The Republican Socialism Resolution— A Guest Post By Rep. Mark Takano
Mark Takano represents a Riverside County district, including the city of Riverside, in Congress. He’s the ranking Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a member of the Education and Labor Committee. He also serves as Congressional Progressive Caucus vice chair for policy. In 2020 he endorsed Bernie because of what he called Bernie’s “bold vision” and ability to get things done. Yesterday he stood up on the House floor and made that short speech above. I asked him if he felt like expanding it into a guest post for us. Here’s what he wrote:
This week, House Republicans brought to the floor a ridiculous resolution under the guise of “condemning socialism.” This resolution is not about socialism. It is about political cynicism. It is empty posturing from a flailing majority that peddles outrage because it has no positive agenda to offer the American people. No Member would defend the atrocities committed by murderous Communist ideologues such as Mao Zedong or Fidel Castro— or dismiss the senseless loss of life at the hands of other totalitarian regimes across the centuries, be they far left or far right. But that is not what this resolution is about.
This resolution is about conflating some of our most cherished social safety net programs with so-called “socialism.” With this resolution, Republicans demonize Social Security, which was created to help elderly Americans avoid starvation during the Great Depression, and on which more than 46 million retirees rely today. Republicans demonize Medicare, which has saved the lives of countless Americans since it was born out of Johnson’s “Great Society”— itself an effort to showcase the superiority of American freedom to Communist totalitarianism. And Republicans have demonized other Federal programs as “socialist” in the past— including the benefits offered to our nation’s veterans, such as VA healthcare, home loans, burial benefits, and anti-homelessness programs.
President Harry Truman was right when he said, “Socialism is a scare word [that Republicans] have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.” A century later, Republicans still use the same scare tactics to impede social progress and entrench the status quo. The truth is that Republicans want an America where, to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we have socialism for the rich while expecting rugged individualism from the poor. It was Republican socialism for the rich when they joined former President Trump to give profitable corporations and wealthy families 2.3 trillion dollars in unneeded tax cuts. It was Republican socialism for the rich when they let businesses across the United States get away with stealing billions of dollars in pandemic relief funds that were meant to support working families. It was Republican socialism for the rich when the Federal government spent decades providing billions of dollars in subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
When someone shows you who are they, believe them. Believe Republicans when they tell you they want to cut Medicare. Believe Republicans when they tell you they want to cut Social Security. Believe Republicans when they tell you they want to balance the budget on the backs of everyday Americans. Don’t believe Republicans when they decry socialism— this is a clear act of hypocrisy and an attempt to distract the American people from their failure to help real people in need.
-Rep. Mark Takano
Sadly the resolution passed-- and even more sadly, most Democrats (109 to 86) voted for it-- including Hakeem Jeffries, Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn, Peter Aguilar, Katherine Clark. So almost the whole leadership (though not Steny Hoyer). And it wasn't just conservatives like Henry Cuellar, Jared Golden, Abigail Spanberger and Josh Gottheimer, but even a few solid progressives. I asked one why and he told me that it was to "provide cover for vulnerable front liners who would get killed in ads over it. It was a trap from Republicans."