As the news magazines decline and fall into snarky opinion journals, Newsweek this week has a cover titled "We Are All Socialists Now." They’re recalling Richard Nixon saying "We are all Keynesians now" in 1971. But conservatives uniformly would reply on a rebuttal cover, if there were one: "Speak for Yourself."
The "cover story," if you can call it that, is a brief editorial by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and former Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas, and it began by attacking Sean Hannity and Mike Pence for being in denial about Socialist America and threatening to foist on America an "fractious and unedifying debate" that refuses the terms of surrender:
The interview was nearly over. On the Fox News Channel last Wednesday evening, .Sean Hannity was coming to the end of a segment with Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, the chair of the House Republican Conference and a vociferous foe of President Obama's nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill. How, Pence had asked rhetorically, was $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts going to put people back to work in Indiana? How would $20 million for "fish passage barriers" (a provision to pay for the removal of barriers in rivers and streams so that fish could migrate freely) help create jobs? Hannity could not have agreed more. "It is … the European Socialist Act of 2009," the host said, signing off. "We're counting on you to stop it. Thank you, congressman."
Meacham and Thomas don’t rebut the notion that NEA-subsidized art or fish barriers aren’t exactly a "stimulus" – they merely disparage all that troublesome ideological labeling:
There it was, just before the commercial: the S word, a favorite among conservatives since John McCain began using it during the presidential campaign. (Remember Joe the Plumber? Sadly, so do we.) But it seems strangely beside the point. The U.S. government has already—under a conservative Republican administration—effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries. That seems a stronger sign of socialism than $50 million for art. Whether we want to admit it or not—and many, especially Congressman Pence and Hannity, do not—the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.
This is a remarkable declaration from the liberal media. They disparaged the Republicans as they told the voters that Obama would install socialism, and then when he begins to do that, media elites say well, "we are all socialists now" any way and demand that conservatives get on the bandwagon of "reality" instead of trying to resist:
If we fail to acknowledge the reality of the growing role of government in the economy, insisting instead on fighting 21st-century wars with 20th-century terms and tactics, then we are doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate. The sooner we understand where we truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today's world.
Liberals are forever whining about being called liberals – lamenting "20th century terms and tactics." How is it that socialism is the 21st century vogue, and free markets are a vestige of the past? The obvious answer is the election returns (and the strong socialist flavor of our media establishment). That does not mean in a free society that conservatives can't try to reverse the vogue, just as it happened in 1980 and 1994.
It's cute to argue that since this latest phase of socialism started under a lame-duck Republican president, that the time for "unedifying debate" is over, and that somehow conservatives weren't resisting socialism then. (Check your talk-radio transcripts, Newsweek.)
The only Newsweek cover that would be more obviously untrue would be "We Are All Objective Journalists Now."
Newsweek cover image above via Newscom.com.