The Instigator
kasmic
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Robert_Weiler
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

President Obama is not a Socialist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
kasmic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,256 times Debate No: 60942
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

kasmic

Pro

Resolve: President Obama is not a socialist

Clarification: This debate is not about support for or criticism of the President, just as the resolve states this debate is about whether or not President Obama fits the definition of a Socialist.

pro will argue that President Obama is not a Socialist
Con will argue that President Obama is a Socialist.

Definition of terms:

I will provide some definitions. Con is free to provide definitions within their arguments; the purpose of these definitions is to be clear as to what is meant by Socialism

Socialism: "A way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies"(1)

Socialist: "A person who believes in socialism"(2)

Format

Round 1: Acceptance and definitions
Round 2: Opening arguments, no rebuttals
Round 3: Rebuttals and new arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals and closing statements, No new arguments.

(1)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(2)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Robert_Weiler

Con

Socialism - noun.



1. A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting ofthe ownership and control of the means of production and distribution,of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.


2. Procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of asociety to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementationof collectivist principles.

Socialism is also defined as:

An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.

I accept this debate and look forward to a spirited exchange.
Debate Round No. 1
kasmic

Pro

Thank you, Robert Weiler for accepting this debate and good luck to you.

Opening argument:
President Obama has made no attempt to "organize a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government," and is therefore not a socialist.

The misconception of the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is often viewed by some as a socialistic program, but when observed it becomes clear that it is not a socialist program. The ACA includes provisions that "are intended to expand access to insurance, increase consumer protections, emphasize prevention and wellness, improve quality and system performance, expand the health workforce, and curb rising healthcare costs"(1) The ACA does not however promote government ownership of the healthcare industry. In fact the ACA largely supports and relies on private ownership of the healthcare industry.

"The ACA program relies on private health insurance companies to manage health services" Under the ACA, health insurance in America is still being delivered by private practitioners and paid for by private insurers. In fact, the vast majority of Americans who receive their health insurance from employer-paid plans will see no discernible change in their coverage or delivery, and need not access the exchanges."(2)

What do socialist think of the ACA?

Greg Parsons, the national secretary of the Socialist Party USA had this to say: "Obamacare cannot be considered socialist in any way, The ACA program relies on private health insurance companies to manage health services," Pason said. "A socialized system would not include 'health insurance,' but would be an actual national health-care system which would be publicly funded through progressive taxation and controlled by democratically elected assemblies of health-care workers and patients."(3)

Clearly the ACA is not only not a socialist program but relies heavily on private ownership of the healthcare industry.

From the mouth of the President

President Obama while commenting on the economy of the U.S. said this, "Yes, business, and not government, will always be the primary generator of good jobs with incomes that lift people into the middle class and keep them there. But as a nation, we"ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed."(4)

This quote is very telling of the President"s personal views, especially when compared to socialism. He references business as being the primary generator of jobs, not the government. Remember, the structure of socialism is to have the means of production, or in other words, the business, owned by the government. Why would President Obama talk about or promote a system where business' are separate from the government if as a socialist he would oppose this separation. It is simple, the ideals he is sharing are not socialistic.

President Obama once said "People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you've got to meet real socialists. (Laughter.) You'll have a sense of what a socialist is. (Laughter.) I'm talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. The stock market is looking pretty good last time I checked."(5)

Do Socialists think Obama is a socialist?

Billy Wharton the Co-Chairperson of the Socialist Party USA had this to say. "The funny thing is, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat -- one of a generation of neoliberal politicians firmly committed to free-market policies."(6)

Concluding my opening argument.

President Obama"s signature work (ACA) nicknamed "Obamacare" demonstrates that the President has not made any attempt to take a major private industry and put it under government ownership. In his own words the President has demonstrated a belief in private business, not public ownership as well as does not self-identify as a socialist. Socialists also do not claim President Obama as part of their group.

President Obama is not a socialist.

The seventh link provided is to an article I wrote for infobarrel. I used a lot of the content that I put up on infobarrel for this debate and wanted it to be clear that this was not plagiarized, it is my own work that I am using. (7)

(1)http://www.ncsl.org...
(2)http://www.newsday.com...
(3)http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
(4)www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/06/remarks-president-economy-osawatomie-kansas
(5)http://socialistworker.org...
(6)http://www.washingtonpost.com...
(7)http://www.infobarrel.com...
Robert_Weiler

Con

I would first like to apologize for neglecting to cite my source for the definitions of socialism I posted in round one. I got those definitions from http://dictionary.reference.com.... I beg indulgence for this oversight, as it was caused by long work hours, and sleep deprivation.

"Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself." - Barack Obama

The above quote was repeatedly spoken by Obama during the 2008 Campaign. I will do as he suggests.

1. Barack Obama Sr. - Wrote a paper titled Problems Facing Our Socialism in 1965 advocating confiscatory policies including a 100% tax on the rich.[1]

2. Frank Marshall Davis - In Obama's book, Dreams from My Father, Obama describes his relationship with Davis as akin to a father and son. Davis was a known member of the Communist Party USA.[2]

These are two examples, there are many more, I will list them if my opponent believes there are not.

What do socialist say? They say Yea!

Obama was endorsed by the Communist Party USA for president in 2008 and 2012.[3] During his run for State office, he was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, and had extensive links to this organization.[4]

Going "Bulworth"

Obama has privately told staffers that he really wants to go "Bulworth", a reference to a 90's movie in which the main character is a Clintonian Democrat who has a mental breakdown, becomes suicidal, and then begins simply telling people what he really believes, including a strong support for socialist policies.[5]

Sources
1. http://www.politico.com...
2. http://whatreallyhappened.com...
3. http://keywiki.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://nypost.com...
Debate Round No. 2
kasmic

Pro

Thank you Robert for your opening argument.

Rebuttals

"Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself." Barack Obama

First off, When this quote is searched for online it brings up many sites and articles where people claim that this was said by President Obama in the 2008 campaign. The odd thing is that on the dozens of websites that I checked not one of them contained a link to a primary source, (text or video) of President Obama saying this. If possible, I would appreciate CON providing a link to the direct quote of Barack Obama as I do not want to take the quote out of the context in which it was given.

As I do not want to leave this portion of CONS argument addressed I will say this concerning that quote.This is a silly and asinine way to pin down a mans beliefs and ideology. If we were to take this quote literally and to mean something along the lines of "judge my beliefs and ideology by the people that surround me..." you will inevitably find inconsistent beliefs and ideologies. For example, President Obama is surrounded by atheists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and the like. It is impossible for him to be all of the above as some of the beliefs would not mesh. The same is true politically. He is "surrounded" by people that have all kinds of political beliefs, logically he cant be all of the political ideologies because the do not mesh. I am unable to say, as context was not given for this quote, that this statement was intended to be taken literally or as a common adage to his character.

My opponent goes on to say "Obama was endorsed by the Communist Party USA for president in 2008 and 2012." John Case, a writer for the CPUSA wrote an article entitled "The Danger of a Romney Election"(1) In this article Case concludes, "Re-electing Obama is not sufficient to bring economic recovery or even relief to our people. Only a different class configuration in political power can do necessary minimum reforms to give us a chance. But re-electing Obama is absolutely essential. Now is not the time for hand washing the complexities and tactics away - or failing to triage the most critical questions from those that are less critical. We cannot win everything at once!"(1)

His statement shows that their view is that Re-electing Obama is "not sufficient" to attain their goals. However the "danger" in having Romney elected is enough reason to vote for Obama. Sounds like a classic case of "the lesser of two evils," or even "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." The CPUSA's endorsement of Obama is ideologically weak at best. For the sake of not being overly redundant, the same is true of the Democratic Socialist Party of America. In short being endorsed by a group does not make you part of the group. Not to go too far off topic, but this is similar to concluding that during the prop eight campaign in California, if both the Catholic Church and the Mormon church donated a sizable amount of money in favor of the same proposition, and both endorse the same candidate, then the candidate must be both a catholic and a Mormon. This, of course is ludicrous. Likewise in politics, endorsement does not equal association.

My opponents third argument consists of the president privately telling staffers that he wants to go "Bulworth." This is also a very weak tie to socialism. If I were to say I really want to go Samson on this debate(Samson in the Old Testament), would that mean I am saying that I am Jewish? The President could be saying any number of things including, tired of politics, frustrated with congress, Stress with his job, etc... If the president even really says that he wants to go "Bulworth." Like the first quote, this is another quote that is hard to find a primary source and my opponent again did not provide a link.

Concluding Rebuttal

Both quotes provided by my opponent are interpreted deeply while context and links are not provided with either. Even looking deeply into those quotes it seems foolish to conclude so much from so little. Endorsement by the CPUSA and DSPA are also weak at best. Both clearly implementing the "lesser of two evils," or perhaps "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," tactics with their respective endorsements.

New Arguments,

CPUSA view of Democrats

The following is taken from an article from CPUSA.org written in 2010. "The CPUSA has pushed the vote for Democratic candidates, not because we have the illusion that they will bring us socialism, nor because we have actually given up on socialism, but because socialism is not an immediately achievable goal and voting for the Democrats is likely to produce a better situation from which to push the struggle forward, eventually putting socialism on the agenda."(2) The CPUSA just stated that they are not under the delusion that Democrats (like Obama) will bring them socialism. Any endorsement by the CPUSA of President Obama is a "lesser of two evils" endorsement.The CPUSA clearly does not view President Obama as a socialist.

President Obama does not identify as a socialist, Socialist do not identify him as a socialist, Even his rival for the 2012 presidential election Mitt Romney would not call him a socialist. Even when pushed to do so by News pundits trying to push the misnomer.

https://www.youtube.com...

President Obama is not a socialist.

(1)peoplesworld.org/the-danger-of-a-romney-election/
(2)www.cpusa.org/convention-discussion-on-critiizing-obama
Robert_Weiler

Con

Obama was not only endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America. He attended their meetings and even spoke at their events.



Obama was deeply connected to this organization and continues to associate with others who are as well.

I can not find a video of Obama saying the quote I used in the previous round. The fact that it was so widely reported and never denied by the administration shows it to be likely accurate.

A full record of Obama's connections can be found at http://keywiki.org...
Debate Round No. 3
kasmic

Pro

Thank you once again Robert Weiler for participating in this debate. I have very much enjoyed it.

A quick reminder this round is limited to rebuttals and closing statements, no new arguments per rules laid out in round one.

Rebuttals:

My opponent says "Obama was not only endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America. He attended their meetings and even spoke at their events." I would like to note that President Obama spoke at the event in question almost twenty years ago in February 1996. The other speakers included two political science professors, and expert in the field of the Study of Urban inequality. This event was also sponsored by the University of Chicago Democrats. The title of the event was "Employment and Survival in the Urban America." (1)

It is a common practice of organizations to organize events on topics of interest to their group, and then go and find experts in the field to come and speak. Inviting Obama to speak at this event made sense as Barack Obama had ties to the school. He "accepted a two-year position as Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School to work on his first book. He then taught at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years"as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004"teaching constitutional law."(2) He was a member of the faculty at the facility that held the event.

No offense intended to my opponent, but if cons strongest argument that Obama is a socialist is that he spoke at an event twenty years ago for a socialist group held at, and sponsored by the school that Obama worked for, then this debate is all but over.

Con has stated "Obama was deeply connected to this organization and continues to associate with others who are as well." Sorry if this seems redundant, but people often associate "deeply" with individuals with whom they disagree. For example, I am an independent with close friends who are Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, and so on. That does not in any way make me associated with those groups. It is prudent to notice that in the link you provide that lists President Obama"s ties to the Democratic Socialist of America provides no proof of membership.

Also curious is that my opponent say"s Obama "was" connected to DSA. I would like to remind my opponent that this debate is about whether or not Obama "is" a socialist. Though I would contend that he never was, My burden of proof is to show that he is not one now. I have filled this burden of proof.

I am unsure which quote my opponent was referring to when he said "I can not find a video of Obama saying the quote I used in the previous round. The fact that it was so widely reported and never denied by the administration shows it to be likely accurate." It matters not as both the quote "judge me by the people with whom I surround myself," or going "Bulworth" do not tie President Obama to Socialism. Why would the president deny saying either, as neither one provide any depth to, or understanding of, the Presidents ideals.

It seems irrational that my opponent would want to use vague, unclear, and unverifiable quotes to identify the president as a socialist, and yet ignore the well document quote that I used where the president states "People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you've got to meet real socialists. (Laughter.) You'll have a sense of what a socialist is. (Laughter.) I'm talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. The stock market is looking pretty good last time I checked." (3) Here is a video of the same quote"

https://www.youtube.com...

Closing Statements:

Abraham Lincoln once said "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four, calling a tail a leg doesn"t make it a leg."(4) The same is true of Obama, While their do exist some who refer to him a socialist, calling him one does not make him one.

President Obama is not a member of any socialist party. His policies have been strongly based on a private economy as is empirically evident by the ACA. He has not attempted to "organize a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government."(5) He does not identify as a socialist. Socialist do not claim him as one of their own.

President Obama is not a socialist

Vote Pro!

(1)http://keywiki.org...
(2)http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3)http://socialistworker.org...
(4)http://www.brainyquote.com...
(5)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Robert_Weiler

Con

Robert_Weiler forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 3 years ago
LostintheEcho1498
"LostintheEcho1498, I had never heard someone say that the full name of the Democratic Party is the "Democratic Socialist of America." So I looked into it. The Democratic Parties full name is "The Democratic Party." Turns out the "Democratic Socialist of America," is a different political party entirely independent of the Democratic Party."
Wow that's embarrassing...guess i mixed that one up. oops
Posted by kasmic 3 years ago
kasmic
My second link apparently was typed wrong... Here it is. http://cpusa.org...
Posted by kasmic 3 years ago
kasmic
Robert could you please provide the a link to the primary source for the quote "judge me by the people I surround myself." I can't seem to find when the president said this, just secondary sources commentating on this quote. Thanks.
Posted by Spedman 3 years ago
Spedman
I am surprised with the opening arguments made by Pro, but just because Obama and socialists say something doesn't make it true. Con has a tough opponent though.
Posted by kasmic 3 years ago
kasmic
LostintheEcho1498, I had never heard someone say that the full name of the Democratic Party is the "Democratic Socialist of America." So I looked into it. The Democratic Parties full name is "The Democratic Party." Turns out the "Democratic Socialist of America," is a different political party entirely independent of the Democratic Party.
Posted by Spedman 3 years ago
Spedman
Already doing a debate, but if I wasn't I would be inclined to disagree with you. Three words: Distribution of wealth. That is all the proof you need that he is a socialist. He is a strong advocate for distribution of wealth.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 3 years ago
LostintheEcho1498
Lol this is great. I would take it but don't have the time currently. Bud, you set yourself up. Obama is part of the Democratic Party which, in real name, is the Democratic Socialists of America. We just say Democrats. I wouldn't expect that pro is going to win this one unless he is really good at debates. Well, good luck anyway and Obama sucks at his job. Thats all.
Posted by kasmic 3 years ago
kasmic
Is there a definition that you would prefer. I am open to using http://dictionary.reference.com... Or http://www.britannica.com... or http://dictionary.cambridge.org... But they all pretty much say the same thing.
Posted by A341 3 years ago
A341
I don't really like your definition of a socialist as it could be perverted to include more or less everyone.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by NoahMuns 3 years ago
NoahMuns
kasmicRobert_WeilerTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: blah
Vote Placed by browley14 3 years ago
browley14
kasmicRobert_WeilerTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: I am very anti-Obama but karmic made some very convincing arguments as to why he is not completely a socialist.
Vote Placed by dynamicduodebaters 3 years ago
dynamicduodebaters
kasmicRobert_WeilerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
kasmicRobert_WeilerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff