In past presidential elections, it might have been a deal-killer. But in 2008, it apparently makes for endearing campaign rhetoric.
Candidate Barack Obama has put himself “on record” praising the communist government of China, suggesting that the United States should aspire to do as the communists do, and “invest” in our “infrastructure,” the way the Chinese government has done in Beijing.
While at a campaign stop in Chester, Virginia, in a moment of off-the-cuff spontaneity, Obama stated “everybody's watching what's going on in Beijing right now and the Olympics. Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are all vastly superior to us now, which means if you're a corporation deciding where to do business, you're starting to think, Beijing looks like a pretty good option.”
When I first saw the video, it struck me that I’ve never before heard a presidential candidate - - not even another Democratic presidential candidate - - praise a communist government. In fact, I don’t think this has ever happened before in my lifetime.
President Lyndon Johnson couldn’t have praised communists even if had wanted to (he was prosecuting a war against communist encroachment in Viet Nam). And despite his staunch opposition to the Viet Nam war, presidential candidate George McGovern could not have politically afforded to commend the “superior” nature of communist countries. Similarly, Democratic presidential candidates Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry, likely would have severely damaged their respective campaigns had they offered the verbal equivalent of a fist bump and a “high five” to a communist government, the way Obama did with China.
But that was “back then.” Now, in the year 2008, this kind of complimentary rhetoric about communists seems to be part of what has taken Obama from political obscurity, to front-runner status. This suggests that America’s collective attitude towards communism has gravitated from opposition to ambivalence, and perhaps has even edged into the category of acceptance.
And the analysis doesn’t begin and end with Obama’s brief comments about China. Throughout his entire campaign, Obama has packaged inherently communistic economic ideas in contemporary, visceral, and at times inflammatory paradigms. Think that’s too harsh? Think again. And also consider the communism that is a part of Obama’s family lineage.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.