Actual Socialism

Well, it’s finally happened: someone with actual experience of “socialism”– albeit the nasty, Eastern European variety–has objected to the use of that term by American Republicans to describe Barack Obama.

I hear the word “socialist” being tossed around by the likes of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others. President Obama, they warn, is a socialist. The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.

As someone associated with Hollywood, retired movie director Milos Forman (a native of the former Czechoslovakia) probably won’t have much of an impact on conservatives. But he deserves great respect for trying to keep them honest.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.