"I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. It wasn’t on my watch. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement -– the prescription drug plan -- without a source of funding. And so I think it’s important just to note when you start hearing folks throw these words around that we’ve actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles and that some of the same folks who are throwing the word 'socialist' around can’t say the same."I have a hard time making logical sense of this. He seems to be arguing that the Bush administration was socialist (which of course is true) to the conclusion that his is not. Aside from the fact that the premise contradicts his earlier line that the Bush years were a period of laissez faire capitalism, this argument seems to be a gross example of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem: that's the one where you answer an argument by attacking the person who is making it. The underlying idea is nothing this tainted source says could be cogent or true, no matter how it might sound at first. Pay no attention to them.*
In fact, it is a particularly inept use of the fallacy. Everyone knows that it is not merely members of the disgraced Bush administration who are making this accusation. Also, the trait that is supposed to put his accusers beyond the pale -- being socialists -- is obviously not something that Obama really thinks puts anyone beyond anything.
Aside from the obvious ethical and logical objections to this sort of talk, this just seems dumb to me. For a year now I have been hearing how intelligent BHO is. (When I googled the words "Obama brilliant" just now, the service came up with 11,100,000 results in .11 of a second.) Where are the signs of this intelligence? I just don't see it. True, his campaign was brilliant, but now we are in a very different sort of context. Note that the brilliance of the campaign had absolutely nothing to do with the intellectual content of anything he said about the issues. And now, the campaigner who never made a mistake has become the president whose every move is either a mistake or a cliche. It turns out that the skill-set needed for campaigning is separable from that needed for running an organization in times of crisis, or for having a rational conversation about the tremendous issues that now hold us transfixed with horror.
God help us all.
And now, for a more enlightening (and, come to think of it, less frivolous) comment on the New Socialism than anything we are likely to hear from BHO, take a look at this link.
* By the way, I earlier said that Operation Rushbo, as some are calling it, is an example of the "straw man fallacy." Another plausible interpretation would be that it is an an argumentum ad hominem. The idea would be that the administration and its dependents are trying to hang the fat, unattractive face of Rush on the entire opposition, thus tainting everything they say.