Did Whole Foods CEO Mackey just suggest Obamacare is fascism again?

We’d reported earlier this week that Whole Foods CEO and founder John Mackey put his foot in his mouth again by calling Obamacare “fascism.” Previously, Mackey had called health care reform “socialism.”

Mackey subsequently backed off of the “socialism” charge, and this week backed off again from the “fascism” charge, but only kind of.

On CNN today, Mackey says that calling Obamacare “fascism” was a bad choice of words because of the “baggage” that Americans have with the word “fascism” (e.g., Hitler). But he then goes on to define “fascism,” and then says that Obamacare is taking us in that direction. That sounds like he just reiterated the offensive statement he made earlier in the week.  (In other words, yeah I think it’s fascism, but I’m not permitted to use the word.)

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Produce Market via Shutterstock.

Read the transcript below from his appearance on CNN today, the video follows. Note how Mackey explains, in a manner that sounds sarcastic and perturbed, that “apparently you can’t use that word in America any longer, it’s taboo.” He doesn’t sound like someone who gets the problem here – he sounds like his PR folks told him he that he can’t use the word fascism, and he still wants to use the word, and is annoyed that the PC crowd won’t let him.

Read and listen for yourself – does this sound like someone who understands what he did was wrong, and who is legitimately sorry?

WHOLE FOODS’ MACKEY: Clearly that was a bad choice of words, but traditionally ‘socialism’ means that the means of production are owned by the government. And in ‘fascism,’ the means of production are still owned by private individuals they’re controlled by the government. And what’s happening is, is our health care plan, our health care system is moving away from free enterprise capitalism towards greater governmental control. That was a poor choice of words because of the baggage and labels that go along with it, so now i’m just calling it government controlled health care.

CNN’S CAROL COSTELLO: And you realize, when you say ‘fascism,’ it brings up Nazi Germany and sorts of things…

WHOLE FOODS’ MACKEY: Yes (said in a somewhat drawn out, annoyed manner).

CNN’S COSTELLO: …and we really want that kind of language out of our public forum at the moment don’t we?

WHOLE FOODS’ MACKEY: Apparently you can’t use that word in America any longer, it’s taboo.

CNN’s COSTELLO: That’s right.

WHOLE FOODS’ MACKEY: Be careful, you just used it.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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