The “Obama as Socialist” storyline seems to be gaining momentum, mostly because he’s said some stupid things on the topic, such as telling Joe the Plumber that he wants to redistribute the wealth.

His remark has given the McCain campaign a slight opening, and they’ve done everything they can to keep this narrative going.   McCain’s people know it’s probably the only issue left for him, and they’re going to ride it into the sunset one way or the other.

But politics aside, I must confess that this notion of Obama as a socialist is laughible.  I mean, is he going to raise taxes? Yes.  But then again, pretty much every Democrat since Woodrow Wilson has raised taxes, so Obama’s in good company.  Does he believe in a robust social safety net? Of course — but that’s not unusual, either, for a liberal Democrat.  Is he a union guy? Absolutely.

But let’s keep in mind that two weeks ago, the United States government semi-nationalized our banking system.  And two weeks before that, they took an equity position in one of the largest companies in the world, AIG.  And a few months before that, they orchestrated an unprecedented bailout of Bear Sterns, making it possible for JP Morgan Chase to purchase the bankrupt investment bank.

As one conservative commentator put it, “we’re all big government conservatives now”.   There’s no escaping that Keynsian economics is trampling free-market capitalism, at least for the time being.  And there’s no denying that free-market capitalism will continue to lose ground to Keynsian policy under an Obama administration.

But let’s be fair — this hardly makes him a socialist.  We were already well down that path long before Obama came around.

Politics Obama the socialist?