Thursday, February 11, 2010

I often wonder if people are (1) ignorant that what they're claiming as fact is actually not true, or (2) aware that their claims are not true but think the public is too stupid and/or ignorant to know better... with my rule of thumb being that the more prominent position one has, the more likely it is that the latter applies.

Such is the case with E.J. Dionne's column today in which he defends Obama against claims that he is a socialist. Dionne says that can't be the case because (his claims in italics):

"Obama... is the man who saved the banks and the capital markets...". But he did so by taking over control of many of those banks, and what is socialism if not state-ownership of industry?

"his health-care proposals stopped far short of the single-payer system that so many liberals have long sought". But Obama has been quoted as saying he wants a single payer system. His failure to aggressively for such a plan is more a reflection of public opposition than Obama's abandonment of that socialist goal.

"(Obama's) stimulus plan was, if anything, too small". Well, it certainly wasn't viewed as too small when it was proposed and rammed through Congress, it was far larger than any previous stimulus plan, and claims that it was too small only surfaced after it became clear that the plan had failed miserably. And like a good liberal/socialist, Obama's reaction was not to question the wisdom of borrowing and spending $800 billion, but to instead think that $800 billion just wasn't enough.

"And Obama, although belatedly, endorsed a bipartisan commission to reach a deal on deficit reduction". And, of course, stacked it so that the only outcome would be a call to raise taxes, something that is not inconsistent with socialist dogma.

Only in Dionne's world would a failure to immediately and totally move to a socialist economy be proof that someone didn't believe in socialism. The question: does Dionne really believe that? Or is he cynically using Obama's failure to achieve socialist goals to argue that Obama isn't a socialist?

Given that Dionne is paid to follow politics, my strong guess is that he knows better... he just thinks his loyal readers are too stupid to know the truth... and given his readership, he's probably right.