Diana West

Now that Election 2012 is shaping up as a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, an observation and a prediction.

Our nation heads into a presidential campaign with an incumbent whose online birth certificate and Selective Service registration card are almost certainly forgeries, and this is a nonissue. (Don't ask about the subpoena from a Georgia court that Obama ignored. Everyone else did, too.)

That's the observation. The prediction is that unless voters come to view Barack Obama as a "socialist" -- even a "democratic socialist" -- and, as such, an existential threat to our (in theory) constitutional republic, President Obama, funny papers and all, will be re-elected in November.

The two stories are related. Both turn on the relative power of "evidence" vs. "narrative." By evidence, I mean the facts and clues that support an argument or hypothesis. By narrative, I mean propaganda. For example, there is evidence of fraud in Obama's identity documents, but such evidence does not fit the narrative that Obama's identity documents are authentic. In the face of narrative, We the People are supposed to ignore the evidence. All of our officials and elites do.

Similarly, there is plentiful evidence of Barack Obama's socialist beliefs and ties -- Stanley Kurtz's 2010 book "Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism" meticulously lays it out -- but the narrative insists that Obama is anything but a socialist. And, as with the evidence of identity fraud, woe and besmirching to anyone who mentions it.

Now, what do I mean by socialism? Too often, and sometimes by design, defining socialism becomes an absurdly contentious exercise. If we narrowly define socialism as "government ownership of the means of production," however, we'll never know what hit us until it's too late. I found it helpful to learn that Alexander Solzhenitsyn recognized there was no "single precise definition of socialism" out there. This is probably due to vagaries of time and place, and to the fact that, short of a violent revolution, socialism is a complex, messy work in progress. What's vital to identify is the direction of that progress. If the progress tends toward increasing economic collectivism and political centralization, the movement is socialist. If the progress is in the other direction, the movement is known as capitalist.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).