In my experience, the term “socialist” usually produces a fairly negative reaction from lots of my fellow Americans, as it very well should; I mean, it’s only a repeatedly failed system of oppressive governance that demonstrably slackens economic growth and makes people poorer and more miserable — what’s not to like? Unless I find myself speaking with limousine-liberal types or eco-trendy urbanites who tend to own a Che Guevara t-shirt or two, I find that it’s an idea that’s pretty generally frowned upon.

Despite the Eurozone’s ongoing entitlement-and-debt-induced financial crisis, France recently swept in a new Socialist-party order in their elections last spring, and their government is now headed by President Francois Hollande — the classic example of a champagne socialist. But, he definitely seems to at least have an accurate understanding of how his sort of politics are received within the United States. The Agence France-Presse (h/t Politico) reports that, when asked which candidate he would support in the US presidential election at the UN General Assembly meeting, Hollande replied: “Who do you think?”

“Are you aware that Mitt Romney never ceases to attack socialist Europe at his campaign rallies?” …

“Yes, that’s why I’ll be careful not to say anything at all on this subject because, as you’d imagine, if a socialist supported one of these two candidates, that could cost him dear,” he explained. …

“So I suppose I should endorse Mitt Romney,” Hollande joked. “But I won’t.”

See what he did there? Just in case you didn’t catch it, that was actually a sneaky way of saying that he prefers Barack Obama. So, no big surprise there, because if you want to get down to real brass tacks, the truth is that the United States has plenty of socialistic-lite policies in place: protectionism, subsidies, you could even argue that a graduated income tax is little better than redistributionist central planning by another name. And while the trend of introducing these types of policies into our federal government started long ago, President Obama has most definitely done so at an accelerated pace — and how!