I posted an article at The American Spectator on Wednesday, titled, “Bernie: Bolshevik Party Boy.” It relates to amazing footage of Bernie Sanders partying in a Soviet city north of Moscow on his honeymoon in June 1988. A shirtless, drunk Bernie belts out a rendition of comrade Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” with Bolshevik buddies. The footage was found by the left-wing magazine, Forward, which, interestingly, has retained the article but removed the video, which now can be found at YouTube.
The whole scene deserves mockery, which I offered aplenty. And yet, there’s also a serious side to the spectacle, and it relates to both Bernie and his old Senate colleague, Teddy Kennedy, and his Soviet shenanigans. There’s also great hypocrisy at work, by our liberal media.
As to Kennedy, I’ve frequently written about his Soviet escapades, including an article for The American Spectator last year and exhaustively in my book Dupes. I addressed it at length on Mark Levin’s Fox News Channel show, “Life, Liberty, and Levin,” a few weeks ago. Kudos to Levin for providing a platform for Kennedy’s scandalous actions to finally receive a national audience.
As readers here know, my research on Kennedy underscored a confidential overture he made to the Kremlin via his confidant and old law-school roommate John Tunney, a former California Democratic senator. Proof of that overture is a striking May 14, 1983 document written by KGB head Victor Chebrikov to Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, tellingly titled, “Regarding Senator Kennedy’s request to the General Secretary of the Communist Party Y. V. Andropov.”
Moreover, there’s another aspect of Teddy’s relationship with the Soviets that I’ve reported on but has received little attention, even among conservatives, probably because it seems more humorous than traitorous. To wit, a common tactic by the Soviets was to take visiting Western progressives and get them stone drunk for the purpose of manipulating them. In one of Kennedy’s Moscow trips, he was brought to a phony wedding, where he did the predictable partying. Yuri Bezmenov, the Soviet dissident who was an editor for Novosti, produced a photo of Teddy dancing with the bride. I included the picture in Dupes (page 406). This tactic was so common for so long that the New York Times even once did an article on Soviet wedding ruses.
Bezmenov put it this way: “One of my functions was to keep foreign guests permanently intoxicated from the moment they landed at Moscow airport.” He did this with “so-called ‘progressive intellectuals’…. For us, they were just a bunch of political prostitutes to be taken advantage of.” As a case in point, he noted Teddy frolicking at the fake wedding.
This new footage of Bernie in the USSR in June 1988 immediately raises those suspicions, albeit on a much smaller scale because he was a mere mayor of a city in Vermont at that time. The situation was likely simply reflective of Bernie loving the company of socialists and enjoying getting ripped with the Russkies.
Liberals will, of course, eagerly dismiss Bernie’s romp as ancient history, just as they did when the Kennedy-KGB memo emerged. Whereas the Bernie video suggests nothing like collusion between a sitting senator and a high Soviet official, the Kennedy memo certainly suggested something alarming. The Kennedy memo was written within the context of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign. The liberal media still continue to ignore it.
But we shouldn’t let liberals shrug off Bernie’s behavior. He’s now a superstar in the Democratic Party. He carries the flag for “democratic socialism,” along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Bernie received 13 million votes in the Democratic Primary in 2016, only a million less than the record number Donald Trump collected in the Republican Primary. Assuming Hillary doesn’t run again, Bernie, as runner-up in 2016, is the presumed frontrunner for 2020.
Of course, that’s even more reason for liberals to try to shrug off Bernie’s Bolshevik beer bash as no big deal.
Well, that being the case, let’s turn the tables. Let’s ask them: Would they be so nonchalant if this were Donald Trump caught on tape intoxicated in Russia?
That’s a damned good question as we watch the entirety of the media morph into a vast sea of J. Edgar Hoovers and Joe McCarthys, as CNN and the New York Times attempt a de facto reboot of “HUAC,” as the left en masse looks for a Russian under every bed of the Trump White House. Progressives are infused with a mad pursuit in search of an Alger Hiss in every corridor of the Trump White House.
Picture a shirtless Donald Trump boozing it up with Russian buddies, swilling Stoli vodka and singing merry tunes about land equality. Or, akin to Teddy Kennedy, picture a May 14, 2016 Soviet FSB or GRU memo from the head of Russian intelligence directly to Vladimir Putin with the title, “Regarding Donald Trump’s request to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.”
Do you think the liberal media would laugh off or ignore that?
To the contrary, this is exactly the kind of material the media is looking for on Trump, especially anything that could be used by the Russian government for potential blackmail.
That raises another question: Is there more video on Bernie in Russia? Where did the Forward get the video? To see that footage suddenly emerge now, over 30 years later, raises eyebrows. I can tell readers that I’ve long tried to determine if the Russians were holding photos or video on Teddy Kennedy that could have served as blackmail material. I’d bet a million bucks that they were. Alas, I have no contacts at Lubyanka.
But back to my point on the media’s hypocrisy: Not only would our left-wing journalists go bananas if Bernie-like video emerged on Donald Trump, which would run around the clock on CNN and MSNBC — portraying the Republican president as a buffoonish frat-boy — but they are collectively ignoring the Bernie video. The video was quietly removed from Forward’s website, and it’s almost non-existent except for obscure conservative blog sites. Thankfully someone posted it on YouTube.
It’s just like Ted Kennedy all over again, with a full media blackout of material embarrassing to a darling of the Democrats.
It’s frankly amazing what liberal “journalists” will ignore among their own while relentlessly pursuing the highest crimes and misdemeanors for their political enemies. And maybe that’s the biggest Russia scandal of them all.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. He is author of over a dozen books, including Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century and A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20thCentury.