In the LA Times today, Robin Abcarian writes:
They tried it with Barack Obama. Didn’t work. Tried it with Joe Biden. Didn’t work. Will the Republican right ever understand that using phrases like “radical left” and “socialism” to tarnish Democratic candidates is a fear tactic that should be retired?
There’s a fundamental misunderstanding here. Abcarian assumes that “socialist” is a standard sort of political slur designed to sway undecided voters. It’s not. It’s aimed solely at the Fox News set as a way of keeping them in line. The folks who spout this stuff couldn’t care less what you or I or Abcarian think of it.
This is a good example of the way that the right-wing media machine keeps its audience scared witless. To these folks, “socialism” is freighted with connotations: Democrats want to tax your money away. They want to give your money to Black people. They want to crush Christianity. They want government bureaucrats to control every aspect of your life. They want schools to teach your kids that gay sex is good and patriotism is bad.
None of this is aimed at liberals or even moderates. Hell, you have to listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and the others regularly to even understand all these connotations. But make no mistake: “socialist” is just shorthand for high taxes, hatred of white people, zealous secularism, and indoctrination of our kids. It’s a great fear tactic, but only if you understand the audience it’s aimed at.