90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
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.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Various high ups in the Republican party are dropping these memes and angry people who aren’t discriminating (or intelligent) about language to express their anger are picking them up and tossing them.

    The good news is that these folks will follow Sarah Palin anywhere including off a cliff.

    Bon Voyage.

  • John

    Victoria Jackson is probably the least funny person to have been on SNL.

  • Newton

    It’s all about the black man in the White House.

    Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day, when Americans have earned enough to pay their taxes. It is the earliest since 1967. This morning’s NPR report on the Tea Party noted that: “When it comes to taxes, the Obama administration has actually cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans through a federal income tax credit.

    But [president of the Greater Boston Tea Party Christen] Varley says she doesn’t believe that — no matter what the government says.”

    They refuse to believe the facts. There was not a peep when Bush squandered a $1.4 trillion surplus and added $5 Trillion to the national debt. Now, all of a sudden, this overwhelmingly white movement takes to the streets
    to scream “we want our country back”.

    It’s all about the black man in the White House.

  • Gary

    This one is simple: McCarthyism is being reborn by the conservatives as a weapon.

    It worked before, and it will work again, because those who remember are now all dead or senile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOzv6KmKJEw&NR=1

    Just substitute Socialist for Communist, Liberal for Fellow Traveler, and Limbaugh for McCarthy.

  • Martin Field

    Half of Americans don’t pay any taxes.
    The other half see an inefficient government growing in size and scope.

    The Tea Party was born out of this inequity and threat to freedom.

  • cory

    Capitalism is a powerful horse, and socialism is the tack and harness for the horse. One without the other is useless.

    Take heart, conservatives. Capitalism can never be destroyed. As long as people barter and exchange goods and services the free market will exist.

    The real question is civilization versus natural selection and survival of the fittest. Have we grouped ourselves together in a civilization for mutual benefit and SHARED responsibility, or are we on our own and the stupid and lazy must suffer and die? What should be the lot of the stupidest, laziest American?

  • Brett

    When a movement can boast celebrity speakers like Victoria Jackson and Sarah Palin, or have politicians like MIchele Bachmann and Jim DeMint as unwavering support, it speaks volumes about its base.

  • cory

    Hey Martin,

    I’m definitely in the bottom half and I pay all sorts of taxes. Would you like me to list some of them? Have some more kool-aid.

  • ER

    This one should really bring out the wrong-wing (right-wing) nut jobs.

  • Martin Field

    I’m referring to income levels not intelligence. If you are as well, federal government data would suggest you are the exception.

  • Martin Field

    It looks like the left-wing nut jobs have shown up, as usual.

  • kung fu

    I don’t care what you call Obama, marxist, socialist, communist etc. etc., the man hates this country to the core. Why else would Obama sit in the pews of his pastors church (Jeremiah Wright) for 20 years listening to that man (Wright) make such hateful statements like “U.S.A. of K.K.K.”?

  • John

    At least Jeremiah Wright didn’t rape any children.

  • Anthony R.

    That must have been the criteria by which Obama judged him!

  • EIO Boston

    Most of the time we do not explain things enough to detail what we mean. half of all Americans do not pay taxes because hey do not make enough to make it economicaly efficient for the government to tray to collect taxes from them. It will be nice to make sure we all have a stake in our future, but most of these fellow citizens do not make enough that the cost of collecting taxes from them will exceed the amount that will be collected. Rational economics will dictate that this will be a bad idea. Most of the Tea party leaders have actually become rich on the backs of these same low earning Americans.

    God Bless

  • Alex

    Finally. Do people even understand what socialism means? Government controlled means of production with central planning. That’s real socialism. On the other hand, government financed social programs is also a kind of socialism, but that’s the kind wtritten directly into the US Constitution. Bush’s expansion of Medicare was an expansion of “government financed social program.” So Bush is a socialist.

  • Martin Field

    44 cents is how much; probably less actually, it costs the government to send a 1040 EZ to anyone; that sounds fairly efficient.

    It is irrational economics to have half the population pay no Federal taxes and then voting for candidates promising generous entitlement program benefits.

  • troll doll

    I’m hoping for a Palin/Lewinsky ticket in 2012! Maybe get an action hero in for secretary of state. Some Socialist Propaganda Hopey Changey stuff would be nice too!

  • http://n/a Adam S.

    “Liberal”, used as a slander with such great effect in the ’88 campaign (and beyond) has lost it’s sting. They’ve merely latched upon a new epithet; but I wonder if it has much traction with young voters who have no memory of the Cold War and out stand-off with real Socilaist and Communists.

  • Chris K.

    @ Martin

    Cut the name-calling & stick to the facts, and maybe you’ll get people to listen to you.
    * Fact:Even if you claim ‘zero’ witholding AND don’t end up paying a balance due with your tax return (& you have to be making below-subsistence wages to actually honestly do this) you STILL pay FICA taxes, regardless.
    * Fact: If you get a refund of ALL your withheld taxes, you have in effect made a mandatory interest-free ‘loan’ to the gov’t. during the course of the year, and in losing use of that money, you have lost both the interest you could have made if it was invested PLUS the purchasing power loss-effect of inflation: by the time you get the refund check from the gov’t., time has gone by & if inflation isn’t zero, the dollar amount you get back purchases less than ift would have if you got paid ‘on time’.
    * Fact: If anyone buys anything, regardless of income, they ARE paying taxes on that item. The costs of doing business, including the taxes on property, payroll & fuel, are all necessarily rolled into the final price of the product, whatever it is, wherever it is sold.
    * FACT: NO ONE – 0% – “pays no taxes” in this country
    We ALL do – … or at least all the 1040EZ simple folk I believe you were referring to do.

  • NW

    Even FoxNews says it is not true that half of American families pay no federal taxes:

    “The vast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes, including federal payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, and excise taxes on gasoline, aviation, alcohol and cigarettes. Many also pay state or local taxes on sales, income and property.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/07/nearly-half-households-pay-federal-income-tax/

  • jeffe

    kung fu are you an African American? I suspect that you are not. I do not support the comments made by Jeremiah Wright but I understand the context of how he arrived at them. Oh you should look up the word context, and while you are at it Marxist. Because it seems to me all of these people are just saying these things and they hope it sticks. As the right did in the 50′s with the Red scare.

    What amazes me is how people use these terms with abandon and even mix up the isms. Which shows me how uneducated some people are.

    Obama is a centrist Democrat, period.

    After watching the Frontline documentary on all the deals he cut with Big Pharma and the Health Insurance lobbies I now think of as Obama as someone who let the the system of Washington break him down, and it happened fast. By the way the Max Baucus shows me that our system is so broken and corrupt, that’s the real story here how the insurance lobbies wrote the Senate bill and this is the huge mistake that Obama and Rahm Emanuel made and they did it on the backs of the sick and uninsured and the rest of us.

    The mandate was the health insurance lobbies idea and they insisted on it and used threats to get it.

    Obama is many things, what he is not is a Communist, or Marxist and for those who are still confused about the differences he’s not a fascist either.

  • Adam W

    Many of the accusations made by the ‘Tea Party’ folk are merely reiterations of things they heard on television. Few of them seem to have done any legitimate research on the topics. They click-click through the internet and find support for the convictions they have adopted from pundits that play to the audiences’ insecurities. The internet is a vast plain of grain that can feed any rumor mill. The love of all that is fine in this life, please discipline your minds Americans. Stop watching news on television. Read the paper (all slants), listen to public radio and go to a library and read a book. Your teachers wouldn’t accept a Wikipedia article or Glen Beck rant as a legitimate source. Why do you expect me to? Nurture your mind, reflect, and rise out of this ignorant chaos.

    Be well America!

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    The Tea Party is Republican.

    A Republican Party Disguise as a Clown.

    Just Imagine President Bush Screw UP BIG TIME and this TEA PARTY NEVER ever complaint and suddenly The First Black President of America was elected and these Tea Party came out of NO WHERE complaining about Obama’s ONE year old Government.

    Republicans will continue to destroy America.

  • Wait one minute…

    The acrimony is not due to polarization, rather, it is due to the closeness of the Democrat and Republican parties. It is similar to sibling in-fighting, it is nasty and personal, and it occurs because two similar personalities are trying to demonstrate their difference, which are not that great.

    If the media had a conscience, it would seek out principled libertarians and leftists for a real debate.

    Here are some topic for the debate:
    Trade Lberalization
    Unions
    Immigration
    Gay rights
    Presidential Power

  • Andrew Farkas

    I’d like to point out that people who can gather in Boston Common to wait for Palin in the middle of the day likely do not have jobs, nor are they spending their day looking for work. So aren’t the majority of these people just privileged whiners?

    Or is this protest a clever way of demonstrating the need to increase the education budget?

  • Brian

    People who compare Obama to Stalin or Hitler are so ignorant it hurts.

    And the teabaggers…. they’re unhooded Klansmen. That’s why they’re still debating slavery and re-fighting the Civil War.

    They cry when people call them racists, but then go home and make racist signs, forward racist emails, and say racist things.

    Unhooded Klansmen.

    The “t” in Tea Party is a burning cross.

  • Ray

    Why are we, as a country, listening to uninformed fools like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh? They have a vested interest in stirring up people by any means, including spreading any sort of falsehoods that they can come up with. What sort of people actually believe the garbage that comes out of their mouths?

  • Jason

    Any politician that himself claims he wants to “fundamentally transform America” is not a centrist. The only question is what does he plan to transform America into?

    The easiest way to determine if Obama’s policies are Socialist, is to count the number of foreign Socialist & communist leaders who have praised his policies vs the number of free market leaders.

    Jason from Iowa

  • Gina

    Finally!!!

    Can we re-air these clips on Fox to shut these morons the hell up?

  • BHA

    Limbaugh running his trap, as usual. Perhaps he should spend a little time understanding the ‘labels’ he is putting on Obama.

    Yes Mr. Ashbrook, it is repeated because the PRESS, including your show, keep bringing it up! Repeating the inflammatory sound bites.

  • Gina

    These pundits make my head want to explode.

    We “took over” nothing. And his listeners don’t have the mental capacity to discern fact from the hyperbole.

  • BHA

    Glenn Beck, another mouth without a brain.

  • Andrew Farkas

    I’d like to add to the list of demonstrations of socialism in American Government:
    the WPA
    the TVA
    *the Interstate Highway System*
    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Social Security

  • Bob

    How many of Obama’s policies have received bipartisan support? Not many if any. That is not a good sign of a centrist.

    Bob from Des Moines

  • jasdrew

    These people are playing on fear of the “other” and the very real feeling that somehow “real America” as they conceieve it is slipping away from them.

  • sixerjman

    “completely contrary to the facts” – Sums up the tea party nicely.
    “Angry, incoherent, slack jawed yokels parroting Repub slogans” is another.

  • Jason

    I love the excuses that Obama isn’t bad… he is doing the same thing as Bush did, yet Obama ran saying Bush was evil and stupid. Does that make Obama evil and stupid Too?

    Jason from Iowa

  • Gary

    If you earned $8,500 in 1099 untaxed income in 2009, you would pay approximately $350 in federal income tax…of course all of the usual state and local taxes still apply.

  • jeffe

    Note to our guests, European countries are not socialist.
    They are social democracies. Germany is a highly capitalist country with good social programs.

    Universal health care, good education that is affordable.
    What’s wrong with this?

  • ER

    White, fat, and old is another good way to describe the tea-baggers.

  • Al

    The Right has become very unified – at least with certain messages – in the last 20 years. They have certain talking points that seem to get repeated ad nauseum to the believers, who then repeat them as gospel.

    It almost doesn’t matter what the message is – it will still get repeated, regardless of fact, to energize the masses on the Right who seem to feel comfort in parroting nonsense.

    “Obama is a Muslim!”
    “Democrats want to take away your guns!”
    “Americans don’t want health care reform!”

    I find this cynical, condescending ranting to the public in the hopes of netting enough fish insulting. But then again I’m not who they’re speaking to.

  • Paul

    Ask Continetti about his love of Palin…

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    None of this is socialism. It’s all just accumulation of ologarchy.

  • Tom

    Tom, one time a caller asked about the proliferation of “czars” in Obamas cabinet, and saying that czarism was communism. You never corrected him to say that the Communists killed the Czar of Russia to take power; that czarism is NOT communism; and that the first czar was under Reagan, which was the Drug Czar. People throw around all these -isms and they have no idea what they mean!

  • Marrisa

    1. Government spending is growing, not for spending on a social safety net, but for ongoing wars.

    2. We do not have “national” health insurance now – we simply now have rules that will, in the future, force us to buy PRIVATE health insurance.

    3. If only people in the White House were more concerned about the people out here – suffering without jobs, without health care they can afford. Instead, we fund wars and back corporate bailouts.

  • Wait one minute…

    The media is to blame for this because they refuse to discuss globalization in a thoughtful way. They still use the term “anti-globalization activists” which is akin to the derogatory “teabagger” as far as the left is concerned.
    If you discussed trade in an honest way, a lot of people in the tea party would realize the left is not their enemy.

  • Pete Bartolik

    This socialism claptrap is simply part of the ongoing effort to try and de-legitimize a Democrat president. So are all these signs about “take back your country” — well, it’s my country too, so back off and engage in civilized debate.

  • Jason

    Coincidence?

    47% will pay no federal income taxes…

    45% say amount of tax they pay ‘about right’…

    Jason from Iowa

  • Todd

    Obama is no different than Bush; he’s merely another puppet for the Council on Foreign Relations’ corporate-oligarchy.

  • CT Voter

    Congratulations Mr. Ashbrook for legitimizing this craziness. You now belong in the same crowd as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich.

    NPR has lost a listener today.

  • Al Oster

    The problem is although all this absolute nonsense coming from the right can be shown to be pure fantasy spun from the smallest of truths, you can not get the Fox audience to listen to anything but their “heros”. The people that want to beleive all this great conspiracy against America rhetoric do not want to know that they are being led to vote against themselves and support policies that only enrich Rush, Glen Beck and leave the foxes in charge of the hen house.

  • Lark

    Why is Medicare so popular and not a socialist program?? Why wasn’t George Bush a socialist when he passed the Medicare prescription program??

  • Mike

    Sounds like the Nixon-loving kill-a-commie-for-Christ crowd all over again.

  • Jason

    What free market policies does Obama champion?

    I don’t know of any…

    That doesn’t make him centrist or mainstream

    Jason from Iowa

  • CHRIS M

    Why aren’t these people up in arms over the fact that Corporations pay little or no taxes, but have a strangling grip over the salaries and benefits of their employees. How about the huge amount of subsidies paid or huge tax breaks given to Big Business & AgriBusiness? Why isn’t that socialism. Why? Because it is Corporate Socialism, apparently that doesn’t count. Doesn’t it matter to them that many of our elected representatives also get kickbacks from Farm Subsidies, talk about working the system. If you don’t like socialist programs, hole yourself up in your house, don’t drive on the roads, don’t call the police or FD when you are in trouble and DON’T collect SS or apply for Medicaid. We’ll see how long you last, probbaly not long. It isn’t in our Countries best interest to have millions of people with no jobs, no income, no education, and no medical care. If we won’t control our population, we are in for loads of trouble when the real “masses” begin to rise up.

  • BHA

    To Newt Gingrich, anyone who does not agree with HIM is a radical.

    Secular, socialist??

    Secular – as it should be. Do you want someone running your life based on THEIR religious beliefs? Welcome to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Socialist? Nope. We have plenty of social programs now and that doesn’t make us a socialist country.
    socialism: “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”

    The fact that we loaned a cr@pload of money to the auto companies doesn’t mean the US government owns OR runs them.

  • Charles

    The accuracy of charges like “socialist” or “communist” or “Nazi” are unimportant to those who make them. They are epithets intended to portray Obama as “not American” or the “other.” In that sense they must viewed in the same light as charges that he is not a native American or a closet Muslim.

  • Zain

    The left is unhappy and the right is unhappy with Obama. Perhaps it is worth noting that people are never satisfied with what they have. Let’s look at the objective good and bad that has happened instead of taking a single issue, getting mad about it and using rhetoric to get people riled up and polarized.

    Companies make progress by working together and not by collectively working against each other. As a country do we want to move forward? If so then we should find a way to point out what’s wrong, debate it, and resolve it. Instead we dramatize issues and work off of emotion.

  • http://jgeigerphoto.com Jonathan

    Playing the International song for the outgoing music wasn’t funny, not even a little. Here’s what it is; We’ve had anarchy and there’s new sheriff in town. We elected anarchists and megalomaniacs in the past, so now no one is happy. It’s like having a new high school principal standing in the hall of failing school where both the students and teachers are out of control.

  • Ken

    Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, sound like Nazi’s. Like the Nazi’s spreading fear & inciting violence against anyone who wasn’t Arian, these “people” are doing the same to our President. If you want to talk about being “out of control” what is more out of control that invading a sovereign nation(Iraq) just to have access to oil fields.

  • Alex

    Europe has high taxation, is in trouble economically and fiscally and provides social safety nets. America has high taxation, is in trouble economically and fiscally, but does not provide social safety nets. What’s wrong with that picture?

  • Tom Goodwin

    Let’s say that Obama has tendencies toward social equality. As I recall, he was elected by a good strong majority of us. Maybe that means a majority of us are tired of Corporate rule and desire a more progressive system… like most other advanced civilized countries. All of these cries of “Socialism, Facism, Communism” are the parrot squawks of a large, ignorant minority of this country whose brains have been easily abducted by the Right Wing Corporate Media.

  • Bob

    Government does NOT GIVE RIGHTS! GOD does!

    If Government gives rights, it can also take away rights and that is not a government I want to be under.

  • LP

    Fantastic show! I wish I could broadcast it on loudspeakers at the Palin rally in Boston today. Thanks for the intelligent conversation Tom.

  • Damian

    Capitalism cannot work properly without Government. You need a referee. Runaway capitalism is the reason real wages haven’t increased in 30 years. People supplemented that deficit with borrowing on their house (which a deregulated financial system encouraged). The result is one terrible recession. Thanks unfettered capitalism.

  • uncle rameau

    legitimating the tea party – Beck charges of socialism in this way is sad to hear… the overton window has been so shifted we’re shafted.

  • Wait one minute…

    you know what is the largest socialist organization in America is?

    The United States military

  • John

    Our rights come from the Constitution (which was a product of secular Enlightenment thought) not from a fictitious god.

  • Hana

    I just heard a similar comment at a party last week. What I told the man was that I grew up in a communist country, and this is nothing like it. The time when I felt like I was living under communism again, was under Bush – if you were against the war or against the politics, you had to be afraid to say anything, then the Patriot act came in… Yes we still had the freedom to make a lot of money, but NOT the freedom of speech.
    It is easy to ignite people against Obama and Democrats (and democracy), they stopped thinking for themselves, TV (radio) dictates what they think, I mean say, repeat.
    Please if someone on your show says that the health reform was put through against people’s opposition, it is simply not true!
    Great comments right now (senator) – most countries have free education (all the way), free healthcare, maternity leave, 5-6 weeks vacation excellent transportation systems, retirement….!

  • Jane

    So, my parents were members of the Young People’s Society – a communist youth group – in Northern Minnesota when they were growing up. They lived is rural area and there wasn’t anything else to do! Does that make them communists??? Not anymore than it makes ME a communist!!

  • Steve Cotton

    Obama is NOT a socialist!

    By definition – socialism refers to ‘public ownership of the means of production’ — NOT progressive taxation (or, the rich pay more than the less wealthy).

    Further, Socialism requires a planned economy as opposed to a market economy — where the state sets quantities of materials produced, and sets prices. A capitalist economy allows supply and demand to determine prices, and quantities produced. In this case Obama is not advocating

    Even the Social Democrats of the Scandinavian countries are not truly Socialist. The social democrats, (as opposed to the communists) believed that they could achieve socialism by participating in the democratic process. However, utilizing social policies and a market economy, the social democrats have generally abandoned a planned economy with public ownership of the means of the production.

    In NO way is Obama a socialist!

  • BHA

    Bernie has it right: The ‘opposition’ uses whatever rheortic it can get people to believe (facts to the contrary) that will get them to to ‘join up’ against their foes.

  • Sam Kopper

    America, how’s your memory working? I am just old enough to remember McCarthyISM, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. The only thing “un-American” about THAT was McCarthy and his committee itself. The Tea Party extremists and their establishment politician fellow-travelors are the McCarthyites of today.

  • Bob

    John,

    If you have ever read the US Constitution it specifically states that “it” does not give these rights but rather natural rights aka god given rights

  • Marc

    When I read stuff like this, I become increasingly sympathetic to the Tea partyers – not the Palin Tea Partyers, but those who think both sides of government are the problem.
    That Bush was incompetent is not much of a defense of Obama. And yes, there were a lot of conservatives who didn’t like Bush for the debt he ran up and said so. But admittedly, not enough early enough. However, Obama’s ability to spend money easily outstrips Bush (which is not a defense of Bush). Obama was put in a tough spot, but has he reduced war spending or put anything in the health care law to reduce costs? But given how both parties are in the pockets of special interests, it’s wrong to say it’s entirely Bush’s or Obama’s fault. I give blame to dems and repubs in charge.

    I think the enemy is those on both sides that are currently in charge who serve the people who pay them (lobbyists) and use these labels and inflammatory comments to demonize the other side. I’ll include people on this panel who attack the other side while saying little about their sides problems. This polarizes the debate and keeps us where we are today, with the same people in charge.

    I don’t like the labels and think Limbaugh, Beck, Palin as well as Maddow and all the rest are just throwing red meat to their followers to beef up their popularity. Their snarky comments make both sides look like dopes. I’m with those like Wait One Minute and Zain, who would like to see these issues discussed in a thoughtful way. But that doesn’t get the ratings.

  • Anna

    Anyone who thinks/says THIS is communism does not know what they are talking about. But the Republicans are very laud, people will repeat what they hear because they don’t know enough. They are being brainwashed.

  • Gary

    @Sam Yep! Remember: “Card carrying member of the ACLU”

  • Dr. Michael Ward

    I am fed up with Republican rhetoric. Newt Gingrich is not one who should throw stones, given his questionable history of unethical behavior. But the key point I want to stress is that the Republicans are hurling such outlandish accusations to create a very thick fog and hide the fact that they have not one positive or new idea to offer. Just look at their icon – Sarah Palen – no more than a celebrity housewife who had a sub-standard career as Governor of Alaska and who proved in interview after interview that she knew little about world affairs. The whole Republican effort is a charade…a party in disarray and crumbling toward extinction. It’s easy to be a nay sayer…it takes intelligence and courage to suggest something other than “nay”

  • Alex

    “…I grew up in a communist country, and this is nothing like it. The time when I felt like I was living under communism again, was under Bush – if you were against the war or against the politics, you had to be afraid to say anything, then the Patriot act came in…”

    I, too, grew up in a communist country, and I agree with you. The Bush years felt like a trow back to my youth. Non-stop propaganda against external enemies from every media channel, aggressive foreign policy with emphasis on exporting our own values abroad, demonizing critics of the regime, eavesdropping, arms race and, finally, military adventurism.

  • Ray

    The reference to natural rights, I believe, is from the Declaration of Independence. God is not mentioned in the Constitution. It is a rather technical document, created by men.

  • kung fu

    I’d rather be one of “toothless masses” than one of the mindless masses (Obama supporters).

  • EIO Boston

    If Norway, a country of 5 million has the 16th highest GDP and we are the 6th with our population of 350 million and they can attend college for free and have free healthcare?

    Continetti thinks this is a terrible country?

  • David Rissmeyer

    What the commentators are failing to point out is how the right–wing propaganda machine is skillfully taking the anger generated by the Bush administration and channelling it against Obama. We are still suffering from Bush’s incompetance (e.g. high unemployment, record high national debt), yet the conservative media experts are finding ways to tap this anger and somehow getting people to believe that it should deservedly be targeted at Obama. The best illustration I can think of was John McCain’s comment after the state of the union address where he expressed amazement that Obama had “still” blamed Bush for many of the country’s problems (after a WHOLE YEAR of being president!).

  • http://aledadigginsart.com Aleda

    The Right engages in the following false dichotomy: LIBERTY and Social Democracy are not mutually exclusive!

    Please have your guests comment on this fallacy.

  • PM

    Thanks for pointing out the absurd hyperbole of Kung Fu’s comment.

  • Dennis Kerr

    When Tea Party Patriot committees slander President Obama with names like Socialist and Communist, it reminds me of the movie, Eye on the Prize. Citizen Committees in the South also called members of the Civil Rights Movement names, including those.

    Misdirected anger at our public servants does not help anybody. Tax cheaters, who deduct the expenses for exporting jobs, have manipulated many of our fellow citizens who will have to pay the difference for their debts, without that job to do it.

    So if you want to know who is really cooperating with the Communist Party, follow the tax deductions.

  • Kalai Mugilan

    If a person hates socialism in all forms, then, the person should not use our highways, public libraries, museums, medicaid, medicare, bridges, fire departments or even buy any form of insurance.

  • Wait one minute…

    How many of these free-enterprisers work in the defense industry?

  • Bob

    JOHN MCCAIN is not a conservative Republican! He is a Progressive Liberal Republican. That is why he will never be elected again!

    Bob From Iowa

  • Wait one minute…

    I am sure Blackwater supports free enterprise, after Eric Prince picks up his government contract he turns around and holds a republican fundraiser. Is that socialism?

  • Bob

    For anyone who loves freedom. Please feel free to use our highways, public libraries, museums, medicaid, medicare, bridges, fire departments or even buy any form of insurance, but DON’T let our government make you buy them or use them against your will.

  • BHA

    Even the social democratic states ARE NOT SOCIALIST!! They DO NOT own and run the manufacturing plants. The fact that they provide more social services than we do in the USA does not make them socialist.

  • cldavis79099

    I take serious exception to kung fu’s comments. I have no doubt that President Obama loves this country and he is doing nothing but his best to repair this country after 8 years of Republican rule, destruction, and ignorance. Just look at the state of bridges, roads and dams in Massachusetts.

  • Jason

    Thank you, Alex. I was scared (and still am, even of my own relations) when the “Great Decider” discovered the phrase, “with or against?” (gee, that doesn’t sound like the old SS character demanding “PAPERS!” in the movies from the “good old days”.
    Yep, Uncle Newt’s been eagerly awaiting these days to once again foment the well-armed (if not so well-intentioned) into repealing the rest of our personal freedoms. I’m certainly not surprised.

  • bart

    Follow the money!
    All these Republican talk show properganda cheifs make their money by stiring fear.
    They throw facts out the window and distort freedom.
    Was health care a freedom prior to reform.The bill gave Americans freedom and got them out from under the boot of the insurance business.
    Makes you wonder who pays the piper, follow the money.

  • Trevor

    So, when is the conversation going to discuss which is better: socialism or nationalism (which, may we remember, caused a bigger problem than the socialists, right?)

  • jim thompson

    Tom:

    As someone who actually spent time “on the bus” literally with Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980 and who was very involved in GOP politics for over three decades, let me say this:

    These teaparty folks and the GOP right of today have taken a once sensible conservative movement and Republcan party and turned it into a voice for the crazies. The birthers, the socialist name calling crowd, calling for a returning of “our America” and renewed interest in states’ rights and nullification. Come on, when Jim Dobson and Sarah Palin are clling the shots, well…the David Duke wing is alive and well.

    I can tell you that President Reagan, Barry Goldater and Jack Kemp-all men I knew personally-would have nothing to do with these zannies. Yes Jess Helms would love them and they probably love him.

    To paraphrase the Gipper…I didn’t leave the GOP they left me. I voted for President Obama in ’08 & look forward to re-electing him!

  • BHA

    kung fu: “the mindless masses (Obama supporters).”

    Really. I would counter that the mindless masses are those who believe anything and everything that Gingrich, Palin, Limbaugh, etc say.

  • rebecca holmes

    Hi Tom,
    People must be able to express their beliefs, but they need to be given accurate information to formulate them. I am deeply concerned about the failure of journalistic standards that has allowed a propoganda station like Fox News to call itself a news program on national television. Fox is not presenting news in any balanced way, and the results are obvious in the streets.

    RSH

  • SVG

    Hi, Tom.
    What scares me is the lack of accuracy in the current debate. Hyperbole, fear tactics, mob appeal, etc. What happened to civilized truthful examination of issues (like on your show!)? The appeal to the lowest common denominator, along with pandering to the mob and the rest, are just the tactics used as preliminaries to totalitarian rule in the past century. The same is true for the rhetoric that the Tea Party Movement is “above the parties.” [I recommend reading Hannah Arendt, "The Rise of Totalitarianism."]
    Thanks for the show.

  • Elizabeth

    Does the opposite argument make Palin a facist?

  • Micki Ledden

    What is the difference between extreme individualism and Timothy McVie and his ilk? Time to recall how many people actually attended the famous Tea Party convention. 600 or so?

  • Bob

    Al was a great Racist socialist caller! I love it. Why does the Left always see race and the conservatives don’t even though Dems would say the opposite.

    Were the 90+% of blacks that voted for Obama racist? Probably but no one will talk about it. They didn’t vote for his policies, they voted for his race!

  • jasdrew

    Was it not Glen Beck who said that Obama did not like white people? How is race not a factor? It would be disingenious to say that it is not one factor.

  • Wait one minute…

    Am I to believe my ears? Someone actually said the word NAFTA on the air?

  • jeffe

    Marc I agree with on some of your points. I don’t relate to the Tea Party agenda. However after watching Frontline last night on Obama and the Health care bill, I had a lot of my suspicions about him selling out to make deals confirmed.

  • Jason

    Here’s a simplistic reminder: careful the direction you point your finger, there will always be three pointing back at you.

  • Alex

    “Follow the money!”

    Yes. That’s a show right there! Tom should make a show on all kinds of profiteering from the taxpayer money.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Neither of these “journalists” understand anything of American history. The argument going on today is the same one the federalists and the anti-federalists were having at the turn of the 19th Century. It’s still the old “states’ rights” argument and it’s completely enigmatic.

    The states’ righters still believe in states supremacy, which is a total myth under the Constitution.

    The federal government is the top layer of government in this country. GET OVER IT! You want secession? Sorry, it ain’t gonna happen unless you want to fight the Civil War all over again.

  • Andres

    I believe that the disagreement with Obama’s philosophy and agenda by the right has everything to do with race and fear. they simply cannot say it. Many whites in middle America cannot believe that the country has shifted and that governance is headed by a black man. Politicians on the right are tapping on that fear… “he’s just not one of us” mentality, and nothing that Obama does can bringing them to work with him.

  • amom

    The Republicans bank on the fact that Americans don’t for the most part travel overseas or in a very limited fashion and don’t therefore recognize that Europeans have a more comfortable life than most Americans. GIs from World War II have continued to spread a vision of Europe that isn’t the reality of the world today. We are falling behind and have the greater uncertainty which provides the insecure masses that these propagandists feed off. Being a “superpower” doesn’t guarantee that you have a better general standard of living or secure one.

  • Jason

    oh, and the loudest voice generally emits from the least qualified.

  • Nikki

    If we put aside these socialist, marxist comments, look at the other things that are radical, the rise of Militia groups, hate signs, however samll a group it is efective , its a combination of fear of a black man in the white house, those people that didnt attend the inauguration but waited at home to show their disapproval of an outcome of an election. Its plain ans simple, socialist is not a fear of these radical folks, they split into groups Racist/ ppl fearful/ ignorant and arrogant folks. For those who are really angry at the way the country is going is not really out there. Its scary, I believe something will happen seriously

  • Wait one minute…

    Matt,

    The left was trying to limit the government back during the Bush years, where were you?

    i am on the left, I believe in decentralized power and individual liberty.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    The Right’s imperative of protecting wealth is a minority agenda and not one they can be honest about. The Right can only build a governing majority by distracting citizens from their true intent using emotional wedge issues. These issues once were the classic God, Gays, and guns… apple pie and the flag. It’s now degenerated into an even more despicable campaign of lies and smears.

    The Right’s efforts depend on the irrationality of a large segment of the population. They depend on people NOT questioning the lies. And because the Right depends on such irrationality, they cultivate it.

    The Right’s efforts have now metastasized into the Tea Parties which I can only describe as a form of normalized psychosis.

  • http://googleWBUR lucille magnus

    When will you stop, PUBLIC RADIO? I beg you to stop.

    When Obama is killed? When these crazies are given such air time, such credence from your station…a real voice of reason is needed as we approach April 19, the day another right wing crazy killed people in Oklahoma.

    Is there ONE media person calling this “movement” what it is? Racism, simply put. (Maybe Rachel Maddow).

    Were these people exercised by the trillion dollar war Bush waged — an unnecessary and immoral war?

    Lucille Magnus

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdevers/ Chris Devers

    This about sums up my take on the whole “socialism” nonsense:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdevers/sets/72157622039955874/

  • ThresherK

    Did I miss the On Point during the previous decade where a panel examined the “Fascist” and “War Criminal” charges against Bush, Cheney, John Yoo, and others in the executive branch?

    Where was this “healthy philisophical debate about the role in government in America” when anybody saying a word against Bush during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, or wearing the wrong tee-shirt, or whose car had the wrong bumper sticker, got barred from entering political speeches?

    Oh, and is there some way to not invite the Weekly Standard guy back. If I wanted something as party-line as Fox News gussied up with a sheen of intellectualism, I’d go elsewhere.

  • Louise Silberling

    Your guest’s point that the U.S. has a higher GDP per capita than Denmark actually undercuts his point. If we have such a high GDP percapita, why don’t we have as high a living standard as people in Denmark do? The real issue is inequality, not GDP per capita. George W. Bush spent 8 years bankrupting the U.S., but where did the money go? Instead of going to make the economy more equal, with more and better education, housing, and health care for more Americans, which would have actually strengthened this country over time, he spent all the money on war and on enriching his cronies. The only way to fix our economy is to improve the lives of the working and middle class — not to just put more and more money into the pockets of our wealthiest segment of the population, which is all Republicans are interested in doing. Republican policies consistently undercut AMerican society by making the poor poorer and the rich richer. I’d rather see us looking like Denmark any day, which has a far higher equality between rich and poor than we do in the U.S.

  • Edward Burke

    Good–let’s change the operative term, then, from “socialist” to “statist”. Barack Obama is keen on expanding statist “solutions”; he sees the state as sole arbiter of and solution to broad economic and political problems, a determination that he does not share with many American voters.
    A considerable and perhaps growing number of Americans see Obama as head of an increasingly onerous state, an unwieldy government hungry and greedy for more and more tax revenue to be plucked from the economy at-large so that the funds can be managed by elected and appointed “philanthropists”.
    Obama is NOT an anti-statist; he is fully comfortable with accomodating an increasingly intrusive state that he would claim is in the sole position to address the manifest problems we all face.
    Obama is in the business of growing the government and the powers of the “governing class”. His Federal government, though, is increasingly aloof from local concerns; I can cite a $35 million waste that President Obama himself has thrown into a poor county here in SC that will do nothing to improve education shortfalls that the funds ostensibly address and will do nothing to substantively enrich the people. (It succeeds only in validiating and enriching the local public school bureaucracy.)
    THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE PEOPLE. The quality of national governance of late reminds many Americans that we prefer to live our lives and reside OUTSIDE of the protective shelter of an overweening government; and we want OUR “government” to trim its fiscal appetite before it dares serve even one more plate of government cheese or government pork. Period.
    One percent cuts across the board, from defense to education, from NASA to the entitlement program of your choice: if the Federal government cannot or will not cut and trim ONE PERCENT ACROSS THE BOARD IN FEDERAL SPENDING (NOT “budgeting”–SPENDING) each fiscal year remaining to Obama’s term in office–then our government continues to betray its citizens, and Americans have every right to strenuously protest the relentless “state-building” program of political architects the likes of Obama and his cohorts and enablers.
    Always remember, you who air your show in Massachusetts: America’s course began in a tax revolt. Remember, remember, remember . . . .

  • jeffe

    I agree with the last statement that Obama has fooled the public with all the rhetoric about change. He has not changed a thing in the financial sector. He has not put a stop to the wars, in fact he has expanded it in Afghanistan. He has sold out to Big Pharma and the Health insurance corporations.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Continetti is no journalist. If he’s considered a journalist, his “badge” needs to be revoked.

  • Gary

    It is all symptomatic of a failing empire. Nero blamed the Christians for a fire he set. Radical groups, and starving poor citizens being blamed for everything else.

    LOL – it’s so much like the fall of Rome!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Bob wrote: If Government gives rights, it can also take away rights and that is not a government I want to be under.

    Are you suggesting that if the Right wants to abolish the Right To Choose, THEY must first abolish the Ninth Amendment? After all… that right must have always existed even before Roe v Wade “discovered” it.

  • JacFlasche

    Why do Americans think of thie founding fathers as conservative when in fact they were all liberals? The conservatives were with the king. The whole history of western culture is a struggle of liberal exceptionalism against the forces of repression and stupidity like the papists. We finally came out of the closet with the American and French revolutions. The people in power. The powere elite are always conservative, no matter what they call themselves. They struggle to maintain wealth and power and unfair advantages. Why wouldn’t they? They are unenlightened and anything and everything that an human does will sooner or later become it’s own opposite it if is undertaken from a stance who’s understanding is based in their inability to see beyond the lower emotions. Then we have a world like we live in where cyicism equal wisdom, where the messanger is always killed, and were people’s lives are meaningless in that they are unfulfilling. People whose inner lives amount to less than nothing are your heros. What do you expect?

  • marshall

    I write in support of the caller from Cambridge who was so unceremoniously cut off when she mentioned “the toothless masses”. The term, perfectly appropriate in this discussion, refers to those who have no one looking out for their interests. One result of the “marxist-socialist” accusations coming from the right is that those overlooked folks will continued to be ignored, even as they are encouraged to identify with those who will keep them down.

  • Alex

    The fake news show has picked up a report last night that Exxon made $35 billion in profit last year and paid Zero in taxes. That is to the U.S. government. They probably paid something to foreign governments where they mostly create jobs.

  • Gary

    I for one was not “fooled” by Obama’s deal making. Anyone with eyes and a brain could see that he is a political animal. His presidency will consist entirely of expedient easy political decisions.

    Obama is the scorpion, the democratic party is the frog, and politics is the river. Its his nature, and he is very likely a one term president.

    Actually, the Republicans should be happy to have a republican like Obama making all of the deals they wanted to make.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t think the charges of “socialism” really root themselves in opposing Obama, though he is handy up there. I agree that with factory jobs “evaporating” overseas, for one, that people who aren’t trained in the intricacies of international economics (most of us) are backed up against a wall, anxious and angry.
    And health care is another handy target. For one thing, all these laid-off people seem to be training to be MA’s (medical assistants) and other health care positions — because more will be needed. One fifth of our economy and one hundred percent of our well-being is at stake.
    Health care is an excellent example of why we do need government to get involved. The Players (insurers, etc.) are too big for me to go up against single-handedly. The latest move, a couple weeks ago, is to inform me that my premiums will be graded according to the cost of physician and hospital I choose. Either those providers will get their fees in line, or I will end up moving, which is not at all the idea of keep your own physician and so on. I may be lucky and have a local hospital that is affordable, but who knows. Government has cramped the insurers to where they need to try things like this, and government is going to have to get a grip. The advances in medicine are too costly for us to afford, individually or as a country, and decisions about where to draw the line, right now dragged down by the needs for interest after interest, all the players, to make a profit, are going to have to be made.
    Something similar could be said about the welfare on a larger scale, not of my body but of the planet. Who can make sure the environment is clean enough (habitable enough) that we don’t degenerate as a species, going the way of the pandas? We sound, bouncing off the echo chamber of Rush Limbaugh, like children asking for candy, not knowing what is good for us.
    Blaming Obama for cramping our style, making us into government-robots, living to serve, misses the point. Can we look, with a clear-eyed attitude, at what sort of cramping might be coming along and why?

  • dave eger

    The 76% lost power radiates off as heat or other EMI.

  • Alex

    “The 76% lost power radiates off as heat or other EMI.”

    Perhaps it is time to stop lawyers from running the country and start electing scientists. Lawyers can always be hired and fired. Why elect them?

  • mary elizabeth

    The most rational statement was one made by the caller who grew up in Germany. Folks throwing around the words Nazi, Communist, Fascist in relation to Obama care little for the truth. This a common theme of Boston right wing talk radio who after the 2008 election started calling each other Comrade. They obviously have never sat with a holocaust survivor and observed the black tatoo on the wrist and heard their story.
    The tea party movement is a “house” built on sand, the sand of repeated lies. Over time, I have come to see that so much of what they say is utterly untrue- death panels, govt takeover, appeaser, guns rights revoked etc.
    The “last straw” for this observer was noting that Obama may have the distinction of being the only brilliant, well intentioned leader in the history of the world to be mocked by
    a hysterical, violence inciting, fact averse Sarah Palin
    as he made a step toward reducing the greatest present threat to humanity. And have a rabid crowd cheer for her.
    Only in America.

  • Ron D

    The host asked how we felt when we hear these charges of socialism, etc. When I hear them, I want to punch someone in the face. Why do I have to be subjected to ranting, spittle- flecking, brain-dead, snarky, incoherent and downright stupid verbage, but when I say ‘that’s not true’, I might be labeled with the same brush or yelled at. I know people who disagree with the Terrify Everyone Always(TEA) rabble,but don’t speak out because some of them are their neighbors or people they do business with and they don’t want to become a target of their angry wrath. I had someone collar me the other day at a family dinner (a friend of a relative), who began the ‘conversation’ by shouting in my face “who says everyone is entitled to free health care?” Now this genius just got off paid sick leave for carpal tunnel syndrome. He said people should take care of themselves, that he’s tired of “lazy people sitting on their asses, doing nothing and expecting a check!” I asked what he would do if he got fired from his job. He said he’d go on welfare and get Medicaid! I’m not kidding! Every time I check out the Fox noose (strangling minds daily), I hear total BS within the firs 3 minutes. And people like Jason (in this thread)just swallow it and spit it back in our faces. No thinking required.

  • Rick Vaughn

    Hi, Tom -

    The full Gingrich line was about turning the November election into a contest between “America versus secular socialism”. Not sure what “secular socialism” means but Gingrich is following that U.S. political tradition of using socialism to mean un-American. In the early 20th Century that referred to Eastern and Central Europeans usually of Slavic origin and/or Catholic. His usage plays to people who think Obama is Kenyan or Indonesian or whatever.

    I suppose since a ban on child labor was part of the Socialist Party’s platform before WWI, we should now reject child labor laws as “socialist”. In fact, doing so might be considered a jobs program. Bring 10-, 11 – and 12-year-old girls back to textile mills in Lowell, MA and we can take back jobs from Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Rick

  • BHA

    Gary: “I for one was not “fooled” by Obama’s deal making.”

    So you are saying he should move to the George W. Bush method of ‘leadership’. My way or the highway. With me or against me and if you are a Republican, you have no choice but to be with me.

    The only way we can live together is to ‘make deals’ with each other. You ‘make deals’ with your parents, children, friends & co-workers. Your other choice is to live like the North Koreans where the ‘dear leader’ makes all the decisions and you like it (you have no choice).

    At the moment, the Republican ‘party of no’ is choosing to NOT ‘make deals’ and then claim they were ignored or had no input. Make the electorate choose between ‘us’ and ‘them’ rather than working to get some of their priorities included in whatever the Democrats are trying to do.

  • Ron D

    To Mary- re the Palin brain vomit- I heard that snarky diatribe and wanted to scream. She mocked his background, essentially implying she’s smarter than him. But she and her sycophants,Fox, Gingrich and the rest of the neo-conmen do not talk about the fact that he was a constitutional law professor, graduated with honors in law and chose to leave a high paying career to help people who lost their jobs and were being screwed over by business and messed up politicians. He also is surrounded by a whole army of advisors way beyond her mental pay grade. She calls him a ‘part time Senator’, this coming from the part time governor. Palin doesn’t have an original thought that isn’t coated in snark, lies and pure mind-fogging crap. Take apart her verbage “common sense’ real america, etc. It doesn’t mean anything!
    So Sarah (and all the other fringe right) how’s that dopey snaky thing working out for ya?

  • Kris

    I would LOVE to live in a Social Democracy! We should be learning from the Scandinavian countries and Bhutan, not criticizing their systems! Denmark and Bhutan are consistently rated as having the HAPPIEST citizens on earth. Please don’t counter with something about Swedish suicide rates — they could be caused by the extreme darkness of Sweden’s geographical location on the planet rather than by what is implied by conservatives: that a government that recognizes the cradle-to-grave needs of human beings somehow or other makes people depressed!

    I would prefer to pay taxes that went to helping me have time with a new-born child, or to helping me cook meals when my cancer had progressed so much that I couldn’t do that on my own — rather than what we have now where my taxes go to fund the military supply companies that produce the armaments that then kill people, and/or get lost by our troops during battle & get retrieved by the very enemies we were trying to kill. I would much rather have a government that focused on life and the events of life (birthing, education, illness & wellness, old age, the environment we live in, etc.) rather than a government dog wagged by the tail of death: war, killing, guns, the idiotic right to bear arms! I have a Right To Bear Arms but not a Right to Have Health Care? What about Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness? You cannot have Life unless you have Health! And your liberty to have a gun is certainly not good for me!! Oh, and the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, in this spoiled country, has degraded to the right to swear on television & to show as much pornography as some people think was assured them by the Founders!!! I think the amendment meant that if a person spoke up in favor of a change to the laws and/or to the way we were governed, as in, now, proposing universal health care, that one would not be accused of treason!!! Instead, we got corporate lobbying counting as “speech”, & we got network TV having a protagonist run thru a strip joint with pole dancing in almost EVERY SINGLE show during prime time, even if children might be watching the show. Spoiled! Socialist??!! Communist??!! Have any of these people who accuse Obama of being a Communist lived in a former Eastern European Communist Block country??!!! Spoiled!!!!

    The conservatives’ seem to yearn for the class-based British system our Founding Fathers came out of. You’ll notice that Our Big Businesses have gone around the world to find people whose living conditions were desperate enough that they could be paid slave wages. Ahhh…the conservatives miss the vision and times of the Founding Fathers so VERY much! The good old days of a slave-owning elite on the top who scorn the “gentry” beneath them, exploit the anger of the tradesmen and dirt farmers “below” the gentry, all the while buying/selling off slaves in a glorious Free Market! And, oh, did the elite fight Regulation! But, in cagey maneuvers to gain support, they incited the anger of the people poorer than the gentry (like the Republican elite and the Tea Partyers today, which “works” as a coalition BECAUSE the Republicans FIRST lay the groundwork: making sure K-12 public schools & their textbooks provided an education POOR in teaching our history; poor in anything but propaganda!!!) Anyway, back to the Founding Father elites: the Free Market allows us to have a slavery-based economy, they basically argued. A limited government would have allowed slavery to continue & continue & continue…….So, for those who yearn for the principles of the Founding Fathers: do NOT pine away when your job goes to China, or that it did already, unless you are willing to look at the Founding Fathers and their template of received ideas from the British Class System and see the PROBLEM!!!!

  • Dave

    The steady rise of stock prices since Obama took office must confuse, confound and frustrate those who say Obama is promoting socialism or communism. Wall Street is the heart of American capitalism, whose beat is felt and measured every weekday, and which responds to even the slightest hint of good news or bad. How could America’s sophisticated private investors be so wrong and the slogan-slingers be so right? Must be part of the progressive conspiracy.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I wonder how many women resonate with Palin (as I do) in this manner: Oh, I recognize that; it’s hysteria; it’s a mental state in which my mother would send me to my room to calm down; it is characterized by a sort of entitled flow of heated thought, demanding and asserting. There is an element of the balloon to the mood that undergirds it.
    The idea that a woman would base her entire public identity on that “voice,” that disposition, is unbelievable to me. A few decades back the very tone she uses would have framed her as irresponsible.
    Maybe she can’t help it? The way Dick Cheney can’t help the twist to the expression on his face?
    Well, some of us like that, apparently. We like to see it welcomed. To which I say, Feature THAT! Aren’t we smart enough as a country to recognize the embodiment of an attitude that needs a time-out? Go get a grip. Then come and help us direct our fears and angers; we need that. It’s not at all an easy thing to do.

  • David

    Obama is NOT a socialist. This is a baseless and false claim perpetuated by ignorant and uninformed Americans. He is a center-right corporatist, and really just like George W. Bush in many ways. Everyone who complains about spending these days sure didn’t care about the money when the last administration was throwing it around like chips on a gaming table.

    What this country needs is a more progressive social democracy that is more like the ones found in Europe, but Obama is not going to make that happen. As far as I am concerned, Obama is a Republican, and has failed to do the things I want done in Government. I would appreciate higher taxes, cuts in obsolete defense spending, and a move towards a single-payer health care system– all of which we’re not going to see.

    I am a Coffee Party Patriot, and this Administration is no different from the previous one. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, because policy and Government continue to remain Republican. Socialism? I’d like to see it, but it isn’t going to happen in this country.

  • Kris

    Ron D.: Thanks so much for your fabulous comments!!!

  • Mark

    With all respect due to On Point (a lot, in my opinion) there’s no need to cite placards at Tea Party rallies, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck as if only those groups allow extreme language about the President. Anyone who listened to On Point’s own guest Jennifer Rubin on last week’s news roundup heard all these views and more. Without reviewing the transcript, I believe she claimed Mr. Obama is the most liberal President ever and is Marxist right on this show.

  • jeffe

    Here, here Kris and Ron D! Well said!

    In some ways I hope Palin does run for president just toe her debate Obama. She can’t even put cohesive sentences together let alone debate.

  • Your Worst Nightmare

    To ‘progressives’:

    Yup, just keep those fingers in your ears and yell “racism!!! racism!!!” and the truth will just go away.

  • Brett

    The Robber Barons of the 19th Century were great at generating wealth (well, mostly their own, but that’s beside the point). Then, those socialist power mongers came along and established the modern Federal income tax, child labor laws (as well as labor laws for all), Labor Unions, etc. Those poor (of course, figuratively–not literally), Robber Barons could not then build decadent wealth to the extent that they once had, nor could they do so on the backs of average citizens. Even though marginal tax rates for the wealthy are lower now than they were back when we were a great, prosperous super power, it just doesn’t make sense that we should even tax these benevolent benefactors, at all, let alone restore their tax rates at an increase of 4%! Sure, burn the Constitution, and why not piss on it at the same time!The Robber Barons have kept people working, and they have beautified America with their mansions and country clubs. Is it their fault that some people are born poor or minority?

    Besides, who will serve as a great contrast to the wealthy, to prove that the wealthy are exceptional? And just look at all of those abundant jobs the wealthy have provided to the American people in the past decade!!! Just because a few milksop, lilly-liverd Trotskyites want to play Robin Hood because they are jealous, should they bully the financial elites into giving up their god-given gravy train? They have power because they are winners, because they rolled up their sleeves (figuratively, of course–not literally), not like those nanny-state-loving commie pinkos who want us to stand in line to get industrial-grade toilet paper!

    Speaking of toilet paper, what’s up with all of these public toilets cropping up all over the place? Next thing you know the government will want to take over all the bathrooms and dictate how many bowel movements we are allowed in a week! Notice how low fiber foods are in abundance these days? Hmm? A coincidence? I think NOT!!!

    I saw a sign for a free ice cream cone at a Ben and Jerry’s the other day, and there was a line around the block! Give those mollycoddled masses free ice cream, then the next thing you know they’ll want eight-hour work days, the sabbath off, and kippers for their Sunday breakfast! Besides, who has time to stand in line all day for free ice cream? If they got off their lactose-craving rear ends and went to work in the pine-tar factories like real Americans, they’d be too busy to eat ice cream, and we’d have a work force free from carbohydrate consumption! Jeece, then they wouldn’t need to hold out their grubby little hands for free health care like beggars on a Dickensian street corner!

    If Obama keeps going, he’s gonna make sure poor, lazy cake eaters can steal even more silverware from the ornate, buffet sideboards of the privileged! Haven’t those slack-jawed street urchins ever heard of petits fours? You don’t need silverware to eat those!! McDonald’s has a two-patty cheese burger for a buck! That’s one dollar! AND, you don’t even need any silverware! If I was hungry, and all I had was a dollar, you wouldn’t hear me whining about “more broccoli, please”!

    And, so what about those socialist democracies in Europe? They don’t even speak English or have steady diets of red meat! Who the hell wants to be like Finland, anyway? When was the last time they produced a good NACAR driver?

    And pollution? Hey, in my day, you breathed in sooty air from the kindly neighborhood factory, died at 45 and never complained because some swill-sipping Irishman died 3 years earlier; if he hadn’t drunk up his money to feed his family rancid meat, maybe he’d have lived another couple of years! It may be my right not to pollute, but is it my right to make some Robber Baron stop polluting if he needs to help bring jobs to his community?

  • Concerned Citizen

    This thread is so sad. Why all the hate? We’re all Americans. We all love this country. There is so much exaggeration and outwright misunderstanding, how can we find common ground?

    As long as this rediculous hyperbole and paranoia reign, we will be mired in disunity. Meanwhile, China will pull full steam ahead into the superpower throne and leave us somewhere in the dusty backwaters of the third world. Saddled in debt from collusion on wallstreet & corruption on capitol hill.

    This country has a brilliant history full of great accomplishments, but we can’t just rest on the laurels of our forefathers. We have to move foward, not backward. Make progress, not regress. That is why alot of people voted for Obama. Whether or not you agree with him, he is trying to change this country for what he sees as better. There are many Americans who love America and voted for Obama because we want a better future for this country.

    If the alternative to Obama is blind hatred and rage, how can those in the Tea Party expect any real support? We need answers, not anger. Getting pissed off isn’t going to feed my family. Propaganda isn’t going to put my kids through college. And congressional deadlock isn’t going to pay my mortgage. We need solutions!! And I don’t mean the “final” kind envisioned by other “haters” like Hitler.

  • Kelli Medaglia

    It appears the most striking common thread among angry conservatives and Tea Partiers is the overt act of consistent criticism devoid offerings of relevant solutions.

  • John

    Some of this reminds me of when segregationists and those hostile to civil rights made the charge that the civil rights movement was inspired by or directed by communists. It’s a charge that eleicits a Pavlovian type response from Americans. The same Americans that all the polls show are fairly uninformed regarding public policy matters and this which allows quite a bit of demogogery to flourish.

    I have had college students totally confuse the political right and left in terms of the values and visions of fascists versus communists.

  • Gary

    @ BHA

    One of the growing problems this partisan and hateful country is the inability to disagree. Just because someone states they are FOR something, does not mean they are to be labeled AGAINST something else.

    In other words, any criticism of Obama should be in no way taken as a fervent stance in support of GWB.

    I’m a realist and as such I am labeled by both extremes, and since extremism is ALWAYS wrong, I take your assertions as affirmation of my stance against idolatry.

  • Ruth

    To respond to the caller regarding Obama surrounding himself with Commies and Socialists:
    I have been surrounded my entire life by Republicans and Conservatives. By his reasoning, I should be a Conservative Republican, perhaps a Tea Party member. The more I hear the rhetoric and anti-everything-Democrat and Obama, the further I draw from the Republicans.

  • Arturo

    “I write in support of the caller from Cambridge who was so unceremoniously cut off when she mentioned “the toothless masses”. The term, perfectly appropriate in this discussion, refers to those who have no one looking out for their interests. One result of the “marxist-socialist” accusations coming from the right is that those overlooked folks will continued to be ignored, even as they are encouraged to identify with those who will keep them down.”

    I was driving when the program was on the air, and I totally agree with Marshall’s words, which I am citing. It was obvious that the phrase the ‘toothless masses” was intended as a literary image for conveying the pathetic ignorance of all these poor souls who have gotten into believing that President Obama is a socialist. Deep in some minds, including some people posting in this forum, is also the issue that President Obama is not white. The accusation of being a foreign born socialist is typical of what social psychologists call a distal reaction. Meaning by it, since uttering racist comments has proven to be counterproductive, President Obama has to be demonized somehow. Calling him “socialist” (i.e., not one like us who love freedom) could serve to define President Obama as the other.

    Having said that, I find remarkable that no one mentioned that all the billions used for rescuing large banks and auto industries are billions intended to save capitalism from itself. They broke it, and we have to pay for it with our taxes. Too bad that the toothless masses only understand the latter. So much for socialism!

  • jeffe

    In regards to the caller regarding Obama surrounding himself with Commies and Socialists:
    If people were so inclined to be swayed in such a way it would seem to me that the American scientists and engineers working with Weiner Von Braun and other German rocket scientists would be nazis. Of course this did not happen to my knowledge and is also an absurd notion.

  • Walter Fox

    Again, I haven’t heard the broadcast yet since it won’t br aired here in St. Louis until 9 p.m. eastern time. But as some of of the responents have said, it is partially because the president is black and has a strange name. But many conservatives have accused the last two Democratic presidents of being “left leaning liberals” It’s a tired old broken record that is used by them to attack those with whom they do not agree.

  • http://www.myspace.com/Topherdavid253 Christopher Juberg

    All I know is that the GOP claims to be Christian, and they run on the “moral ticket.” I know the Republicans are against abortion, Yet, they support prostitution by supporting and running the state of Nevada.

    I just wanted to point that out to everyone. The Republican party supports and encourages prostitution in the state of Nevada.

    Don’t believe me, CHECK THE LAWS AND WHO INTRODUCED THEM.

  • Mark

    Teabaggers throwing the socialist claim at Obama shows their simple ignorance. Although, were I given the choice between socialism and fascism, I would have to choose the later.

  • Janet P.

    Look no further than the recent government takeover of healthcare for proof that Obama is a socialist. He is fundamentally attacking the fabric of American society. Granted he couldn’t do it without the blind loyalty of Reid and Pelosi and their Congressional sheep.

  • Mattie

    A caller asked what American would be against our superpower status. Well, we can start with those who recognize that the doctrine of American exceptionalism creates enemies…

  • Alex

    The GOP has been in power enough to allow us to make the conclusion that electing them to power will not improve things one bit. The worst economic crises of the last 100 years happened after several consecutive Republican administrations (e.g. Great Depression, recession of the early 90s, the recent “great recession”). Each time, a Democrat was elected to lead the country out of the pickle. What is it that Republicans bring to the table, anyway?

  • Webby

    Clearly the charge of socialism is the stuff of overstatement. But then so were the idiotic tantrums from the left about “war crimes,” “torture,” etc. I don’t subscribe to the Tea Party, mainly because I don’t have a firm idea as to what it stands for. I find it more than a little curious, however, that the same people who threw around reckless charges for the entirety of the Bush years should now complain about artless language on the part of their political opponents. And can we declare a moratorium on ridiculous charges of racism? Obama is incompetent. Describing him as such does not constitute an expression of racism.

  • New Order

    Socialist is not all. Sure he thinks government should control everything and he’s not afraid to use fear mongering to expand government power. At the same time, he is weakening America’s position in the world by surrendering nuclear superiority to Russia and letting the Chinese and Israelis dictate policy to us. He has been a huge disappointment.

  • Pam

    The difference betweent the Republicans are they want to control what you do in the bedroom and the Democratics who whant to control what is done in the board room. I would rather have the government control what is done in the board room.

  • jeffe

    But then so were the idiotic tantrums from the left about “war crimes,” “torture,” etc.
    Except that people were tortured and war crimes were committed. The dismissive attitude of this comment is frightening. Are you really so desensitized to what went on at Abu Ghraib prison that would post something like this?

    There is a huge difference between the reality of what happened in that prison and elsewhere during this period of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the highly dubious claims and diatribes of some of the Tea Party and others on the right.

  • alex

    What are these flags the Tea Party people are holding?

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/gallery/041410_palin_at_tea_party_rally?pg=14

  • Webby

    “Except that people were tortured and war crimes were committed.”
    No they were not. Do you know the difference between misconduct, criminality, and war crimes? Evidently not. Do we really have to review the semantics of the word torture once more?
    No, what’s frightening is poorly educated people stridently trafficking in exaggeration so as to feed their own sense of moral superiority.
    Thanks, you’ve just proved my point.

  • Alex

    Starting a war of aggression is a crime in and of itself.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

    Hey Alex, I think those flags were designed by Jeff McQueen, who we had on our “Tea Party Politics show.”

    http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/01/tea-party-politics

  • Alex

    “Hey Alex, I think those flags were designed by Jeff McQueen, who we had on our “Tea Party Politics show.””

    Thanks Sam. There was one guy in the past who came up with flags and insignia for his party. Do not remind me.

  • John

    That Kenya-born Obama is taking away our freedom to torture.

  • Onni

    I agree it’s mostly about a black man in the White House -and in addition it’s the result of the implementation of Nixon’s Southern Strategy to Karl Rove’s inciting the Base – i.e. recruiting the least educated part of the US population.

    And Thomas Jefferson said a democracy cannot work unless the people are well educated.

  • ulTRAX

    Onni wrote:And Thomas Jefferson said a democracy cannot work unless the people are well educated.

    To which I add, democracy can’t work when citizens sabotage their own intellects to the point they are unwilling to recognize reality.

    What I see in the followers of the Rabid Right is akin to a self-induced mental illness.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    On Point played a version of The Internationale at one of the breaks on today’s program.

    Has anyone actually read the lyrics of The International?

    Here’s what I got from the recording at the end of “Capitalism, A Love Story” by Michael Moore:

    ‘And if those cannibals keep trying,
    To sacrifice us to their pride,
    Each at the forge must do their duty,
    And we’ll strike while fire is hot’

    [transcribed lyrics from the film]

    Give a listen to the whole thing and you’ll find the anti-war sentiment through all the lyrics.

    Even in this discussion today, Mr. Continetti and Rick MacArthur barely touch on where the real spending takes place. Apparently this point has to be made again and again as it was during the tax discussion yesterday.

  • free thinker

    Great news! Every major poll shows Obama at an all time low for his approval ratings. God bless America.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Martin Field wrote The other half see an inefficient government growing in size and scope. The Tea Party was born out of this inequity and threat to freedom.

    Since the right wing Tea Partiers didn’t utter a peep during the disaster of the Bush years, your claim is nonsense.

    This Tea Party psychosis would not exist if not for all the lies, distortions, smears, and disingenuous appeals to save the nation made by the Orwellian Right. It’s just another diversion that takes all the heat off the GOP for creating the mess we’re in.

    Yet unless the Right and the GOP are willing to face the bankruptcy of their own ideology and take responsibility for the mess they made, they’re only going to mislead us into more disasters.

  • jeffe

    Webby so water-boarding is not torture? Setting dogs on people and striping people down and humiliating them is not torture? Hooking men up to electric wires and then electrocuting them is not torture? Depriving prisoners of sleep and exposing them extremes of heat and cold is not torture?

    Webby you watch to much “24″. I love this comment: poorly educated people stridently trafficking in exaggeration so as to feed their own sense of moral superiority. Really? If I water-board you will you think I’m trafficking in exaggeration? You know you sound like you’re trying to be superior to peoples opinions.

    I would like you to sit in front of the men and boys who were “mistreated” at Abu Ghraib prison and look them in the eyes and say that they were trafficking in exaggeration as you say.

    I would like to say something very personal here but I will restrain myself as I am clearly dealing with someone who thinks for some reason they are superior to all others in the world. That the same rule of law that you live by and expect is somehow not to be extended to people who are captured by our military.

  • http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20100413/SHE0601/4130396/1111/SHE06/Letters--There-are-lots-of-socialist-programs-in-U.S. Phyllis

    My recent letter to the editor.
    If you’re going to scream socialism, please know what socialism is and isn’t.

    Socialism: “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”

    Are you willing to give up all American “socialist” programs? Here’s a partial list: Public roads, public schools, public universities, municipal water, sewer, electric and gas, public parks, fire and police departments, FDIC, FAA, national flood insurance, libraries, building code enforcement, FDA, VA, unemployment insurance and Social Security.

    And please, don’t say you worked for that last benefit. Every person who receives Social Security receives, on average, each year, triple what he or she paid in a year when they worked. Chances are, you will receive much more than you ever put into the system.

    How about senior citizens, who can purchase medical insurance, for $1,500 or less a year? You probably pay or paid less than that per year in Medicare payments when you worked.

    Complaining about “socialism” may make you feel authoritative, but it merely shows your duplicity when you readily take advantage of real socialist programs as you deride socialism.

    Especially when the program you are complaining about is not socialism, but a mandate to require everyone be insured. That’s not socialism.

    Those who started ranting about “socialism” have a real agenda to abolish Social Security and Medicare.

    Is that really what you want? Educate yourself; don’t just repeat talking points.

  • Webby

    Aw, there there now, Jeffe. Clearly you’re a big boy with well-developed ideas about the proper conduct of war. Just as clearly, you’re incapable of an intelligent rejoinder.
    For the record, I’ve never seen “24.” But we’re all painfully aware that you’ve watched a single episode of Frontline and now regard yourself as something of an Obamacare expert.
    Can you please try to “say something very personal”? The results are certain to be priceless. Pretty please?

  • andy in Bedford MA

    Todays On Point show’s subject would be laughable if it weren’t so sickening. Did I miss the On Point show sometime in 2000 – 2008 analyzing the left wing liberal air head screamers at George Bush? Extremely unlikely there was such a show or ever will be on National Progressive Radio. Ashbrook and his moronic staff, again, show their liberal colors and complete lack of balanced reporting and analysis. Tom, why don’t you rename your show On Point with MoveOn.org?
    Andy in Bedford, MA

  • Alex

    “Todays On Point show’s subject would be laughable if it weren’t so sickening. Did I miss the On Point show sometime in 2000 – 2008 analyzing the left wing liberal air head screamers at George Bush?”

    There were several shows that we missed in 2000-2008. among them were “The Republican controlled Congress plunders the treasury,” “Our children will pay for today’s off-budget wars,” “Socialist Bush Expands Medicare.” “What’s With the Increased Use of Earmarks Since Republicans Took Over Congress in 1994?”

  • Nancy

    I question this label of “secular” socialist from Newt G.
    It made me wonder about my knowledge of the word SECULAR, so I went to the dictionary and sure enough, it means non- clergy or not religious.
    OK, I think that it means nothing in this context.
    I suspect it is inserted to inflame people who do not know the word(…it sounds like “Suck”).
    Reminds me of Agnew’s ” nattering nabobs of negativism”. Also means nothing…
    Maybe we need to learn the art of influencing opinion through alliteration? Forget meaning?

  • Alice Copeland Brown

    So sad to WBUR turning right, sort of Fox Lite.
    Or maybe Fox with polysyllabic words.
    To hear you ‘correct’ a listener for saying ‘the toothless masses are eating up this Tea Party set of lies’ or someone who said, “We had Reagan who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s the last 4 years of his presidency” with a tut-tut; to hear your interviewers grovel at the feet of the far right extremists and allow their lies without a demurrer…….it nauseates me.
    Sen. Sanders is wonderful: as usual, the Democrats you interview are more closely aligned with the truth and the love for the Bill of Rights than you are.
    And one more thing: It is “President Obama”, not “Obama” when you cravenly call the man whose handlers stole the presidency for him, ‘President Bush’, you show your bias loud and clear.

    I’ve been called a hippie, commie, pinko all my life by the white trash of Birmingham, Alabama. Might as well call someone a ‘doo-doo head’ as a 5 year old might.

    And yes, this disparaging and smarmy description of Pres. Obama is racism, subtly disguised. I grew up in segregated Birmingham. This tone of subtle disparagement of our president, who goodness knows, is not a liberal like me…..is utterly disgusting and quite familiar. I prefer the lynchers to those who like David Duke wear the suits and speak in nice but violence-inciting tones. At least they were honest in their hatred and bigotry..

  • Nate

    Hi Tom,

    I myself am a socialist and Obama is nothing more than another puppet for big business. I did not support him and still don’t.

    1. His health care legislation requires me to buy insurance from a private provider.

    2. The bank bailout was a transfer of wealth from working Americans to wealthy bankers with no democratic public control of the industry, similar with the auto industry.

    It’s really frustrating to hear my political stance associated with a corporate backed war-waging president. Barack Obama is NO socialist.

  • Dan M

    @ Nancy
    I agree with you whole heartedly. I hear all sorts of stuff at work “Obama this and Obama that” “he’s a communist, socialist etc…” They all hear a catch phrase and spout it all day long back and forth all shaking their heads in agreement and repeating whatever it is they heard from whichever loudspeaker they heard it from. Frankly I’m tired of it.

  • Brett

    Dear Tom, I’m just starting to listen to the hour in NYC, but I’m surprised you couldn’t get Norm Ornstein (from AEI). His opinion piece in WaPo had both definitions & examples, etc.

  • Jeff B

    Fact: The top 1% now pay more taxes than the bottom 95% of income earners in the US.

    Fact: The obama administration has created a fiscal deficit that exceeds 10% of GDP for the fist time since WWII

    I do not think it is unreasonable to ask that the government keeps its hands out of my pocket. The tea party is about lowering government spending, taxes, and the size of government.

    And Tom, you mentioned the “Hot” label of socialism being applied to Obama numerous times in the show. Did you ever have a show about the “Hot Label” of War Criminal that was routinely leveled at George Bush? I am a listener and a member of WBUR and I just don’t recall that show.

  • david

    Where there is smoke there is the possibility of fire.
    Obama may not be what many are trying to claim he is, but he does have a history that is documented. Here is a comparison. They may be just lies but many news services have stated the same things found here. Some of this you just cannot make up.
    http://obamaism.blogspot.com/
    Whether he is are not, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke stated today in affect, that our nation’s debt has slid off the mountain and is tumbling out of control down the hill. He states,”the deficit at the end of 2020 would be 9 percent of GDP and the federal debt would balloon to more than 100 percent of GDP.” This means we will be paying 1 TRILLION Dollars on just the interest alone.
    The comparison to Greece was made.
    I am afraid this mess will come alot sooner than they predict.
    We are one good crisis away from real trouble.

  • webby

    “I’ve been called a hippie, commie, pinko all my life by the white trash of Birmingham, Alabama. Might as well call someone a ‘doo-doo head’ as a 5 year old might.”

    Or reflexively call them a racist…

  • Norman Carter

    Political labels change in meaning over time. In the US today, the word “liberal” (from the Latin root “liber” meaning free) has become synonymous with socialist. This is misleading. In the early 20th century, when the Liberal party was the leading political party in Great Britain, the Liberals stood for capitalism, freedom of expression, and a progressive but fair social policy. On economic matters their policy was that of “laissez-faire”, an absence of governmental interference with an individual’s economic activity. The Socialist Labor party, born in the inter-war years was, at that time, in favor of nationalization of struggling industries.

    To describe President Obama as a socialist is nonsense. He is in fact much closer to a classical liberal.

  • Mattie

    Yes, Sharpova, it is very interesting that the supposed voice of the intellectual liberal elite spends nearly as much time on tea party antics as Fox does.

    I wonder what would have happened if a few Code Pink grandmas or 9/11 truthers had rallied in front of the Bush White House with guns ready. The administration would probably claim that they had committed suicide in Camp Delta. At the same time. While in isolation. By beating themselves and then stuffing rags down their own throats.

    Hey, if a couple of Saudis and a Yemeni could do it, I have every confidence in the commitment of our own domestic terrorists. Some of those grannies are fierce, and they look like they have been protesting since before the Gitmo trio were born.

    Well, at least the 17-year-old.

  • Brett

    Dear Tom,

    Who turned off the B.S. meter @ WBUR?? Tom – Continetti’s “reply” to Sen. Sanders was tripe. The comparative sizes, population & GDP was not responsive to Sen. Sanders & was nonsense.

    Shame on you Tom for letting Continetti’s B.S. out over yours signal. WBUR starts to sound more like Fox almost every other hour. If this variance from your usual skepticism is due to one or two of your producers, then it might be time to consider firing those producers.

    This hour especially hearkens back to the Reign of Silber @ BU & the damage to the school’s reputation that he did there & @ Syracuse University.

  • comma

    Tom- I have listened to your show for a long time — this was by far the worst show I have heard. To have an hour long discussion on whether President Obama is a socialist, etc. and to not even mention the right wing propaganda machine that is fox news, talk radio, etc. is negligent journalism at best and intentional misinformation at worst. Really the show should have been about how it is that the right wing propaganda machine is so effective, when President Obama is so obviously not a socialist, etc. and is instead truly a center governing president. Such horrible reporting means I will not be contributing to NPR any time soon. Furthermore, continued negligence of this sort will surely force me to boycott your show all together. I will also be sending a letter to the station as well. As a man with such a large soap box to stand on, you should be ashamed of the subject of this show and the way it was handled.

  • http://onpointNPR Ramon

    I’ve heard over and over that US gdp per capita is superhigh. One reflexion: 20% of the population holds 50% of the wealth and 60% of the population holds 25% of the wealth. In other words,50 million people holds as much money(or more by now since this study is from 2004)as 250 million people. Who benefits from this so called High GDP per capita? Is that what we have to be proud about??

  • free thinker

    Obama is an incompetent marxist-lenninist petty, thug dictator.

  • Mark Merg

    Matt hit it on the head. The Federal Government a bigger role in our every day then ever before. Let us look at the role they play in education today; my goodness spending country’s money to select state education lottery winners.

    I am excited about contributing my tax dollars to the people in other states and not my own state.

  • Robert

    I agree with Newton that it’s all about a black man in the White House. There is enough racist feeling left in this country to cause those who have such feelings to FEAR what a black president MIGHT want to do. Then when Limbaugh, Beck, Palin et al SAY what these people already FEAR, these listeners automatically and unquestionably accept it and these media figures become prophets to these people.

    These media “prophets” provide their listeners apparent justification for what they ALREADY wanted to believe. That’s why they accept irrational statements so easily and without questioning them, even to the point of failing to notice how obviously goofy they are right on the face of things.

    From that point on, anything these media mudslingers say becomes gospel. Their listeners WORSHIP every piece of garbage their media “prophets” spout. All you have to do is look at the demographics of these audiences, or better, just listen to their maniacal ravings, to notice they’re incapable of any kind of critical thinking. They don’t know how to do anything remotely resembling objective research or analysis and don’t really want to or care about that.

    In fact, they will see anyone who does as different, unlike them, and therefore enemies to their interests as “real Americans”. However, they really just want to feel justified in feeling the way they’ve always felt. “See? I knew it all along. I was smart enough to get it long ago.” And everyone else is deluded in their way of thinking, or perhaps we should say, non-thinking.

    These de facto “prophets” also provide their overeager listeners with scapegoats, real targets they can aim their intense anger at. That’s how Hitler won support against the Jews. This anger is often actually justified, by the way, but the guilty parties are the very interests that have suckered these people with their immense propaganda machine and turned it against the very ones who could otherwise help these suckers defend themselves from what is angering them if they would only let them.

    I’m neither black nor Jewish, but these tactics are nothing new and are very obvious to any informed observer. They’re old hat, and they very intelligently and cynically exploit key human weaknesses that still exist, but are very unfortunately also very ancient.

  • Michael B. Elzinga

    This form of demagoguery is ultimately very dangerous; and Newt Gingrich is using this rhetoric for political opportunity rather than focusing the public’s attention on real issues.

    One would think that clear, focused, and knowledgeable thinking is what mankind’s issues demand.

    If, instead, we get screaming hysteria elevating mindless demagogues to positions far beyond their knowledge and capability, we are in deep trouble.

    The news media really need to buckle down and find the truth in the blizzard of misinformation. There are objective ways to do this; take science and objective reality as the templates. The reason you know these are the right templates is because these mindless drones are attempting to discredit science also.

    We are seeing some of the worst of the Postmodernist clap-trap and brazen propaganda being used to cloud people’s ability to think clearly.

  • Bryan

    Just to add a little levity to a rancorous debate here, doesn’t that picture at the top of the story of a plump Victoria Jackson stumping in front of an obtusely out of context poster look funnier than any skit she was ever in on SNL?

  • Ramon

    Just in case you have not noticed in my previous comment and to make it more obvious,50 million people (20% of the population)holds twice as much wealth than 180 million people (60% of the population) Uhhhh I am proud of it!!!
    An extreme case: Equatorial Guinea which is one of the poorest countries in the world,is ahead of US in GDP per capita.
    What Obama is trying to do is just to reduce a little the abuse endured by at least this 60% of the US population. He would not dare to even dream about a democratic but solidary country such as Denmark or other top Western European countries.

  • Mattie

    Language changes through use; the only ones that do not are the ones with no speakers. This happens through both passive evolution and conscious effort.

    The frothing right is just as intentional in its use of bogeymen labels as it is on every other talking point and revision of reality. It is theater of the highest order.

    There are very real concrete definitions for terms like socialism, communism, fascism, anarchism – just drop in to Wikipedia to find out. It isn’t a relative ranking from left to right according to snappiness of uniform with everyone shuffling back and forth in time, and capitalism isn’t nested cozily in the center.

    If they can really get people to believe that someone who considers the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall too extreme a response to the economic mess is a socialist, we may as well dump Rohypnol in the reservoirs.

  • http://onpoint Ruth Campbell

    I find this topic so distressing and upsetting. It sometimes feels like we are heading toward another Civil War. What I most resent in the right wing rhetoric is there lumping everyone into the public, such as “the public does not support health care reform.” I and millions of others do support health care reform. What right do they have to ignore us, to discard us from the “public.” Their intolerance and arrogance is overwhelming.

  • Phil

    Anyone who believes Obama hates this country has either not listened to the man speak, or does not understand this country’s origins and the values of the American Revolution.

    The real hatred of this country comes from the right wing, from the people who hate the President, and who issued not one peep during eight years of George W. Bush’s usurpation of the powers of government and trammeling of our good Constitution.

    Just look at the departure from reality evident in all the anti-Obama rhetoric. It’s not much different from people believing the Swift Boat Liars. People prepared to believe lies and to level claims of “socialism” quite senselessly are so seriously misinformed they are unfit to live in a Republic. They are the real danger to the Constitution, for this reason.

    If these people rally around this nonsense, and this barrage of lies, what they would give is is not republican governance but government by lie. Wake up, everybody–your “love of country” is beginning to look like the pursuit of a jealous lover with a gun. Smarten up. Someone else is running things. They were elected to. That’s how the Republic works, and if you can’t handle it, you don’t belong in a free country.

    Phil

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Mark Merg wrote: “I am excited about contributing my tax dollars to the people in other states and not my own state.”

    I assume your statement was sarcastic.

    Yet, to think this is something new is one of the Right’s Big Lies. In the past century there are numerous examples of where wealth was redistributed from urban areas to rural areas. Do you seriously think Wyoming could have built its share of the interstate highway system? Could sparsely populated rural states raise the money to develop their own highways? Think electric companies would bother to supply power to isolated farms? Or did it take FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority? While for any given taxpayer this sounds like a terrible idea NOT to have one’s tax dollars come home… if not wasted, such infrastructure development bootstraps the entire nation. You call that Socialism… who gives a flying fart what it’s called.

    But in the Supreme Irony Dept… Sarah Palin’s Alaska got back $1.84 for every tax dollar they sent to Alaska in 2005 while Mass get’s back only 82cents. So is Alaska on the dole?

    Can’t blame Obama for that.

    SOURCE:
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

  • ulTRAX

    Norman Carter wrote: To describe President Obama as a socialist is nonsense. He is in fact much closer to a classical liberal.

    We know the accusation that Obama is a Socialist is pure nonsense… so how come the Tea Baggers on the Right fall for it?

    Regardless of the misuse of the term, those on the Right COULD also see through this transparent manipulation if they had decent “crap detectors”. That they don’t is proof they lack any respect for reality. Without that key value, they can’t self-correct… and instead of all the lies and distortions being rejected, they take root instead… never to be questioned.

    It also never occurs to the Tea Baggers that those who seek to mislead them can’t have any respect for them. The propagandists and the cynically opportunistic politicians like Palin are trying to get Tea Baggers to make decisions they’d NOT arrive at if they were being told the truth. The Right has a vested interest in maintaining the irrationally of its base.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Sarah Palin was in Boston today, addressing a crowd comprising what one observer told the media was apparently not out-of-towners, but people taking a break, rubber-necking, not supporting. He thought 50 percent were not supporters but people who happen to work there, taking a break. I noticed Senator Scott Brown was in Washington, not in Boston with Palin. I think when the remark about “toothless masses” came up that Ashbrook cut the caller off because a sort of sixth sense kicks in for him. Not that the caller could have a useful point about the helplessness of many of us to the drumbeat of right-wing talking points, rhetoric, and persuasions. Clearly a lot of us posting here got the point loud and clear, and the caller might have gotten a whole lot more negative, rather than “knowing when to stop.”
    A point about history. At the time of the Revolution, a huge number of people were Tories. The people of Nantucket were a port of call for both sides (my impression) and were forced to either starve or supply the British, at least officially. What I mean is that “we” were always divided many ways, but also many actually fought to drive the British out. And in the 19th century, many actually fought to hold the Union together. Real spilled blood served to bind us, in spite of divisions. No one wants to have sacrificed a generation for no good cause, and people developed “patriotism” because of an investment of military service on this soil and on our seas.
    Perhaps that experience (the Revolution, the Civil War) is not holding us together like that any more. People seem to refer to The Constitution without that sense of having struggled, family by family, town by town, house by house, season by season, that sense of personal friends and relations who sacrificed for it, but we achieved this nation.
    Nowadays there are maybe 300 million people, and it seems to have a robotic existence separate from me. What I as an American citizen thought I was connected to was a wilderness band of blood brothers, to extrapolate wildly. Get that back.
    We may feel like irrelevant cogs, and drift along thinking that the Big People run this monstrosity for us, Big People detached from our quotidien reality.
    Militias (the “good” militias) remind us that they do carry the tradition and the sense that our nation is (still) our reality, and that our nation can need our minuteman readiness to defend it, in word, deed, and sometimes, in dollars.
    In a world where the “enemy” is not nations but individual terrorists, it seems especially important to remember that every individual is potentially on the front lines. Don’t miss it in some fog.

  • Mark S.

    There is one overriding image burned into my mind about the moral compass of the Tea Party misfits. That was the video footage of the fine, young conservatives at the Tea Party, anti-healthcare (that’s what it was about after all, denying healthcare to “those people”) screaming epithets and throwing money at an elderly man with Parkinson’s Disease silently sitting on the ground with a pro-healthcare sign. Fine, fine people. True Americans. Not representative of the entire movement. Well, from what I’ve seen and heard, I beg to differ. I would rather walk through hell than spend five minutes at a Tea Party rally hearing some guy tell me how the fourth grade was the best three years of his life.

    By the way, my dad died from Parkinson’s. If I had been in D.C. that day, I would still be trying to make bail. But it would have been worth it.

    To say I loathe the Tea Partiers, birthers, deathers and other assorted wingnuts gives new meaning to the word understatment. And if I ever see a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag for real, you can damn well bet I will.

  • http://www.tayloryourcareer.com Karol Taylor

    Re April 14 show. I wonder how your guest can claim that the federal budget contains extra spending, when we are now into the sixth month of the 2010 fiscal year and the federal budget has not yet been passed? (!)

  • T Grant

    We talk about the frustration of the Tea Party.

    What about MY frustration?

    For the last 30 years, I have been trying to “get around” the same group of people.

    For years, I have been trying to have a conversation about educational reform, and instead of a discussion, I hear “what we need is school prayer.” I want to talk about neuroscience, multiple modalities and cognition, multiple intelligences, etc., and THEY want to talk about a 30 second blurb over the loud speaker.

    For years, I have tried to talk about alternative energy sources, cradle to cradle technologies, self sustaining architectural design, and in return I hear that I want to socially engineer America and take away their freedoms (as though developers aren’t *planning* our cities years in advance already).

    I want to talk about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and achieving a greater level of personal discipline, creativity, and creating environments for healthy living… but instead I get “wedge issues.

    Practical intellectuals FINALLY were able to elect someone who represents US…and the same group who claimed ethical superiority in the (so-called) Moral Majority, and later elected George Bush (twice) are still getting all the attention and obstructing all intelligent discussion.

    President Obama is not a socialist. This is yet another obstruction to any intelligent conversation. If people are ACTUALLY interested in American exceptionalism, then we need to innovate and support a culture that supports excellence. We can not do this when the media continues to focus on the people who are uneducated and easily manipulated, just because they make the most noise.

  • Galen

    i refer everyone in this forum to this video about perspective, put eloquently by the late Carl Sagan

  • Galen
  • Nowhere Man

    It was clear to me when I heard it that “toothless” meant “powerless”. Do a Google search on the word, filter out the hits that refer to a movie by that name, and over half of what remains are sites that use the word in that sense.

    Tom should not have allowed that caller’s remark to be so poorly misconstrued.

  • ulTRAX

    Karol Taylor wrote Re April 14 show. I wonder how your guest can claim that the federal budget contains extra spending, when we are now into the sixth month of the 2010 fiscal year and the federal budget has not yet been passed? (!)

    So the government has been operating on continuing resolutions since Sept 30, 09?

    The budget was 2.5 months late but it looks like it was signed into law on 12-18-09:
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/174415.php

  • http://google A Hemme

    I am appalled at the tone of the american people who disagree with the President. What is happening to the educated Americans? I was in the Tittusville library one week ago and an older man and his wife were talking politics with a worker and he called our president a “nigger”. Has all the progress we made on civil rights gone by the wayside? Not to long ago before the constitution, it would be considered treason to do that. Have we lost our manners? Freedom of speech does not give people the right to disrespect our leader. Whether you agree with him or disagree, he is a father,husband,brothert and son with a wonderful family and our leader of the United States of America. I can’t believe all the comments tonight that refer to his last name instead of President. We are looking for Bin Ladin and he is sitting in a cave watching the United States crumble from within. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. It astounds me how much attention and money is poured into the entertainment industry and the interest in movie stars. Why so much loyalty for that, but paying taxes, they don’t have the right to take my money. Heaven help me if I have to help out someone else besides myself. Does this sound familiar? I hope not. American is the land of the free and everyone who lives here needs to respect our government. If you don’t agree, go out and vote or call your representative. How easy it is to complain. Somebody needs to hose down the Tea Party. Sarah Pallin for President? Her hands aren’t big enough to remember all the things she would have to know to run this country. You’ve got to be kidding.

  • RP

    Just thought i would say without agenda,

    I don’t know the gritty details of all the politics that have been discussed in this conversation, but i will say that as a master’s student in finance, i do know that any reasonable President would have done what Bush initiated in bailing out Bear Sterns and later “Wall Street.” Hank Paulson had no choice but to aid in what could have been the worst meltdown in history. That being said, there is no reason to make any connection with Obama/Geithner and socialism outside of making the best decision for the benefit of society considering no action would have been detrimental to the economy.

    Thanks Ashbrook I am an avid listener,

    RP

  • montarro

    The federal govt. is now running car companies, banks, the student loan program, and now with Obamacare, 1/6 of the nations economy, all under Obama’s watch. How could anybody have the audicity to say that Obama is not a socialist?

  • Alex

    “I find this topic so distressing and upsetting. It sometimes feels like we are heading toward another Civil War.”

    It will largely depend on the economic conditions. If there are a lot of unemployed people with no money and nothing to do – the danger is there. On the other hand, reportedly, the Tea Party people are rather well to do, educated and who think their taxes are fair. I do not believe people with mortgages and kids in school will want to go and fight, unless their economic well-being is threaten. In this respect, I agree with one of the guests on the show who noted that their anger is largely misdirected. The government is not the problem. They are being screwed by the corporate interests.

  • Mary

    The support good ideas on either side – left or right – does not necessarily identify a person with that group. Although I am not a fan of our president, as he has not supported the cause of universal health care, as promised in his campaign, I applaud any efforts to put human needs ahead of corporate needs. What a concept. Obama’s inability to take his hand off the trigger of war is shameful. Frankly, I don’t see much difference between the last “regime” and the present, except you can understand Obama better. . . that is, he can speak better. I applaud Sanders – a modern day hero. And I’m proud that he is the senator from my state of Vermont. We, indeed can learn from other styles of governance and aspire to the higher goal of Human Need and Wellbeing.

  • Benjamin Stewart

    Obama is systematically tearing apart every fabric of American society that we hold dear. He has made us fiscally weaker as well as neutered our defense capabilities. He is making Americans soft by making them welfare dependent. He’s America’s Chavez. I’m afraid for our country and so are all of my friends. We cannot wait to end this time of collective shame. Nov 2012 can’t come soon enough, we just hope the country is still standing.

  • Janet

    The liberal march towards socalism with obama leading the way is destroying this nation. Now he is trying to destroy NASA.

  • jeffe

    It is interesting how some of the posters here have what I call “chicken little syndrome”. It seems to me that since Obama has been in office the all but the sky is falling.
    If that was happening I bet you people would blame him for that as well.

    Case in point, Benjamin Stewart’s comment above points to this. He makes a lot of very serious accusations without one shred of evidence. What fabric of the US is being destroyed? The middle classes? Well they have been in decline since Reagen. Obama has Summers, Geithner and Rahm Emanuel in his cabinet and all of them are market based capitalist.

    I love this comment,”He is making Americans soft by making them welfare dependent. He’s America’s Chavez.”

    How? By wanting to give the unemployed extensions on their benefits which they have already payed for.

    This kind of statement speaks of extremism and intolerance of elected officials. I spent 8 years waiting for Bush to leave office. In my view he and his cronies have done a lot more damage than Obama has. That’s a fact Benjamin, under Bush the deficit went up.
    Obama has not made it better, but what was his administration to do? Nothing? Even Bush believed in the bail outs, he started them.

    Just because an election did not go the way you wanted it to you now say the sky is falling. Bush did real damage to this country. That said I’m not happy with Obama’s performance but I’m not going to say the I’m worried for the country. Notice I did not say “my” country. Benjamin I suggest you look up what socialist is before you make such public statements.

  • Irene

    I agree with “Nowhere Man’s” comment. I was very disaapointed in the manner in which Tom Ashbrook handled the listener’s remark on “toothless masses”. He jumped on her with both feet rather than asking what she meant. I was more disappointed when he asked whether we would be willing to trade freedom for “socialist” prgrams as in Denmark. (I’m used to a Palin using a sound bite like “trading freedom” to generate fear and get her point across, I expect more from NPR).

    I have travelled extensively in Denmark, Germany, France and England and have family residing there. Belive me, in some respects, they have greater freedom than we have here in the U.S.

    What was missing from the show and from the debate is an educational program on what all these terms mean. What is the difference between a social program and social democrat, socialist and communist? What is the difference between Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism? We lump all these terms together and people think they know what they are talking about or dealing with.

    Is Obama a socialist or a communist? Are Limbaugh or Palin facists? Until we know what the terms mean it is useless to debate the issue.

    What is real is that once man decided that he was going to live in community–social programs were necessary. Social programs are not socialism.

  • Michael Isfar

    We can all agree that this community organizer is way out of his depth. We’ve learned a good lesson.

  • Made Mudarta

    Who’s responsible for the public misunderstanding of almost any important issue:

    The Press.

    The free press in this country no longer practices responsible journalism. When, as on this show, Sen Sanders pointed out that the press (electronic and print) is ultimately responsible for mis-reporting all this so-called “news” about Mr. Obama, you, Tom Ashbrook, like all your colleagues, quickly side-stepped that point. None of you want to admit that you now rely on reporting sensational attacks from the spokespeople of the radical right and left, rather than the truth, the facts.

    Stick to the facts, not sound bytes.

  • http://www.dane101.com Shane Wealti

    Matthew Continetti’s assertion that the US has a higher GDP per capita than Denmark is incorrect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita

  • jeffe

    I was more disappointed when he asked whether we would be willing to trade freedom for “socialist” programs as in Denmark.

    I was disappointed by this remark as well. On on level it spoke to Tom’s ignorance on what kind of system the Danes have in relation to freedoms. They have the same as we do and more. They have freedom of debt from huge student loans. They have freedom from debt from getting ill.

    Mr. Ashbrook is showing me his true colors here. He seems to be a conservative, which is OK. I was not sure where his political leanings where. I am now. I would also like to see more research on a subject like this. This show was asking an absurd question and giving voice to the false chatter that is distracting the nation from real issues, serious issues that are facing us as a nation. The way Tom was dismissive of Bernie Sanders was also bordering on insulting in my view. Senator Sanders was attempting to take the discussion to a level of inelegant discourse and Tom Ashbrook seemed to want to keep it in the gutter.

    Shame on BUR for airing this drivel and for losing an excellent opportunity in having a real dialogue on the roots of the “socialist charge”. The title says it all.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    I am amazed when people say that the health Care Reform is a socialist thing and that having it takes away someone’s liberty. I am even more amazed when people remark that being able to go to college for free is a bad thing and that it also takes away liberty. How can being able to see a doctor when you need to and going to college to better yourself not be a good thing? Maybe those people don’t know that poverty traps people and that there is no liberty, no freedom when you are poor and cannot have the resources that you have to have to live a good life. Eugenia Renskoff

  • John

    Some of the people at the Teabagger/Palin sideshow:

    Valerie and Rob Shirk corralled their 10 home-schooled children into their van for the 2 1/2-hour drive from their home in Connecticut to Boston . . . “The problem in this country is that too many people are looking for handouts,’’ said Valerie Shirk, 43, of Prospect, Conn. “I agree with the signs that say, ‘Share my father’s work ethic — not his paycheck.’ We have to do something about the whole welfare mentality in this country.’’ . . . The couple, who rely on Medicaid for their health care, were also upset about the nation’s new health reforms. When asked why her family used state-subsidized health care when she criticized people who take handouts, Valerie Shirk said she did not want to stop having children, and that her husband’s income was not enough to cover the family with private insurance.

    Gene Theroux, of Springfield, . . . The 57-year-old retired Air Force chief master sergeant said he likes his government-run health care administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but he worries about what will happen when some 30 million newly insured Americans enter the system. “Where does it say in the Constitution that there’s a mandate for all Americans to have health care?’’ he said. “This bill will ravage the health care that I get.’’

    Lindsay Lacombe, who wore an “I Love Fox News’’ T-shirt, drove in from Fitchburg, in part to protest the health care reforms. “This was just something I really wanted to participate in,’’ said Lacombe, 22, a junior at Fitchburg State College. “I don’t understand how everyone can get free health care. It’s not right.’’ When it was explained that the new law requires many of the newly insured to make some contribution toward their health insurance, she said: “I’m not a political science major.’’

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/04/15/tea_party_rally_generates_plenty_of_criticism_opposing_views/

  • Tim Truemper

    Martin posted above that “half of Americans pay no taxes.” I’m sure what he meant is that 47% will not pay any Federal income tax. Of course we all pay taxes. If we came out with a no net payment in Income Taxes, people still paid their social security tax plus other federal taxes in certain fees for services. Additionally people who did not pay Federal income tax paid other local and state taxes, depenindg upon where they lived.

    If this is the basis for the Tea Party Movement (which is not, I have some friends who got in on this early on), then it is pretty flimsy indeed. The Tea Part movement needs to correct itself toward more valid matters. Following Dick Armey and Sarah Palin will not get them there. I am a progressive–but America needs valid counterveling views. The TPM depends too much on shrill voices and misinformation.

  • Mark

    More like the Republican march towards Corporate Socialism that’s bankrupting this nation since the Corporation became a person.

  • jeffe

    John’s post above points to two things that are troubling.
    One is the hypocritical selfish comments from Valerie and Rob Shirk, and Gene Theroux. The Shirk’s also show a complete lack of any ability to think beyond sound bites.

    They are home schooling their children? I feel sorry for them.

    This comment from Lindsay Lacombe sums up the how some people are just not able to think critically. “I’m not a political science major.” Indeed.

    The bottom line is Obama and congress sold out to big pharma and the health insurance corporations. The health insurance lobby demanded the mandate and got it. Hardly socialism. If Obama had on once of any social justice in him he would have told both lobby’s that the game is over. He did not, and the results will be felt in the next 5 to 10 years as the bill is not for the people, it’s for the market.

  • Rob

    While I am not a Tea Party member and NOR AM I A SUPPORTER OF SARAH PALIN, several of the comments made above towards Tea party members are over the top and seem extremely partisan (not surprising) and unfair to me. For anyone who is interested in understanding the actual demographics of Tea Party members, here is a poll from CBS News/ NY Times noting that Tea Party members are better educated and make more money than the average American. These “Tea baggers” that liberals are dismissing generally have more education and make more money than you do. This must make you feel great!!!

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/36549470

    @John, I am not sure what several specific uninformed quotes from a few people at these demonstrations actually proves. Have you ever seen some of the comments from the MoveOn.Org rallies? I question whether some people in the MoveOn.Org crowd can actually complete a sentence with some absurd protest slogan.

  • jeffe

    Rob they prove that some people do not have clue and are misinformed. Does it prove all people who identify with the Tea Party movement are like this? No, I don’t think so.
    But what struck me was that a lot of those people who are so called anti-government seemed to be getting something from the government. Be it unemployment benefits, disability benefits, military benefits, and so on.

    The woman who claimed she was on disability and was educated by her uneducated friend said that Obama was responsible for the debt. He is not. He is responsible adding to it and I challenge anyone to tell me this would not be the case if the current president was John McCain. Do people think that the wars we are waging cost nothing? Where do people think the money is coming from?

  • jeffe

    Sorry I have to comment on the retired postal worker who is blaming the government for his losses in his 401K.
    This man had a government job and if he is retired he also has a pension along with his 401K. Don’t get me started on the “out of work talk show host” a complete wanker. OK Mr. Limited government, how about not applying for unemployment benefits?

    What freedoms are slipping away? I keep hearing this all the time from people who support the Tea Party ideology and for the life of me I can’t see any freedoms that that we had under Bush, and I mention the last president due to the patriot act which did take away a some freedoms we had before. Habeas corpus is one that has been tampered with as well as spying on citizens without their knowledge. Again I ask these people who are freely assembling, what freedoms are they talking about?

    The last sign being held by a child, “Average Racist, Right Wing, Tea Bagger Family”? Are they kidding? They let their kids hold a sign like that?

  • Rob

    Jeffe, there are people in any political group that are uninformed. My overall point is that some of the comments above seem to be stereotyping the entire Tea Party movement (for lack of better word) by the absurd comments of a few of its members (and through association by Palin).

    I do not belong to the Tea Party because they do not offer a serious solution to our nation’s long term fiscal problems. The bottom line is that no major political party is willing to engage in an intellectually honest debate with voters regarding the role of government and how we pay for these major entitlement programs (that comprise about 67% of our federal budget). There are many so called conservatives (e.g. supply siders) who continue to believe that the US can grow its way out of our current economic situation without any real adjustments in the major entitlement programs and/or taxes. There are also many liberals (see comments on Tuesday’s tax show) who believe that the US can create a western European style cradle to grave social welfare state and balance its federal budget strictly by reducing our +-$725 billion national defense budget and by raising taxes on only 5% of our population. The US federal government is projecting $1.2 trillion budget deficits as far as the eye can see (almost double the3 entire annual defense budget) and many higher income earners from blue states (including me)are starting to face confiscatory marginal rates already after considering federal, state, and local taxes.

    While I would not blame President Obama for the budgetary mess that he inherited, our President has only offered a long term budget blueprint that makes these problems worse by creating a new entitlement program without a long term funding mechanism and putting the US deeper into debt. His proposed budget would take our national debt to almost 80% of GDP within 8 years (even after some rosy revenue assumptions). This approaches the level that most economists consider extremely dangerous.

  • Rob

    While the attached link below only reflects the state budget issues in NJ, a similar analysis of the US federal government and the fiscal mess. It shows that solving fiscal problems requires real tradeoffs. Voters need to start requiring that politicians treat them as adults. While neither one of the two people I mention below are politicans, I applaud former both Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former US Comptroller for offering real solutions to the fiscal mess.

    http://php.app.com/datauniverse/budgetcalc2010/

  • Alex

    “These “Tea baggers” that liberals are dismissing generally have more education and make more money than you do.”

    Their superior level of education is rather skilfully concealed.

  • ulTRAX

    Rob wrote: US federal government is projecting $1.2 trillion budget deficits as far as the eye can see…

    Projections are meaningless. They are based on projecting current conditions into the future. Right now revenues are low and spending is high because of the Bush Economic Collapse.

    … many higher income earners from blue states (including me)are starting to face confiscatory marginal rates already after considering federal, state, and local taxes.

    Were you born after the Bush tax cuts? How is going back to Clinton tax rates “confiscatory”? The top rate then was 39.6%. After the first Reagan tax cut the top rate was 50% and conservatives cheered!

    In all of Bush’s EIGHT YEARS federal revenues from personal income taxes in constant dollars have been BELOW Clinton’s last year. That’s insane.

    As for a remedy… since much of these deficits come from Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts for the rich. They were irresponsible because We The People WERE ALREADY 5.6 TRILLION IN DEBT WHEN THEY WERE PASSED!!!

    I think it’s time to recoup that money. I DO favor confiscatory tax hikes on the rich. I’d like to see that top rate go back to 50% for 10-15 years to undo some of the damage that Bush and the other Tax Cut Psychos wrought on this nation.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Alex wrote: Their (Tea baggers) superior level of education is rather skilfully concealed.

    What they can’t conceal is their IQs barely reach room temperature!

    I contend there’d be no Tea Bag movement if it wasn’t for the Orwellian Right lying to those who were dying to be lied to. These Tea Baggers are stuck between believing in the infallibility and justness of the Right and the painful reality that under the GOP this nation got flushed down the toilet.

    These Tea Baggers simply lack the intellectual integrity and emotional maturity to face the truth, because they’d then see themselves as contributing to that collapse. So they comfort themselves with Orwellian Right lies and distortions… and go rabid against the Democrat’s.

    The Tea Party is a perfect example of mass psychosis.

  • Craig

    The charge the Obama is a “socialist”, or worse –“communist,” “Marxist” or “Leninist” are ludicrous. But the Fox News and right wing talk radio personalities simply ignore facts or scientific reality whenever it suits their liking. If either Gingrich or Palin were ever to win the Presidency, the economy of these United States would plumet.

    Moreover, those echoing the charges have no international perspective or experience. In their references to Germany, they confuse the socialism of former East Germany, with West Germany Social Democracy. In 1980-81, I was a Fulbright scholar in West Germany. As a fluent German-speaker, I spent a number of days in Communist East Germany, talking to the people when they were certain that secret police informants were not around. The East German regime not only repressed basic freedoms, but its State-owned industries produced shoddy, substandard goods. For instance, the Trabant car, or “Trabi” powered by a smoky, two-cylinder, two cycle 600 cc engine producing 23 horsepower. The Trabant’s body panels were fabricated from a crude duroplast plastic. Moreover, citizens had to wait eleven or more years for delivery after ordering one of those primitive cars. The Trabi symbolizes the failure of “socialism,” German-style. By contrast, the West German Social Democratic system works well. One reason that German manufacturing companies have lower benefit costs is because there is universal health care financed by government-regulated, non-profit health insurance companies, the “Krankenkassen” – literally “sickness funds” whose origins were in the German empire of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Your panelist mentioned that the unions have a seat on the board of the car companies – Volkswagen (with its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries), Mercedes-Benz, BMW and the American subsidiaries – Ford of Germany and General Motor’s Opel. Not only does this improve cooperation between labor and management, but it helps Germany’s renowned auto industry produce better products. Moreover, German industries are run by managers technically trained in their industries, not by executives with a financial services background. After the collapse of the East German communist/socialist regime and the unification of Germany, the West German based car companies invested in the East. Volkswagen rebuilt the Trabant factory in Zwickau as a modern, efficient plant. Opel did the same with the former Wartburg works in Eisennach, and BMW built a modern manufacturing complex in Leipzig. One reason that General Motors will recover from receivership is that Opel is designing its efficient new compact and midsize cars; for instance, the Chevy Cruise and the 2011 Buick Regal.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Back during Watergate I remembered thinking that it was SO obvious Nixon was lying, that respectable journalists and news organizations should stop the uncritical reporting what he said and spend more time exposing those lies and evasions.

    And so it is with the Tea Parties.

    At what point should respectable news organizations stop reporting what are clearly lies and smears of the Tea Party as if they represent some valid political perspective? Lies should be exposed, not given equal time.

    The BIGGER news story is how the GOP was incapable of taking any responsibility for the disaster they caused and were desperate to stop Obama from having ANY political successes. They chose to mobilize angry mobs through incitement… a cynically created a campaign of lies, distortions, and smears designed to manipulate those they knew were susceptible to such lies into acting in ways they would not if the Right told the truth.

    Now THAT would be news.

  • Liz B.

    The claim that the US government took over our healthcare, the car companies, the banks is plain wrong! It’s to the contrary. The private health insurance/pharma industry, the financial industry took over the US government! The health/pharma, financial and military industries actively lobby the US gov’t for taxpayer support and our politicians happily have appropriated gigantic financial support to these industries. Our taxes are going to giant industries that don’t give much back to us. And we keep electing politicians who don’t serve us.

    The leaders of tea party movement capitalize on the fact that average citizens are rightly upset about the fact that our taxes are increasing in different ways and the gov’t is not at the service of those who pay taxes. These tea party leaders manipulate the exploited individuals but they do not offer solutions to our problems. Rallying against government and fueling hatred does not help our social, economic problems.

    Obama is not a socialist, far from it! Those who voted for him may have thought that they had voted him in office because of his socially progressive ideas but those ideas have not been realized yet (and doesn’t look like they will).

    Also, it’s irrelevant to compare the US to Denmark, they are apples and oranges. It’s entirely different to govern a country with 5 million homogeneous population from governing a country of 300 million people with all kinds of background.

    Finally, in the US we have to solve our political, social and economic problems before this enlightened government system is dismantled! Most countries in the world face similar problems to ours, especially the economic problem that private, supranational companies are leaching off taxpayers. We have to show the way how to solve this, because economics is at the basis of our problems.

  • ulTRAX

    Liz B wrote: The claim that the US government took over our healthcare, the car companies, the banks is plain wrong! It’s to the contrary. The private health insurance/pharma industry, the financial industry took over the US government!

    The Democratic Health Reform bill is as “Socialist” as the GOP’s Medicare Part D Drug Bill.

    Both use public money to accomplish a public good but neither do so efficiently. Both subsidize corporations by providing for the inefficient overhead of for-profit companies. That the Tea Party crazies can this Socialism is laughable.

    Obama’s health care reforms are very much what the GOP proposed in 1994 and what Romney got passed here in Mass. They fall somewhere between corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

  • jeffe

    Pol Pot was a Marxist. Mao was a Marxist.
    One could hardly say that Obama is anything close to a Marxist or even European style social democrat.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit from history, Ho Chi Minh Hồ Chí Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam our Declaration of Independence. He was not a Marxist, but a Communist and a Nationalist. I find this rather ironic.

    Groucho Marx in some ways is a Marxist but only by name… now say the secret word and collect $100…

  • ulTRAX

    jeffe wrote: Pol Pot was a Marxist. Mao was a Marxist. One could hardly say that Obama is anything close to a Marxist or even European style social democrat.

    True Obama is hardly even a social democrat. But I have to take issue with Pol Pot and Mao being Marxists. Marx believed in historical determinism. Capitalism had to reach a terminal, cancerous stage to inspire the next stage of social evolution.

    Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot, were not living in capitalist nations. Their nations were peasant economies. They tried to shortcut Marxian evolutionary determinism by going straight to communism through force. This didn’t stop them from expropriating Marx’s name. If I remember my Marxist theory correct… this was folly. Socialism and Communism arose from a change in the consciousness of society… not through force. In the end… did Marx expect that dog-eat-dog capitalism could be tamed? Probably not. Yet that’s exactly what most advanced industrial nations have attempted to do… with varying degrees of success. A case can also be made that during the 50’s there was an effort to prove Marx wrong by subsidizing a middle class here in the US. Once the USSR collapsed, that need disappeared… and we’re descending back into dog-eat-dog capitalism.

  • Larry Boemler

    Tom, Most American’s believe that our country is a free-market capitalist-based economy. Most of the social safety nets we take for granted are actually “socialist” ideas such as minimum wage, 40-hour work weeks, time-and-a-half overtime nationalized labor relations, ad nauseum. If we had pure unregulated capitalism, our economy would go thru frequent boom-bust cycles. What all countries is a good balance between the two. Both extremes (free market v. state ownership of production) do not work. We need some new labels to avoid inflamatory rhetoric.

  • Brett

    So, the elderly on a fixed income, the Republican version of “family” (tax breaks that equal $1,000 for each child), young people in their early 20′s who are in college, the working poor, and the disabled should be taxed more so that the top wage earners shouldn’t have to pay more than their percentage that is lower than it has been in most decades of the last century? Yeah, that’ll assuage those who cry foul at the 47% who don’t pay any Federal income tax. Of course, the “freeloaders” still pay into Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, sales taxes, state taxes and property taxes, but that’s beside the point, right? And, those aforementioned people who do work still have Federal income tax payroll deductions (which they get back at the end of the year, but let’s not mention them as benevolent benefactors in giving the government interest-free loans, which is what they are essentially doing now) to make those other whining 53% feel they have control over some imaginary freedom/oppression. Those who make money purely off of investments aren’t paying much in the way of taxes, but the angry, White, conservative males aren’t whining about them.

    I was listening to the some of the Tea Partiers from their perch at various “Tax Day Rallies” today, and they mentioned, of course 1) anger at their “freedoms” being taken away in the past year 2) Increases in taxes, and 3) other vague grumblings about encroaching socialism. 1) Not one could cite specifically a single freedom of theirs rescinded in the past year 2) Not one could cite specifically how much of an increase in taxes they will have to pay as a result of those oppressive “increases in taxes” (tax refunds have been up 10% this year, and 95% of Americans have had their taxes cut as a result of the stimulus package), and 3) Not a single one gave a proper working definition of “socialism.”

    Another thing that came out about Tea Partiers today was a definition of who they are: middle aged and older, above average income, above average education, and White…oh, and a majority are male. They are also overwhelmingly conservative. Who they are turns out to be angry, white, well off, male conservatives…who would have thought? When asked, 52% said they thought too much entitlement has been given to Blacks; 56% said that too much entitlement has been given to poor people (if I were using FoxNews math, that would be 108% ;-) ). Of course, none of the angry, White, elderly Tea Partiers take Social Security or Medicare benefits from their oppressive government! [sarcasm] Many of the Tea Partiers seem to be retirees (which enables them to go around the country attending these rallies).

    We have a lot of problems in this country, we also have to look at solutions that are at once dramatic yet don’t necessarily produce dramatic results, that are nuanced in the approach. The Tea Party movement is serving as a distraction to that, and they galvanize and take our focus away from solutions. They have no substantive solutions, and they often venture into advocating for failed approaches; additionally, they often demonize reasonable results.

    Tea Partiers are nothing more than garden-variety Republicans who think its clever to call themselves Independents.

  • Ishmael

    The Teabaggers do not constitute a a political movement, but rather a reincarnation of earlier racist movements tinged with a criminal mentality.
    Obama is so far from socialist it isn’t funny: take a look at his tax return.

  • Robert

    Please, Montarro. All of what you mention was initiated under Bush. Why don’t you call him a socialist? It would make at least as much sense. Or were you asleep when all that happened under Bush? People like you simply think what they already wanted to think. (See my earlier post on the 14th.)

  • Janet

    So the billion of dollars in GM that was given to the UAW was the “free market” in action? obama has said on many occasions that he “wants to remake this country and give it to it’s rightful owners”. Who are these “rightful owners?”.

  • Alex

    “So the billion of dollars in GM that was given to the UAW was the “free market” in action?”

    No. It was a consequence of a huge “free market” screw up. The government simply stepped in and saved this American brand and maybe it shouldn’t have. Should have let them go down together with the banks. I’d love to watch the CNBC talking heads explode for once.

  • jeffe

    ulTRAX my point was that the label of Marxist is absurd in the political context it is being used towards Obama.
    We can split hairs on the subject of who is and who is not a pure Marxist.

    Pol Pot considered himself a Marxist, that he was not a text book Marxist is kind of silly don’t you think?
    It is obvious that each of the men I mentioned used the philosophy of Marx and molded it to meet their needs.
    There are no pure Marxist as far as I can see. In Nepal the monarchy was overthrown by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which has it’s roots in Marxism and from what I have read about them some of them consider themselves to be Marxist.

    Also to say that Lenin, Mao and Pot were not living in capitalist nations is not really true. They were not capitalist in the way the west is or was in that time, but they were part and parcel of that system. In the case of Pol Pot Cambodia was at the time a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Montarro wrote The federal govt. is now running car companies, banks, the student loan program, and now with Obamacare, 1/6 of the nations economy, all under Obama’s watch. How could anybody have the audicity to say that Obama is not a socialist?

    Because when you chip away at your rhetoric we find it’s departure from reality is striking.

    The original student loan program was signed into law in 1958 by Dwight Eisenhower. It made DIRECT loans to students. Was that Socialism? Or a merely a speedy national defense response to the launch of Sputnik… addressing the fear the US was falling behind the Russians?

    http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/presidential-papers/second-term/documents/767.cfm

    In 1965 a new program was added that allowed banks to become middlemen in the process. They could make student loans but assume no risk since the loans were guaranteed by the government. There were additional subsidies to these banks to administer the process. As of late this has amounted to about 6 BILLION a year.

    All that happened with the recent reform was to eliminate this bit of corporate welfare and free up more money for loans. How horrible!!! THAT’S what you call Socialism? Remember, the ORIGINAL 1958 student loan program already made DIRECT loans to students.

    Banks didn’t want to lose this cash cow but could never admit that was their real concern. So it’s sounds so much more respectable to spin it as a government takeover… knowing people like you will believe the worst rumors about Obama and the Dems.

    Obviously they were right.

    So what else are you wrong about! I’m sure that’s a question you’re never troubled by.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Jeffe wrote: ulTRAX my point was that the label of Marxist is absurd in the political context it is being used towards Obama.
    We can split hairs on the subject of who is and who is not a pure Marxist.
    Pol Pot considered himself a Marxist, that he was not a text book Marxist is kind of silly don’t you think?

    Yes, the Orwellian Right’s accusations that Obama is a Marxist is silly, but also a deadly serious matter. So, no I don’t think it’s a silly argument to get to the bottom of this historical campaign of disinformation.

    The Right has long abused the term Marxism to mean Lenin’s reinterpretation of it. It’s a view that focuses on Lenin’s treachery and brutality… and calls THAT Marxism. The same has happened with Mao and Pol Pot. Stripped from this are all Marx’s theoretical insights into the nature and dynamics of capitalism. As a book from one McCarthyite congressional committee said in the 50’s, Marx must have been insane to support such brutality and suppression of liberty.

    If we’re ever to get out of this intellectual trap the Right has set with its historical vilification of Marx and rehabilitate him as a brilliant theorist for his time, we have to be able to say that people like Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot were NOT Marxists even if they expropriated his language. Why? Because it’s intellectually dishonest.

    That followers often bastardize original belief systems even as they claim to uphold those beliefs should come as no surprise. Not to make any comparisons of Marxism to Christianity though I’m sure I’ll be accused of it anyway, but there are similarities of how their followers acted.

    Paul of Tarsus called himself a Christian yet he never met Jesus. He invented a new belief system integrating the old Mystery Religions with some select Jewish traditions even though Jesus preached obedience to ALL Jewish Law. The true followers of Jesus died off and what was left was Paul’s new religion called Christianity. Knowing that I find it intellectually dishonest to see what we call Christianity as having much to do with Jesus. The same with Marx. This is not to say there are no newer ideologies built on Marxist thought… or use his language. But it’s difficult to say they are still Marxist when many of his central tenets are rejected.

    All that being said… was Marx correct? We’ll never know. His view was dog-eat-dog capitalism would grind down the vast majority of the population into poverty. They could not long be held down with religious or other belief systems that justified their suffering. They’d eventually see that the economic system needed to be changed and thus Socialism would emerge where the economy was under democratic control.

    In his deterministic schema, he never envisioned the modern democratic nations with a regulated capitalist economies and social safety nets. That short-circuited his historical determinism. Of course, such hybrid economic systems might also have been an attempt to disprove Marx’s predictions. We may never know.

  • ulTRAX

    Jeffe wrote: Also to say that Lenin, Mao and Pot were not living in capitalist nations is not really true. They were not capitalist in the way the west is or was in that time, but they were part and parcel of that system.

    Marx would not have considered Russia, China, or Cambodia to be capitalist economies. That doesn’t mean there was no currency or trade. In his schema of historical development, they would have been closer to feudal systems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx's_theory_of_history

    And this is where Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot depart from Marx because they don’t want to wait for a capitalist economy with all its brutal exploitation even though Marx maintains this is a necessary step to create the proper consciousness needed to evolve to socialism. Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot, want to skip this process and impose their visions of socialism through violence and revolution. They expropriated Marx’s vision and language but not his core belief in historical determinism.

    So were they truly Marxists? I’d argue no… even if the Right lumps them all together.

  • jeffe

    Yes, the Orwellian Right’s accusations that Obama is a Marxist is silly, but also a deadly serious matter. So, no I don’t think it’s a silly argument to get to the bottom of this historical campaign of disinformation.
    True, I could not agree more.

    I was watching Eyes on the Prize this week which is an excellent documentary on the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s. There was some interviews with a few well placed segregationist of the time and one of them, a state supreme court judge I seem to recall, made a very profound statement. I am paraphrasing: “I do not think the Negro is capable of leading and can not be allowed to vote.” He then went on to say something to this effect,” I will not be ruled by a Negro” I will not let this happen, they can not be put into positions of power.” These comments by this bigot seemed to me to be very profound in context to how some people have reacted to Obama being elected into the White House. I think that there is an under current of this kind of resentment towards a Black man being in charge. It’s not all of the right, mind you, but there is an under current of this in some of what is being said and shown in the Tea Party protest and certainly in Glenn Beck. He sounds just like a segregationist circa 1965.

    Another point, LBJ was president during this period and in 1965 he federalized the Alabama National Guard so he could order them to protect the Civil Rights marchers going from Selma to Montgomery AL. People should watch this film, it really is current to what is going on now in so many ways. Johnson was one hell of a president in some ways. He blew most of his capital on Vietnam.

  • Michael

    Wow,

    I was curious if Onpoint was actually going to find someone comparing Obama to being a socalist, and the answer of course was yes (thanks to Matthew Continetti)

    Matt was at-least a step up from Mrs Rubin(if you can even call it that)

    Since we had a show of ism’s for President Obama, can we have one for ism’s on the Republicans, or Tea Baggers, equally have someone on Saying someone along the lines that Matt did “I’m not saying their racist but they act racist” “I’m not saying their Facist but they seem to be doing the say thing Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

  • Larry

    LBJ did more for Civil Rights than JFK ever thought about. He got stuck with JFK’s Vietnam War but tried to fix some social problems with the “Great Society” programs. Most of which have failed, but at least he tried, unlike JFK.

  • jeffe

    I saw this on Boston.com web site.

    It is interviews of some of the people at the Tea Party event. I don’t know but if people are getting a lot of their support from government benefits should they be protesting against the future of those benefits?

    http://multimedia.boston.com/m/30314763/who-are-the-tea-partiers-in-new-england.htm#q=tea+party&index=1&seek=

  • Roy Merritt

    Barack Obama is no more a marxist, or socialist than Glenn Beck is a historian or messiah, which he increasingly portrays himself as. Obama is the kind of President we usually get from the Democratic party. He is a moderately conservative politician who has demonstrated he has some empathy to the working class. I should think the conservatives in this country should be grateful that he has shown such restraint against the corporations and his enemies in the right-wing press. I myself would prefer Obama to have shown himself as a radical liberal. This country should restrain these rabid free-marketers, which today translate to unfettered capitalism bordering on the criminal. In that type of world an effete wealthy few get all the profit and we the consequences of such unrestrained greed. These right-wingers are simply upset that the man they wanted to win the election failed to do so and they can’t tolerate the idea of a person of color holding the highest office in the world. In short they are a bunch of racist thugs.

  • B

    Tom, Why do you and other journalist continue to lend credence to these ridiculous charges against the President by continuing to cover these stories about voter anger, the TEA Party, and the opinions of Fox News talking heads?

    Our country is in a perilous condition on almost every front. To pull our country back from the edge we need genuine, serious discussion and action on solving the problems that affect our country.

    I support NPR financially because I expect to get fact based news that doesn’t cater to the sensationalist activities of various groups in the social and political landscape.

    Fox News, CNN, and major network news have all decided to put a sensationalist spin on all news. I expect better from NPR and I’m really dissapointed with NPR’s coverage of the President and the issues affecting our country.

  • http://afterobama.blogspot.com Constructive Feedback

    [quote]It’s all about the black man in the White House.

    Posted by Newton[/quote]

    Newton:

    Black man here!!!

    I take it that the Anti-War protests stopped because there was no longer a “WHITE MAN in the White House”? Most certainly the wars have not stopped.

    Why do you point to the tax cuts – that we should be thankful for according to the “Black president” but not look at the fact that this year’s budget deficit is slated to be $1,540 billion, following the $1,400 billion deficit from last year?

    The present budget deficit is larger than the entire federal budget from the year 1995!!!

    Maybe the main racists are those who seek to use the President’s race as a cover to defend the clear damage that this spending will have upon the American economy?

    Does pointing out people’s SILENCE from Bush’s spending remove the painful facts about unsustainable debt? Or does it merely pacify YOU in a debate?

  • http://afterobama.blogspot.com Constructive Feedback

    [quote]These right-wingers are simply upset that the man they wanted to win the election failed to do so and they can’t tolerate the idea of a person of color holding the highest office in the world. In short they are a bunch of racist thugs.[/quote]

    Roy – Can a Black man like me not suffer from the “Stockholm Syndrome” and question the policies of the Black President and the Federal Democrats?

    If you want to talk about “lack of tolerance” you need to focus on the Liberal Bigots who practice voter nullification regarding the results from the Progressives that control the institutions in most of our large cities. Whereas they were sure to remove the enemy party out of power for their economic failures – it seems, for example that the Democratic governor of Michigan is able to sustain reelection despite the economic meltdown in the state that occurred under her watch.

    She was able to proclaim that 40,000 new “Green Jobs” would be created per her new initiative and this seemingly was able to pacify the left about the hundreds of thousands of “polluting industrial jobs” that had departed the state over the years.

    Sorry – bigotry has no ideological or racial container.

  • jeffe

    Constructive I think one needs to separate what is clearly racially based comments and critiques of the president Obama. There is a difference. Your blog give me the impression that you are very conservative. Which is fine, but it also points to a fact. Nothing any democratic president would do would be to a conservatives liking.

  • http://afterobama.blogspot.com Constructive Feedback

    jeffe:

    I will go one step further than you and make an observation about the state of the United States in 2010 and state that – RACISM IS NOT THE GREATEST ASSAILANT OF BLACK PEOPLE TODAY.

    In fact as the Black Establishment and their progressive cohorts on MSNBC feign offense about “Confederates” and “Tea Parties” – our attention is removed from the failures that their party and ideology are rendering where it counts the most:

    * In our schools
    * The safety on our streets
    * The ability of our local economies to produce jobs
    * The healthy lifestyle outcomes

    jeffe – when Tea Party people begin to injure Black people in these key areas – I will join in on the protests.

    Instead I choose to not take the bait as I make note of those who got power in my community by making certain promises only to have them attain power yet continue to “racism chase” outward as a means of escaping scrutiny.

    I am not buying it any longer. Sorry.

  • jeffe

    OK, what do you see as a solution your bullet points?

    I don’t see racism in every Tea Party comment or talking point, but there are some who are. I’m not sure how you can say racism is not part of the attitudes towards Obama by some. The violence you are talking about may not be apparent as physical attacks but it is there nonetheless.

    I would also include the anti-immigrant back lash as part of the equation in racism today. We do see violence in these communities, a teenager in LI was just convicted for manslaughter and hate crimes in the death of a Latino man. So while there is not the same level of violence one saw in the 50′s and 60′s, we are still a nation with race issues.

  • http://afterobama.blogspot.com Constructive Feedback

    Jeffe:

    Why do you ask me for a “solution”? Is this what you mandated prior to casting your previous vote?

    For me – it is immaterial that there is “racism in the Tea Parties”. If you find me a point in time in which there WON’T BE “racism” in any mass movement then I will show you some other point upon which people’s ignorance and hatred is crystallized.

    You say “race issues”.
    It is interesting to me to listen to people who make the case that the White folks in Alabama are RACIST because they only voted for Obama to the tune of 11%. Yet this same person often lacks the intellectual consistency to inspect the fact that 96% of Black Americans voted for Obama.

    The indictment is not only that this took place – oh no that would be far too easy for some of you. Instead we should note that this took place at a time when the machine upon which Obama sits atop of also controls every single voting district in America where Black Americas are 35%+ of the voting base. How does one craft grievances over their public schools and local economic opportunity yet look past the failures of the “local Democrats” and instead blame the “National Republicans”?

    The Whites in the Rust Belt are no different. Some of the most economically depressed areas in this region routinely support the incumbent establishment that lead them during the decline.

    Why is it that RACISM is the only form of bigotry that needs to be called out. Ideological myopia stands just as reprehensible.

  • Robert

    Dang! Don’t they teach punctuation in schools anymore? Putting that aside, Marxist was a brilliant thinker, but his thinking has been conflated incorrectly with all kinds of totalitarian brutality. On the other hand, his thinking fundamentally assumes economics as a zero sum game…that is, “I can gain financially only at someone else’s expense.”

    That is only true in the very short term and in very narrow, local, specific negotiations. The wealth in any economy is, in the larger view, a product of two factors, energy supply and the intelligence with which it is used to structure the economic, human, and physical environment in productive ways. “Productive ways” means ways that produce lasting benefit in terms of the quality of life for society as a whole, and not just a few individuals at the expense of everyone else.

    So-called “free market” economies only work when financial incentives are aligned with social good that is not short-sighted and perniciously localized. Individuals should ideally be rewarded with wealth to the extent that they make real contributions to the long-term well being of society. In such an ideal economy, those who are very successful at this accumulate more wealth than others, but it is wealth that rewards to the extent that they BENEFIT OTHERS. Much wealth accumulation today is anything but earned in such socially beneficial ways, as recent history should be teaching us.

    Those people and vested interests representing the most outspoken advocates of what THEY call “free markets” today are like Marx in their fundamental assumption that one can only win at the expense of others. These are the very people who yell the loudest against Marxism, yet their actions are based on the same fundamental assumption that Marx made…namely that economics is a zero sum game, that the rich can only win wealth on the backs of losers.

    Marx didn’t like this aspect of capitalism, which is to say, he argued for a more equitable distribution of wealth. However, this for him meant less wealth for the rich and more for the rest. The simple truth is that if everyone truly followed the Golden Rule and treated others as we would like them to treat us…in a word, treat others ETHICALLY, we would ALL be immeasurably wealthier in terms of our fundamental quality of life, the only measure of wealth that really counts. And our children would not have to pay the price for our foolish abuse of resources of every kind.

    However, given that we cannot count on everyone spontaneously acting in this manner, we need to put in place social norms and financial incentives that discourage acts of narrow self-interest that abuse others and damage society. We need to act coherently as a society, in democratic fashion, to limit the power of the few to sucker the rest of us into feeding their insatiable thirst for illicit power, wealth, and the unbridled abuse of their fellows and the environment even of their own children.

  • ulTRAX

    Constructive Feedback wrote on his/her blog: Obama Believes That We Should Be Thankful For Being Allowed To Keep Our Money

    You speak of ideological myopia yet are myopic to your own. If you have a mortgage, do you consider all of your paycheck YOUR money? Or is some of it your CREDITOR’S money?

    If We The People are now some $12.6 TRILLION in debt… and we refuse to pay for it, but instead keep running up the national credit card… it’s pretty difficult to make the case that you owe nothing to pay down that debt. Therefore just where is the line between your money and what we owe our creditors?

    I’m sick of those on the Free Lunch Right that bought into the Right’s lies that if we run an annual budget surplus even though we’re trillions in debt, then it’s PROOF we’re overtaxed. Please don’t say that never happens. It happened in 2000 and what did it get us? Round after round of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy… ALL paid for with borrowed money.

    So when you buy into these Orwellian Right distortions that tax cuts are a Free Lunch, all you’re doing is enabling those extremists on the Right who are determined to create more debt… and yet refuse to take any responsibility for it.

    While it’s not yet clear whether Obama will be a Clinton and prioritize a balanced budget, Please take care of the Free Lunch myopia on the Right before lecturing anyone else.

  • ulTRAX

    Constructive Feedback… the chart you have at your blog from http://www.moonbattery.com/obama-deficit-slide.jpg comparing the Bush vs Obama deficits is also deceptive if not downright dishonest. It pretends that Bush budget ended after FY08 (9-30-08) when in fact Bush wrote the FY09 budget… and it was during this time where the first massive bailout of the banks occurred. And even that graph is incorrect.

    It seems to indicate the FY09 deficit is somewhere around 1.9 TRILLION. In reality the final OMB numbers have the FY09 deficit at $1.4 Trillion*. Don’t you think that a $500 BILLION error is something to be avoided??? Why are you so determined to blame Obama you don’t even doublecheck your sources?

    You’re proving to be a person not interested in reality… but Orwellian Right spin. What’s you REAL agenda CF? It’s certainly not getting at the truth.

    Shame!

    *SOURCE: Historical Tables Budget of the U. S. Government FY2011,
    Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2015

  • David Henry

    The “toothless masses” are only toothless because there is no public dental coverage and very little dental coverage extended by employers…That and sugar and corn syrup production are highly subsidized by the state. Ahh we didn’t even get into Corporatism – (hint it was big in Italy in the ’30s.)

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

 
Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

More »
Comment
 
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
2 Comments