Chris Matthews has managed to enrage the left – loyal supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in particular – by daring to aim his trademark hyperbole straight at the socialist 2020 hopeful. A stalwart of that bastion of deep, political thought known as MSNBC, Matthews is famous for maniacal rants about politicians who say and do things of which he does not approve. He is also famous for his almost creepy adoration of former President Barack Obama. On Feb. 7 – whether he intended to or not – Matthews held up a mirror for the left and the response was savage.
In 2008, Matthews said “I felt this thrill going up my leg,” after watching then-candidate Obama speak during the Democratic primary race. The current president, though, has given him no such erotic sensations. When Donald Trump used the words “America First” during his inaugural speech, Matthews described it as “Hitlerian.” Despite the horrors visited upon Europe by Hitler’s regime, no-one on the left took issue with such an analogy.
Matthews on Trump
Moments before Trump’s 2020 State of the Union Address, Matthews compared the president to no less a being than Satan himself, saying the president’s supporters had made “a deal with the Devil.” Consider that: A U.S. president compared to a creature that represents eternal damnation and torture in the afterlife elicits not even a raised eyebrow on the left.
Following the president’s address to GOP members of Congress on his impeachment and acquittal, the venerated and vegetating host claimed that Trump was “calling on his troops to fight to the death against the Democrats and the American bureaucracy itself.” Was Matthews chided by his own side for being too dramatic or hysterical? He was not.
Matthews on Socialism
Fast forward to the Feb. 7 Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire. Matthews had the nerve to express some reservations about what a Bernie Sanders presidency could portend. Referring to the fact that the Vermont senator promotes socialist policies, Matthews said:
“I have an attitude about [socialists]. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards [sic] Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed.”
It may seem amusing, on its face, but Matthews appeared to have a moment of clarity when he wondered aloud what Sanders thought of the late Cuban socialist dictator. “We all thought [Castro] was great when he first… I could cheer like mad for him when he first came in and then he became a communist and started shooting every one of his enemies.”
Journalists and other observers of political media have described Matthews’ rant as “unhinged,” but why? With a straight face, these same people will compare Trump to Hitler but are appalled that someone would suggest the presidency of a self-declared socialist might lead to public executions. For sure, Sanders has more in common with Castro than Trump has in common with Hitler – and Castro did indeed have his political opponents killed. In fact, every socialist regime in history has imprisoned or slaughtered politicians, thinkers, journalists, and even ordinary citizens who dared speak out against it.
Bernie Bros Want You Dead
It is also worth considering, before one shuffles Matthews off to an asylum – or, perhaps, to a “re-education camp,” – that campaign staffers for the senator have been recorded, on video, discussing their plans to send Trump supporters to re-education camps to teach them “how not to be a f***ing Nazi.”
Martin Weissgerber, a paid field organizer for the Sanders campaign and a self-identified communist, was recorded announcing his intentions: “I’ll straight up get armed. I want to learn how to shoot and go train. I’m ready for the f***ing revolution, bro.” He went on to explain how the Senate and the judicial branch should be dissolved “and just have somebody like Bernie Sanders and a cabinet of people make all the decisions…”
As well as remarking that “What will help is when we send all the Republicans to the re-education camps,” Weissgerber went on to say that he considered the Soviet Union to be “the most progressive place, to date, in the world.” It should be remembered that the wonderfully “progressive” Soviet regime murdered or starved to death well over 20 million people.
These are the words of a man who works for the Sanders campaign. One can make the very reasonable assumption that Weissgerber is not the only Sanders supporter who feels this way because others have been recorded expressing similar sentiments. Is it unreasonable, then, to put forward the possibility that extreme political violence could follow, if Sanders were to win a presidential election?
In reality, of course, rational Americans vastly outnumber the “Bernie Bros” – even on the political left – and so the dreams of Weissgerber and his ilk will not be realized. Sanders himself likely has no stomach for a Stalinist-style purge of his opponents and has no possible means of orchestrating one even if he did.
Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that Germans, prior to 1933, would likely have laughed if anyone predicted to them that Hitler would do the things he did. Likewise, the Russian people, prior to the revolution of 1917, could not have imagined the horrors and deprivations that would befall them over the next seven decades.
More to the point, though, the modern American left should not be all that surprised or shocked when someone raises the specter of a dystopian future: They do it on an almost daily basis – and with far less evidence to back up their predictions.
Read more from Graham J Noble.