First we were told that it’s racist to call Barack Obama “skinny.” Now we’re told that it’s racist to call him a “socialist” (which happens to be my translation of “spread the wealth around.”

Listen to this lecture setting us straight from one of Our Media Betters, columnist Lewis Diuguid of the Kansas City Star (hat tip: Drudge):

“The ’socialist’ label that Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate Sarah Palin are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.

“J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality.

“Those freedom fighters included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement; W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1909 helped found the NAACP which is still the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization; Paul Robeson, a famous singer, actor and political activist who in the 1930s became involved in national and international movements for better labor relations, peace and racial justice….

“McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black.”

Um, didn’t Hoover also call those well-known black Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg “socialists”—or something like it? And then there that powerful African country, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

And speaking of reaching back in history, let’s get the historical record straight:: While Hoover was obviously wrong in his suspicions about King, W.E.B. Du Bois actually was a socialist—and proud of it. As for Robeson, one of those “international movements” for better labor relations, peace, love, or  whatever with which Robeson became involved was also known as the Communist Party. Robeson was a dues-paying party member and an unrepentant apologist for the Soviet Union (“What gulags?”) throughout his life. Here is what Wikipedia says about him:

“During the Soviet purges, Robeson allegedly told a Daily Worker reporter that ‘from what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot.”

There’s a code word for people like Diuguid: assinine.