Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) likes the fact that Barack Obama is a better listener than Dubya, but says
Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.
Not 16, not 18. 17.
Which raises a number of questions and concerns.
1: It’s a certainty than Bachus doesn’t know what the word “socialist” means. I say this for a couple of reasons. First, I do know what it means, and if there are 17 of them on the Hill I’ll personally polish Bachus’s entire collection of Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia with my satiny-smooth nutsack. Second, Bachus holds degrees from both Auburn and Alabama, schools that are most assuredly not known for the heated rivalry between their debate teams. What he probably means by “socialist,” a word that dumb politicians have used a great deal in recent months when addressing even dumber audiences, is “someone who is politically to the left of Newt Gingrich.
2: However, even once we understand that Bachus is merely doing what politicians of a certain stripe do – that is, using highly charged but little understood terms as a cynical tool for whipping the hillbillies into a lather – it’s not clear that the tactic will be as successful as it once might have been. Why, you ask? Because in a recent poll only 53% felt that capitalism was better than socialism. Sweet fancy tap-dancing Lenin – what has Amerika come to?
3: It’s a certainty that the people polled don’t know what the word “socialist” means. Many probably think it means “not George Bush,” although if that were uniformly the cash the pro-socialist numbers should be higher. So there must be other factors at work. This is where I remind you that the US “educational” system is barely capable of teaching people how to use string. Helping the average student (whose eyes begin glazing over when a message exceeds 160 characters, counting spaces) understand the subtle differences between capitalism, socialism, communism, libertarianism, Zoroastrianism, Mercerism, and pulmonary embolism is like trying to teach meditation to a gerbil on angel dust.
It’s easy to see why Bachus would want to emulate the late, great Sen. Joe McCarthy – after all, the guy was an American hero. But Rep. Bachus is no Joe McCarthy.
On the other hand, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Although we do keep trying….