Just what kind of Socialist is Obama?
Given Obama's state-kleptomania tendencies (e.g., "[A]t some point, you've made enough"; letting government regulate private salaries, soak the rich rhetoric, etc.), it's pretty much beyond arguing that he has serious socialist aspirations.
Nevertheless it's important to determine just what sort of Socialist Obama is. To begin, let's pick two Socialists from the Russian revolution: Kerensky and Lenin. They were chosen because they are reasonably well known and (mostly) because I'm currently reading two books that mention both men in detail (A People's Tragedy and Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives).
Kerensky was the last prime minister of post revolutionary Russia, while Lenin was the man who replaced him and who did more than any other to destroy the Russian people -- bequething to Stalin a fully formed and functioning police state. Lenin quickly turned the October revolution into a grasp for total power over Russia's people and compromised the ideals of the 1905 and February revolutions.
The February revolution and subsequent abdication of the Tsar left a power vacuum. Lenin was still in exile and so the Bolsheviks missed their chance (some nine months later they would be ready). Kerensky, though, was in Petersburg, and already a politician of note. He was also convinced he was destined for greatness (sound familiar? How's this for comparison: "We are the ones we've been waiting for". Or this: "This was the moment [Obama's election] when the rise of the seas began to slow". Not too hubristic).
Both men were also wildly popular before their rise to power. It was said that all of Russia trusted Kerensky and thought him wise. By comparison, Obama managed to gull about 53% of voters (and nearly 100% of the media). Not quite the same level of adulation, but certainly enough to see his overweening pride find a place in the White House.
Finally, both men were part of a cult of personality. Both deliberately supported efforts to make themselves ubiquitious and important. Kerensky through such simple means as distributing postcards with his picture (where he looks farseeing, compassionate, honest and a leader), whereas Obama let the mass media and supporters do the apotheosis for him. And boy did they. Recall the songs, the peaeans written by the national press, the photos showing him with a halo, and the Democratic convention with its Roman pagentary.
As far as his comparison to Lenin: well, there really isn't much of one. Lenin was crosseyed in the intensity of his devotion to the revolution. He stayed on message like nobody's business. Obama flits from one message to another quicker than a butterfly -- and with as much impact. Only recently (coinciding with poor Democratic prospects for November) has he focused on the economy.
Lenin likewise was very good at convincing his fellow socialists that he had the answers; he used his iron will and a relentless logic to win support for his ideas. Obama is decidely unpopular with fellow Dems -- many of whom won't utter his name or even their party affiliation in their election advertising. Indeed, Obama's ability to convince through oratory is limited to getting himself elected. Beyond that he is a fairly limited speaker with little influence in his party -- even ex-prez Clinton has more these days.
Kerensky's fate was failure and exile. Lenin's was a series of debilitating strokes and an early death. Obama's fate will be different. He will continue as a media favorite but will ultimately be known as the man who mortally wounded the American nation by severing us from what made us great.
Hey, maybe he is more like Lenin. Oh, and one more way they are similar: there is more than an echo of Lenin's slogan that the Bolsheviks should be "looting the looters" in Obama's relentless calls for wealthier Americans to give back what they took. The main difference between them is that Lenin wanted the lootees to eliminate the looters. Obama is happy to just "spread the wealth" and have the looters continue to fill the government's coffers.