Saturday, February 08, 2020


So this happened after last night's debate:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews freaked out at the prospect of Bernie Sanders becoming the 2020 Democratic nominee, warning that his views of socialism go back to the 1950s and that he believes he might’ve been a victim of “executions in Central Park” if “[Fidel] Castro and the Reds” had won the Cold War....

“You know, I have my own views of the word socialist and I’ll be glad to tell them, share them with you in private,” Matthews said forcefully, right before sharing his views in public in an almost panicked, rat-a-tat-tat tone. “They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro, and I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park and I might’ve been one of the ones executed and certain other people would be there cheering. So, I have a problem with people who took the other side.”

... “I don’t know who Bernie supports over these years. I don’t know what he means by socialism. One week it’s Den-mahk, we’re going to be like Den-mahk,” the MSNBC host said, lapsing into an impression of Sanders’ Brooklyn accent. “Ok, that’s harmless. That’s basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social programs. Den-mahk is harmless.”

“He’s clearly in the Denmark category,” [Chris] Hayes gently pointed out.

“Is he?!” Matthews shot back.

“Yeah,” Hayes replied.

“How do you know? Did he tell you that?” Matthews pressed.

And there was also this, earlier in the day:

It's not just Chuck Todd in that clip. Early on, we have Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino (which was co-founded by Rosario Dawson, a 2016 Sanders supporter) saying, "There's not an American that wakes up every single morning that doesn't say, 'I'm going to get up in the morning so that I someday either can be rich or my kid can be rich.'" (My father drove trucks for a living. My parents wanted my sister and me to do better than they'd done. They weren't dreaming we'd be rich, just comfortable.) We have Michael Steel, a former adviser to John Boehner, saying, "When you think of billionaires in America -- at least when I think of billionaires in America -- I think of Bill Gates. I think of Jeff Bezos." (Easy to say if you're someone who's never has to pee in a bottle in one of the tax-avoiding Bezos's un-air-conditioned warehouses because you'll lose your job if you take a bathroom break.) Todd minimizes the problem by saying, "Donald Trump has given billionaires a bad name" -- as if deindustrialization, the destruction of the union movement in America, and the economic collapse of 2008 never happened.

The "liberal media" expresses despair when the right is at its worst, but much of it loathes genuine progressivism. If it's Sanders vs. Trump, Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd will write in Mitt Romney or Colin Powell. So will most of the regulars on Morning Joe. Some conservative Never Trumpers -- Max Boot, for instance -- have said that they'll vote for any Democratic nominee, including Sanders, to defeat Trump. Chris Matthews, how about you? On this question, are you to the right of Max Boot?

And please note that nothing like this happens in the right-wing media. Fox and talk radio rallied around Trump, even though they did so with some reluctance at first. Nearly all dissenting voices were banished a long time ago. I value a range of opinions -- but at this point a range of opinions could be killing us. Any Democratic nominee is better than Trump is a premise that should be as unquestioned on the left, left-center, and center as The sun rises in the east. But it isn't.

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