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.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.