Wow: Matthews Lobbies for NBC to Press Sanders on His Love of ‘Real Socialism’

Wow. In pre-debate coverage on Thursday, Chris Matthews called for someone to ask Bernie Sanders about his love for socialism, saying that the other Democrats are “afraid” to raise the issue. Matthews underlined the fact that Sanders is serious about his hard-left views: “I've looked at the old tapes of his interview with Phil Donahue where he really does defend the notion of socialism, not just a welfare state like in Scandinavia, but real socialism.” 

The Hardball host added, “No profit motive, no free markets. The government basically runs the economy.” Keep in mind that Matthews was saying all this on MSNBC, a network that will simulcast part two of the Democratic debate. He insisted, “A good question for him:  I don't think a Democrat will ask it, name a government that has run an effective economy in the history of man. Governments are not good at running economies. The market tends to work.”

     

 

Maybe Matthews could express this point to his fellow colleagues, debate moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. Matthews concluded, “I think that will be an issue. But ideologically, I think most of the Democrats are afraid to go after Bernie.” 

Sanders may be aware of this fear. In February of 2019, he told CBS that he needed the media to help sell his socialism. Certainly, they haven’t been aggressive in telling viewers how often it fails. That same month, ABC’s Terry Moran said that Sanders has “made democratic socialism cool.” 

A partial transcript is below: 

MSNBC pre-debate coverage
6/27/19
7:04

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chris, I have to ask about the Bernie Sanders factor. This is a guy who in just recent weeks felt the need to give a speech about the socialism part of his party affiliation, democratic socialist. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, you know, that's a big question for him. I've looked at the old tapes of his interview with Phil Donahue where he really does defend the notion of socialism, not just a welfare state like in Scandinavia, but real socialism. No profit motive, no free markets. The government basically runs the economy. And of course a good question for him:  I don't think a Democrat will ask it, name a government that has run an effective economy in the history of man. Governments are not good at running economies. The market tends to work. I think that will be an issue. But ideologically, I think most of the Democrats are afraid to go after Bernie. I think in a way he's up there. 

But the age issue. I think the age issue tonight is going to be so spectacular. Two guys who will be 80-years-old in their first or second years as president. Two people sitting next to both of them who are very much in the usual age area, or a bit before that, certainly Pete buttigieg is a young man at 37, and Kamala Harris is a young person as well. They will be sitting right next to them. I think that match up between the young and the older will be vivid tonight. 

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