Comrades flocked to New York City two weeks ago for the 29th national convention of the Communist Party USA. While reviewing materials from the event, we had a sudden sense of déjà vu: the feeling that we had heard these talking points before. Maybe you have as well — they're espoused, in near identical form, by the president and his fellow Democrats. Take the quiz below, and try to determine which quotes were uttered by Democratic leadership, and which are excerpts from the communists' recent convention.
The point isn't that Obama's a communist (though it's amusing to watch Sam Webb, chairman of the CPUSA, deny such a charge while arguing with Glenn Beck about the redistribution of marshmallow peeps). It's useful, though, to compare the substance of Democratic and communist rhetoric, which differs mainly in degree. You may conclude — especially if you lean left — that the Communist Party USA is more moderate and mainstream than you thought. Or something.
TAKE THE QUIZ — Which quotes come from Democrats, and which from CPUSA?
(scroll down for answers)
1. "This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many."
2. "Rebuilding the social infrastructure will generate 11 million jobs. At least 3 million could be at work within 6 months — if the funds were available from Congress."
3. "Moving toward a productive green economy must be based on federal financing and a national industrial policy."
4. "Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy — where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending."
5. "For nearly half a century the nation's working people embraced and took comfort in the American dream — a dream whose promissory note read that if you work hard and do the right things, a good and secure life is attainable. I wouldn't say that dream is dead, but more and more people have less and less hope that it is within reach. Forces beyond their control have snatched it from them."
6. "While some have prospered beyond imagination in this global economy, middle-class Americans — as well as those working hard to become middle class — are seeing the American dream slip further and further away."
7. "Recent victories in Congress such as passage of Health Care Reform legislation with not a single Republican yes vote exposes the Republicans as the 'Party of NO.'"
8. "Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you'll play in writing the next great chapter in the American story."
9. "The Tea Party was birthed by media extremists and racist elements to break up the unity of 2008. They were able to change the debate and peel off some Democratic votes, but they were not able to stop the legislation."
10. "I think the American people have to make a judgment about the obstructionism of the Republican senators."
11. "Only majority movements can skin the rightwing cat, the neoliberal dog, and the globalizing rat."
1. Obama said this during a speech in Berlin on July 24, 2008. Presumably, Europe's democratic socialists responded with a hearty, "Jawohl!"
2. Excerpted from the Communist Party USA's "21st Century Jobs Program," which aims to create 22 million jobs through direct government spending of $1 trillion per year on public services, including a five-year plan for rebuilding infrastructure. Communists advocating a five-year plan — what could possibly go wrong?
3. Excerpted from the Communist Party USA's "21st Century Jobs Program," although with Obama's focus on government subsidy for green jobs and weatherization, we don't blame you if you got this one wrong.
4. Obama said this on Jan. 8, 2009 while advocating for what would eventually become the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, or the Democrats' belated Valentine's Day gift to themselves.
5. Excerpted from remarks made by CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb at the recent national convention. Mr. Webb would have us know that while the American dream is fading, the Soviet dream remains as strong as ever.
6. Candidate Obama said this in November, 2008. Who could have known then that the biggest group prospering "beyond imagination" in 2010 would be government workers, who accounted for 95 percent of the job growth in May.
7. Excerpted from the resolution "All hands on deck for the 2010 midterm elections," adopted at the recent CPUSA convention. It's unclear how many hands the party has to call, but it does have over 3,000 Facebook fans.
8. Candidate Obama said this in a 2008 commencement address to Wesleyan University. No doubt the college's economics faculty appreciated hearing the self-interest of Adam Smith's invisible hand described as a "poverty of ambition."
9. Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA's Political Action Commission, made this remark during a speech titled "2010 elections — unity can win" at the recent national convention. The biggest question we have for Ms. Fishman is whether stumping for Democrats makes her a CINO — Communist In Name Only.
10. Pelosi said this in an interview with Rachel Maddow. It's easy to yell "obstructionism" when you're in power, but it requires more cajones to accuse concerned citizens of carrying swastikas. Pelosi did that too.
11. Democratic leaders (cough Joe Biden cough) have said some pretty absurd things, but nothing quite this bizarre. This quote is excerpted from remarks made by CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb at the recent national convention.
There's my two cents.