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Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
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Comrade Obama?


If Barack Obama is not a socialist, he does the best imitation of one I've ever seen.

Under his tax plan, the top 5 percent of wage-earners have their income tax rates raised from 35 percent to 40 percent, while the bottom 40 percent of all wage-earners, who pay no income tax, are sent federal checks.

If this is not the socialist redistribution of wealth, what is it?

A steeply graduated income tax has always been the preferred weapon of the left for bringing about socialist equality. Indeed, in the "Communist Manifesto" of 1848, Karl Marx was himself among the first to call for "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax."

The Obama tax plan is pure Robin Hood class warfare: Use the tax power of the state to rob the successful and reward the faithful. Only in Sherwood Forest it was assumed the Sheriff of Nottingham and his crowd had garnered their wealth by other than honest labor.

"Spread the wealth," Barack admonished Joe the Plumber.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," said old Karl in 1875. When Barbara West of WFTV in Orlando, Fla., put the Marx quote to Biden, however, Joe recoiled in spluttering disbelief.

West: "You may recognize this famous quote: 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.' That's from Karl Marx. How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

Biden: "Are you joking? Is this a joke?"

Biden's better defense, however, might have be the "Tu quoque!" retort: "You, too!" — the time-honored counter-charge of hypocrisy.

Indeed, how do Republicans who call Obama a socialist explain their support for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and the Earned Income Tax Credit? What are these if not government-mandated transfers of wealth to the middle and working class, and the indigent and working poor?

Since August, the Bush-Paulson team has seized our biggest S&L, Washington Mutual, and largest insurance company, AIG. It has nationalized Fannie and Freddie, pumped scores of billions into our banks, bailed out GM, Ford and Chrysler, and paid the $29 billion dowry for Bear Stearns to enter its shotgun marriage with JPMorgan Chase.

And with federal, state and local taxes taking a third of gross domestic product, and government regulating businesses with wage-and-hour laws, civil rights laws, environmental laws, and occupational health and safety laws, what are we living under, if not a mixed socialist-capitalist system?

Norman Thomas is said to have quit running for president on the Socialist ticket after six campaigns because the Democratic Party had stolen all his ideas and written them into its platforms.

Did Ike repeal the New Deal? Did Richard Nixon roll back the Great Society? Nope.

He funded the Great Society. Did Ronald Reagan cut federal spending? Nope, defense spending soared. Bill Clinton slashed defense, but George Bush II set social spending records with No Child Left Behind and prescription drug benefits for the elderly under Medicare. Surpluses vanished, deficits returned, the national debt almost doubled.

Is the old republic then dead and gone, in the irretrievable past? Are we engaged in an argument settled before we were born?

In his 1938 essay "The Revolution Was," Garet Garrett wrote:

"There are those who think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of the Depression, singing songs to freedom."

Nevertheless, there is a difference not just of degree but of kind between unemployment compensation for jobless workers, welfare for destitute families, and confiscating the income of taxpayers who earned it — to hand out to chronic tax consumers who did not.

This last is the socialism Winston Churchill called "the philosophy of envy and gospel of greed." And it is this suggestion of socialist ideology in Obama's words that has produced the belated pause by a nation that seemed to be moving into his camp. What did Barack say in 2001?

He spoke of the inadequacy of the courts as institutions to bring about "redistributive change" in society, of the "tragedy" of the civil rights movement in losing sight of the "political and organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."

Normal people don't talk like that. Socialists do.

This is ideology speaking. This is the redistributionist drivel one hears from cosseted college radicals and the "Marxist professors" Obama says in his memoir he sought out at the university. It is the language of social parasites like William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Father Pfleger.

Enforced egalitarianism entails the death of excellence. For it seizes the rewards that excellence earns and turns them over to politicians and bureaucrats for distribution to the mediocrities upon whose votes they depend. One need not be Ayn Rand to see that Barack has picked up from past associates utopian notions that have ever produced nightmare states.

To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



7 Comments | Post Comment
How about actually giving some good advice to Obama, rather than simply making these types of claims/accusations which accomplish little. Looking back in life, is this what you want to have put your great stratetgic mind to? I respect and enjoy you, but wish you would be less partisan and more helpful.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Matt
Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:59 AM
Sir;... If you call Mr. Obama a socialist then you should meet me... I am a hundred times the socialist that Mr. Obama is... But you are a socialist too, and you should not lie. You use the same sewer, and the same street and the same hospital as everyone else. You may bear a part of the cost, but the cost has already been borne, the invesment made, and for a small cost you enjoy the benefit... No one in attending university must learn things from scratch; so everyone recieves a certain knowledge that was really a capital investment from days gone by, and that were once bought by the whole of a society for your benefit... If you would consider the defense of the country; you would see that task performed by people who surrender their individuality to a high degree and work for a common purpose: the defense of our common land and common rights. And, if you look through your pipe stem into the dim and distant past, you will see all people were once socialsitic, and democratic; because what they lacked in technology they made up for in social organization... We do not think to what extent our notions of the individual rests upon technological advances paid for by whole peoples... Poverty is always more social, and wealth is always more individual... But look at rights... It is not government that has rights... Individuals have rights... But those rights are held in common and defended in common by government... No individual can freely defend his property or his rights... Even the title to his property is only as good as the government makes it... It is the government that holds the first title to all real estate... They defend their right to it when they defend yours; but no right is absolute. There must always be a definable public purpose in private property . .. Now; you know socialism is a dirty word, but as an insult, it tags the person who throws it as a fool... The more dire is poverty, and the greater the external threat, the more people are socialist... If some fool has convinced you that your property or your life or your rights exist apart from the mechanism, the social agreement for their defense, then you are really dull... Socialism as a form of economy is like capital as form of economy, and is only a form of relationship... It is pointless to argue against the forms people have that work for them, and easy enough to argue against the forms people have that don't work for them... But if I argue against capital as a form of relationship that does not work, I am not arguing for socialism that will work only so long as the need for it exists... I argue against chattel slavery for the same reason: that it does not work... -And for the same reason that capital does not work, because it denies to people their own produce, and by the same measure denies their contribution to their society and economy, so it denies their lives, their rights, and their individuality... It makes master, and slave equally the slaves to their form since no master can imagine being without his slaves, and few slaves can imagine freedom. Slavery, like capital is a form of economy that is unequal, and it demands much from one, and gives him little... Like all unequal forms, like unequal forms of marriage, or like feudalism, it is doomed... Societies do not succeed only because the rich succeed.. There were rich in Greece, and in Rome, and in Russia, and in France... Their socieities were awash with injustice and were washed away... Is that what you seek for this land??? Because I will tell you... WE STAND TOGETHER; or we will fall apart... We all have to benefit from this nation, or it will be reformed. Socialism is never a choice people make for themselves on a lark, but is a choice made for them by circumstances. If you do not want socialism; make capital work for a majority of the people... ..Thanks....Sweeney
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:30 AM
In reply to your claim that Obama is a socialist, here is a quote from another well-known socialist, Adam Smith, who wrote in that old proto-communist text, The Wealth of Nations, the following:

"The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

Perhaps you worry that Mr. Obama is going to follow in the footsteps of another great socialist leader, Dwight Eisenhower, although he'll have to become far more ambitious than he currently is to approach the "redistributionist" level that Eisenhower reached.

The bottom line is that progressive taxation, not to mention other public benefits that you mentioned (food stamps, Medicare, etc) are not incompatible with a capitalist society, at least any capitalist society that would call itself civilized. Your outlandish attack on proposals that are well within the mainstream of american values and recent political history is despicable, gutter politics practiced by a desperate, pathetic character.

One more thing: For a person who claims to be a Christian, your demonization of any public measures to ameliorate the suffering of the poor, the sick, and the unemployed is breathtakingly hyprocritical. As you selfishly campaign for the wealthy to keep all of what they've accumulated (earned or unearned), with nary a thought for the common good, you belong with the biblical Pharisees and moneylenders, and their modern equivalents who do not belong at the table of your savior who you have no right to worship. You sully the very idea of the God you claim to admire.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jonathan Moll
Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:00 PM
It just doesn't matter what Barack Obama is called when he has twice the money to spend. What does matter is how Barack Obama may have 200 million dollars in unverified donations. What also matters is how he irresponsibly spends every last dollar and then wants to spend even more if elected.

Here is a youtube video from a Hillary Clinton Supporter voting for John McCain
Comment: #4
Posted by: Alessandro Machi
Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:08 PM
Sir;...Tu quoque is also a legal defense, which in the case of the Nazi warr criminals was not allowed for such behavior as unrestricted submarine warfare, and the invasion of Norway, where they got a big jump on England... Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #5
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:13 PM
Re: Matt;... Sir the p roblem with Mr. B, is that he is a little man who think he can be a big man if he rides a big idea... But he ends up making himself look like a pipsqueak on a plow horse... The socialist thing is bunk... But if it were not, would it be so bad??? I mean we have a lot of resources and a lot of people, talent, capital; but if we have just too many who want all for themselves, then nothing works for them, or us... Some propblems demand a social solution... I mean, it is a bummer for Obama, because to do anything effective he will be stung with the charge of Socialist... But if he does not take care of infrastructure and the people by way of social programs giving hope to vast number on the verge of hopelessness, then he will likely fail at saving thecountry from poverty, or socialism... Do you see what I mean... He is no socialist, but if he does not act socialistically, he will drive the country nearer to socialism... And what is socialism to fear: Government over industry??? I'll wet the bed out of fear... Who is there who thinks business will die with a little government??? Since it is killing us, and killing itself without government.... .Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #6
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:27 PM
Sweeney's got the right idea. Hypocrisy thy name is Buchanan. Is it socialist for the wealthy to enjoy all the fruits of the common contribution to our weal? Is it socialist to allow the poor just enough income to spend on what profits the rich? What do you call the reverse socialism that allows corporations and whole industries to rip off the public. Halliburton to the middle east, others to the Caymans and Channel Islands etc. Where do the poor go to just keep their pittances? Come on Buchanan this country is a fully owned subsidiary of big business. Look @ part d of medicare and the subsidization of the entire medical industrial complex which provides only for those within it. Don't act so holier than thou. A good mind like yours is a pity to waste on pandering. I still enjoy your wit and many of your , albeit slanted, historical analogies. I am Arthur L. Finn and Sweeny and I approve this message.
Comment: #7
Posted by: alf1052
Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:34 PM
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