Thank Right-Wing Nuts for Socialism's Fading Stigma
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2009 8:50 AM CDT
Rush Limbaugh talks with guests in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – In a much-touted recent Rasmussen poll, only 53% of Americans said they preferred capitalism to socialism. Among those under 30, that figure fell to 37%. “If you comb the annals of Americans’ ideological preferences, you won’t find figures like these,” writes Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post. What’s behind the red surge? Wall Street’s collapse, certainly, but Meyerson thinks Rush Limbaugh deserves some credit, too.

With the Soviet Union gone, the young no longer see socialism as anti-Americanism. They rarely even hear the word—except from “the demagogic right.” By calling President Obama a socialist, "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their ilk" have linked a perpetually unpopular ideology to a president with a 60% approval rating. They’re “doing what Gene Debs and his comrades never really could. In tandem with Wall Street, they are building socialism in America.”