If you had to single out the definitive flamboyant accusation from the president's rabid rightwing opposition over the last four years, there'd be no contest: "Obama is a socialist" is pretty much the gist of it. He's a radical; he'll raise taxes and give your hard-earned income away to the lazy ne'er do wells, and he'll start rationing energy, too. The charge, not-so-discreetly highlighting Obama's "otherness," has been the hallmark of the Tea Party crowd.
Obama, for his part, has barely addressed the claims, leaving the mantra alone to fester as a paranoid product of the fringy right. Until last night, that is, when he poked fun at the right's notion that energy efficiency initiatives and renewable power are part of some lefty conspiracy. Here's the Hill:
“On energy, I’m big on oil and gas, and developing clean coal technology, but I also believe that if we’re ever going to have control of our energy future, then we’ve got to invest in solar and wind and biofuels, and that it does make sense for us to double our fuel-efficiency standards on cars,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript.“And that's not a socialist plot for us to reduce our energy usage,” Obama said to laughter, according to the transcript. “It’s the smart thing to do. It’s right for our national energy. It’s right for our economy. It’s right for the environment. [Romney] disagrees.”I'm not familiar with too many eco-socialists who proclaim that they're "big on oil and gas" to a room full of liberals, but the more paranoid elements of the right aren't buying Obama's line.
Glenn Beck's online magazine the Blaze ran a story on the statement, critically framing Obama's remarks. Here's a sampling of the comments there:
Fox Nation just clipped the headline and let their commenters run wild with the mere mention of Obama saying out loud that green energy isn't socialist. Marc Morano did the same at his climate denial website, Climate Depot.
All of which goes to show that Obama's instincts were probably right — this is an issue so silly as to not be worth debating. But the right is quite serious; its anti-Agenda 21 (the 100% non-binding UN sustainability framework) rhetoric was actually enshrined into the Republican National Convention platform this year, and even the less fringy elements are united in their opposition to clean energy and efficiency measures.
Bless them all; who else might rise to oppose Obama's commie plot to invest in cleaner energy and to remove subsidies for oil companies, if not they?