Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, chair of the GOP crackpot caucus, opted for full-bore red-baiting against the infrastructure legislation. She called it "Communist."
Biden’s whole economic agenda "is neither socialism nor Marxism. If only,” lamented socialist Kate Aronoff in The New Republic.
"The s-word has become an all-purpose epithet that Republicans use to describe everything from an influx of undocumented immigrants to the supposed teaching of critical race theory to vaccine mandates," Max Boot recently wrote in the Washington Post.
He described the GOP disingenuousness as "a rhetorical sleight of hand," explaining, "The s-word has been applied to Scandinavian-style social welfare states that are both democratic and capitalist as well as to Marxist dictatorships (e.g., the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) that were neither democratic nor capitalist. Republicans count on their followers missing the distinction between Sweden and North Korea by trying to convince them that social welfare bills such as the Build Back Better Act will draw us closer to the latter rather than the former."
The Democrats are a capitalist party. They are moderate-to-liberal by American political standards, centrist when compared to other parties in other democracies. (In those democracies, the Trumpian GOP would be a far-right party that tilts toward white nationalism and authoritarianism.)
Anyway, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy know the Democrats aren't a socialist party. But they also know that pinning the socialist tail on the Democratic donkey is red meat for the red MAGA-hatted white folks.
When true-believer Trumpians of the Greene-Gosar-Gohmert-Gaetz genre shriek "socialist!" (or "communist!") at the Democrats, they prove just how deep they dwell in their party’s proto-fascist fever swamps.
America is the most conservative industrial democracy on earth and the only one that doesn't have a viable socialist party. (There is a tiny and virtually unknown Socialist Party USA, which was founded in 1973.)
Democratic Western Europe is the heartland of real socialist parties. Also called social democratic or labor parties, they thrive and routinely win elections.
Most importantly, these parties favor parliamentary democracy and condemn communism and violent revolution. They're not for abolishing all private property either.
Typical is the German Social Democratic Party, which, in September elections, won the most seats in parliament.
"In our understanding, markets are a necessary form of economic coordination, superior to other ones," explains the party's Hamburg Programme. "However, a market left to itself is blind in social and ecological terms."
The Social Democrats favor "the strength of law to overcome the law of the strongest." To that end, they and other socialist parties support laws that safeguard worker rights, including the right to unionize, and that shield consumers and the environment against the greedy excesses inherent in unfettered red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism, which Republicans worship as the "free enterprise system."
Socialists also champion civil, economic and political rights and individual liberties, such as free speech, a free press, and separation of church and state.
The GOP has been dissing Democrats as "socialist" at least as far back as the 1930s, the era of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's historic New Deal program in which the federal government took the lead in fighting the Great Depression.
"All of this raises some obvious questions that Republicans never seem to ask themselves: If the United States has been traveling down the road to socialism for 90 years, how come we’ve never arrived at our destination and still have a flourishing capitalist economy?" Boot also wrote. "And what makes them think that every Democratic bill will finally usher in a Marxist nightmare?"
In any event, the GOP's "socialist" sliming is another big lie from the Big Lie party.
Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of seven books and co-author of two more, all on Kentucky history.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Democrats aren't socialists, it's just what GOPers want to hear | Opinion