National Review’s Stanley Kurtz is debating FrumForum contributor “Eugene Debs” on whether or not Barack Obama reasonably fits the definition of “socialist.” Kurtz lays it out nicely here, to which Debs responds with a “point” that can only be described as infantile. In a nutshell: Obama can’t be a socialist because various high-ranking Obama appointees aren’t socialists and/or don’t come from socialist circles.
Of course, there are all sorts of practical reasons his particular examples don’t matter all that much. Robert Gates, for instance, was already Defense Secretary before Obama took over, and he deals with military policy rather than economic anyway. There’s the little matter of looking at the rest of Obama’s czars and appointments. As one of FrumForum’s brighter commenters points out, presidents have a publicized confirmation process to deal with, too. Overall, Debs’ is essentially saying that in order to qualify as a socialist, one’s appointment-making process has to be virtually all ideology and no practical or strategic considerations.
Speaking of socialism, how does a guy who names himself after one of America’s leading self-proclaimed socialists expect to be taken seriously defending leftists from charges of socialism, again?
Oh, that’s right: because David Frum takes him seriously. Somehow, in free-market Frum’s mission to forge a rational, responsible “conservatism that can win again,” a Democratic activist who takes the moniker of a socialist icon managed to get a platform on Frum’s website.
Huh. I wonder how that happened…