What’s the occasion? No occasion, really — except the fact that the guy gave a speech a few weeks ago asserting that the communist agenda’s being fulfilled by Hopenchange. Over to you, Cathy Young:

To those who remember the murderous horror that was the USSR, this flippant use of Communist and Soviet analogies should be deeply offensive, indeed obscene – the right-wing equivalent of the leftist habit of flinging Nazi metaphors at conservatives. Lenin, Stalin and Obama are as much of a trio as Hitler, Mussolini and Bush. Lenin and Stalin did not want to tax the rich a little more; they wanted to confiscate all their property and either kill them or send them to concentration camps (and to eliminate all political opposition and independent opinion)…

No sane person today would argue the merits of communism or Soviet-style socialism vs. democratic capitalism. But the size and role of government in democratic capitalist societies is very much a subject of legitimate debate. Most people favor some balance between security and flexibility, more equality and more individual opportunity. We proponents of small government should be able to argue for flexibility and opportunity without painting the other side as evil – and to criticize the Democrats’ proposals without resorting to a Red Scare.

Of course, demonization cuts both ways. Fairly modest Republican attempts to curb the welfare state have been habitually painted by Democrats as plans to starve orphans and throw grandmas out on the street. Now, we have Republicans equating federal student aid with the gulag. Reasoned debate in politics? More wishful thinking.

Exit question: How thick are the walls of Beck’s bomb shelter? Over/under is two feet.