Issues & Insights
Michael Vadon

Uncle Bernie Saws Off His Own Limb with Outlandish Socialism Defense

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders’ attempt to promote “democratic socialism” as a political platform recalls former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 1984 convention speech promise: “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes. And so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

A gift which my bosses at President Reagan’s re-election campaign accepted with undisguised glee. Especially when Fritz helpfully quantified his planned pocketbook raid, which our guys extrapolated to a $3,000 per-household hike.

Game. Set. Match. 

For some inexplicable reason — perhaps tempting polls showing that 70% or more of Democrats find socialism attractive, or young gun Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rock-star status — Crazy Uncle Bernie didn’t just climb out on a similar political limb with his own daffy idea to cling ever more tightly to the banner of “democratic socialism.” Like Fritz, he proceeded to saw the branch off himself.

Roared the Vermonter: “It is my very strong belief that the United States must … find the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love. It is the path that I call democratic socialism.”

Uh, huh. Certainly, going all-in on socialism is the new ticket!

So why isn’t the far-savvier Elizabeth Warren shimmying down the “socialism” branch in her own new platform, though her ideas are quite similar? Maybe because she’s instead cleverly purloining a page from nationalists by rebranding her equally far-left ideas as “economic patriotism.” 

Meanwhile, Crafty Nancy Pelosi, who’s been around the block enough times to separate a trend from a fad, is busy chopping down the entire tree.

“I do reject socialism as an economic system,” Madame Speaker has lectured the left wing of her caucus. “If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.”

But she needn’t bother. In the selfsame speech, Uncle Bernie heightened his folly with a not just lame, but downright laughable effort to repackage socialism for mainstreamers.

“(L)et me be absolutely clear,” he intoned. “Democratic socialism to me requires achieving political and economic freedom in every community.”

Oh! Now I get it. Socialism is about “freedom!”

You see, according to the deep thinker who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union, “true freedom” is about the government guaranteeing “economic rights.”

Sanders even lifts the nomenclature of Constitutional amendments that (at one time) actually did guarantee freedom — declaring “a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights.” Only his includes the “right” to a job, health care, education, “affordable housing,” “a clean environment” and “a secure retirement.”

Even as he seeks to hang the label of “authoritarian” — a term he used no fewer than 10 times — on President Trump and business interests.

Nice try, Unc. But you got it backwards: such “economic freedom” is the utter antithesis of “true freedom.”

It’s servitude and slavery in the form of abject and outright surrender of self to faraway masters. Who’ll dictate what manner of (and how much) health care, education, housing and retirement you’ll get. Who’ll seize control of any and all means of production or transportation, not to mention living arrangements, in the name of “a clean environment.” And in the process, will appropriate your most precious freedoms, over family and faith. (Note Bernie’s invocation of LGBT “rights” as well.)

Because these bureaucrats don’t share your values or views — and certainly not your aspirations. Their only value is more power, control, and money — until, as Margaret Thatcher put it, they run out of other people’s (meaning your) money. Then they’ll print more, or simply oversee the shared, rationed scarcity they’ve created, versus the “shared prosperity” Uncle Bernie hopes for, alongside social chaos.

Venezuela, where the erstwhile middle class eats out of garbage trucks and children and the elderly die in hospitals without power, equipment or supplies, is everyone’s favorite current example.

But you needn’t even to go there. Let’s tour “Democratic socialist” havens like the UK, where a quarter of a million patients are waiting six months plus for promised treatment from their supposedly beloved single-payer National Health Service — which also routinely denies cataract and hernia surgery, hip and knee replacements and glucose monitors as of “limited clinical value.

Austria, where I once lived and where the trade off for “free” university education is 12-year-olds learning of their inescapable destiny as cosmetologists or car mechanics, and repulsive cement-block buildings memorialize Socialist efforts to ensure free housing.

France, where “yellow vests” — who chop wood since they can’t afford gas heating — protest massive energy taxes levied to prevent climate change. Germany, whose vaunted Energiewende to renewables is cratering even as it bankrupts consumers. 

The entire Eurozone, where “economic security” translates to a “lost generation” experiencing unemployment rates of 19% to over 40%. Et cetera.

The good news: as Crafty Nancy, and more important, The Donald grasp, the public is smarter than new-look “Democratic Socialists,” and Uncle Bernie’s coming crash in the polls, already underway, will reflect his self-inflicted fall from his preposterous perch. 

Voters saw through Fritz Mondale’s gambit. And America in 2020 will reject a concept of “freedom” paralleling that of failed and, in reality, truly “authoritarian” “Democratic socialist” systems worldwide. 

Bob Maistrosis a messaging and communications strategist and crisis specialist. He was chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, a former Senate subcommittee counsel. He can be reached at

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  • I cannot fathom that parents have lived their lives & raised their children to be so thoughtless as to actually believe “democratic socialism” is a real way of life. There is no such thing as “democratic socialism.” It is simply a moniker to soften the term communism.

    • Further on “Democratic Socialism” – there is not such a thing. What these people want is Communism, they just don’t want to admit that.

      • That’s utter baloney and you have nothing at all to back up and tired neo-McCarthy fear-mongering.

  • “I intend to raise your taxes!” is something no bumper sticker said ever.

  • My gosh, how shallow. Not one of you have ever used or needed unemployment insurance or Social Security, or Medicare or Medicaid, have you? Public transportation? All that is due to socialism, which is working together to help each other.

    Unlike conservatives who live in a dog-eat-dog world, we believe we are all in this life together and if we learn to respect each other and make rational judgments for all of us, we will be better off.

    Selfishness is isolating.

    • Government is not charity; it is force. All that crazy Bernie wants to claim as rights are not rights at all, but simply covetousness. No one’s rights can require anything from another. Free speech rights don’t require anyone to listen. Freedom of religion doesn’t require you to believe. My right to keep and bear arms doesn’t require anything from you. On the other hand, his childish ‘economic’ rights bull requires that someone else pays when he can’t make it on his own. Economic rights would require high taxes to support all the scofflaws that would just as soon stay home and watch oprah or play fortnight. High taxes thwart everyone’s right to pursue happiness which is a person’s first right to the fruit of their own labor.

      • I have to pay for your brutal unending Republican Wars and Tax give-aways to the rich, why can’t you help pay for our health care?

  • What a hatchet job, this writer is all for the corporate socialism in our current system but has to stoop to disingenuous mischaracterizations of simple concepts in order to try and slander Bernie. How pathetic.

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