Seventeen Socialists in the House

An entry in Glenn Thrush’s blog at Politico indicates there may be seventeen socialists in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, told a hometown crowd in Alabama today that he believes there are several socialists in the House.

Actually, he says there are exactly 17 socialists in the House of Representatives. according to the Birmingham News:

But he said he is worried that he is being steered too far by the Congress: “Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists.”

Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.

Searching the POLITICO style book and the official U.S. House listings, we don’t see a category for socialists — just a lot of Ds and Rs next to lawmaker names. And Bachus didn’t name names of the socialist 17.

I decided to research this in my usual way: By looking it up on Wikipedia, the encyclopedia anyone can edit, and believing every single word I read.

First up is Socialism:

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.

An editor on the talk-page pointed out the obvious.

The first sentence of the article uses the word “fair” which is a positive value judgement: “…with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.” I believe this word should be removed or at least enclosed in quotes if neutrality is to be maintained.

Wikipedia’s overall rep might have been improved somewhat if this discussion had actually, y’know, gone somewhere.

Anyway. Next stop. House of Representatives.

The United States House of Representatives, commonly referred to as “the House”, is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress; the other is the Senate. Each state receives representation in the House in proportion to its population but is entitled to at least one Representative….The total number of voting representatives is currently fixed at 435.

Hmmm.

You know how many socialists I think are in the House, if socialism seeks state control of the means of production and an equalized scale of compensation? I’d say…something approaching 435. Seventeen is not a mind-blower for me. Not unless we’re dealing with some alternative definition — perhaps someone willing to attach the s-word to his own name, and proudly say “I am a socialist” or “What in the hell have you got against socialism?” Even then, seventeen seems a little bit on the low side.

This is a front in the battle in which my optimism has been dealt a more intense and prolonged assault, and I must confess said assault has taken its toll. Socialism, from the evidence that has come my way about what people are thinking, is no longer widely recognized as the pure strain of evil that it really is. The “Big We” seems to be thinking about it, when it does have to do some thinking…well, what in the world could be wrong with that?

I’ve learned something important. It’s too late to make any practical use of it, but it’s good to know. See, all this time I thought when we went socialist, it would be the frog-in-the-boiling-water approach. Minimum wage increase…well what’s wrong with that? Federal Reserve…what’s wrong with that? Salary cap…what’s the problem, it’s way up there at a billion dollars a year.

This has been quite the opposite approach. For that majority, much of it starry-eyed, that voted for Barack Obama…the words cannot quite be put to voice “President Obama is making us into a socialist nation, and that is WRONG!” That would be too much of whiplash, and too quick of one, for the tender ego. It sounds a little bit too Republican (eww!) anyway. And so Mister Wonderful gets to do whatever He wants. Elected for five months and President for two-and-a-half. What is left to be done?

Seventeen socialists in the House. Hmmm…rather like pointing out the smoke detector batteries might need testing, in a burning building.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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