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Matthews GOES OFF on the Evils of Bernie’s Beloved Socialism (This Really Happened)

During MSNBC’s Friday night post-debate coverage, Hardball host Chris Matthews behaved like a man possessed, hellbent on informing all about the deadly dangers posed by communism and socialism, how concerns during the Cold War were real, and Bernie Sanders might not be looking to just remake America into a socialist country a la Denmark.

Something was up early on in the show as he praised Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for having “had guts to talk about the issue of this campaign,” which “is that word socialism” as “some people” and “younger people like it,” but socialism wasn’t exactly what they think it is. 

 

 

“[T]hose of us like me who grew up — who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it after visiting places like Vietnam like I have, seeing countries like Cuba, being there, I’ve seen what socialism is like. I don’t like it. Okay? It’s not only not free. It doesn’t freaking work. It just doesn’t work,” he added.

Matthews had to sit back as self-described socialist Lawrence O’Donnell of The Last Word sang socialism’s praises because (supposedly) the “only place” without capitalism was North Korea and “every other place is a mixed economy.” O’Donnell added that “the word doesn’t scare people the way it did in the 1950s, 1960s.”

New weekend MSNBC Live host Alicia Menendez was the only panelist to even stray in Matthews’s direction, questioning whether a Sanders nomination would “be scary to Venezuelans and to Cubans in Florida.”

But by 11:08 p.m. Eastern, Matthews had enough, beginning his bender with the basic reality “that the Democratic Party has to figure out its ideology” and providing a brief history of early 20th century British politics.

Still loathing Trump, Matthews made this stunning claim about where his vote would go if Sanders sealed the nomination: “A lot of us will be sorting things out if the Democratic Party runs a socialist candidate.”

Matthews listed previous American welfare programs and then laid out his own thoughts about socialism, including fears about “getting executed” in New York’s Central Park if “the Reds had won the Cold War.” This led Hayes and Joy Reid to interject and defend Sanders (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: When they go back to the early 1950s, I have attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the — and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have one of the ones getting executed and certain other people would be there cheering, okay? 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 Denmark. We’re going to be like Denmark. Okay, that’s harmless. That’s a soc — that’s basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social welfare programs. Denmark is harmless.

HAYES: He’s pretty clearly on the Demark category.

MATTHEWS: Is he? 

HAYES: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: Are you sure? How do you know who — did he tell you that?

HAYES: Well, that’s what he says and what his agenda calls for, right? He’s not calling for — I mean — 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s see. Let’s figure that one out. 

JOY REID: But we haven’t seen a campaign yet where video of him praising the other version, which is Castro, has been used.

HAYES: Right. Well, that’s — 

REID: If it will be used. We haven’t seen how that plays out.

HAYES: — that’s a question of how — of how it tang — what the effect that has.

At this point, it’s worth pausing to note that Reid was lying. In videos posted over the years by our friends Reagan Battalion, Sanders has repeatedly praised all facets of socialism. 

In one video, Sanders stated that he was “impressed” and “very excited when Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba.” Not only that, but Sanders claimed hearing John F. Kennedy condemn communism spreading into Cuba made him “almost…puke.”

Reagan Battalion has also brought to light Sanders blaming the United States for the Cold War, saying he was “very impressed” by the “effective” Soviet transportation system, and gushing that he found the Sandinistas “very gentle” and “impressed” (but being unfairly maligned by the press).

More broadly, Sanders argued in the 1980s that, to solve inequality, there should be “public ownership of significant parts of the economy.”

So, when Matthews said near the end of his time that Sanders should be asked “what do you think of Castro” and “Fidelismo” because Castro “started shooting every one of his enemies,” it’s safe to say we already have the answer.

Seeing as how Matthews had strayed from the pack, Hayes cut him off, telling him to “hold those thoughts on the Cubans” and “the Cuban revolution” because it was time to interview Andrew Yang from the post-debate spin room.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s All In on February 7, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s All In: 2020 New Hampshire Debate Special
February 7, 2020
10:41 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: She had guts to talk about the issue of this campaign. It is that word socialism. Some people like it. Younger people like it. Those of us like me who grew up — who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it after visiting places like Vietnam like I have, seeing countries like Cuba, being there, I’ve seen what socialism is like. I don’t like it. Okay? It’s not only not free. It doesn’t freaking work. [APPLAUSE] It just doesn’t work.

(….)

11:03 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: I mean, his sorta response to the socialism question I basically like I don’t care what the guy says about me because he’s going to say ugly things about anyone. What do you think about it?

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Yeah, he — I’ve never heard actually him say this is how I’ll respond to that. He really just sort of says, as you say, basically I don’t care. He would be — if he’s the nominee — he’ll be the first socialist nominee anyone’s ever seen and so it’s a very difficult thing to predict —

HAYES: Exactly. 

O’DONNELL: — how that will go. It’s coming at a point in the curve of the understanding of that word that really has never been better. This economy is filled with socialism. It’s filled with capitalism. Every economy in the world has a mix of capitalism and socialism and they vary. Sweden has more socialism than we do. North Korea has no capitalism. That’s the only place. Every other place is a mixed economy. Everybody knows that. I think everyone in this room knows that, so the word doesn’t scare people the way it did in the 1950s, 1960s and Bernie Sanders band is one of the beneficiaries and by the way, the guy who made that word less scary by embracing it and saying I — I personally am not afraid of it and so, the word is living in a different environment now and I can’t predict for you just how much of a liability that may or may not be. 

MENENDEZ: I do wonder if it is going to be scary to Venezuelans and to Cubans —

HAYES: There are a lot of Floridians who are very wary of that, yeah.

MENENDEZ: — in Florida and to your point about unity, and about Sanders understanding how important it was to give that full throat call for unity, I also wondered if Pete Buttigieg does end up becoming the nominee, how, then, Sanders reconciled the attack he made tonight which is to say there are two sides. I’m on one, the mayor is on the other. Now he’s the nominee, how he then does a turnabout then to support him? 

O’DONNELL: They do it every time. 

HAYES: Right, that’s the other thing.

O’DONNELL: This state remembers the phrase voodoo economics.

HAYES: Yes, exactly.

O’DONNELL: The guy who accused his opponent of voodoo economics became that guy’s vice president, okay? So, there’s nothing you can’t take back when it gets to the general. 

(….)

11:08 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: But I think that the Democratic Party has to figure out its ideology. In Britain, we had a Liberal Party — or when I wasn’t growing up — beginning of the last century, they were over taken by the Socialist Party. Labour became the main threat, the main challenger to the Tories, Churchill went back to the Tories. We all know that — a lot of us know that history. A lot of us will be sorting things out if the Democratic Party runs a socialist candidate. That’s a change from the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s been the left of the Republican Party on — the issue of mixed capitalism, more social programs. They pushed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, enormously popular programs. I think ACA — ObamaCare has also — had wished they follow through with it and make it work. I think most Americans would be happy to have a public option and have Medicare follow through with. But I don’t want to get in — you know, I’m on every night. I’ll let the Democrats figure this out. I — I have my own views of the word socialist and I’ll be glad to tell them — share them with you in private. When they go back to the early 1950s, I have attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the — and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have one of the ones getting executed and certain other people would be there cheering, okay? 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 Denmark. We’re going to be like Denmark. Okay, that’s harmless. That’s a soc — that’s basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social welfare programs. Denmark is harmless.

HAYES: He’s pretty clearly on the Demark category.

MATTHEWS: Is he? 

HAYES: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: Are you sure? How do you know who — did he tell you that?

HAYES: Well, that’s what he says and what his agenda calls for, right? He’s not calling for — I mean — 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s see. Let’s figure that one out. 

JOY REID: But we haven’t seen a campaign yet where video of him praising the other version, which is Castro, has been used.

HAYES: Right. Well, that’s — 

REID: If it will be used. We haven’t seen how that plays out.

HAYES: — that’s a question of how — of how it tang — what the effect that has.

MATTHEWS: Well, what does he think of Castro? That’s a great question. What do you think of Castro? What do you think of Fidelismo? We all thought he was great when he burst — at first, I was cheering like mad for him when he first went in and then he became a communist and started shooting —

HAYES: Okay.

MATTHEWS: — every one of his enemies. 

HAYES: Okay. Hold those —

MATTHEWS: So you got to make a —

HAYES: — hold those thoughts on the Cubans.

MATTHEWS: — those judgements. He’s old enough to think.

HAYES: Hold those thoughts on the Cuban revolution. 

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