As campaign rhetoric heats up, pundits and talking-point guys and gals debate what is on or off limits. Can or should the Democrats talk about 16-year-old “bully” Romney or about his “weirdness” (a veiled reference I guess to his Mormon faith)? Can or should the Republicans revive Reverend Wright’s black liberation rants, the Bill Ayers connection, or the President’s youthful drug use, which apparently was prolific.

One such pundit on the democrat side (who and where I forget) referred to “crazies” who call Obama a “socialist.” Such statements are beyond the pale, he declared in disgust. They are on a par with the “birther” claims.

Despite such dismissals, there is strong and legitimate interest in whether President Obama is a socialist. My Forbes piece Is President Obama Truly a Socialist continues to attract many readers three months after it was posted. It showed the remarkable overlap between Obama’s electoral platform and the Party of European Socialists, which represents leftist and socialist parties in the European parliament. My French Socialists Test Drive Obama’s Electoral Platform showed that French socialist Francois Hollande’s and Obama’s platforms are virtual carbon copies, and Hollande is quite open about and proud of being a socialist.

Democrat strategists know that the American electorate reacts strongly negative to “socialism” and are doing their best to discredit any and all who call Obama a socialist. There can be no doubt that Obama is a socialist in the European reform-Marxism tradition. In France, Obama would be the candidate of the French socialist party. In Spain, he would be at home in the Socialist Worker’s Party. In Germany, Obama would be torn between the Social Democrats and Die Linke. In “Old Europe,” the welfare state is well entrenched. Elections are about tinkering at the margin. The United States has still to decide whether it wants the European welfare state or not. Obama does. Romney does not.

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