I was asked on today's show to explain why labeling President Obama a "socialist" is incorrect. Short answer: I think it comes down to reality.
But a more thoughtful answer would start with the facts.
Socialism is an economic/social/political system with specific attributes. Examples of socialist societies and economies include Cuba and Venezuela. In both cases, the respective governments essentially own the economy.
Through state owned companies and other totalitarian methods, private enterprise is made illegal or at the very least, very risky because of the threat of confiscation (as has happened in Venezuela in the last few years) or other extrajudicial action.
The United States, its government, its society, its free market economy are organized around the principle of "democratic capitalism". That was the intent of the Founders, and has been the policy of every administration in history.
Today, we can say with complete confidence that the corporate sector in the United States is healthy and robust, booking the single biggest collective profit in 2012.
Investments by venture capitalists have continued to grow. New business are being created every day. Housing starts have jumped. The stock market is reaching its historic highs. The interest rate on US Treasury bonds are historically low - representing the financial world's belief in the solidity of the American system. No one serious thinks the US is on a path to socialism.
The American people live in liberty, with constitutional rights and the ultimate protection of an independent judiciary. In short, the "socialism" label they want to pin on the President may be helpful to stir the hearts of an aging Republican member base, primarily older men, but the facts do not support that claim. Indeed, the facts prove that the economy of 2013 is superior to the economy of 2008. And of course, Obama has been president since 2009.
Therefore, you simply can't logically and empirically connect "socialism" to our country's economic/social/political system's reality, a reality that we can see and measure.