Better Red Than Ted

Commentary by Robert Owens, PhD

To listen, click the “play button” below. To read, scroll down. For best clarity, read along as you listen. (Run-time is 11 min.)

Dr. Robert Owens
Dr. Robert Owens

This may be an election that could seal the deal for the Progressive fundamental transformation of America, as 2016 is shaping up to be a watershed election.   

Socialists and Communists have run for the presidency many times in America.  Between 1900 and 1920 Eugene Debs was the Socialist Party’s nominee in five presidential elections.  The Communist Party USA has not disappeared.  For many years, it has instead endorsed the Democrat candidates for president, which is understandable looking at their party platforms and the solid work the Democrats continue to do for their cause when in office. 

However, this year it is different.  Instead of the usual procedure of the Democrat contenders masking their true agenda under the cloak of Progressivism, we have a major player who has proudly called himself a Socialist for decades, though for this national bid he is trying to soften it by calling himself a Social Democrat.   

This is enough to bewilder the low information voters who make up the bulk of Democrat supporters and their rank and file foot soldiers.  They will argue for hours that their guy isn’t a Socialist. No, he’s a Social Democrat, and though they can’t tell you what the difference is they want you to know it makes a big difference.   All this despite the fact that one click of the mouse reveals that up until this year, their guy vocally asserted he was indeed a Socialist, and he didn’t join the Democrat Party until 2015. 

And among the diehard apparatchiks and ideologues who make up the Democrat core, when looking at the current field of Republican contenders, they may well be saying, “Better red than Ted.”  

This presidential contender is Bernie Sanders.  As stated above he now calls himself a “Democratic Socialist.” It’s a label he’s been asked to justify many times. When asked to describe what he means by this, he points to the progressive values of nations like Sweden, Denmark and Norway.  He shifts the target and describes his politics as a fight against the injustice that he says is inherent in American political and economic tradition. 

Sanders praises Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.  He cites them for using the power of the government to create jobs and lift Americans out of poverty.  He also says their actions to create and strengthen the social safety net (which some today see as a hammock) were denounced by conservatives at the time and since as socialism.  In this he is right.  They did and we do.   

Sanders says, these programs make up “the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.”  He goes on to say what many have known about FDR’s programs since the 1930s and Democrats have denied since, “By the way, almost everything he proposed was called ‘socialist.’” 

As pointed out above, though many of his supporters are quick to say he is no socialist, and anyone who says otherwise is part of the mythical rightwing conspiracy, Bernie isn’t shy about who he is and what he stands for.  He says without apology, “Let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what Democratic Socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans,” 

Obviously referring to FDR’s Second Bill of Rights which he proposed in his State of the Union speech in 1944 and which was quickly buried even by a Democrat Congress.  These give away guarantees included: 

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad
  • The right of every family to a decent home
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment
  • The right to a good education

Neither the chairwoman of the Democrat Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz nor the leading candidate for their nomination, Hillary Clinton can explain the difference between a Progressive and a Socialist.  However when trying to get the votes of Americans Hillary who has called for curbs on “the excesses of capitalism” said, during the first Democratic presidential debate, after hearing Sanders refer to the Europeans who have built their systems on the fact that America defends and supports them, “I love Denmark. But we are not Denmark … We are the United States of America.” 

Hillary continues to wear the Progressive cloak to disguise her Socialism.  At least Bernie is honest enough to admit what he is, even if his supporters continue to deny it to others and maybe even to themselves. 

However perhaps Bernie is using the cloak of Socialism to cover something even more foreign to America?  Some say that if Sanders were vying for a Cabinet post, he’d never pass an FBI background check. 

Is there any evidence to back this up? 

While attending the University of Chicago, Sanders joined the Young People’s Socialist League: the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA.  What was the mission of the Young People’s Socialist League? 

It was spelled out in the preamble to its constitution: “The Young People’s Socialist League of America calls upon all young people who are interested in the emancipation of the working class from the chains of wage slavery to join its rank and through it and its associated organizations of the International Socialist Movement, to work for the overthrow of the present capitalist system in all its social and economic ramifications, and for the establishment in its stead of a worldwide socialistic cooperative commonwealth.” 

After graduating with a political science degree, Sanders moved to Vermont, where he headed the American People’s History Society: an organ for Marxist propaganda. There, he produced a glowing documentary on the life of socialist revolutionary Eugene Debs, who was jailed for espionage during the Red Scare and hailed by the Bolsheviks as “America’s greatest Marxist.”  Sanders still hangs a portrait of Debs on the wall in his Senate office. 

In the early ’70s, Sanders helped found the Liberty Union Party, which called for the nationalization of all US banks and the public takeover of all private utility companies.   

After failed runs for Congress, Sanders in 1981 managed to get elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where he restricted property rights for landlords, set price controls, and raised property taxes to pay for communal land trusts. Local small businesses distributed fliers complaining their new mayor “does not believe in free enterprise.” 

According to the New York Post: 

His radical activities didn’t stop at the water’s edge. 

Sanders took several “goodwill” trips not only to the USSR, but also to Cuba and Nicaragua, where the Soviets were trying to expand their influence in our hemisphere. 

In 1985, he traveled to Managua to celebrate the rise to power of the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government. He called it a “heroic revolution.” Undermining anti-communist US policy, Sanders denounced the Reagan administration’s backing of the Contra rebels in a letter to the Sandinistas. 

His betrayal did not end there. Sanders lobbied the White House to stop the proxy war and tried to broker a peace deal. He adopted Managua as a sister city and invited Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega to visit the US. He exalted Ortega as “an impressive guy,” while attacking President Reagan. 

Sanders also adopted a Soviet sister city outside Moscow and honeymooned with his second wife in the USSR. He put up a Soviet flag in his office, shocking even the Birkenstock-wearing local liberals. At the time, the Evil Empire was on the march around the world threatening the US with nuclear annihilation. 

Then, in 1989, as the West was on the verge of winning the Cold War, Sanders addressed the national conference of the US Peace Council, a known front for the Communist Party USA, whose members swore an oath not only to the Soviet Union but to “the triumph of Soviet power in the US.” 

Today, Sanders wants to bring what he admired in the USSR, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other communist states to America. 

For starters, he proposes completely nationalizing our health care system putting private health insurance and drug companies “out of business.” He also wants to break up “big banks” and control the energy industry, while providing “free” college tuition, a “living wage” and guaranteed homeownership and jobs through massive public works projects. Price tag: $18 trillion

This may all sound radical.  At this point it isn’t.  After a century of the Progressive agenda, their Living Document, and their incremental moves to fundamentally transform the United States, this is just the capstone.  This is the point where they can finally take off their mask and show us who our neighbors, families, and co-workers have been voting for all these years. 

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones: 

Please allow me to introduce myself 
I’m a man of wealth and taste 
I’ve been around for a long, long year 
Stole many a man’s soul and faith 

I stuck around Saint Petersburg 
When I saw it was a time for a change 
Killed the czar and his ministers 
Anastasia screamed in vain. 

For those of us who believe that freedom is given to us by God, who believe that free choice is an inherent right, who believe that the imposition or adoption of central planning and take from anyone to give to anyone plans are merely deceptive strategies used by demagogues to gain power, it becomes clear who is the real author of these programs our fellow citizens are rushing eagerly to embrace. 

Does he have a chance?  It is hard to run against Santa Clause, and for those who have imbibed of the Sanders Kool Aide it might just be, “Better red than Ted.” 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens. Coming soon Dr. Owens’ first novel, America’s Trojan War.