Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Watching O'Reilly

I've become a pretty big fan of Bill O'Reilly on Fox. Not the "set the Tivo" kind of fan, but if I happen to be in a room with a TV on during the right hour, I have no problem kicking my feet up and watching the man do his business.

Tonight he hosted Newt Gingrich, who was laboring to make the case that Obama's ties to Ayers means that Obama is a socialist.

THAT IS NOT WHAT AYERS MEANS TO THIS ELECTION! (for more on that, see this post here)

Listen, Obama is a liberal, high-tax guy, there's no question about that. Is he a socialist? Well. . .maybe. But that is an argument that needs to be made on the points, not just on associations.

Encyclopedia Brittanica (online) describes socialism as a "social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources"

Does "spreading the wealth" equal socialism? I am unconvinced that the answer to that question is "yes". Obviously, you don't have socialism without a more equitable spreading of wealth throughout the population than you would find in, say, capitalism--but that doesn't mean that wealth redistribution on its own equates directly to socialism.

As long as we have private enterprise (or more precisely, a government that allows private enterprise), we do not have socialism.

How many times have we conservatives ourselves said "just because so-and-so says this is the way it is, that doesn't make it true."

Well, Obama's "take from the rich and give to the poor"--as horrible of a recipe as that is for economic growth--is not socialism. Yes, it's a good way towards socialism--but it ain't even close to all the way there.

And I think O'Reilly deflected this back very well on two separate fronts, and in two seperate manners (one with Newt and one with a later guest): first with Newt, O'Reilly opined that it is going to be too tough to make the "socialist" meme stick in the last two weeks of the election, especially with the environment that currently exists thanks to the media. The greatest truth to this logic is that, as I hopefully have done above, it is very easy to dismiss the socialist attack because Obama has yet to talk about property as if it belongs to the government.

(Again, I must stress, socialism MAY BE what Obama hopes to do--but that is an argument that must be made on merits, not by horrible associations with radicals. And I don't think that's been done yet--and I DEFINITELY agree with O'Reilly that even if it can be done, I doubt it will have time to sink in before the election.)

Secondly, the more and more that Obama's "moment" with Joe Wurzelbacher gets played, the more people will hear "spread the wealth around". Now I happen to believe that this is a poor recipe for economic recovery and growth--especially the latter--but as O'Reilly noted, if YOU are one of the people who is suffering an economic crunch due to the filthy capitalists (read: CEOs) looking out for their own interests rather than the interests of the investors in their company, then you probably don't mind thinking that you're going to be getting a little piece of their ill-gotten pie. Heck, such a promise might be very darn attractive to you.

We need to show that this road, this "spread the wealth around" road is not a road that this country wants to go down.

The only people who "win" (used very loosely) in that situation are those who earn nothing or next-to-nothing on their own. And they likely--very likely--won't be making out like superstars. They'll have more, to be sure, but I doubt they'll be chin-high in arugula and caviar. (Didn't you hear? Those things are only for the CHAMPIONS of the little people, not for the little people themselves. Silly you! Apparently you didn't learn anything from Silky Pony)

And eventually, when the corporate taxes have led to enough job losses and other forms of work-compensation contraction that the rules of the game have been adjusted for the new reality, current "middle class" earners will be targeted to help fund the government's "wealth redistribution" program. The current level of "wealthshare" is (supposedly) $250K from day one. . .what will the magic level be in year 3?

Oh, and even before that happens, those corporate taxes have led to price increases (those horrible corporations won't go quiet into that goodnight, I assure you of that). Your middle-class dollars have less value--and then they become a gift to someone else.

There is no "growth" here. Recovery? Not even close. Transformation?


But not in the kind of way that would lead self-respecting moderates to endorse this man and his plans.

In sum, Obama CAN be attacked for a poor economic plan that has TRACES of socialism at a time when we need to set free market principles loose in order to expand opportunities to folks of all classes.

This entire financial meltdown is a result of government intervention in our finacial sector--why would we look for more of that, and on a more personal level than at any other time in our country's history?

Just leave the "Obama = Ayers = Socialism" stuff on the sidelines. It's too hard to make that case. The best you can do with Ayers along this line of attack is "Obama is comfortable around socialists," and that is some pretty weak gruel.

But if you make the case that "Obama is comfortable around anti-American radicals who used violent means to express their disdain for the government". . .well, then we're talking about a case to be made.

It's just not an economic case.

Don't get your lines of attack confused here--message discipline is critical if we're going to make a run in these late stages.


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