Before Tuesday’s debate at the Fox theatre in Detroit, Michigan, Bernie Sanders slipped over to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, home town of this writer. The Vermont socialist led a delegation of American diabetics seeking cheaper insulin, but Sanders failed to note that Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best invented insulin during the early 1920s, long before Canada adopted government monopoly health care, which did not start in Canada.
Citizens have the right to “free medical service,” proclaims the Soviet Constitution of 1936, also known as the Stalin Constitution, which also offers the right to “free” education, and a “system of state stipends” for students. Those rights of free speech, assembly and so forth, are only formal “bourgeois” rights.
None of the ten Democrat debaters in Detroit – Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, and Steve Bullock – showed any knowledge of what Molotov called “socialist democracy.” And from the audience's reaction to the Democrat stars, it appears few understood that socialism had been the biggest failure in human history. One could say the same about CNN, which introduced the debaters in the style of an NBA playoff game, on a set that looked like something from the film Network.
The contest kicked off on health care, which Sanders, who honeymooned in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, touted as a right. He acknowledges his Medicare for all plan would raise taxes, and that troubled other candidates. Elizabeth Warren, no longer running as a Cherokee, said only billionaires and the wealthy would pay more.
A moment of clarity came from candidate John Delaney, of the few Democrats troubled by the prospect of taking away health care the workers already have and like. “Social Security didn’t make pensions illegal,” Delaney said, but that was “the equivalent of what Warren and Sanders are proposing.” Delaney wants universal care, and also individual choice. Nobody pointed out that you can’t exactly have both.
In similar style, candidate Tim Ryan said it wasn’t about left or right, and challenged Sanders on some points. Then he said that as president he would create a “chief manufacturing officer” so America could dominate the global electrical vehicle market.
Like “free” health care and ‘free” college, that too was an echo of the Stalin Constitution, which proclaims “the economic life of the USSR is determined and directed by the state national economic plan with the aim of increasing the public wealth, of steadily improving the material conditions of the working people.” It didn’t exactly work out that way.
Much of the debate was pure utopian glossolalia, with candidates, who as president would throw around billions and trillions of dollars, on causes including reparations for slavery. At times Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson sounded like Woody Allen’s tearful Miss America in Sleeper, proclaiming, “I will use my title to bring peace to all nations.”
Beto O’Rourke, a loser to Ted Cruz in the 2016 Senate race, showed a flair prophecy. The world had “no more than 10 years to get this right,” on the climate change side. But other candidates said the Green New Deal would bring many new jobs.
Elizabeth Warren was big on anti-corporate demonology, repeatedly claiming that big companies “suck out” money that should be going to causes that she favors. In this crowd, Steve Bullock, a gun owner and hunter, sounded like the drunk at the end of the bar. In his opening statement, Bullock said Donald Trump will be “hard to beat,” and most of the others blamed the president for all the problems in the known universe.
“Trump disgraces the office of president every day,” Warren said, and anyone on the stage “would be better.” Trump part of a “corrupt rigged system,” and “kicked dirt in face of everybody.” For their part, the Democrats were the party of “big structural change.”
Amy Klobuchar said she was tired of Trump’s “racist attacks” and Bernie Sanders called Trump a racist, sexist, homophobe, and so on. For John Delaney, who opposed some candidates’ “impossible promises and fairy tale economics,” Trump was still the “symptom of a disease.”
Beto O’Rourke urged Democrats to “call his racism out.” He warned that “hate crimes are on the rise,” citing the “Muslim ban.” In Beto’s world, we embrace differences and “diversity us our strength.” And so on.
None of the candidates sounded much like a surefire winner, either in the debate or against Trump in 2020, but Bernie Sanders probably got the most applause. In his closing statement the Vermont socialist again cited his trip to Windsor, the land of cheap insulin and government monopoly health care. Sanders called for a “mass political movement,” in which Americans “stand up and take on the greed and corruption of the ruling class of this country.”
Marianne Williamson said she agreed with Bernie. “Use the instruments of government to help people,” she said. “This time we will win with love.”
The other ten Democrats go at it Wednesday night.
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