Juan Cole: Obama a socialist?





Is McCain a far Right extremist?

When McCain calls Obama a"socialist," is he Red-baiting?

Republicans back in the 1950s through the 1980s routinely accused Democrats of being"Communists" or hinted around that they were fellow travelers or 'soft on communism.' Richard M. Nixon, the grand dragon of dirty tricks, described the Democratic standard bearer in 1952, Adlai Stevenson, as a man with a"PhD from Dean Acheson's cowardly college of Communist containment." Nixon never did anything to contradict the policy of containing communism (one supposes the alternative was a nuclear war) and he decades later opened Communist China.

Fabulously wealthy arch-conservative Godfather Richard Mellon Scaife notoriously called journalist Karen Rothmeyer a 'f*cking Communist c*nt' when she asked him about his funding practices.

These charges of"Communism" against mainstream American politicians and journalists would have made no sense to the public save for the propaganda activities of the much less reputable Far Right, which was a small but disproportionately important part of the American right wing.

It is therefore not suprising that a Republican senator from Florida comapared Obama's taxation policies to Communism.

McCain has known close associations with the nuttier of the far right political cults, such as Gen. John Singlaub's"US Council for World Freedom."

But McCain is after all a senator and has to mince words to remain a viable candidate. Let us listen to his brother, Joe McCain, who, according to Nicholas F. Benton of The Falls Church News recently characterized Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia as Communist territory, causing some prominent N. Virginia Republicans to resign:
' 'Yesterday, Falls Church City Councilman David Snyder, a former mayor who's been on the City Council since 1994 and is the most prominent Republican elected official in the City, announced in a letter submitted to the News-Press (printed elsewhere in this edition) that he's disassociated with the Virginia GOP. Snyder accented his letter with angry comments made to the News-Press in a phone interview yesterday. He said that well-publicized comments by GOP Presidential candidate John McCain's brother, Joe McCain, in Alexandria last weekend was the"final straw." Joe McCain, speaking at a rally in support of his brother's campaign, said that Northern Virginia is a" communist country.""Such a label is deeply offensive for all of us," Snyder said in his letter."This is yet another reminder of the neo-McCarthyism now so much a part of the political debate." He concluded,"The Virginia Republican Party, under whose tent these comments were made, is not a party with which I wish to be associated for this and many other reasons, unless and until it returns to the principles of its once revered former leaders, such Abraham Lincoln and Dwight David Eisenhower." '


McCain's pattern of associations, with Singlaub and G. Gordon Liddy, and the bizarre, even nutty pronouncements of his brother Joe, raise the severest questions about McCain's fitness to be president.

As for socialism, when the Republican administration is having the government buy bank stocks, that cow is out of the barn.



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