Few people could seriously claim the behavior of the Obama administration has been socialist by any stretch. It is characterized, in the minds of many progressives, by its adherence to Bush-era policies, giveaways to the banking and credit industry, and its obvious reluctance to challenge the insurance industry in enacting health reform. In a sign, however, of just how no amount of democratic caving will satisfy some people, George Will writes:
As memories of the Cold War fade, like photographs bleached by sunlight, few remember the Brezhnev Doctrine. It was enunciated by Leonid Brezhnev in Warsaw in November 1968 as a retrospective justification for the Soviet-led invasion of Prague the previous August by Warsaw Pact forces to halt Czechoslovakia's liberalization. The doctrine was supposed to guarantee that history would be directional, controlled by a leftward-clicking ratchet. It asserted a Soviet right to intervene to protect socialism wherever it was imposed.
We are already testing whether President Obama and other statists who have given his administration and this Congress their ideological cast have a doctrine analogous to Brezhnev's. Having aggressively, even promiscuously, blurred the distinction between public and private sectors with improvised and largely unauthorized interventions in the economy, will they ever countenance a retreat of the state? Or do they have an aspiration that they dare not speak? Do they hope that state capitalism will be irreversible — that wherever government has asserted the primacy of politics, the primacy will be permanent?
Not only is this comparison ridiculous, it lacks imagination. There are probably a thousand plausible things one could say, from the right, about Obama. Comparing him to long dead Soviet Premier Brezhnev–"who is that, by the way?" the young ones will ask–is just shy of Godwin territory.