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Spencer Bachus's Past With Socialists

You may have heard, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) is keeping tabs on socialists in Congress. There are 17 in the House alone by his count.

But get this -- it turns out Bachus was for socialists before he was against them. At least he cosponsored legislation with one of them, the only known socialist in Congress: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

That's right. In 2003, Bachus co-sponsored a measure with then congressman Sanders and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), which Sanders called a "tripartisan amendment." It sought to prevent credit card companies from jacking up interest rates on cardholders who have bad credit reports because of late payments and loans and such.

But that was then, this is now.

This week Bachus is making headlines all over the Internet for his comment during a speech to locally elected officials in his district that "some of these guys I work with, the men and women in Congress, are socialists."

Later, Bachus clarified to The Birmingham News that he counts 17 members of the House as socialists. But he could only name one: Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, who considers himself a Democratic Socialist (not affiliated with the Socialist Party) declined through his spokesman to comment on Bachus's once warm embrace.

"What with the recession and all the unpleasantness on Wall Street, I don't want to gang up on the capitalists," Sanders' communications director, Michael Briggs, said wryly.

We're still awaiting comment from Bachus's office.

Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says of Bachus's socialist counting hobby: "With all the challenges we face, it's stunning this is what Republicans are talking about. They sound like a broken record of GOP low points from the 2008 campaign."

He was referring to 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's charge that Barack Obama's economic policies are "socialist" and Rep. Michelle Bachmann's (R-Minn.) claim that an Obama presidency is the "final leap to socialism."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 10, 2009; 3:25 PM ET
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OK right-wing loonies...

On your mark..

Get set..


Commence with the hatin!

Posted by: hayden1 | April 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

haha im sure even a socialist has a few good ideas every now and then...a broken clock is right twice a day, right?

im not exactly sure this in any way qualifies as "hypocrisy"

regulating the market and redistributing wealth are two completely different things.

Posted by: dummypants | April 10, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

look at dat fukken socialist

Posted by: obblehit | April 10, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

If I were Bachus, I'd be far more worried about the list of idiots in Congress.

Posted by: nodebris | April 11, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse


Since Senator Bachus is probably on that list, I'm sure he's not capable of compiling an accurate list.

Posted by: critter69 | April 11, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

There are far, far more than 17 socialists in Congress. Just count those who vote for socialist farm subsidies. I believe that's big majority of the 535 Members.

Did the good Senator vote against farm subsidies? Against our system of perpetual, never-ending socialism for agribusiness? Or is he a two-faced hypocrite who doesn't hesitate to throw the money of hard-working taxpayers at a bunch of welfare pimps?

Posted by: Garak | April 11, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Rep Bacchus;
How would you classify an individual Southern White male Republican Congressman who consistently vote year after year for tax cuts for big oil, HMOs, big Pharmaceutical companies & the defense industry sector: Corporate Socialist?????

Posted by: yog2541 | April 11, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Michelle Bachmann is not (D-Minn). She is R-Minn. You will soon hear from her for this error. More over there aren't any idiots like her in the Democratic party.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | April 11, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Here is the dirty little secret conservatives are terrified will get out: A majority of the American people are socialists! At least using the bumpkin level of education of the people that the GOP are pandering to when they use the term. Under that limited school of thinking any government dollar spent on anything other than making war is socialism.

But, imagine all of those programs that the government spends mony on that the GOP considers "socialism" but won't actually come out and say it in a specific, definitive way--social security, medicare, education assistance, infrastructure (what once was called public works), health care, public safety, environment and energy.

How many of these carping conservatives will come out and definitively say they don't believe the government ought to be spending money hiring safety inspectors for our mines? For food safety? How many of them have actually voted to cut expenditures for OSHA programs?

You see, its easy to just hurl out an accusation like "socialist!" It is a fear word. And it appeals to the ignorant, the uneducated, the wacky conspiratorial thinkers who see anti-American demons under every bed. You know--the sort of people who get their "news" from Rush Limbaugh or Fox News.

Posted by: jaxas | April 11, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Bacchus who???
The Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysus. His festival was celebrated on March 16 and 17. The Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE. Bacchus is also identified with the old-Italian god Liber.

Posted by: Leathnm | April 11, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Bachus pals around with Socialists??? Not a good idea for a Republican from Alabama. This is a great opportunity for someone to outflank him on the right and challenge him for the (R) nomination. How can Palin-loving, real Americans support a guy who pals around with Socialists????

Posted by: thebobbob | April 11, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ooh. obblehit found a way around the vulgarity filters. Aren't you proud of yourself?


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 11, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

It was only a matter of time for Bachus to be found out. This kind will always be outed. Hypocrites are the very first to start casting stones. As Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Does Bachus consider being a socialist a sin? I know that the rightwingnuts must believe that just being liberal is a sin. How about being a conservative that ran up the national debt from 1 trillion in 1981 to 10.5 trillion in 2009, and counting. The only democratic President during that time was finally able to reverse the trend. The conservatives did not like that and went back to overspending. Now they get upset with Obama who has a much bigger ship to turn around. These rightwingnuts have their gaul.

Posted by: EarlC | April 11, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Jaxas, you hit it on the nail. ONLY 53% OF AMERICANS surveyed think Capitalism is good, and thats thanks to they way they survery. Substute "Capitalism" with "Free Market" and you get those mumbers.

You see, thanks to the Capitalist media and our government that is run on the money of corporate lobbyists, we "better than tho" Americans get a very distorted view of the world and history. Socialism and Communism are not the evils that the Capitalists make them out to be. If they were, all churches would be shut down. Well, companies are always trying that too. The "Right Wing" is always harping on the fact that not only are they for the "average Joe" but are doing the "Will of God". Jesus never charged a Co-Pay for healing the sick, nor did he charge admission for his sermons. He never advertised Himself as the messiah and he was born a migrant carpenter.

The Capitalists are not for the working class. This is why CEO compensation has gone up 300% in the last 10 years, while the average worker's wage only went up 5%. If wages would have kept up, the average worker would be making over $110,000 instead of $26,000 per year. Workers rights and woman's suffrage are in existent thanks to Communist agenda. Before this, the Capitalists only saw people, especially woman and children, as exploitable means of production. This is still happening all over the world, most of it still coming from the U.S.

And as long as Capitalists are in charge, forget about helping the environment. Capitalists, by nature, have to scour the ends of the world looking for new materials or peoples to exploit. And unless it helps the bottom line, which thanks to the laws they have made, they legal HAVE to make larger, they will not do anything.

There really are only two sides. Either you are for the working class or the owners of production and thus, the owners of the working class. You think the Capitalists want socialism for you? They want it for THEM! You are paying for THEIR mistakes. YOU are paying for THEIR bonuses, which they are "contractually obligated" to pay. The same contracts that the Capitalists are canceling all over the country and letting people go. Like in California where contracted teachers are being let go.

Quit being stubborn people. Turn off Fox and get on the WEB!

Posted by: PeopleB4Profit | April 11, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in Vermont for 40 years and have voted for Bernie Sanders several times.

That said, Bernie's not a Socialist - he's simply a liberal Democrat who likes to appear exotic. It's worked for him politically.

Posted by: norriehoyt | April 11, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the reference to the Roman god Bacchus, but I believe the derivation of the English surname "Bachus" is much more direct and obvious. Bryan Sykes, a famous English human geneticist and philologist at Oxford will trace your surname back to the European 13th century village where it originated for a few hundred quid . ("Sykes" is a "ditch" or minor "ravine" in Yorkshire. Were someone named "Backus" to invest the fee he might trace his name back to some "backhouse" or "privy" in Yorkshire. I knew a cousin of his whose name traced back to an "Outhouse" in Holland. Good fellow, -- changed the spelling slightly and enjoyed a brilliant, if minoe, political career.
Of course, "Bachus" might be a Latinization of the German "Bach" which means "brook" or "stream" or "open sewer" in various parts of Saxony. In the musicians' name "Bach" is slang for the accompanimant or "continuo" as in the jazz "Back me man!" = "I'll take this chorus!" But I digress.

Posted by: folk1 | April 13, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is on a self destructive streak. They keep firing up their base to a state of frenzied delirium with inane comments about Socialism and the end of the American Way of Life as We Know It.
The only problem is that the Republican "base" is rapidly aging and shrinking. The GOP is becoming the Colonel Sanders Party.
(Old White Southern Reactionary Men).
It is not a good model to build on, but they keep trying to convince each other that they will Rise Again while the rest of the country (and the world) passes them by.
The GOP may want to take another look at Ron Paul

Posted by: OlSloaner | April 13, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

For those who reference Ron Paul. Remember, he doesn't support any taxes, including income taxes. How can we get anything done with an attitude like that? No, Ron Paul is just an ultra ultra right conservative, and he should be taken in the same light as Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann, or Bachus, or any of the other right wing nut radicals. Just because someone claims to have "new" ideas, that doesn't make those ideas correct; it doesn't even make them new.

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | April 13, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Reading and hearing about all these self-opinionated and gibberish talking republican sore losers, made me think of the story about the two elephants. Sorry folks, I just have to share it with you. I think it is funny.

The elephant is the symbol of the republicans, right! No animal on this planet has such a memory as an elephant, right! Resentful. An elephant never forgets, right! OK here we go.

“The two elephants were having a love affair, building a future together, and it was an intense moment of hollering, mud slinging, wallowing in the mud, trumpeting, tooting, stamping and demolishing. – AND THEN NOTHING HAPPENED- JUST A LOT OF NOICE AND COMMOTION FOR NOTHING”. - There you go, a typical republican.

Posted by: hassebisse | April 14, 2009 4:35 AM | Report abuse

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