Bernie Sanders has spent years convincing voters that his Soviet honeymoon, his support for the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, his admiration for Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez were all a misunderstanding. See, it's Denmark, Danish-style socialism he wants for America, not a second Venezuela. He was really quite reasonable in intentions all along.
It was exposed as garbage the other day, when James O'Keefe released an undercover video of a top-line paid Iowa staffer, Kyle Jurek, praising gulags, re-education camps, burning cities, beaten cops, and killing anyone who resists the "revolution" as the plan all along. Worse still, he said the Bernie campaign was loaded with such people, and Bernie's moderate claims were a mask. So much for Bernie's rebranding bid.
Ordinarily, that would be a firing offense. The guy just undercut Sanders's carefully cultivated public relations persona to win voters and made Sanders look like Mao recrudescent, Stalin reborn, and Pol Pot's ghost, something worse than even what most suspicious Republicans have ever came up with.
Nothing. No firing. No denunciation of all the sick plans and praise for the world's most odious dictators. A quick dismissal of the whole thing as "political gossip," and not by Bernie himself, but by another Iowa staffer.
"The hundreds of thousands of Iowans we've talked to this caucus season don't care about political gossip; they care about making healthcare a human right, taking on climate change, making college affordable, and ending endless wars.
A normal candidate would want to get away as far as possible from a guy like this. A sane person would denounce all the sick and violent sentiments at a minimum. Yet O'Keefe's outfit noted the curious unwillingness of Sanders to get rid of Jurek or at least condemn the sentiment here:
The only action, in fact, is Sanders staffers locking Their twitter accounts, including even those on the public relations team.
If this were President Trump, the first thing out of his mouth would be, "You're fired!"
But Bernie, who commands unusual loyalty among his staff and voters, is choosing to stay loyal to the staffer with these Pol Pot fantasies. The kindest explanation might be that he cynically imagines that no one is going to care and he could use the man's talents or else maybe needs the Antifa vote. The less kind explanation comes from Jurek himself.
A subsequent O'Keefe video had Jurek declaring that the Sanders campaign is actually full of people like himself, and in one O'Keefe tape, he rolled off a string of first names.
That suggests that maybe Sanders can't fire Jurek because they're all like that, and he'd actually have to fire his entire Iowa operation.
There's also a third detail: Jurek himself said that Sanders is faking it about the "democratic" socialism, because he too is the real thing. So much for deniability: it sounds as though he has the same views.
It raises questions about the whole picture Sanders stands for. Violence has been a part of the Sanders operation for years. Recall that it was a Sanders staffer, James Hodgkinson, who attempted to assassinate GOP congressional leader Steve Scalise and wounded him badly with gunfire. John Hinderaker at Power Line has some excellent observations about that here.
Sanders escaped blame for it on the grounds that any campaign could have a crazy staffer. But the Iowa stuff tells a story of apparently all crazy staffers, hell-bent on gulags, re-education camps, Kulak-targeting, burning cities, murdered resistors, and all the things that really happened in every country that ever became a socialist hellhole.
This is scary stuff, calling for your vote based on a cute grumpy grandpa personality fronting for the sick horrors of socialism. Once in, there are no outs; just ask a Venezuelan. The Democrats are apparently looking for a means of rigging Sanders out, but given that socialist Sanders becomes a "Democrat" only at election time, they never should have let him in to start with. Now he's the frontrunner, and he's showing what he's made of. O'Keefe says Jurek still has his job, and Iowa moves apace. The only thing left is to expose him, and for that, O'Keefe has done a tremendous public service.