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Examining the "Socialist" Charge

Victoria Jackson speaks during a tea party rally in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, April 12, 2010. (AP)

From the placards at the Tea Party rallies, you’d think Barack Obama was Karl Marx or Lenin reincarnated.

The cries of “socialism,” “communism,” “totalitarianism” and more are all over the festivities. Straight-up Republicans have picked up the chants, too, with New Gingrich bewailing a “secular, socialist machine” in the White House.

Liberals wonder what’s up when they see a moderate centrist in this president. Political scientists shake their heads at the hyperbole.

But this is politics, 2010, with all its theater, truth, fear and fever.

This Hour, On Point: the socialism charge and the President.

Guests:

Matthew Continetti, associate editor at The Weekly Standard.

John (Rick) MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine. His latest book is “You Can’t Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in history. He considers himself a “democratic socialist,” and he’s written about the use of “socialism” as a term in political debate.

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