Red Bernie might just be the first Commie ever without a killer instinct.
To modify T S Eliot in “The Hollow Men” (whose theme seems not inappropriate), this is the way the world ends, not with a Bern but a whimper. As I said on Rush the morning after Super Tuesday, Senator Sanders blew the 2016 election with a single line – his crotchetty insistence to Mrs Clinton that he was “sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails”. That told Hillary that he wouldn’t go after her on the subject of her corruption and lawlessness. Which in turn told Hillary that Bernie wasn’t serious.
And so it proved.
Four years later, he was now, I said on the radio, making the same mistake again – in a pitiful Super Tuesday speech too gutless to mention Joe Biden by name. If he didn’t butch up before Michigan, he’d be over. That means not oblique references to unspecified candidates whose positions on Social Security and 2008 bailouts he disagrees with, but clobbering Biden by name on a) his decades-long corruption; and b) his more recent but increasingly obvious cognitive impairment. Only if a Democrat makes either an issue will the court eunuchs of the American media be obliged to cover it. Absent that, in the post-Iowa/New Hampshire avalanche of primaries, people vote on a vague recollection of Joe Biden from fifteen years back, when, by comparison with a Castroite crank flapping his arms around, he seemed “likeable” – or, in the dreary clichés of presidential politics, the candidate you’d enjoy sharing a beer with – even if Joe had no idea he was sharing a beer with you and was convinced he was sharing a margarita with Esther Williams and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Bernie blew it. The closest he got was tiptoeing up to the issue by noting that, while he himself was out there giving hour-long speeches, Biden’s were now down to seven minutes. If you’re paying attention, you kinda sorta know what he’s hinting at, even if trumpeting the charms of a stump speech eight times longer than your opponent isn’t the most persuasive way to sell it.
But again he needed to say it, and he didn’t. America’s Castro turns out to be not a real revolutionary, just a Vermont weekending flatlander of a revolutionary, a Ben & Jerry’s novelty ice-cream flavor of the real thing – Stalinist Swirl, Beria Blast, The Choctober Revolution, Hammer & Brickle…
What a joke.
It is that. Although I still say he’s the only one under the Democrat-Socialist Big Top with any real chance at unseating Trump, for what little that’s now worth. And I also maintain that the mere fact that we now have a bona fide Marxist running for a major-party nomination for POTUS speaks dismal, depressing volumes about where we are as a nation, regardless of how the 2020 race turns out.
Unheard of update! Brace yourselves, folks, for I am about to do something quite rare around these parts nowadays: link to and excerpt a piece from NRO.
The summer that my parents spared me a life in some soul-sucking collectivist factory—and Hungary wasn’t the worst nation in the Eastern Bloc at the time; there were no mass arrests, no gulags, just economic inertia and a tedious low-grade authoritarianism—Bernie Sanders was role-playing a Trotskyite in his class war against the Lumpenproletariat and kulaks of Burlington, Vt.
There’s no record of the future mayor of that prosperous city ever defending the brave men and women of the Prague Spring—why would he, after all?—though he did find the time to publicly admire the Vietcong, a group responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Bernie would make apologizing for Communists a lifelong endeavor. You’ll forgive me if I take it personally.
Anyway, by 1969, my father, trained as a chemist but unable to find work in that field, began his new life packing bags in a warehouse while my pregnant mother assembled beads for which she was paid by the bracelet. But not for long. I doubt either of them was aware that in the United States a red-diaper baby could move to New England and become a professional revolutionary, never having to really work a day in his life. And I’m positive that the prospect of such a life would have chafed their newly adopted sensibilities.
I’ve never met anyone who has escaped Communism—not from Cuba or China or Hungary or Ethiopia—who had any interest in living on the dole. Now, perhaps not everyone is as hard-working or as lucky as my parents—and, of course, chance plays its part in everyone’s life. But when socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mock and dismiss the notion of Americans’ “lifting themselves up by a bootstrap,” they are no longer pressing some liberal case for equality, they are embracing an un-American notion. They are trolling for victims. Victims of religion. Of industry. Of race. Of circumstance. Of history. Once socialists have convinced an entire generation they’re victims, there is no way back.
Fortunately, my emotional detestation of collectivism comports perfectly with my intellectual detestation of Bernie’s movement. Capitalism saves the victims that socialism produces. Nothing achieved under socialism can’t be achieved under capitalism—other than perhaps inducing perfectly healthy people from a beautiful island to get on rickety homemade rafts and try to traverse the Caribbean to move to Florida. And yet, here we are. Again.
The way we treat Bernie, as a crank or well-meaning left-winger, is itself a way to normalize Marxism—“democratic socialism,” in this iteration. We would never treat any other similarly destructive ideology with the same nonchalance. For me, it’s nearly unfathomable to accept that my parents—and thousands of others who gave up their friends and families to come to this meritocratic nation—would ever have as their president a socialist who praised the Soviet Union.
Happy warriors shouldn’t take politics too personally. When it comes to Marxists, and I have no doubt Bernie is one, I make an exception. I take history too seriously not to.
When it comes to Marxists, there’s no real necessity to bother about being “happy warriors” anyway. All we need to be is warriors, period. There’ll be plenty of time to get happy after the war has been won…and precious little happiness to be had if it’s lost.