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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

New GOP Meme: ‘Forward’ Means ‘Socialism’

For those who had any doubts that the modern Republican Party has lost its collective mind, Dave Johnson, senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, has an instructive post for you. Johnson’s theme is the unhinged neo-McCarthyism/Obama Derangement Syndrome of the GOP, in which almost every utterance of the President is instantly termed “Socialism.” Johnson begins by citing a Washington Times article, entitled “New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism“:

The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, “Forward” — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism…Vladimir Lenin founded the publication “Vpered” (the Russian word for “forward”) in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary whose title is sometimes translated as “Forward, Soviet” (though also and more literally as “Stride, Soviet”).

Johnson explains that “No, this isn’t just some isolated nut, it’s the “national news editor” writing in Washington’s top conservative newspaper,” and he provides 18 hot links to articles from various organs of “the right’s echo chamber” which parroted the Washington Times lunacy, presumably without irony. He cites another wingnut rag which claims that ‘Forward’ is a “Hitler Youth marching tune,” which, come to think of it, may backfire and endear him to some wingnuts.
Johnson adds “Next, go look at the 9.8 million Google hits that come up if you search on Obama and Marxist, or the 29 million hits if you search on Obama and Socialist” and notes also that “This follows Republican Congressman Alan West’s recent claim that 80 Democratic members of Congress are members of the Communist Party.”
Johnson provides even more citations of articles and videos featuring GOP leaders, yes, including Romney, piling on with message du jour red-baiting. All of which will give real socialists a huge chuckle. I can almost hear them now “Oh sure, Geithner, Summers — real Bolsheviks, those guys.”
Andrew Levison warned in a recent TDS strategy memo about the GOP’s descent into all out “propaganda campaign of a scope and ferocity unparallelled in American history” directed against Democrats. Levison suggest some useful messaging to challenge the onslaught of fear-mongering and demonizing GOP attacks and forcing the Republican nominee to own it or disavow it.
Perhaps the most disgusting thing about the modern GOP’s red-baiting is that, thus far, none of them, not Olympia Snowe, John McCain, Richard Lugar, or any of those smart enough to know better, have stepped up and urged their GOP brethren to give the paranoiac delusions a rest. In a way, that’s a good thing for Dems because it lays bare the GOP’s party-wide integrity deficit that won’t be lost on more thoughtful swing voters.

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