Debate: So did Bernie Sanders get Democrats to 'answer for their histories'? And speaking of that, why wasn't he held to account for Venezuela?

Bernie Sanders yelled himself hoarse at the third presidential debate, and maybe that had something to do with this little-noted lead-up from The Hill earlier yesterday:

A spokeswoman for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday said that many of the progressive senator’s fellow 2020 contenders will have to answer for their past stances on various issues.

“A lot of candidates are going to have to answer for their histories — both in office and before they joined political office,” Briahna Joy Gray, told Hill.TV.

Did I hear this right or did that sound just a little as though Commissar Sanders was planning a socialist purge? And speaking of histories....

The thing is, the Democrats certainly heard that as a threat, which is why a lot of them paid tribute to him instead of launching their take-'em down attacks, which is what Joe Biden got.

Here are some snippets from the transcript:

AMY KLOBUCHAR: If I could — if I could respond to some of the proposals from my friends. First of all, Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. That was a Klobuchar-Sanders Amendment to allow for drugs to come in from less expensive countries like Canada.

(To be fair, she dished just some ultra-gentle disagreement with the extremist elements of the bill, which she said were his doing.)

KAMALA HARRIS: I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You know, you brought us this far on Medicare-for-all. I support Medicare-for-all, I always have, but I wanted to make the plan better, which I did.

Joe Biden was said to have praised Sanders, too, something he didn't object to in this passage from George Stephanopoulos, emphasis mine: "Sen. Warren, let me take that to you, particularly on what Sen. Biden was saying there about health care. He has actually praised Bernie Sanders for being candid about his health care plan, that senator — says that Sanders has been candid about the fact that middle class taxes are going to go up and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated." 

In the debate, only Biden and Pete Buttigieg offered the gentlest of criticism of Sanders, treating their openly socialist comrade's proposals with kid gloves.

What does this whole phenomenon suggest? That it's Bernie's party now, and much as he may now play the Democrats' role of angry old grandpa hollering at the television set in the background, the Democrats are still squarely onboard the Sanders agenda.

But it also brings up something pretty ironic, given that it's Bernie who's the one who ought to be answering the purge questions.

Bernie's the one who took his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Bernie's the one who praised the Sandinistas who've currently turned Nicaragua into a socialist hellhole. Bernie's the one who went out of his way to praise Castro Cuba's revolting health care disaster.

And Bernie's the one who loudly praised Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, claiming that that socialist nightmare had actually tackled poverty, as well as refused to call Nicolas Maduro a dictator (he got away with that again until Julian Castro loudly said he would call Maduro a dictator), and even signed a petition in 2003 defending Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, back when Chavez was teargassing and beating the dissidents. Bernie the one who hired a speechwriter who praised Venezuela's "economic miracle"

If that doesn't sound like something that ought to raise questions, well then nothing does.

There was a small call for accounting on this matter, from Univision's Jorge Ramos, who should have been forced Sanders to answer for his past much more seriously than he did, given Ramos's firsthand experience with Chavista thugcraft.

Notice the sneeringly cheesy grin, not a bit fazed or embarrased by the question which should have embarrassed him hugely. Like I said - it's Bernie's party now. Here's how bad it was from the transcript:

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me be very clear. Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make — can create their own future.

In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement.

(APPLAUSE)

I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means, is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough, Jorge — it's not in the media and not in Congress. You've got three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of this country. You've got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies and in the media.

Maybe, just maybe, what we should be doing is creating an economy...

RAMOS: Thank you.

Just a 'thank you' from Ramos after all that change-the-topic bilge? Like Chavez and Maduro themselves didn't worm their way to total power on those exact same Sanders promises and claims, too? Total health care? Guaranteed wages? The 99%? All of those things are the very talk that Hugo Chavez used to turn Venezuela into a socialist hellhole. And Cuba and Nicaragua, too.

Unfortunately, Ramos just let Sanders spout downright lies that tried to claim he was only trying to turn America into Scandinavia these days, not the Venezuelan or Cuban nightmare. (And notice that he's using the word "Scandinavia" instead of Denmark, or Norway, or Sweden - he doesn't want those countries to pipe up that no, his socialism is not like what goes on in their countries, which have free markets, which is what Denmark did the first time he invoked their name.)

Sanders also continued to refuse to call Maduro a dictator and advocated for more useless talks to undercut Venezuela's dissidents - these talks have been going on in various forms for 20 years, and the opposition just keeps getting weaker and weaker.

Ramos didn't have the guts to call him to account for any of this. But he should have. Sanders is the one candidate who has the most to answer for, given his long record of praise for socialist countries that have since turned into hellholes and his quest for huge power as president of the United States.

 Image credit: ABC News, via shareable YouTube screen shot

Bernie Sanders yelled himself hoarse at the third presidential debate, and maybe that had something to do with this little-noted lead-up from The Hill earlier yesterday:

A spokeswoman for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday said that many of the progressive senator’s fellow 2020 contenders will have to answer for their past stances on various issues.

“A lot of candidates are going to have to answer for their histories — both in office and before they joined political office,” Briahna Joy Gray, told Hill.TV.

Did I hear this right or did that sound just a little as though Commissar Sanders was planning a socialist purge? And speaking of histories....

The thing is, the Democrats certainly heard that as a threat, which is why a lot of them paid tribute to him instead of launching their take-'em down attacks, which is what Joe Biden got.

Here are some snippets from the transcript:

AMY KLOBUCHAR: If I could — if I could respond to some of the proposals from my friends. First of all, Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. That was a Klobuchar-Sanders Amendment to allow for drugs to come in from less expensive countries like Canada.

(To be fair, she dished just some ultra-gentle disagreement with the extremist elements of the bill, which she said were his doing.)

KAMALA HARRIS: I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You know, you brought us this far on Medicare-for-all. I support Medicare-for-all, I always have, but I wanted to make the plan better, which I did.

Joe Biden was said to have praised Sanders, too, something he didn't object to in this passage from George Stephanopoulos, emphasis mine: "Sen. Warren, let me take that to you, particularly on what Sen. Biden was saying there about health care. He has actually praised Bernie Sanders for being candid about his health care plan, that senator — says that Sanders has been candid about the fact that middle class taxes are going to go up and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated." 

In the debate, only Biden and Pete Buttigieg offered the gentlest of criticism of Sanders, treating their openly socialist comrade's proposals with kid gloves.

What does this whole phenomenon suggest? That it's Bernie's party now, and much as he may now play the Democrats' role of angry old grandpa hollering at the television set in the background, the Democrats are still squarely onboard the Sanders agenda.

But it also brings up something pretty ironic, given that it's Bernie who's the one who ought to be answering the purge questions.

Bernie's the one who took his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Bernie's the one who praised the Sandinistas who've currently turned Nicaragua into a socialist hellhole. Bernie's the one who went out of his way to praise Castro Cuba's revolting health care disaster.

And Bernie's the one who loudly praised Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, claiming that that socialist nightmare had actually tackled poverty, as well as refused to call Nicolas Maduro a dictator (he got away with that again until Julian Castro loudly said he would call Maduro a dictator), and even signed a petition in 2003 defending Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, back when Chavez was teargassing and beating the dissidents. Bernie the one who hired a speechwriter who praised Venezuela's "economic miracle"

If that doesn't sound like something that ought to raise questions, well then nothing does.

There was a small call for accounting on this matter, from Univision's Jorge Ramos, who should have been forced Sanders to answer for his past much more seriously than he did, given Ramos's firsthand experience with Chavista thugcraft.

Notice the sneeringly cheesy grin, not a bit fazed or embarrased by the question which should have embarrassed him hugely. Like I said - it's Bernie's party now. Here's how bad it was from the transcript:

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me be very clear. Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make — can create their own future.

In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement.

(APPLAUSE)

I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means, is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough, Jorge — it's not in the media and not in Congress. You've got three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of this country. You've got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies and in the media.

Maybe, just maybe, what we should be doing is creating an economy...

RAMOS: Thank you.

Just a 'thank you' from Ramos after all that change-the-topic bilge? Like Chavez and Maduro themselves didn't worm their way to total power on those exact same Sanders promises and claims, too? Total health care? Guaranteed wages? The 99%? All of those things are the very talk that Hugo Chavez used to turn Venezuela into a socialist hellhole. And Cuba and Nicaragua, too.

Unfortunately, Ramos just let Sanders spout downright lies that tried to claim he was only trying to turn America into Scandinavia these days, not the Venezuelan or Cuban nightmare. (And notice that he's using the word "Scandinavia" instead of Denmark, or Norway, or Sweden - he doesn't want those countries to pipe up that no, his socialism is not like what goes on in their countries, which have free markets, which is what Denmark did the first time he invoked their name.)

Sanders also continued to refuse to call Maduro a dictator and advocated for more useless talks to undercut Venezuela's dissidents - these talks have been going on in various forms for 20 years, and the opposition just keeps getting weaker and weaker.

Ramos didn't have the guts to call him to account for any of this. But he should have. Sanders is the one candidate who has the most to answer for, given his long record of praise for socialist countries that have since turned into hellholes and his quest for huge power as president of the United States.

 Image credit: ABC News, via shareable YouTube screen shot