Steve Chapman

Since he's under attack for allegedly being a covert socialist, you would think President Obama would get some love from the overt socialists. But they sound about as enamored of him as Sean Hannity is.

with Idiots By Glenn Beck

"Obama's a market guy!" fumed Frank Llewellyn, head of the Democratic Socialists of America, in an interview with Politics Daily. "He's not any kind of socialist at all. He's not challenging the power of corporations. The banking reforms that have been suggested are not particularly far-reaching. … I mean it's laugh out loud, really."

In the past, Republicans had a damning word for their opponents. In 1988, George H.W. Bush denounced Democrat Michael Dukakis, as a "liberal." Four years later, he portrayed Bill Clinton as a "tax-and-spend liberal." In 2004, John Kerry was tarred as a "rich, liberal elitist." But such is the intensity of disgust with Obama that his conservative critics had to escalate to a new epithet.

To this sort of mind, Llewellyn's denial only confirms that socialists are sneaky as well as sinister. What better way to advance their agenda than by pretending to disavow the leader who is faithfully implementing it?

As it happens, Obama has found other ways to hide his Marxist mindset -- such as surrounding himself with known supporters of capitalism. Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, has long been detested on the left for his support of free trade and financial deregulation.

Christina Romer, one of three members of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, has done academic research that, according to The Wall Street Journal, "has even been cited by Republicans as supporting the idea that tax increases negatively impact economic output."

Obama's chief economic adviser during the campaign was Austan Goolsbee, an economist at the University of Chicago, long a beacon of free-market thinking. Goolsbee, now a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, is also one of the rare Democratic economists who has defended subprime mortgages against liberal detractors.

Obama, it's true, has done some things that involve the enlargement of government -- bailing out banks, taking over General Motors, proposing a "public option" for health insurance and spending $787 billion to stimulate the economy.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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