mean, Congressman Paul said everything that I was going to say. That it’s a corporate socialism. Socialist isn’t an incorrect word, but there are better words and frankly, George W. Bush made us more socialist than we were. He’s the one who took over AIG through the fed, he’s the one who bailed out Bear Stearns and did the tarp and then started the Detroit bailout, so they are better words to use I think.
David Asman: Yeah, but again, James Taranto, I think this is the sort of thing academics discuss at night, whether it’s corporatist or redistributionist or socialist. I mean, the American people have simplified the issue, I think in a sort of an eloquent way, “It doesn’t matter. Look, the guy’s a socialist. He doesn’t agree with the economic ends that we do”.
James Taranto: I think you’re right. I wrote a column a week ago saying that I think calling the president a socialist is a gross exaggeration and perhaps that shows what an out of touch, liberal, mainstream media elitist that I am.
David Asman: Hahaha, absolutely, as always you have. Has this been picked up on by the way? This is one of the things James does if you don’t know, to study the blogs out there, to find out what the Internet chatter is all about. What are they saying about this poll?
James Taranto: It’s getting a lot of attention, it’s getting a lot of interest, especially among conservatives. But I want to go back. What’s fascinating is how this has gotten into the mainstream, this idea that Obama is a socialist. There were two polls done early in this year, in the winter and spring. One by the Daily Kos, although apparently there might not actually have been a poll there. He’s now accused as a pollster of making up numbers. But another one by Harris Interactive which was inspired by a book by a fellow named John Avlon, who’s arguing that conservatives are wing-nuts as he calls them. And also they shouldn’t engage in name calling. So these polls ask a series of questions that are designed to show that Republicans are crazy. So they ask you agree or disagree to the following statements. And there are things like “Obama wasn’t born in America” “Obama is a Muslim” “Obama may be the anti-christ” “Obama is a socialist”, so the idea that Obama is a socialist, a few months is something only right wing lunatics believed, but now according to this poll, it’s believed by about 55% of the American people. It’s quite astonishing how this idea has moved into the mainstream.
David Asman: Congressman, one thing that’s interesting while this label may be sticking to Obama, other labels for people that the mainstream media and others can’t stand, like your son for example, Ran Paul, they tried to label him as a racist by some of the comments he made. That label doesn’t seem to be sticking, does it?
Ron Paul: Well it’s so extreme and in that instance it was based on a false charge and it wasn’t even correct and there had to be apologies for misconstruing what he said, and you can go too far. And once again, I think you have to give the American people some credit. You know, I’ve been hit pretty hard in a few of my campaigns over the various issues, but sometimes they were just very extreme and the people that knew me in the district were like “Eh we don’t believe that,” and it just passes by them. So I think that is what happens, but it looks like in THIS case, like it was just pointed out, calling him a socialist seems to be pretty appropriate because it seems it was the same percentage that said he was too liberal. So being too liberal and being a socialist is very much the same and I think that’s probably a legitimate comparison.
David Asman: Well James, you were complaining about the term socialist before and you said it’s like you have these wing nuts on the left who were calling Bush a fascist during Bush’s presidency, but you never had 55% of the American public believing that Bush was a fascist. At most it was maybe 20% of the American public. This has gone beyond wing nut, the label socialist.
James Taranto: Yes, and Bush was not even arguably a fascist, there was nothing fascist about Bush’s administration. I mean, there was no effort to silence opposition.
David Asman: But what I’m saying is that the effort to label Bush as a fascist cannot be similar to the effort to label Obama a socialist because the level of American people never came up to 55%.
James Taranto: But this was the contrast I raised. I said calling Bush a fascist was a complete falsehood, whereas calling Obama a socialist is merely a gross exaggeration.
David Asman: Or just a matter of opinion. Tim, what about what’s happened to Rand Paul and other conservatives by the mainstream media, their attempts to label them racist or something abhorrent have failed and have fallen on deaf ears in the American public, have they not?
Tim Carney: Well, yes they have, but it’s incredible because this is all that I see the left talking about. I have a lot of liberal friends and I always say to them, “Why is the most important thing for you to try to bring down Rand Paul or bring down Sharron Angle when your party is in power and is doing, again, this corporatist stuff, this selling out the liberal base,” but on the left I think they are sort of averting their eyes to that and to sort of pick on people who have ideas that are easy to pick apart and that’s what’s going on with Ran Paul and Sharron Angle.
David Asman: Congressman Paul, I just want you to be assured that Scoreboard has many times pointed out the connections between the Obama administration and a lot of corporate entities such as Goldman Sachs, like BP for example. There was no bigger supporter of BP among politicians than President Obama.
Ron Paul: Yeah, that’s right and of course and we find out that BP was a strong supporter of cap and trade, and they were in bed with the government in many ways. So that’s why this connection between big governing corporations is the big and most serious thing going on right now. But the concern about socialism is real and realistic and the people are interpreting it right, even though there might be a technical definition that we all have a slight disagreement on, but I don’t think that’s really too important because I think it’s the direction of the country that counts. You know, when they these questions in all these poles, “are we satisfied with the direction of the country?” and they are not satisfied in the way we are going socialistic, believe me, simplisticly they say “Wrong direction, change the party”.
David Asman: James, I think that’s the point is you know you will never find a 100% of anything whether its capitalism, socialism, it depends on what trend you’re directing towards and clearly it’s THAT trend that concerns the American public.
James Taranto: Well, right, and to some extent when people say “Obama is a socialist,” it’s their way of expressing disapproval for him. Just like when people say “He may be the anti-christ,” or “He wasn’t born in America”, that’s why you get bigger answers to those questions among Republicans. It doesn’t really tell you anything about what they believe except they don’t like Obama.
David Asman: James Taranto from The Wall Street Journal, Tim Carney, Washington Examiner and of course Congressman Ron Paul. Great to see you all, have a wonderful weekend and actually, James is going to be coming back in just a moment and we want to know what you think. “President Obama is a Socialist”, is that declaration a buy, sell or a hold.