An amazing thing happened in last night’s debate in Miami between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: For the first time since the campaign began, Democratic voters got a glimpse of the kind of ferocious, meat grinder attacks Republicans would use to pulverize the superannuated socialist, should his party be so unfortunate as to choose him as its candidate.
Midway through the event, Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas said to Sanders, “In 1985, you praised the Sandinista government and you said that Daniel Ortega was an impressive guy. This is what you said about Fidel Castro, let’s listen.”
And then up came a video clip from August 1985 in which Sanders, then the mid-40s mayor of Burlington, Vermont, spoke to an interviewer from the Center for Media & Democracy about Cuba and Central America, Take it away, Bernie:
You may recall, way back in, what was it, 1961 they (the U.S. ) invaded Cuba. And everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world. All the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.
Patria O Muerta Whether or not you think Daniel Ortega was impressive, or that Fidel transformed Cuban society in a good way is not the point. It was the first time in the campaign that anyone used Sanders’s own words to paint him as a communist sympathizer.
Sanders and his Sandersistas keep exulting in national polls that show him running stronger against Donald Trump than Clinton. There’s a very good reason for that: Republicans have been bashing Hillary, over scandals real and imagined, since 1993. They have laid exactly not one fingertip on Bernie, first because they considered him irrelevant and, now, because they get Reagan-Mondale ’84 stars in their eyes when they consider the prospect of Sanders leading the Democratic national ticket.
The short bit of a tape wasn’t the whole story. No, when asked about it, Bernie doubled down on his Marxist analysis of U.S. imperialism, starting with the Monroe Doctrine, fercrissache, and running right through the old SDS playbook on the history of Latin America.
Throughout the history of our relationship with Latin America we’ve operated under the so-called Monroe Doctrine, and that said the United States had the right do anything that they wanted to do in Latin America. So I actually went to Nicaragua and I very shortly opposed the Reagan administration’s efforts to overthrow that government. And I strongly opposed earlier Henry Kissinger and the — to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende in Chile…
Look, let’s look at the facts here. Cuba is, of course, an authoritarian undemocratic country, and I hope very much as soon as possible it becomes a democratic country. But on the other hand…it would be wrong not to state that in Cuba they have made some good advances in health care. They are sending doctors all over the world. They have made some progress in education…
And I just want to add one thing to the question you were asking Senator Sanders. I think in that same interview, he praised what he called the revolution of values in Cuba and talked about how people were working for the common good, not for themselves.
I just couldn’t disagree more. You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, you imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere.
Look, we don’t necessarily disagree all that much with Bernie’s overall analysis. And some of our best
past lives friends are godless, commie pinkos. Our point is that while these notions may be fine to fling around the Golden State, folks in Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and a handful of other battleground toss-up states may get a whole lot less comfortable with Chairman Bernie’s “revolution” when they start seeing some of the personal political history on which he bases it.
And Wednesday night’s debate offered just the tiniest taste of what would be unloaded on him if he were to become the Democratic nominee. He would be portrayed as a Bernie the Red, seeking to undermine all that is great about American capitalism while forcing us all to live in communes, smoke Cuban cigars and drive ’57 Chevys. And much worse.
Remember Bernie, a single spark can start a prairie fire.