Since President Barack Obama took office after the historic 2008 election, conservatives have largely derided the Democrat as too liberal, even labeling him a socialist. Most recently, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has become the object of Republican ire, with many pointing at it as the most recent evidence of this nation’s inevitable step towards communism under the presiding Red Commander-in-Chief.
Note: I understand that Socialism and Communism are two very different ideologies; however, generally, when they are used as pejoratives by the American right wing, the two terms are largely interchangeable.
But is this characterization of the President as a modern day Marx really accurate?
Based on actual evidence, as opposed to largely superficial observations, I would say no. In fact, Barack Obama is the perfect neo-con. More Bush than Engels. More Rumsfeld than Guevara.
1. The Affordable Care Act
Yes, Obama’s pet project and the one thing Republicans hate most in this world is actually an amazingly conservative piece of legislation. While often looked at as socialized medicine (which it is definitely not), Obamacare is really a brilliant ruse that will prop up a flailing economy through artificially inflated employment numbers and forced support of private enterprise.
Unlike actual socialized medicine, all Obamacare does is force, or at least incentivize, Americans to purchase health insurance from non-government companies. Yes, it does provide subsidies to qualified individuals to do this, but, in the end, what it does is provide extra support for health care companies by forcing people to use them. Neo-cons are famous for spouting off against government intervention in economics whilst discreetly supporting private corporations through subsidies, proxy wars and government contracts (see: the corn industry). This kind of stuff makes Donald Rumsfeld wet.
Additionally, as many large corporations like Wal-Mart have stated, they will be terminating many full-time employees due to the financial burden created by Obamacare. To fill the void left by those employees (because Wal-Mart is still Wal-Mart and needs a large quantity of people to peddle its goods), these companies will likely hire twice as many part-time employees. This will somewhat artificially inflate overall employment numbers while causing an increase in the less looked at underemployment numbers.
2. Military Action
Republicans have roundly criticized Obama’s reduction of the military’s size and scope. However, they rarely address the fact that he has unilaterally increased the military’s proficiency and striking power, by eliminating excess and increasing the power of small, elite forces. He has done all of this under a cloak of secrecy that would make Dick Cheney blush.
Remember that whole Osama bin Laden thing where our President sent a small, elite military force into a foreign country without that country’s approval and exterminated an enemy combatant. Obama eliminated George Bush’s excuse for starting two wars in one deft, Tom Clancy-esque swoop. And don’t even get me started on the way he is unilaterally making the decision to assassinate enemies, both foreign nationals and American citizens, using drones. Neo-con foreign policy at its finest.
Also, Guantanamo Bay is still up and running, so there’s that.
While he talks a good liberal game on this topic, and was largely elected the first time around by minority groups emboldened by his promises to enact immigration reform, President Obama’s administration has deported more people than any Presidency in American history.
There’s really nothing else to add to that.
4. He Doesn’t Look Like Your Typical Neo-Con
Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney. They are all old, boring, rich white guys with deep roots in American politicians and business. President Obama, on the other hand, is a vibrant African American intellectual with little familial ties to big business or any American political machine. Because he is dressed up as your typical liberal politician, President Obama is able to enact neo-con policies right under the noses of the liberal elite he supposedly serves.
When you dress up artificial inflation of employment numbers and private enterprise and universal healthcare, unilaterally create a deft military force aimed at achieving American goals worldwide, and kick most un-American influences out of the country with reckless disregard, you may just be the most perfect neo-con that ever existed.