Throughout much of the last four years, Fox News, and the broader conservative media noise machine, invested incalculable hours yammering about the alleged socialist leanings of President Obama and Democrats in general. It became an obsession that infected even previously sedate Republican politicians as they rushed to placate radical elements of their party who are convinced that Obama is a Manchurian president sent by foreign enemies to hand America over to communist tyrants. And now that the election is over, Fox persists in tagging the President with a label they believe has derogatory implications.
In pursuit of that goal, the Fox Nation web site posted an item titled "POLL: Obama Voters Love Socialism."
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The first problem with this characterization is that it is patently untrue. Obama has presided over an administration that has been nothing but positive from the perspective of hardcore capitalists. The stock market doubled in his first term. He has appointed numerous Wall Street refugees to his cabinet and staff. Trade has increased. Corporate taxes are near an all time low. If Obama is a socialist, he is very bad at it.
But more importantly, Americans who were bombarded with the campaign cacophony of Obama's leftist conspiracy were undeterred and voted for him anyway. That could imply that the American people endorsed the socialism that they were told Obama represents. And that wouldn't be far from the truth. The United States has abundant policies and institutions that are rooted in socialist philosophy. They are some of the most beloved and trusted institutions our government provides, including Social Security, Medicare, the Veteran's Administration, and virtually every public works and infrastructure project managed by both federal and local agencies.
The poll referenced above on Fox Nation was conducted by Gallup. As usual, the Fox Nationalists did not link to the actual poll, but to a partisan analysis of it. They certainly wouldn't want to expose their audience to any real data. The survey found that Americans are quite fond of small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs, in almost equal numbers among Democrats and Republicans and across the ideological spectrum. The divergence came with respect to capitalism, big business, and the federal government. These results should not surprise anyone, knowing that the GOP is proud of their favoritism toward the wealthy and giant, multinational corporatism. And why wouldn't Democrats feel favorably toward a federal government presided over by a Democrat?
What may come as a surprise to some is that approximately four-in-ten Americans view socialism positively. That number includes about a quarter of both Republicans and conservatives. That's an indication that the American people have a fairly enlightened view of the political and economic realities in this country. Although a small majority still have a kneejerk ignorance that shapes their views. The President would do well to adjust his agenda to more accurately reflect the will of the people.
The funny thing about Fox's presentation of the data in the Gallup poll is that, according to the Pew Reserach Center, only "about one-in-five Americans (21%) say they regularly watch Fox News." That means that the number of Americans who view socialism positively (39%) is nearly double the number who view Fox (21%). That's an important fact to keep in mind the next time Fox tries to present itself as the voice of the people. It is decidedly not representative of the views of most Americans. And it's evidence that the American people are smarter than Fox gives them credit for.