Socialism Polling Surprisingly Well In Rasmussen Poll

Despite the paranoia and distortions from the right, actual  support for socialism in this country seems pretty non-existent. For example, the health care reform which the right pretends is a radical proposal actually is designed to increase the number of customers for private insurance companies. Neither a government-run program or even a single-payer program was ever considered. Government ownership in General Motors was a result of a plea from a private company for assistance with plans to return it private ownership, and certainly not a step towards government nationalization of industry. Calls for true socialism are limited to people who are marginalized on the far left without any influence on public policy, and I bet their is a very small number of them.

In such an atmosphere I would expect a poll of capitalism versus socialism in this country to show a result with virtually everyone choosing capitalism. A Rasmussen poll shows  socialism doing far better than I’d expect. Rasmussen both does real polls on elections which are of reasonable value, and does a number of  less reliable polls between elections to promote conservative memes (and in this case to promote a book by Scott Rasmussen). Their poll shows, “Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. adults nationwide say that capitalism is better than socialism.”  In contrast, 18 percent  disagree and  21 percent are not sure.

I’m sure we will see some conservatives use this to argue they are on the right side per public opinion. Actually I would definitely be on the side of supporting capitalism over socialism–provided we have the necessary government regulations to keep markets functioning properly. The same is true of Barack Obama as well as the Democratic Party. On the other hand, many of the actions of Republicans I have opposed over the years, from Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls to George Bush’s use of Medicare funds to provide corporate welfare for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, are due to Republican actions which are contrary to free market principles. At other times my opposition to conservatives stems from their lack of understanding that some government regulation is needed for markets to function–a concept which even Adam Smith understood.

While I doubt many Americans currently support socialism, my bet is that some people who not actually support socialism are unsure about saying they oppose it because of the repeated Republican attacks on socialism. Some people might hear the false claim that Obama is a socialist and respond by saying they support socialism.

Jon Stewart Taking on Fox

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Comedy Central responded to their upcoming competition from Conan O’Brien at 11:00 p.m. on TBS by extending the contracts of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert through 2013. Even more importantly than helping maintain Comedy Central’s ratings, the two help provide a counter to Fox’s right wing propaganda disguised as news shows. Criticism of Fox’s overt bias has become a common target for Stewart, as is seen in the above clip. Additional  clips of Stewart mocking Fox have been posted here and here. The New York Times has a report today on Stewart taking on Fox:

“Stewart does a great job of using comedy to expose the tragedy that is Fox News, and he also underscores the seriousness of it,” said Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters.

The segments about Fox are often replayed hundreds of thousands of times on blogs and other Web sites, amplifying their significance. “Media criticism has become part of his brand,” said Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, who noted that Mr. Stewart had also dissected CNN and CNBC in lengthy segments in the past.

It is true that the often-left-leaning “Daily Show” deals with a wide array of topics, but Fox is one that Mr. Stewart is overtly passionate about; he said on the show this week that he criticizes the network a lot because it is “truly a terrible, cynical, disingenuous news organization.”

According to “The Daily Show” Web site,, Fox News has been a subject of 24 segments so far this year, including eight in the month of April. The lower-rated news channel CNN, by contrast, has been a subject of five segments this year.

In many of the segments, Mr. Stewart questions Fox’s journalistic practices. He noted that Fox had hired former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to be a political analyst in a January segment he called “News of the Weird.” But he wasn’t laughing when he asserted that Fox is “functioning as her de-facto rapid response media arm, and they’re paying her for the privilege of doing it.”

In February he noted that Fox News had stopped showing President Obama’s widely praised meeting with Republican leaders while CNN and MSNBC had carried it start to finish. Mimicking a Fox anchor, Mr. Stewart said, “We’re gonna cut away because” — humorous pause — “this is against the narrative that we present.”

In March he ridiculed the news anchor Megyn Kelly for lining up guests who were opposed to the Democratic health care overhaul and citing polls that claimed the American people were opposed to it. Then he played a clip from October 2008, when Mr. Obama was leading in most polls, of Ms. Kelly’s saying “don’t trust the polls.”