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The Full McCarthy

By Matthew Yglesias  

"The Full McCarthy"

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Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) decides to imitate one of modern conservatism’s greatest heroes:

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) puts the number of socialists in the House at 17.

“Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists,” Bachus told local government leaders on Thursday, according to the Birmingham News.

Bachus gave the specific number of House socialists when pressed later by a reporter.

To take this more seriously than it deserves, the number of members of the House who would be inclined to support the sort of agenda advocated by what would, in Europe, be called a “labor” or “socialist” or “social democratic” political party is surely more than 17. That would be an agenda of offering a more expansive version of the sort of public sector we already have in the United States—one that provides for public infrastructure, protects people against illness, offers education services, and takes care of children, the elderly, the disabled, and those afflicted by temporary economic dislocation. If, by contrast, you’re looking for “socialists” who believe that we ought to have large scale public ownership of industry then I think you would find very few socialists in France (indeed, it was Lionel Jospin’s gauche plurielle that spearheaded major French privatizations in the 1990s) or Sweden to say nothing of the United States.

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