Chi Trib Writer Solicits Communist Party USA to Defend Obama

October 21st, 2008 12:57 PM

Chicago Tribune staff writer Rex Huppke has solicited the expertise of communist party leaders to defend Barack Obama from the fallout of the now famous answer he supplied to a man referred to as Joe the Plumber.

In an article with the misleading headline "Socialists: Obama No Socialist" Huppke applied some painstaking logic to reach his conclusion that Barack Obama can not be a socialist if avowed communists will not state that he is.

Local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, say Sen. Barack Obama and his policies stand far afield from any form of socialism they know.

John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain's campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven't forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.

This is funny. Yesterday we heard that Dick Durbin was going to reign in Barack Obama's liberal tendencies. Today a leader of Communist Party USA is coming to the defense of Barack Obama. Besides, we all know that communists support the capitalist candidate.

Batchell and Huppke weren't finished however.

"Red baiting is really the last refuge of scoundrels," Bachtell said. "It has nothing to do with the issues that are confronting the American people right now. It's just a big diversion."

Of course that's just one man's opinion. (And everyone knows you can't trust a communist.)

Strange how any question that confronts Barack Obama's policies is met with a response that really never addresses the policies in question. Much better to call names than discuss the merits of what led people to believe that Barack Obama is proposing a socialist style redistribution of wealth.

Huppke then whips out the socialism dictionary.

So, how do you know if you're a socialist?

Generally, it involves espousing government control over a country's basic industries, like transportation, communication and energy, while also allowing some government regulation of private industries.

Nice try. Define the tool while ignoring the goal.

Huppke missed one of the main objectives of socialism that involves distribution of wealth for the benefit of all involved. Huppke's selective definition actually touches on the theory that socialism is an intermediate step between capitalism and communism. So if we are going to speak in generalities Huppke had better brace himself for the eventual collapse of his argument when those generalities become a counter-argument to his premise.

For instance, I would expect proponents of communism to support Barack Obama as they do in Huppke's article; especially if they see Obama's words on the campaign trail as putting the United States one step closer to their idea of a future America.

Finally Huppke had one another argument to make. He solicited the editor of a Chicago based communist newspaper to support his theory that spreading the wealth isn't such a bad idea anyway. 

Right now, with the economy in the tank, the idea of a little wealth sharing doesn't sound so bad to people whose 401k plans are worth less than the contents of their coin jars.

"The idea of closing that wealth gap, I think, is a concern for many, many Americans," said Teresa Albano, editor of the Chicago-based People's Weekly World, a communist newspaper. "I don't think people are going to respond negatively to the idea of spreading around the wealth."

Which is not to say that, by electing Obama, the country will gamely head down the path of socialism.

Yeah right. If history has taught us anything it is those "little ideas", i.e. ideas with little thought, that have a tendency to become big problems somewhere down the line. 

Terry Trippany is the publisher of Webloggin and holds the post as The Watcher at Watcher of Weasels.