By Ray LeMoine

I love the McCain campaign’s attempts to call Obama a socialist. Wait, didn’t Bush just nationalize the mortgage, banking, and insurance industries? But who cares what socialism actually means—or the fact that your party is practicing it—when you can just revisit the 50s! Joe McCarthy would be proud:

When reporters arrived at the rally, one speaker – it was unclear who it was, and he was already midway through his speech — was describing the upcoming presidential election as “a referendum on socialism,’’ echoing a charge that some Republicans have made in recent days suggesting that Mr. Obama’s tax cut plan was quasi-socialist.

Meanwhile, John Updike fears America’s returned to the 50s socially (not socialism) in his latest novel, The Widows of Eastwick, a sequel to the Cher movie The Witches of Eastwick:

And the younger people, the age we were when we were here — ssso tiresome, just from the look of them, toned-up young mothers driving their overweight boys in overweight S.U.V.’s to hockey practice 20 miles away, the young fathers castrated namby-pambies helping itty-bitty wifey with the housekeeping, spending all Saturday fussing around the lovely home. It’s the ’50s all over again, without the Russians as an excuse.

The burbs sure are boring, yes. But fear not, change is on the way. If the iBanker is dead, as NYmag reports today, then the Burb Dude is next. The last class of McMansion bros are already signed up, mortgage arms fixed. Sadly that model—big house, big car, all paid on credit—is over for the moment. Maybe someday we’ll return to our $500k house with nothing down ways. The economic crisis and subsequent nationalization spasm were GOP policy—though admittedly deregulation was Bill Clinton’s policy as well. Nonetheless, Obama is hardly a socialist. His health care plan was to the right of Hillary Clinton, so don’t buy into the GOP Red Scare. To ammend Updike’s quote, It’s the 50s all over again, but with McCain impersonating McCarthy.

But if this is the 50s, it’s good to remember that JFK and the 60s—America’s most revolutionary postwar decade–were next. Still, unlike the 50s we’re in a major economic downturn. Would the hippies have been able to flourish without riches earned by their 50s raised parents?