President Obama refuses to take Republicans who call him a socialist seriously. In fact, he is openly ridiculing them in his speeches.
Video of Obama in Phoenix taking a jab at the claims that he is a socialist:
And one of the key things to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to wind down these companies that are not really government, but not really private sector — they’re known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. For too long, these companies were allowed to make huge profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. It was “heads we win, tails you lose.” And it was wrong. And along with what happened on Wall Street, it helped to inflate this bubble in a way that ultimately killed Main Street.
So the good news is, right now there’s a bipartisan group of senators working to end Fannie and Freddie as we know them. And I support these kinds of reform efforts. And they’re following four core principles for what I believe this reform should look like.
First, private capital should take a bigger role in the mortgage market. I know that sounds confusing to folks who call me a socialist — I think I saw some posters there on the way in. (Laughter.) But I actually believe in the free market. And just like the health care law that we put in place, Obamacare — (applause) — which, by the way, if you don’t have health insurance or you’re buying it at exorbitant rates on the individual market, starting on October 1st, you can join a marketplace and be part of a pool that gives you much lower premiums, saves you a lot of money. (Applause.)
But in the same way that what we did with health care was to set up clear rules for insurance companies to protect consumers, make it more affordable, but still built on the private marketplace, I believe that our housing system should operate where there’s a limited government role and private lending should be the backbone of the housing market. And that includes, by the way, community-based lenders who view their borrowers not as a number, but as a neighbor.
The great Republican myth that Obama is socialist started when then presidential candidate Obama told Joe the non-Plumber in 2008 that we need to spread the wealth around a little. John McCain responded by saying that, “sounded a lot like socialism,” and a wing nut talking point was born. (McCain not only gave us Sarah Palin, but also the bogus idea that Obama is a socialist.) Since the moment McCain uttered those fateful words, everything that Obama has even thought of doing has been met with Republican cries of socialism.
The auto bailout, which was a loan that was paid back, was considered socialism. Obamacare, which actually inserts more consumers into the free market, is also considered socialism by the right. Crazed Republicans love to talk about how Obama is planning to nationalize this industry or that one, when President Obama doesn’t intend to nationalize any industries.
In fact, Barack Obama has been a consistent champion of the free market. Getting rid of Fannie and Freddie is capitalism. Encouraging people to buy health insurance in the free market is capitalism. Obama is so capitalistic that even his ideas for education reform are centered around the notion that students have to the skills required to compete in today’s job market.
None of this matters to Republicans who will go to their graves believing that Obama is secretly plotting to turn the United States into a socialist paradise. The right’s inability to shake their deep seeded delusions is the reason why Obama is still having to debunk their cries of socialism.
For five years, President Obama has been explaining to the right that he isn’t a socialist. Their obsession with Obama’s socialism is one of the many reasons that the Republican Party has become a punchline.
The whole thing would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.