Matthews Presses Clinton On The Distinction Between a “Progressive Democrat” and a “Socialist”

There was a curious moment recently in an interview with Hillary Clinton that might interest our political science and philosophy majors. Chris Matthews asked Clinton on MSNBC what a socialist is and the difference between a socialist and a Democrat. Clinton appeared unable or unwilling to answer that question. Given the fact that the Clinton campaign has referred regularly to Bernie Sanders being a socialist and distinguishing Clinton as a “progressive Democrat,” it would seem a fair question. It is not like asking for the difference between a “raven and a writing desk”, but it received the same unclear response.

Matthews gave Clinton a fairly friendly interview and asked this reasonable question for a distinction between the two main rivals for the Democratic nomination. Clinton responded by saying that he should ask Sanders which is a bit odd since she is obviously half of the comparative question. When Matthews refused to backdown and asked “You see, I’m asking you,” Clinton simply replied, “I’m not one.” That makes the issue more confused. When Matthews pressed again, Clinton responded:

“I can tell you what I am, I am a progressive Democrat … who likes to get things done,” Clinton said. “And who believes that we’re better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together. Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings and I respect that, from, you know, the far right, the far left, libertarians, whoever it might be, we need to get people working together.”

Clearly, saying that you “believe that we’re better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together” is hardly a distinction with socialists. Indeed, socialists view themselves as the ultimate example of “working together.”

Notably, the Clinton campaign could have anticipated this question since last July Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz struggled with the same question:

So what is the difference? This blog has a high number of folks from the political science and philosophy areas. Is there an easy distinction?

On one side of the spectrum of socialists, you can have those who want to control the means of production, as in old school Democratic Socialists. Sanders has indicated that he is not one of those advocating such controls. Moreover, there are Libertarian Socialists who prefer less government and more empowerment of workers. Modern Democratic socialists often define themselves in terms that might not easily distinguish themselves from other mainstream political parties. They generally support regulation of the capitalist economy and mitigating the harsh elements of capitalism through welfare programs. Both Clinton and Sanders have spoken of greater regulation of Wall Street and better social programs to help the lower and middle classes. Yet, one calls herself a “progressive democrat” and another calls himself a “socialist.”

For his part, Sanders seems quite comfortable in addressing such definitional issues and appears to follow the more modern usage of socialism in the political system. Roughly a year ago, he stated on MSNBC:

“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. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that, ‘This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.’ It builds on the success of many other countries around the world that have done a far better job than we have in protecting the needs of their working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.”

He added “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist – like tomorrow – remember this: I don’t believe that government should take over the grocery store down the street, or control the means of production. But I believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”

Here is one of his definitional moments:

Without unleashing a partisan pile on, is there a good definition of socialist today in the political system? It is clearly not the old school, control of the means of production approach. Sanders seems to define it in a way that comes close to the view of progressive Democrats in their own self-definition. What do you think?

72 thoughts on “Matthews Presses Clinton On The Distinction Between a “Progressive Democrat” and a “Socialist”

  1. From each according to one’s ability to each according to their needs? Now, is that a Socialist or a progressive Democrat?

    Now…let’s define the terms ability and need.

    Capitalism — Communism, the full range. Both incorporate the ability and need. One will always fail…anyone remember the pictures of Poland right after the USSR dissolved? Now check Bejing. Chinese famine and epidemics last year, gorgeous buildings.

    Obamanomics, ACA …how’re they working for us? Let’s take the fines (Seattle Times) …IRS take out of tax return? Just don’t have money refunded. ER usage is actually up.

  2. He asked her the wrong question. If these reporters are going to remain so obviously deferential to their pet candidates, as evidenced by them consistently lobbing easy ones at the Democrats and not requiring full and complete answers to questions of any substance, why not just ask her the difference between a pantsuit and a leisure suit? At least that’s entertaining. A nice cotton/rayon blend or the full monty, going with 100% poly? My money’s on the 100% poly–it’s hot but it stretches.

  3. Socialism is sacrificing the individual on the alter of the state. Democracy is in Socrates words “tyranny of the majority”. A Republic enshrines the individual.

    Have you ever met, seen, spoken to, or known an individual? Have you ever met, seen, spoken to, or known a society? One is real and one is a mental construct. Can you tell which is which?

  4. I think that socialists, communists, social democrats have redefined themselves so many times that they no longer know what they are. They stick on the label they are comfortable with and run with it.

  5. Paul has a legitimate and very interesting point. The problem isn’t the terms, it the people. In this case the politicians. The pols being asked the questions have no real fixed beliefs, they simply say what they think will “work”. Thus, what they say varies over time depending on who is asking, where & why. Definitions per se are not possible for them.

    The other possibility is there has become no difference between Socialism and the political beliefs of the average, liberal Democratic pol, but they just don’t regard it as politically expedient to admit their beliefs.

  6. If this is Mathew’s big issue he is willfully blind to the problems our country faces. I’m sick of the HRC cheerleaders like Mathews. Mathews isn’t stupid but you’d never know it as he tries hard to paint Sanders as a Commie! But if he really needs to know it seems that most of the Democrats in power at the DNC are corporatists whose most important constituents are the corporations and billionaires who fund their life styles and campaigns. The real Democrats..the ones who support unions and oppose TPP and war in defense of a brutual theocratic monarchy whose legacy is ISIS and terrorism the world over are supporting Bernie. They are the FDR Democrats who believe government should work for the people not against them. They believe corporations aren’t people. Corporations are financing tools and should not be accorded the same rights as humans and should not be permitted to avoid taxes and break the law with impunity.

    But Mathews knows that but his interests are best served by getting HRC elected to hell with the people and their needs.

  7. socialism in all its various configurations is a mechanism for the distribution of wealth from those who possess more of it to those who possess less of it by the holder of power. This can be done by owning and controlling the sources of wealth,or by permitting “private” ownership of of the sources of wealth while controlling the retention or distribution of the wealth produced. Always according to an arbitrarily dictated value system formulated by the holder of power. Socialists always seek to control and are resistant to free systems.

  8. She could have responded that the best government is one that finds the optimal balance between competitive markets and taking care of those in need. Labels are designed only so that we know who to hate.

  9. Look for clues. Here’s Bill Clinton meeting with NK, Kim Jong il years ago.
    The female announcer looks like same person that announced successful test of NK H-bomb.

  10. To know what “socialism” is you have to also know what “capitalism” is. The real world definitions of these terms change over time. Calvin Coolidge is often cited as the most conservative president of the modern era-or at least the most conservative if you exclude Democrat Grover Cleveland. Yet Coolidge’s policies of very low immigration, high tariffs, *actual* small government, aversion to foreign interventionism and a fiscal restraint that seems otherworldly by today’s standards are precisely the opposite of what both parties have given us over the past 30 years.

    Sailer says that today’s hyper-financialized US economy is based on “bumhunting” to an alarming degree:

    Commenter Olorin has been using the term “dolt wrangling” to describe what appears to be one of the central methods of getting rich in the 21st Century: clever guys with spreadsheets offer attractive-seeming but implausible bets to less clever folks: subprime mortgages in the last decade, subprime car loans now, for-profit colleges financed by government loans, payday loans, casinos, and so forth. But there’s also a nonprofit side to dolt wrangling as well: refugee services and the like.

  11. There’s something humorous when you listen to liberals defend socialism by stating that conservatives love socialist programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or the Military. Bringing up bankrupt programs (or inefficient ones in the case of the military) is really their argument for more of these programs? Socialism tugs at the worst traits in human nature, laziness and envy. This is why the conservative message will lose since laziness and envy are way easier to preach than self reliance and failure.

  12. Actually the participants on this issue were wrong about the distinction of European communism and social democracy. Originally both wanted a classless society. The communists by revolution and the social democrats by gradual evolution. Communists such as Lenin stated that the social democrats would never succeed. He was correct.
    Jim22 is hilarious because his accusations of lazy and envy were exactly the epithets which the French aristocracy used when it talked about the French middle class prior to the French revolution.

  13. I think that both candidates favor the middle class the lower class, the upper middle class but not the upper class and that they believe in fair play for fair people of all stripes. Both are against the monopoly capitalism of the medical profession and oligarchy but neither will put in in those terms. THAT is the issue facing America at the front and back doors. Let me explain it this way. One group has a social medical program which pays all: Congress men and women. But that plan just pays out unlimited money to the medical capitalists. There are some other social medical programs set forth by the state and federal government. Medicare for the old is foremost. Each person has to pay to get on Part B and whatnot. But not Congressmen and women on their free plan– they pay no Part B.

    So each candidate needs to address this and stick it to the Congress men and women who have selfishly provided for themselves but not the rest of us.

    The public, the voters, are at fault. Ya can’t cure an idjit.

  14. The main difference I see between socialists like Sanders and progressive Dems is socialists don’t feed from the Wall St. trough like Dems. Whether Dems admit it or not, Wall St. owns the duopoly.

  15. Democrat is a political term. Socialist is a economic term. The question does not compare apples and oranges in this case, but compares an apple with a screwdriver.

  16. Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings and I respect that

    There has probably never been any credible candidate for President for whom these two attributes are less applicable.

  17. Beldar is correct. Idjits. The average if not majority of voters can’t understand the issues because the candidates don’t present the issues. The candidates attempt to obscure the issues as if the voters actually knew the truth, that the US is an oligarchically socialist run government, they wouldn’t vote for any one.

    The voters want a simple answer to complex problems. This one’s a socialist and that one’s a libertarian. People feel empowered when they have it figured out. The reality of the situation is that every issue is a world unto itself and could and should be addressed individually with the best interests of the people in mind.

    Health care costs too much. Therefore find where the costs are redundant and cut them. Look for paradigms where costs can be lowered and follow these examples. Focus on the best health care for all for the lowest costs and then allow the entrepreneurs to make their profits.—In a true socialist state, a true capitalist state, a true libertarian state, all of this would be possible. However, we live in a country where the Health Care Industry owns the government regarding these issues and runs it as an oligarchy.

    This is true of almost all so called ‘free enterprise’ issues in the US. They are entirely dependent on the people to work them, pay for them, etc but are controlled by a government purchased by the global ownership at the top which has only one thing in mind, profits. Without the people who make the stuff and consume the stuff there would be no profits. It should follow that the people should be factored into the equation as to their needs, advantages, and rights. In more advanced countries where this is the case, it works better all around.

    There is socialism in every system, political party, and government. The questions are to what degree should these systems be socialized and for what advantage or disadvantage. Those are not the questions asked and therefore cannot be the questions answered. No adversary of Obama Care has yet to offer an alternative. Nixon was about to propose a single payer system modeled after the systems found in the Canadian provinces. Between then and Hillary’s failed attempt the cancer metastasized to a degree where her simplistic solution was confounded by the oligarchs. Obama’s attempt is not remotely the answer but it is by virtue of being an attempt better than anything else, every thing else, as there has been nothing else. The expression is ‘put up or shut up’.

    If a politician had the balls to present a comprehensive working plan to solve one of our problems such as health care costs and coverage, he or she would be taken out of the equation by funds from the oligarchs running the health care industry. This is graphically obvious and has been seen with the NRA and gun restrictions, Big Pharma and drug costs, and the coal and fossil fuel industries.

    The US system works due to momentum stemming from population consumption, and ignorance. Momentum does have a tendency to relax and eventually the public learn stuff. The idiots vying for power this time around are no different than before. They are trying to confuse and confound until the voter is forced to make a simple choice between two options to run their country of multifaceted problems that nobody understands and by voting day, nobody gives a sh*t about. If this tweeting and blogging is such a factor in deciding the positions of the candidates then perhaps the solution is for the people to solve the problems, tweet their desires, and stick their arms up the puppets.

    The poster child for the state of affairs is Donald Trump. He should never be President but he is an indication of what sort will be President if eventually things get worse.

  18. Nothing like the same stale polemic w/ my coffee in the morning. It’s like the movie, Groundhog’s Day. Only Bill Murray was funny.

  19. What Anne Furman wrote!

    Today’s view of socialism seems to range from some degree of regulated capitalism to outright Stalinist totalitarianism. We can thank despicable human beings like Ayn Rand, among others, and the military-industrial complex’s witch hunt of the ’50s for that evil over the past 75 years.

    Socialism is not about social welfare programs like FDR’s, or state ownership or control of anything. Both of are more a means to convert to a socialist economy rather than being the economy itself. In a word, socialism is about employees of the private entity owning all shares of that private entity equally. That’s it.

    It would still be plagued by the inherent problems of corruption and influence as is capitalism, which therefore requires regulation, and it maintains greater profit to one entity than another in the same arena, but it is a more egalitarian, democratic system than one in which the suit-and-cigar corporate board dictates how much labor it will hire and how much it will earn each hour while they’re unfurling their golden parachutes. And maximizing profit may or may not be the primary motivator based upon a vote of the employee shareholders.

    As for Bernie being a socialist, he’s made no mention of an economic plan of socialism. He may have stated he wants to provide a safety net for the losers in capitalist competition, as does Hillary, though she’s more reserved in saying it, but that’s not socialism no matter what anyone has been brainwashed to believe.

    This is very good topic, which needs to be discussed. Thanks for it.

  20. Well, there’s really not much difference, hence why they struggle. Both believe in nationalizing industries, such as healthcare, and growing unions. Both believe in increasing taxes and the costs of doing business to the point that the incentive to improve is removed. Both believe you should have a middle class lifestyle, without having to work, even if you’re able bodied, and they oppose the welfare work requirement which had to be forced on Bill.

    Both believe the government is here to take care of you from cradle to grave, firmly support union excesses, and they let infrastructure languish to meet those goals. For instance, uber liberal California is going to pay in excess of $65 billion for a vacation train to San Francisco, which is a gift to unions. Meanwhile, our roads are some of the most potholed in the developed world, and gridlock freezes our freeways all day. No one believes that the gridlock is due to people committing all the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, so clearly the train will have nothing to do with that. When they do build more freeways, they make them toll roads, so the taxpayers who paid for them have to pay to use them. They sit open like bowling alleys while people spend vast tracts of time stuck on the freeway. When they build a new lane, they make it a carpool only lane, so the taxpayers who built it cannot use it. The business owners on the road all day just sit there in gridlock. The moms who can’t carpool with adults to work because they have to be able to leave to pick up their kids just sit there.

    I suppose the only real difference is the degree of nationalization of industry. Socialists are more antagonistic to Wall Street, but they would replace that power broker with bloated government bureaucracy with rich coffers, while the people are equally poor.

    My friend used to live in Maldova. Capitalism was illegal. The family had a black market business so they could eat better food and dress warmly. They lived in fear that they would be found out by their neighbors and turned in. (How pathetic that they had to break the law to stay warmer.) The socialist health care system was awful. Her mother died of cancer on it over there, and she was shocked at the poor quality of care, having lived in the US for many ears. If everyone is equal, then everyone is equally poor. We’ve repeated this experiment many, many times but “government solving all our problems and we’ll all be well off with no effort” still gets a lot of people voted into office.

  21. It’s not about “government solving all our problems”. It’s about firstly choosing which problems should be solved by government and then designing our government to solve them. This works quite well in the more advanced nations where the people have learned not to reduce issues to the one or the other solution, only.

  22. If some candidate were to offer and in depth solution that was better than anything else yet offered or used, they, along with their solution, would be taken by the opposition and first distorted, then twisted, then subsequently smeared until what they said, regardless of any merit whatsoever, would stand in the voters’ minds as just not American. The voters would remember the buffoonery and not the content. So, perhaps it’s better to pay your dime, buy your ticket, and take your chances. Straight answers are simply too dangerous.

  23. It’s a useless question. You can drop twelve “socialists” in a boat, and they still can’t row in the same direction. Pushed to the wall, the only real issue is the extent the citizen has private property protected by law, and the extent the government controls one’s use of that property and interferes with personal liberty.

  24. Karen, socialism is about PRIVATE ownership of industry, not state ownership or state control.

    Stalinism, and the Soviet model throughout its satellite countries, North Korea, Cuba, et al., is not socialism.


  25. LOL! I was given a great gift a few years ago. A Dunder Mifflin notepad From the Desk of Michael Scott. I always thought they should have also had one From the Desk of Dwight Schrute.

  26. Could it be that Bernie Sanders in running for president to make Hillary look like a middle of the road politician? The Republican party of today is farther to the left than the John F. Kennedy administration was in 1960 and a lot farther left than the Truman administration was. By the way wasn’t it the Clinton administration that said no nukes in North Korea?

  27. The simple answer is that Bernie Sanders is not a socialist, he just likes to call himself one. He’s actually a moderate right-winger.

  28. Socialism is a political ideology and movement[1] which has proposed a set of social and economic measures, policies[2] and systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Social ownership may refer to public ownership, cooperative ownership, citizen ownership of equity, or any combination of these.[9] Although there are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them,[10] social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms

    I’ve seen the erroneous claim socialism requires employee control several times recently. Proponents push this definition because it has never existed uniformly across an economic system. This fact allows them to make irrefutable claims about their system since counterfactuals cannot be entirely proven or disproven. But you can see by the wiki summary above the definitional argument is not true, nor are we prevented from predicting the likely failures based on the failures of similar systems.

  29. With regards to Sanders and Clinton, the main difference is Sanders does not hide who he is.

    The question is the wrong question to be asking any candidate. Instead ask them how their ideology fits within a constitutional republic? Ask them if they will honor the oath of office? Will they subordinate the office to the rule of law? Will they respect the separation of powers?

  30. Rick writes, “I’ve seen the erroneous claim socialism requires employee control several times recently. Proponents push this definition because it has never existed uniformly across an economic system. This fact allows them to make irrefutable claims about their system since counterfactuals cannot be entirely proven or disproven. But you can see by the wiki summary above the definitional argument is not true, nor are we prevented from predicting the likely failures based on the failures of similar systems.”

    State ownership in a socialistic system stems from political or violent takeover of the government after which a failure to transition to socialism occurs.

    This business about socialism being a sociopolitical system (is like arguing capitalism is a sociopolitical system) or about autocracy or about state ownership, however, are hogwash. It’s an economic system, like capitalism, no matter what Wikipedia decides it is.

    I can’t argue against employee control having “never existed uniformly across an economic system.” The reason is that in every circumstance in which communist/socialist proponents have attained control of government, they’ve been stopped there, i.e., power remained in the government rather than being transitioned to a socialist economy.

    Marxism’s essence is as much as anything about worker control of the means of production to rid the economy of the caste system of exploitation. And there’s no reason to deny the fact that employee shareholders in a private economy could – theoretically – produce for profit or necessity under a socialist economy, but it would be the employees’ decision, not the board’s.

  31. If these new ‘socialists’ are simply vying for employee control (ownership, partnership), isn’t that capitalism?

    Why don’t these employees start or own their own businesses? Why are they ‘forced’ to become employed at a business someone else started? Is there maybe too much red tape, legislation, and tax code making it difficult to start a business?

    If the new ‘socialists’ simply want to empower the worker, embrace capitalism.

    Jamestown was socialist/communist in their first year. Each worked to their ability and received according to their need. Turned out, a lot of people were unable to work, and there was a shortage of food for the winter. Next year, they revised the rules: You can keep what you can produce! The result was folks who had survived worked their butts off, and lo and behold, a surplus occurred.

  32. Hillary should’ve just answered that a Socialist can be differentiated from a Progressive Democrat by the latter’s disheveled hair, that has yet to see a brush, not to mention the amount of spittle, which appears in the corner of the mouth, accompanied by the persistent raving about banks being too big to fail and the need for a revolution. A Progressive Democrat, on the other hand, can be spotted sporting an oversized Mao pantsuit and feigning ignorance about servers and emails. Really not that complicated.

  33. Back in my prior life as a human I was a lawyer representing a woman who had been sued by a private medical hospital over some billings. They want a huge amount and said that all was fair and not over charged. So I got them to agree in front of the jury that if one or two items were over charged at some retail rate then the entire billing could be reduced by that percentage. That was their last witness. My first witness was a clerk from Walmart who said that an enema bag cost Five dollars. The hospital had charged this guy forty for the enema bag which they went him home with. I asked the jury to then give the hospital an enema and reduce the bill to $340.00 total. Then I rested my case. The jury came back with a judgment for my client and no money owed. That was in Mizzoura, a long time ago.

    A Democrat or socialist should examine the medical care ripoffs and champion socialized medical care for all. All except Congress members. Take away their free medical care right now and make them wait for the new socialized medical system to take hold. They can buy insurance with their huge salaries.

  34. After the verdict I gave the enema bag over to the lawyer on the other side. I did this in front of the jury as they were filing out. Two jurors gave the upward fist and yelled Right On!

  35. A little boy decides he wants to earn some money by setting up a lemonade stand. He spends a hot summer afternoon picking lemons from the tree in the backyard. He uses his birthday money to buy sugar, a pitcher, and paper cups. That night, he and his dad hammer together a little stand to set out by the road. Then he paints an adorable sign. He gets up in the morning, squeezes the lemons, and makes lemonade.

    He then sits out in the hot summer sun, selling lemonade, while some boys play in the street and make fun of him for working. He sells out of his lemonade the first day. His mother tells him that he should share some of his money with the little boy down the street, who is handicapped. He agrees with her. The next day he sells out again. The boys from the street whine about how it’s unfair that he makes so much money and they don’t, while playing video games. His mother tells him that he should divide his money equally with the handicapped boy down the street, as well as the boys who played and teased him. He thinks that is unfair. The next day, he’s so busy that he lets another kid come help out for the day, and pays him per hour. His mother decides that this new kid is an equal owner in the lemonade business. This kid has invested zero, and did not help with anything, except he showed up to help sell the lemonade, for which the owner is very grateful. And for which he was paid. His mother declares that his contribution is just as important as the owner’s, and he must split his income equally yet again. When the two kids can’t decide on where to put the lemonade stand the next day, his mother declared that they each have an equal opinion, and no one has more say.

    The kid decides this whole affair is stupid and not worth the effort. He quits the lemonade stand. His mother takes it over, and the kid gets the same amount of money as he did before when he owned it, except he’s not working. The mother doesn’t really put too much effort into the stand, because she’s busy with other things, and there’s no point expanding or innovating because you make exactly the same. So now everyone starts receiving less money than before.

    Socialism. Or how Mother Government Takes Better Care of You Than You Can.

  36. BarkinDog:

    A hospital agrees to take less money from Medicaid, Medical, Medicare, and private insurance companies. They completely screw those who pay out of pocket to make up the difference. They do charge a different rate for those with insurance and those without. They charge a different rate to Medicare than they do to private insurance. That is how they make it up. Definitely can and should be changed. But putting the government in charge of health care when they consistently over pay for contacts that under deliver, and actually killed people through fraud in the VA, makes absolutely no sense.

    Out here in CA, the Department of Water and Power rips off Californians. DWP employees make, on average, over $100,000. They are not accountable. Their heavy hitting unions put politicians in power to keep their gravy train rolling on the backs of rate payers. They’ve had accounting scandals reminiscent of Enron, but they have refused transparency or accountability. Meanwhile, employees get 15% raises at a time when unemployment is skyrocketing in this Liberal stronghold.

    Despite repeated demands from elected officials since September, Nichols has been unable or unwilling to produce records showing how two nonprofit trusts created to help improve relations with the utility’s largest employee union have spent more than $40 million in ratepayer money over the last decade.

    Nichols could not adequately explain to the DWP’s governing board what those trusts — the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute — have accomplished, even though he has co-managed them with the union’s leader for three years.

    Nichols also has taken heat for a new $162-million computerized billing system that sent as many as 70,000 late or inaccurate bills to customers in recent months. The system erroneously withdrew large sums directly from customers’ bank accounts via an autopay function, in some cases resulting in overdrafts and penalties for the customers.

    THIS is how government runs things when it becomes bloated, inefficient, unaccountable, and treats taxpayer money as “free money.” THIS is what happens when a government union runs out of control. It is unfair that government employees make so many times more than non-government employees, are unifiable, and unaccountable. What kind of employee do we get for our money?

    We know how government is run. Monty Python made millions off of skits involving uncaring bureaucrats. Who in their right mind would put it in charge of your healthcare, after the cockup that was Obamacare, with the lies and the staggering increase in costs to those with individual plans?

  37. You know what happens when this goes on in private industry? People go to jail or get sued. In government, you get a 15% raise and a pat on the back.

  38. This business about socialism being a sociopolitical system (is like arguing capitalism is a sociopolitical system) or about autocracy or about state ownership, however, are hogwash. It’s an economic system, like capitalism, no matter what Wikipedia decides it is.

    Your argument amounts to claiming that Socialism isn’t what you want but since you want the name (presumably to claim its supporters) everyone else is wrong. In fact they are not. Socialism does mean common or social ownership, not employee ownership, as the term itself shows. If you want to advocate employee ownership feel free to do so, but stop erroneously criticizing others because you want to change the definition.

    Arguments about autocracy or state ownership are secondary, practical considerations. How could you have social ownership without the government as an intermediary? Would every citizen own a share and be entitled to a BOD vote? Wouldn’t that be reconstituting the failures of both the French and Russian Revolutions whereby common control was so decentralized it amounted to virtually unaccountable authority on the part of the appointed representatives? Given this risk wouldn’t democratic government ownership be a better option? People who advocate these systems seem to think so. So why is it a problem to link socialism and state ownership? It is certainly an option which cannot be excluded, and is the most likely option given the preferences of socialists.

    Yet you want to delegitimize these issues by fiat. Don’t pretend others are ignorant when the impasse is your own artificial definition.

  39. At 70 years of age I can remember a time when you wouldn’t even consider the thought of a Socialist, Marxist or Communist involved in American politics. Now under the guise of the Democratic Party I think you will find each of them. Young Americans today aren’t even taught how crippling these forms of governing are. These carpetbaggers come to town talking of “free”, “fair share” and they buy right in.

  40. Politicians by nature do not like to pigeon-hole themselves. By asking the question Matthews was hitting low. By insisting on an answer beyond what she gave was a waste of time. Typical Democrats are a well-understood quantity in America, so her suggestion he ask Sanders how he is different makes plenty of sense. Maybe Matthews should take her up on that.

    Since FDR everyone has known government must be used to create and regulate the economic environment. There are limits of course. We don’t want gov’t picking winners and losers, but we do want it to promote new promising industries. We want the “safety net” to protect people from massive personal disasters, but not to hinder business from reaching for the stars. Until recent decades even the Republicans have believed these things — though they usually have wanted less support for individuals.

    What is a Socialist or Democratic Socialist in America today? Nobody knows. It’s up to Sanders to introduce everyone to those concepts.

  41. VietVet:

    People inevitably vote in favor of “free stuff.” Only when voters are savvy enough to realize that it’s not “free” at all, will the trend stop.

  42. Communists in Socialist-Progressive-Liberal-Democrat clothing.

    The American thesis is Freedom and Self-Reliance.

    The American Revolution got rid of the King and dictatorship.

    The right to private property – personal or “moveable” property and real property- precludes any and all forms of redistribution of wealth. Government may tax only for traditional and customary governmental function such as security and infrastructure.

    Government may not “take private property from one man to give private property to another.” That is impossible. That changes private property into public property.

    Welfare, affirmative action, quotas, social services, food stamps, WIC, HAMP, HARP, HHS, HUD, “Fair Housing Law,” “Non-Discrimination Law,” etc., are all forms of redistribution of wealth.

    Private sector charity was and is honorable, vibrant and vigorous under the American thesis.

    Government is limited to security and infrastructure while the “blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” are freedom and free enterprise without interference by government.

    The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic and they feared a vote of the “working masses.”

    When Ben Franklin admonished that we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it,” the vote was restricted to male Europeans aged 21 with 50lbs. Sterling or 50 acres.

    You couldn’t keep it. Thanks, Ben.


    Alexander Fraser Tytler –

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”


    Progressive, Socialist, Liberal, Democrat? Oh hell yeah.

    Communist is the term you’re looking for. Democrats will get there incrementally.

  43. Someday the communist countries and the western capitalist countries will “converge”. They will get more capitalist and we will get more socialist. The notion that never the Twain shall meet has been proven wrong. That political scribe who coined the phrase “convergence” was right. Look at all the capitalism going on in Communist Red China right now.

  44. Easily defined as follows:

    Progressive Democrat: Wants a total nanny state, to protect them from ever having to take a risk in their life. Believe government is a benevolent people driven good, and turns the other cheek at empire, corruption and mass surveillance as long as they get other people’s money.

    Socialist: Economically clueless, but well meaning person, who believes we should all do what the state deems proper for us, and thinks the state has produced anything but misery for the globe.

    Rational person: Government’s are inherently corrupt, run by self interested sociopaths that fleece hard working people to benefit them and their buddies.

  45. BarkingDog,

    Have you ever heard of Franklin D. Roosevelt?

    Have you ever heard of Medicare, Social Security, etc.?

    Have you ever read “Witness” regarding the convicted communist Alger Hiss of Roosevelt’s State Department?

    Have your eyes seen the Fed/Treasury/Military/Industrial Complex, AKA the “dictatorship of the proletariat?”

    Communism not only “converged” with the West, it subsumed the West 100 years ago.

    Have you noticed the effects of any of the following fundamental principles of communism in America;

    Central Planning
    Control of the Means of Production
    Social Engineering
    Redistribution of Wealth

    Welfare, food stamps, affirmative action, social services, forced busing, “Fair Housing,” “Non-Discrimination Law,” Obamacare, “Hate Crime Law,” HAMP, HARP, HUD, HHS, WIC, etc., have you seen any of that? How about corporate welfare/bailouts, QE, economic “stimulus,” and the floating of the currency even as the Constitution requires gold-backing of the stable “utility of the currency?”

    Wake up and smell the commissars, BarkingDog.

    They’re watching you.

    Viva Karl Marx is the cry at the Democrat convention.

  46. This may all be moot. Hillary should be indicted for her illegal handling of classified materials. Does anyone here want a President confined to the White House wearing, in this case, a cankle bracelet?

  47. Nick – just as a thought problem, if Hillary is President and is wearing a cankle bracelet, what would be the limits on the bracelet?

  48. Ya pays your money, buys your ticket, and picks your poison. For me, the alternatives to Clinton are simply too: scary, stupid, corrupt, idiotic, scary, dangerous, proven stupidly wrong, etc., etc., etc. We already had an idiot Republican who caused a major recession, developed and screwed up two wars, made the US the laughing stock of the world, etc. We had a really slick Republican before that who fooled us all into a recession but sounded really, really, really smooth. He also traded with one enemy to destroy a democracy.

    Sooner or later the US has to leave the land of delusions and hunker down and fix some basic systems.

  49. I don’t much care for Sec. Clinton, but I think her answer was OK.

    Bernie Sanders has said he isn’t a socialist in the sense that means of production should be owned by the public, but that is one definition of socialism. There is no reason to expect her to explain Bernie’s use of the term.

    I would rather have seen him press her on how she can claim to be any sort of progressive based upon her record in office.

  50. Rumor has it that a certain “DiGenova” said there will be a general rebellion in the DOJ if Comey doesn’t recommend and Lynch doesn’t indict; the evidence is said to be overwhelming. No doubt, Gen. Petraeus agrees.

    Now that’s comforting.

  51. What a display of ignorance. Look to the Democratic Socialists of Europe for a 21st century definition.

  52. BarkingDog,

    “They will get more capitalist and we will get more socialist.”

    America was established as a restricted-vote republic with government limited to security and infrastructure facilitating individual freedom and free enterprise as the “blessings of liberty” “to ourselves and our posterity” through self-reliance.

    America is gone with the wind (attribution, and thank you Mr. Lincoln).

    Collectivists began the progression of America into communism about 100 years ago. With the nullification of the requirements for presidential candidacy, allowing globalization of the presidency, the mission is almost complete. Once Bernie Sanders achieve single-payer, America will have been delivered.

    Karl Marx and Franklin Roosevelt are smiling down on us.

    Global totalitarian, police-state communism will hold dominion forever…

    or until the next asteroid hits.

  53. No socialists, no monopolists. Fair square. No welfare for anyone. That means Congressmen and Congresswomen who now get free medical care. No subsidies for religion, education, or food sources. No taxes. Each on their own. No more leashes for dogs.

  54. BarkinDog,

    Let’s check history. America achieved “exceptionalism” through innovation stemming from freedom and free enterprise without interference by government. We can know the empirical evidence of past practices beginning in 1789. America achieved global hegemony by WWII. Since the advent of collectivism and women’s suffrage, the world has diminished American affluence and influence, achieving parity or superiority.

    The global monster of communism has finally crept into America, subsuming it. With the nullification of “natural born citizen,” the American Presidency has been globalized. One World Government assumed full operational mode in the shadows. Incoherent “stimulus,” Quantitative Easing, hyper-printing of worthless dollars, corporate bail-outs and every form of redistribution of wealth have led to a phantom fiscal status comprised of unpayable debt and obligations. Bernie Madoff would be proud of America’s current budgetary Frankenstein. HIs cousins built it.

    The founding documents were nullified beginning with Lincoln’s “Reign of Terror.” God knows why Democrats don’t finish the act by voiding and removing the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights, and declaring universally that the Communist Manifesto holds dominion in America.

    Central Planning
    Control of the Means of Production
    Social Engineering
    Redistribution of Wealth

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    Let’s ask William Durant, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Ayn Rand et al. if there is any semblance of free America remaining on the planet. Oh! Did I forget Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, Adams, Mason, Marshall et al.? Let’s ask them too.

    Communism subsumed America long ago.

  55. Bernie Sanders “Redistributed Wealth” to Friends and Family
    And isn’t that what “public service is all about”?
    January 8, 2016
    Daniel Greenfield

    What good is being a Socialist if you can’t steal from taxpayers to give to your pals? As this Lachlan Markay report at Free Beacon documents, Bernie Sanders found all sorts of ways to redistribute wealth to friends and family. And isn’t that what “public service is all about”?

    According to Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, Sanders’ House campaigns paid her more than $90,000 for consulting and ad placement services from 2002 to 2004. She pocketed about $30,000 of that money.

    Her daughter Carina Driscoll, Sanders’ stepdaughter, also drew a salary from the campaign. She was paid more than $65,000 between 2000 and 2004, according to her mother.

    After working for the campaign, the senator’s wife would come under scrutiny for expenditures at Burlington College, where she was hired as president in 2004. While she led the school, it paid six-figure sums to her daughter and the son of a family friend.

    Leopold served with Sanders in the Burlington city government—as mayor, Sanders appointed Leopold city treasurer—before becoming embroiled in scandal involving millions of dollars in payments to a Burlington telecommunications company.

    Sen. Sanders has described Leopold as so close a friend as to be considered “family.”

    There’s more there involving her controversial time at Burlington College. Bernie Sanders spends a lot of time talking about banks. But leftists like him view the taxpayers as a giant piggy bank they can steal from for their own benefit.

  56. I think it all comes down to force. If an individual cannot keep what they earn by force, or if an individual cannot control and own their property in absolute by force, or if an individual cannot freely exercise their fundamental rights by force, then they are victims of socialism and/or democratic progressivism/socialism. Socialists and progressive democrats must utilize force, a priori, to finance grandiose ideologies. They use force to extract wealth, control property and to restrict the free exercise of rights. Most importantly, they manipulate legal jargon as a means to circumvent or to reinterpret Constitutional provisions in a way that allows same.

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