Is Senator Bernie Sanders really a socialist, or is he a capitalist in disguise?
A video is making rounds on the internet after it first surfaced five years ago. A savvy journalist took the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential hopeful in the 2016 elections to task over his ideology, and the footage has gained traction again, for obvious reasons.
Former Human Events magazine editor, Jason Mattera, uploaded a YouTube video ("Socialist Senator Sanders Hawks His Book Like an Evil Capitalist") in May of 2011 after his awkward encounter with the Vermont Senator. Mattera, a Conservative political activist, was an ambush journalist at the time he met Sanders at a Barnes & Noble bookseller.
Mattera introduced himself and asked Sanders to autograph a copy of his book, The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class. However, the request was particularly interesting, and judging from the look on Sanders' face, he didn't see it coming.
#FlashbackFriday 12/10/10 When Vermont Senator @BernieSanders delivered THE SPEECH. https://t.co/jJZ0aj4fy3 pic.twitter.com/2zghznbCnUWhile approaching the signing venue from outside the bookstore, Mattera prefaced his meeting with Sanders by letting viewers in on his plot. He asks the rhetorical question, "How does a devout Socialist go about selling a book? We're gonna find out."
— PublicAffairs (@public_affairs) March 4, 2016
"Senator Sanders, I was hoping you could make out your book to 'Capitalism, the greatest economic system on Earth.'"
Sanders mulled over the question and said he would not oblige Jason's request. Mattera presses on after giving a shocked look after the author's response.
Senator Sanders emphasized that it was his practice only to sign the names of people -- apparently, not to economic constructs. Mattera expressed his confusion over how an individual who identifies with Socialism writes a book for profit. The assumption is that it runs counter to his ideology and is more fitting with Capitalism.
The Speech AUTOGRAPHED by Bernie Sanders!! https://t.co/XloBrOHA39 pic.twitter.com/iPp7nLdPxEMattera continued by saying selling books in a corporate venue should "go against" Bernie's "values." When asked about the profits from the book, Sanders said "his share" would go to the children of Vermont.
— very best deals (@verybestdeals3) February 26, 2016
Mattera pointed out to viewers of the video that the recipients of his profits do not represent an organization. Later, Human Events confirmed from a spokesperson that the senator is not sure where his profits will be directed.
Sanders has made government greed, special interest groups, and campaign finance reform targets of his angst. They have also been mainstays of his campaign's platform for the White House.
Mattera's stunt appeared to have one objective: to demonstrate that Sanders subscribes to the tenets of a capitalistic society, namely economic freedom and choice. Some pundits have accused Sanders of fluctuating between the two economies.
In an October, 2015, report from the Fiscal Times, a writer suggested that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are wrong about their economic affiliations.
"We're currently at a stage between capitalism and socialism that might be called 'regulism.'"
This economic form is when the government, while not owners/operators of all forms of enterprise, makes key operational decisions.
The "Too Big To Fail" piece of legislation or Dodd-Frank, gives the government the authority to designate what financial institutions are subjected to oversight. After the 2008 mortgage collapse, the government stepped in and bailed out some large brands to minimize risk and prevent a collapse of the financial sector.
The throwback video reappeared in the wake of Bernie Sanders' three-state landslide sweep in the Democratic primaries over the weekend. Sanders picked up several pledged delegates in Hawaii, Washington, and Alaska.
Although he still trails the former Secretary of State in the delegate count, Sanders is making the argument that some of the so-called "super-delegates" may be compelled to endorse his candidacy with his new momentum.
[Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]