It’s no secret by now that Bernie Sanders considers himself a democratic socialist.
It’s also no real secret that he’s hoping to spark a national, political movement to change the direction of the country. There are (so far) 16 Republicans and four other Democrats hoping to spearhead a similar movement — all candidates for president of the United States of America.
Those two separate things are related because of our electoral system. Candidates, more often than not, are ascribed a political party, and certainly a political persuasion. And to become president, you need a national vision that citizens buy into.
But for the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, Bernie’s political identity — which includes the buzz word “socialism” — coupled with his desire to organize a national movement means one thing and one thing only — Bernie Sanders is unequivocally a national socialist. Yes, a national socialist like members of the Nazi Party in Germany once were.
“In the Bernieverse, there’s a whole lot of nationalism mixed up in the socialism. He is, in fact, leading a national-socialist movement, which is a queasy and uncomfortable thing to write about a man who is the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and whose family was murdered in the Holocaust. But there is no other way to characterize his views and his politics.”
But wait, Williamson admits that Sanders is “not a national socialist in the mode of Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher.” Rather, he’s more “in the mode of Hugo Chávez.”
How reasonable of Williamson to concede that Sanders is not quite on the same level as a murderous regime bent on eradicating an entire people.
But lest Americans breath a sigh of relief, Williamson soon makes a clumsy case that Sanders is a racist and bigot. It’s obvious, he infers, because of Sanders’ “incessant reliance on xenophobic (and largely untrue) tropes holding that the current economic woes of the United States are the result of scheming foreigners, especially the wicked Chinese …”
To Williamson, Sanders’ opposition to trade deals and outsourcing of jobs to China or Mexico is just more evidence of his blazing bigotry. Bernie never rails against sending jobs to Germany or Scandinavia or any place where mostly white people live!
“Bernie worries a great deal about trade with brown people — Asians, Latin Americans — but has never, so far as public records show, made so much as a peep about our very large trade deficit with Sweden …,” Williamson writes.
Williamson’s lengthy, churlish rant, now available on the conservative outlet’s website, is almost a caricature, and conglomeration, of conservative media coverage of Sanders’ campaign thus far. It combines all of the hysterics and over-the-top rhetoric that cable news outlets on both sides of the political spectrum are now known for.
Bernie Sanders is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and his policy proposals deserve thorough examination and debate by pundits and the public to determine how they would impact the country. But the length that Williamson goes to depict Sanders as a dangerous monster is comical.
There’s a certain disdain and vitriol expressed by Williamson for anyone who may identify with Sanders’ views. He even seems to hold the location of Sanders’ campaign events in contempt, too.
He describes the neighborhood surrounding Drake University in Iowa where Sanders held a large rally as “a dreary, rundown, hideous little corner of Des Moines dotted with dodgy-looking bars and dilapidated groceries advertising their willingness to accept EBT payments.”
Not surprisingly, the Sanders campaign has nothing to say about Williamson’s piece. “I don’t have anything on that,” was spokesman Michael Briggs’ brief reply when asked about the piece.
Here’s one suggested response: Lighten up, Kevin!
Sanders has not fared well when it comes to endorsements from the Democratic establishment. In fact, he has exactly zero support from sitting members of Congress. But for those not paying close attention, here is a sampling of Sanders celebrity endorsements: Neil Young; Lucinda Williams; Sarah Silverman; Susan Sarandon; Mark Ruffalo; Patton Oswalt; Justin Long; Mia Farrow; David Crosby, and Lewis Black.
— Vermont Press Bureau