There’s been a lot of discussion on many of the internets about Republicans’ increasing use of the word “socialism”. Mark Leibovitch writes:
It seems that “socialist” has supplanted “liberal” as the go-to slur among much of a conservative world confronting a one-two-three punch of bank bailouts, budget blowouts and stimulus bills. Right-leaning bloggers and talk radio hosts are wearing out the brickbat. Senate and House Republicans have been tripping over their podiums to invoke it. The S-bomb has become as surefire a red-meat line at conservative gatherings as “Clinton” was in the 1990s and “Pelosi” is today.
Watching CNN this weekend, I heard Tom Price (R-Georgia) twice use the phrase “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” to describe Obama’s budget proposal. I have to wonder: what proportion of the CNN audience — let alone Price’s wingnut base — knows that that phrase came from Karl Marx (Price mentioned that it did, but that was obscured by the flourish with which Price repeated the phrase)? I also have to wonder if such a benign-sounding phrase is going to scare anyone. If you’re going to get commie with people why not say that Obama’s budget was the financial equivalent of banging your shoe and shouting “we will bury you” or of sending tanks into the streets of Prague?
Another phrase we’re hearing a lot of is “cradle-to-grave welfare state”. For people who can’t afford prenatal care or are worried about their 401(K), that probably doesn’t sound too bad.
I’ve got to think there is some way for Republicans to put a scarier face on socialism. Invoking Stalin is probably too over-the-top, and ABBA doesn’t seem to frighten people as much it used to. So I ask all of you: if you had to find something scary to say about soc ialism what would it be?
Update: Please put a space between “c” and “ialis” in your comments so as not to trigger the spam filter.