At The Right Coast, Tom Smith doubts that Obama is a socialist –he thinks that would actually be an optimistic view:
What he actually is could be significantly worse than that. . . . however skeptical I might be of social classes being the ultimate explanatory variables in some super- Marxist sociology, taking Obama as representing and leading something you might call the “political class” seems pretty darn explanatory. It seems to me that just about everything he does can be explained as efforts to increase the power and wealth of that political class.
[T]he epithet “socialism” just isn’t that explanatory in the case of our predictament. It seems to me our abuses get rationalized by all sorts of cant pieties, not all of them socialist. Saving the earth, honoring the aged, keeping promises made, helping children, redistributing for fairness (yes, that’s often socialist) and a score of other reasons are cited for sucking more out of the economy, running it through government, and spurting it out to members and clients of the political class.
I agree, especially with the last paragraph, which is hardly surprising, given that I wrote a book on “The Special Interest State”. Smith also recommends A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity, by Luigi Zingales.
Somehow, when I look at these people — Obama; Pelosi; Reid; Axelrod; Emanuel — I remember near the end of the classic 1984, where O’Brien tells Winston why the Party wants power:
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; only in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. . . .Power is not a means; it is an end. . . . realize . . . that power is power over human beings. Over the body — but above all over the mind.
The current ruling class seems fond enough of the appurtenances of wealth and luxury, but otherwise the passage strikes home