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Is the President a Thoroughly Modern “Progressive” Politician?

Today at the New York Times‘s Bloggingheads, David Frum and Jonah Goldberg debate the question: “Is Obama a Socialist?”  Because of its political toxicity outside of Vermont, the term “socialist” will never be emblazoned on any banner that Mr. Obama chooses to sail beneath.  No matter.  The President has many of the notions, and suffers from many of the tics, shared by all self-proclaimed socialists.  I’m reminded of H.L. Mencken’s thoughts on the question of whether or not labor-union leader John L. Lewis was a communist:

Lewis says that he is not a Communist, and there is no reason to doubt him.  He is too hard-boiled a fellow to swallow the puerile rubbish that passes for dialectic among Marxian intellectuals.  But all the same he joins in some of their fundamental assumptions, just as he joins in those of the New Deal sorcerers.  Especially does he join in the assumption of both outfits that the nation would be vastly benefited if its present scheme could be radically overhauled, and the safeguards now thrown about property eliminated, and all power and prerogative handed over to men of vision, sworn to serve and save the lowly.*

Sounds awfully much like Pres. Obama to me.

* H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956 [1996]), pp. 325-326.

Here’s John Stossel’s sensible take on the matter.


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