Brian Moore said Barack Obama is not a socialist. And Moore should know. He's the Socialist Party USA candidate for president.
"It's misleading for Republicans to say that," the local peace activist and perennial candidate said Wednesday from his Spring Hill home. "They know (Obama's) not a socialist."
Now, more than ever, Moore and his party are getting attention thanks to the $700-billion financial bailout and the rhetoric from the Republican presidential ticket. John McCain and Sarah Palin have repeatedly labeled Obama as a socialist in recent days.
"Now is not the time to experiment with socialism," Palin said at a rally Monday.
"I think his plans are redistribution of the wealth," McCain said in a television interview Sunday. "That's one of the tenets of socialism."
The Republicans are capitalizing on their Democratic rival's recent conversation with Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, in which Obama told the Ohio man that "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Obama was discussing his plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000.
Moore said McCain and Palin are abusing the "socialist" label. Likewise, he said Obama's programs wouldn't create a true wealth redistribution.
"It seems like both major party candidates are trying to use socialism to their advantage, in a negative and in a positive way," he said.
Moore and his vice presidential candidate Stewart Alexander are competing in 18 states, including Florida, which carry more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
(His name actually appears on the ballot in just eight states but he's a qualified write-in candidate in the other 10.)
If elected, Moore would push for the "full government takeover of all American corporations."
This position also earned him some face time on cable news shows as Congress debated the financial rescue plan.
Moore wants to nationalize the entire banking system and establish an independent banking authority, composed of consumers, workers and economists.
"Go all the way," he said during one of his two recent Fox News appearances. "Take them over lock, stock and barrel."
All this socialist talk gives candidacy some legitimacy. Moore said, "Everyone I run into now says, "Hey, you're not so crazy.'"
John Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6114.