Booker the out of touch socialist is driving across Kentucky
Charles Booker brought his Hood to the Holler tour bus to Western Kentucky yesterday. His appearance at Paducah Beerwerks was met by an enthusiastic crowd of between 200-300 supporters.
The Democratic candidate arrived in Paducah on the same day our mailbox belched out an oversized postcard from his opponent's campaign.
The postcard photo-shopped a dark photo of Booker with progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT). wearing "ushankas" the furry Russian hat most associated with Moscow oligarchs and Vladimir Putin. The mailer headline names Charles Booker as an "out of touch liberal" who will bring "socialism to Kentucky."
He is accused of "ending Medicare and pushing government run health care" among other vile deeds like "eliminating coal", raising taxes and taking orders from the likes of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.
In simplest terms, the mailer deceives. Booker doesn't take orders from any of the scary people he is accused of following. Not Pelosi. Not Sanders. Not Ocasio-Cortez. And not Joe Biden. Booker grew up poor and he knows better than most from his own life and campaigns what Kentuckians desperately need.
In Paducah on Wednesday, Candidate Booker was asked if he was offended by being called an out of touch socialist.
"If people say that being out of touch and being a socialist means loving the people of Kentucky, wanting everyone to be healthy, you're tired of political games, you want to do the work of ending poverty, you can call me what you want. But in a few weeks they will call me a US senator and Kentucky will get the change it deserves."
Defining the terms left and right throw at each other is no easy task. In February 2022, Tom Nichols wrote a Political Systems for Dummies article for the Atlantic Magazine.
In it he says: "Too many Americans think they're living under "socialism" and "fascism" and most of them have no clue what those words mean. (I have regularly challenged people who come to my public-speaking engagements to define those terms and then tell me why they think they apply to America. Inevitably, the answer is: "Well, I just don't like a lot of things Biden/Trump/Obama/whoever is doing.") Is it fascism? Is it socialism? The Atlantic Magazine Feb 2022
"Socialism is sometimes used interchangeably with communism (as evidenced by the Russian fur hats) but the two philosophies have some stark differences. Most notably, while communism is a political system, socialism is primarily an economic system that can exist in various forms under a wide range of political systems.
In a way, communism is an extreme form of socialism. Many countries have dominant socialist political parties but very few are truly communist. In fact, most countries - including staunch capitalist bastions like the U.S. and U.K. - have government programs that borrow from socialist principles. (emphasis added). Communism vs Socialism Diffen.com
As Doctor Paul knows, Medicare is a socialist policy passed by Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson back in 1965. It bookends another socialist policy, Social Security, signed into law in 1935 by another Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Medicare is a government program for those over 65 that has been saving old people lives since its passage. For seniors above the poverty line, it is not free.
Years ago, my dear friend Merryman Kemp called me from Paducah to discuss some issues in her area. In the course of our conversation, she said turning sixty-five and being eligible for Medicare was one of the best days of her life. This from a woman who sold health insurance policies for a living.
As Senator Paul also knows, Medicare and Medicaid already have private components. Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies are all in private hands. Taking away any government oversight and leaving them to corporate mercies are ideas pushed by conservative think tanks who loath to let a dime go to those unable to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Even when they have no boots. It must gall the Senator and his allies that soon Medicare will have the ability to bargain with Big Pharma as the VA has for years. And that seniors medical costs will be capped.
Senator Paul touts what he will do if re-elected, but he hasn't done much so far, except blockage of bills - even bipartisan bills like this one Paul blocks passage of judge security bill for third time which would keep judges' personal information off the internet. He stalled aid to Ukraine which is fighting for its existence against an aggressive Russia. He also voted against a veteran's toxic exposure (remember the Jon Stewart rant a few months ago?). Paul also held up the federal Emmet Till lynching bill before celebrating its passage. To the Senator's credit, he supported federal help for tornado ravaged Western Kentucky after the December 2021 after he voted against it for other areas of the country. Newsweek
Why should any voter be fooled into thinking he will do what he has not done in prior terms? He accomplished little for Kentucky when his Party controlled the Senate. Should they regain control he will be under no obligation to do anything but pontificate and bask.
Throwing a label on an opponent is a trick as old as Julius Caesar eliminating rivals. We Americans tend to forget that most countries Europe are democratic socialist countries. Paid vacation leave is the norm. Family leave for both parents when a child is born is paid. People get sick and get treated before checking their bank balances or with their insurer to see if they are "in the network". A friend who spent days in intensive care in Poland found her hospital bill on release to be less than a few nights stay in a good hotel.
This is the socialism that Senator Paul hates. Taxes are higher in Europe. But those tax dollars allow money that would go to unspent medical and education costs to stay in pockets.
Other socialist programs include workers compensation and Medicaid, programs crafted to help those least able to help themselves.
On the flip side of the postcard is a head sized profile of the junior senator from Kentucky. Senator Paul vows to continue to fight for lower taxes, against student loan forgiveness, the Green New Deal and Build Back Better. Student loan forgiveness is currently being challenged in court by the Republican Party. The Green New Deal has been modified almost beyond recognition by Democrats' need to get Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on board. And coal? It's been dying for years but for oxygen pumped in by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Coal will be needed to keep lights and heat on in places once served by Russian and Ukrainian assets.
Thoughtful people will look at the mailer in disgust and toss it in the recycle bin. Because it's too small for a cat box liner.