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View Full Version : Elections Ambinder: Obama, the friendly socialist?


Taco John
10-16-2008, 01:48 PM
Obama, The Friendly Socialist?
16 Oct 2008 07:36 am

Republican and conservative readers tend to send me one of four types of e-mails these days.


(1) This column is getting too pro-Obama because I'm a closet liberal and member of Obama's amen chorus....... Pro-Obama is defined herein as having the desire to write critically about Sen. McCain and jumping into the tank for Obama.

(2) This column is getting too pro-Obama, but hey, he's over 50 in the national polls and Sen. McCain is running a lackluster campaign, and if one campaign is outhustling another, if one campaign is distorting stuff more, then you've got to call 'em as you seem 'em, even if some of your readers are going to complain.

(3) E-mails saying that, despite the mood of the national electorate, this column has been fair.

(4) E-mails wondering why I'm not covering such-and-such a comment by Obama.

One correspondent wondered why I hadn't posted anything on Barack Obama's admission that he's a socialist. That he, in the words of the Republican, "wants to take money and "spread the wealth around?"

Hadn't heard that, I said.

At this juncture the Republican IM'd me a link to Fox and Friends discussing the incident, which is kind of like a Democrat e-mailing me a link to Countdown and hoping that I wouldn't look up the context either.

Anyway, Fox and Friends's Steve Doocy tossed to a sound bite featuring Barack Obama chatting with a man identified as a plumber -- who last night jumped into our consciousness as "Joe The Plumber" -- who had asked the candidate whether his new tax plan "is gonna tax people."

Obama responds: "It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everyone who is beyond you has a chance at success too."

Then the video jumps a bit.

Obama: "I think that, when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

The Fox director cuts back to Doocey: "Did ya hear that last part... Spread the wealth around.."

Ok -- so did Obama just admit that he wanted to redistribute wealth? Did he speak in socialist code?

Here's the context from the pool report from Fox's (excellent) producer on the ground, Bonney Kapp.

Turns out that the second sound bite -- the spread the wealth around part -- comes later in the conversation, when the plumber said that it seemed like Obama would support a flat tax.

We can wade into Obama's answer in midstream. First he discusses a technical point about the flat tax. Then he says:

"And I do believe for folks like me who have worked hard, but frankly also been lucky, I don'ít mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress that I just met over there who'ís things are slow and she can barely make the rent. Because my attitude is that if the economyí's good for folks from the bottom up, itís gonna be good for everybody."

"If you've got a plumbing business, you're going to be better off it you've got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now I think everybody's so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody. "

He's simply restating support for a progressive income tax, not making a larger statement about the economy.

True -- Joe The Plumber didn't like the answer. He said Obama tap-danced more than Sammy Davis, Jr.

But it's misleading to suggest that Obama was revealing his secret socialism here.

HolmeZz
10-16-2008, 01:54 PM
If we started caring about context DC would only get about 3 new threads a day.

BIG_DADDY
10-16-2008, 01:58 PM
Obama changes the game. That's what libs don't understand. I have no incentive to work myself into a higher tax bracket. Move your business or don't work as hard. Either way the increased revenue stream he is looking for isn't going to be there. Then there is the 1 trillion in new spending issue.

Taco John
10-16-2008, 02:23 PM
I just wish people that voted Republican cared about decreasing spending when Republicans are in office.

OnTheWarpath58
10-16-2008, 02:37 PM
If we started caring about context DC would only get about 3 new threads a day.

This.

tiptap
10-16-2008, 02:42 PM
I just wish people that voted Republican cared about decreasing spending when Republicans are in office.

I thought this would at least be the blessing when Bush first got elected. He was going to be different than his father and follow through with promises. Oh well I didn't vote for him and if we hadn't had 9/11 I think he'd have had only one term.

mlyonsd
10-16-2008, 02:43 PM
I just wish people that voted Republican cared about decreasing spending when Republicans are in office.

There's a lot to be said for this.

At some point in the future which ever party actually does cut spending will reap many many years of power.

bkkcoh
10-16-2008, 02:44 PM
Does anyone really think that Obama will actually sign a budget that will have a net decrease in spending?

Especially if he continures to have democratically controlled house and senate!

RaiderH8r
10-16-2008, 02:46 PM
Obama changes the game. That's what libs don't understand. I have no incentive to work myself into a higher tax bracket. Move your business or don't work as hard. Either way the increased revenue stream he is looking for isn't going to be there. Then there is the 1 trillion in new spending issue.

Exactly. I'm seriously considering how I can default on my loans and get the gov. to cover for me. Obama keeps telling me how he can fix my problems so I'm trying to figure out how I can get me some problems to be fixed. I'm getting sick of having no problems for government to fix, seriously, I get no attention. I'm about beat into submission. My dad's already given up. He's almost ready to retire and he's sick of fighting the fight. If government wants to give him shit he's ready to take it.

RaiderH8r
10-16-2008, 02:48 PM
There's a lot to be said for this.

At some point in the future which ever party actually does cut spending will reap many many years of power.

No they won't. You'd like to think they will but they won't because the American public is generally a bunch of spoiled, self important, entitlement minded pussies who want their government teet nice and swelled so they can suckle that sweet sweet nectar of goodness that is other people's money.

I'm going to take a f*ckitol and get in line for some teet action myself.

mlyonsd
10-16-2008, 03:05 PM
No they won't. You'd like to think they will but they won't because the American public is generally a bunch of spoiled, self important, entitlement minded pussies who want their government teet nice and swelled so they can suckle that sweet sweet nectar of goodness that is other people's money.

I'm going to take a f*ckitol and get in line for some teet action myself.

While I agree with your basic sentiment I do think at some point in the future the chickens really will come home to roost and spending cuts will become popular.

That might be about the time those 40 nuclear plants are built :) but at some point I think it will happen. More likely when we wake up and realize a global economy sucks.

RaiderH8r
10-16-2008, 03:08 PM
While I agree with your basic sentiment I do think at some point in the future the chickens really will come home to roost and spending cuts will become popular.

That might be about the time those 40 nuclear plants are built :) but at some point I think it will happen. More likely when we wake up and realize a global economy sucks.

Come on dude, give up your pride and get you some teet. Mmmm government teet allllrrrghhhhh.

mlyonsd
10-16-2008, 03:11 PM
Come on dude, give up your pride and get you some teet. Mmmm government teet allllrrrghhhhh.

The day after Obama gets elected is when I put my lawn chair next to the mailbox and camp out waiting for my next stimulus check.

jidar
10-16-2008, 03:14 PM
I have no ability to work myself into a higher tax bracket.

fyp

jidar
10-16-2008, 03:15 PM
I just wish people that voted Republican cared about decreasing spending when Republicans are in office.

That's the damned truth.

jidar
10-16-2008, 03:16 PM
The day after Obama gets elected is when I put my lawn chair next to the mailbox and camp out waiting for my next stimulus check.

Yeah, those checks we got from Bush were awesome. I bought a pony.

'Hamas' Jenkins
10-16-2008, 03:16 PM
Obama changes the game. That's what libs don't understand. I have no incentive to work myself into a higher tax bracket. Move your business or don't work as hard. Either way the increased revenue stream he is looking for isn't going to be there. Then there is the 1 trillion in new spending issue.

Yeah, because it's not like you are keeping 65% of your income from 250K up under his tax proposal or anything.

I guess you were also motivated to work less under Reagan, since he had an even higher tax rate for the upper bracket.

bango
10-16-2008, 09:25 PM
I thought this would at least be the blessing when Bush first got elected. He was going to be different than his father and follow through with promises. Oh well I didn't vote for him and if we hadn't had 9/11 I think he'd have had only one term.

Yes, if September 11th, 2001 had been an ordinary day then he would not have had a chance for any second term. I felt that same way about Gore too. I thought that neither one was worth anything at all, but at least they would be gone in four years.