Painting Obama as Socialist

Conservative painter Jon McNaughton’s latest political work depicts Pres. Obama holding a burning Constitution. It’s perfectly legal, and really not-that-shocking that someone has painted a picture like that. In our long history, there have been cartoons and drawings of presidents far more acerbic. This is just one more.

After the Patriot Act, one might have painted something like this with George W. Bush in the picture.

(I’ll avoid an aesthetic assessment of the work. That assessment’s not important to me, one way or another.)

What’s odd to me is McNaughton’s title: “One Nation Under Socialism.’ Conservatives may think so, but Obama’s not a socialist. In outlook, he’s an upper-middle-class liberal of his generation.

For a libertarian, there’s much in his thinking that’s misguided or wrong, but it’s not socialism wrong, so to speak.

Diluting a term’s meaning may excite conservatives, the Koch brothers, and Americans for Prosperity (the Koch brothers by another name), but it’s intellectually careless.

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