Conservative media leader Glenn Beck took aim at Senator Bernie Sanders last night. But he didn’t go directly after the presidential candidate or his policies. He focused on, as he hashtagged, #BerniesRadicals—the people within the Sanders campaign whose histories and ideologies should be examined when considering the candidate. Politicians tend to surround themselves with like-minded people, especially those closest to him. One such radical is David Sirota, the senior adviser and speechwriter for the Democratic Socialist.
For full transparency, I must note that I prefer Sanders to be the Democratic nominee. It isn’t that I support him or any of his beliefs, but the rise of radical progressives within the Democratic Party is a concern I believe must be addressed on a national scale as soon as possible. We need to have the conversation and debate the policies as far and wide as we can reach. The best way to put a focus on Democratic Socialism and educate the masses about what it truly represents is to have a head-to-head battle between the Senator and President Trump, as well as between surrogates for both. I can imagine such a battle spawning a debate between Sirota and Beck (or me if Beck’s not available—I love a fun debate over socialism).
With that said, let’s take a brief look at Sirota. From what I’ve read about him, he’s a strategic genius who has an “instinct for the jugular,” as former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta once said. According to Wikipedia, he’s even willing to entertain getting down in the mud and fighting dirty against opponents: “In 1999, Sirota served as Dwight Evans’ deputy mayoral campaign manager in Philadelphia but was let go for ‘overzealous behavior’ related to the creation of a fake website with damaging racial comments attributed to their opponent John White, Jr. Evans said he believed that Sirota had not created the bogus page but had discussed it with the person that created it.”
In a clip that Beck shared on Twitter, we see the makings of a true authoritarian during a speech in 2007:
Bernie's Senior Adviser and Speechwriter, David Sirota, has a lot of contempt for LIBERALS because they don’t veer FAR ENOUGH into socialism. Here's Sirota in 2007, back when socialists still masked themselves as “progressives."#BerniesRadicals pic.twitter.com/JpFrhKLvEG
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 27, 2020
We also know that Sirota strongly believed in Hugo Chavez’ advancement of socialism in Venezuela, as Beck highlighted. The article referenced is like a loving obituary of Venezuela’s former leader, but more importantly it’s an endorsement of the socialism he brought to the nation.
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 27, 2020
As is invariably the case with socialism, things started off very well in Venezuela. But there’s no lesson to be learned about what went so terribly wrong between the time the article was written when Venezuela’s economy was flourishing (or so we thought) and the modern Venezuela with people literally eating out of garbage trucks. It was as predictable as the results of Pinocchio going to Pleasure Island. Socialism in a thriving economy will continue to thrive—and even improve conditions for a short while—until the inevitable effects of authoritarianism and nationalization come full circle.
The benefits of socialism are real, but they are always short-lived because the ideology stipulates an impossible symbiosis between government’s needs and people’s desires. Socialism could work only within a group that is universally dedicated to collectivism. Universal dedication to collectivism erases, by necessity, the natural human urges for individualism. If it cannot, then the foundation of socialism is impossible to sustain in the long-term.
Sirota was premature when he (and Sanders) sang the praises of Venezuela socialism:
When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.
That was in 2013. Fast-forward just two short years and the signs of economic collapse were already evident. Those who defended Chavez’ vision will say it was Nicolás Maduro and other leaders in the nation who failed through their own greed and thirst for power. But had Chavez lived another decade, the results in Venezuela would not have changed. If anything, Maduro inherited an economy that was already in the process of collapsing, though at the time Chavez had disguised their fiscal woes to the point that the people didn’t realize how much trouble they were in until their currency started buying less and less. Store shelves emptied. People waited hours in line in hopes of getting a loaf of bread and some sort of spread to put on it. The downfall came suddenly, not because it wasn’t there before but because Chavez had shrouded it.
As a Sanders nomination seems more likely (if the DNC doesn’t steal it from him), it’s important for conservatives to heed Sun Tzu and know your enemy. Glenn Beck is sounding the alarms. We are as well. Will you start looking into #BerniesRadicals?
Image via Zach Lipp Photography.