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DNC Chairman Dean Endorses Socialist For Senate.

Socialists everywhere can rejoice. The Democratic Party, at its very highest level, has dropped all pretense of respect for the American free enterprise system and is now supporting Marxist candidates.


Howard Dean has endorsed Independent Vermont Representative (and self-proclaimed socialist) Bernie Sanders for the United States Senate:

WASHINGTON -- Breaking party lines, former Gov. Howard Dean said Monday he supports Rep. Bernard Sanders' bid for the U.S. Senate, saying the Independent makes a "strong candidate."

"A victory for Bernie Sanders is a win for Democrats," Dean said in a telephone interview Monday.


Sanders, who has labeled America an "imperial power," now has the full backing of the national DNC establishment. How unfortunate for America that one of our two major parties is choosing to go down that road.

Dean's endorsement of Sanders is simply astounding in the context of the ongoing marginalization of the Democratic Party, but it's also fairly typical.

UPDATE: Sanders way up in the early polls. Ugh.


Dean actually did endorse Sanders... before he unendorsed him:

Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday night he hopes Sanders can help persuade potential Progressive candidates to stay out of next year's races for the U.S. House and lieutenant governor.

"We all recognize that Bernie does not have the power to tell anybody who can and cannot run for office," said Dean. "But if we are going to work together, we should work together across the board."

Dean's comments came in a telephone interview in which the former governor made it clear he has not yet endorsed Sanders' bid for the U.S. Senate.

"Bernie is going to be an extremely strong candidate, but I think it is a little premature for me to endorse him right this minute," said Dean.

There have been conflicting reports about whether Democratic leaders have endorsed Sanders. Dean said those reports stem from the differing perspectives of Democrats in Washington and those in Vermont regarding Sanders.

"Here's the problem," said Dean. "From the national perspective, of which I am now a part of, Bernie is a very strong candidate who votes with Democrats. From a Vermont perspective, there are still some issues to work out to make sure the Vermont folks are comfortable with all this."

Howard Dean has that calculation precisely backward. Bernie Sanders will be just fine for Vermont. From the national perspective, though, the DNC's official endorsement of Sanders immediately becomes a top 5 GOP talking point in 2006 Senate races in North Dakota, Nebraska, Florida, et al.

What Dean rightly understood in his endorsement flip-flop is that the Democrats are on the ropes around the country. What he did by endorsing Sanders was to admit openly what regular folks all around the country already suspect: Democrats are closet socialists. In effect, Dean's initial endorsement was a way of intimidating actual Democrats from running for Senate in Vermont and splitting the vote. Anything to keep a Republican out of national office from Howard Dean's home state.

In doing so, he cheapened the Democrat franchise. Now, he has still mostly accomplished his goal of signalling to Democrats that they should not run for Senate in Vermont, but now he gets to be officially on record as not doing so. Very calculating.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 May 2005 12:12 PM


Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders...HMmmmmm... That makes me kind of sick at my stomach!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 10, 2005 12:23 PM

That is a spooky duo...

Posted by: Wicked withch of the west at May 10, 2005 12:34 PM

I simply wish to know what is wrong with Socialism, which has been VERY good to this country. As far as I'm concerned, without Socialist controls on big business, this nation would be overrun completely by multi-nationals. In fact, even WITH these protections it is very close to being overrun. What is so bad about Socialism? I know you do not mean Communism so no worry there. I just wanted to know what qualms you folks with Socialism. Cheers!

Posted by: Joseph (OK Democrat) at May 10, 2005 09:21 PM

Simply Joseph (OK Democrat) ...What is wrong with Socialism is ....
#1. Socialism is a economic phenomenon that represents a political theory advocating government ownership and control! It is based on a system that there is no private property!
#2. Socialism is a Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and generates a lower economic growth by workers having no real incenitve or desire to better themselves!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 11, 2005 07:28 AM

Socialism is a political theory advocating governmental ownership of property and administration...Democracy and freedom is a no no under Socialism It is a Marxist theory...It is a classless society... Joseph (OK Democrat) this is simply not the AMERICAN WAY!!!... One marvelous thing we have as citizens of this great country is the highest quality of living!...We can actual work and leave our children and families and our country something to show for it!...Marxism and leninism is a theory of communism developed by Lenin on the doctrins of Marx...Honey, please read your History books and put on your thinking cap! Socialism is not the way we want America to be! Americans love freedom. That is what our country is about!...Simply that is what is wrong with Socialism...Thank You!

Posted by: Linda at May 11, 2005 07:52 AM

Simply what is wrong with Socialism? Hmmmmmmm...Let's see now,... where shall we start?
FIRST THING WRONG WITH SOCIALISM...Take a look at What used to be Lenin Square! What has been renamed Freedom Square! Does anyone recall how happy the people were when they were knocking over the statue of LENIN?....I do!...Wow what is joseph Ok democrat thinking? DUH! Hello OKIE JOE...Reality calling!...

Posted by: Cindy T. at May 11, 2005 11:41 AM

Joseph does that simply tell you what is wrong with Socialism?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 11, 2005 11:48 AM

It is sad that anyone would actually have to explain why socialism is bad. It's so self-evident.

Posted by: Will Franklin at May 11, 2005 11:52 AM

I don't think the responses to Joseph have been very good, since he specifically distinguishes socialism from communism.

Joseph - My answer in brief: The freer capitalism, the faster the GNP will increase. Socialism is an impediment to that growth. Over just a few years, trade-offs between the benefits Socialism brings (which I admit are there) and those it imposes (which you will admit are there) are tolerable. But over long spans of time -- 30, 40 years, say -- the difference between a high-growth economy and low-growth economy widens to a chasm and the population of the low-growth economy enjoy a level of material prosperity which is a qualitative level below those in the high-growth economy.

Another way to put it: a relatively-free capitalist system's benefits compound over time.

That's my anti-socialist argument in a nutshell.

Posted by: jult52 at May 11, 2005 12:15 PM

WOAH!!! Things got a little heated today. I was just going to say that I had thought we had seen the last of Dean. But hey if he wants to keep making a fool out of himself, let him do it. Honestly it doesn't even make a dent in the reality of things.

Posted by: Carly at May 11, 2005 07:23 PM

Did he say Socialism has been VERY good to this country? Very Interesting, but dumb.

Posted by: Walter at May 11, 2005 08:16 PM

Hello my friends. I am not trying to shoot anyone down of their pedestal so please, take a seat. Socialism IS NOT an ideaology of government ownership. That is a manner in which it is expressed sometimes but more generally, it is an ideal by which the public can use its power in numbers to assert its basic rights and protect those rights. I must also say that it is not a Marxist-Leninist idea, having been used quite often and successfully by societies for thousands of years. Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and many others have used Socialism and Socialist ideas very successfully as has the USA. How did rural areas acquire telephone lines? That's thanks to the Socialist Universal Service Fund, began in the 1930's. What about electricity? Rural areas were provided with electricity because of the very Socialist Rural Electrification Administration, founded in 1935. Obviosuly Social Security and Medicare speak for themselves, though I believe SS needs some work. The point is that Socialism is not a bad thing and it very much American. If it weren't than why have we used Socialistic programs so often and why have they turned out good more often than not?

Posted by: Joseph (OK Democrat) at May 11, 2005 09:32 PM

Not to harp but I only just noticed someone made a statement about Socialism and Communism. Part of the statement was rude and doesn't belong in civil conversation. Second of all, Communism is a sick ultra-left version of Socialism in the same sense that Fascism is ultra-right. Both extremes are similar because if you go so far left, you get right and vice versa. Cheers all! As always, good post Will.

Posted by: Joseph (OK Democrat) at May 11, 2005 09:37 PM

There has never in history been a purely capitalist, socialist, or communist government in the history of this planet.

At the turn of the 18th century, the US leaned toward "laissez-faire" capitalism (deregulation of big business in today's terms0, with "social Darwinism" empowering the American aristocracy in their beliefs that they were biologically destined to be at the top of the socio-economic ladder. Republican William McKinley (Karl Rove's favorite president) defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1896 despite enormous popular support. McKinley had garnered massive financial support of big-business "robber baron" types such as JP Morgan.
They ran on a "moral values" platform.
Sound familiar?
Republicans were in the White House until 1916, ,with the nation's wealth becoming very concentrated in big business until the crash of "29. Then came FDR's New Deal,and the pendulum swung from extreme capitalism to capitalism with some socialist programs, worker protection, the creation of a large middle class and suburban America. Republicans despised FDR, and have wanted to gut his social programs ever since.
So,if history repeats itself as we have all been told, we can assume: 1. Republicans will be in power for many years because they have massive backing from corporate America 2. Wealth will become concentrated in the upper class, with the middle class shrinking and the poverty level increasing 3. Republicans will become corrupt,we may very well have some kind of economic crash resulting from out of control deficit spending, deregulation, etc. and 4. The pendulum will swing back and we will again inject some socialist policies into our capitalism, resurrecting the middle class.
I predict two more Republican terms before corruption surfaces. They may not make it that long, since in the 20's they didn't have 24 hour cable news and the internet.
There will be another 80's S&L type debacle resulting from deregulation, another Iran-Contra, or some such. In the meantime,things are going to be very tough for middle class America, who voted "moral values" over it's pocketbook. Lots of pundits are scratching their heads over that one.

Posted by: Lainey at May 12, 2005 01:47 AM

Oops, I meant at the turn of the 19th century referring to the US's last turn toward purer form of capitalism.

Posted by: Lainey at May 12, 2005 01:51 AM

I love that picture of Howard Dean!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 12, 2005 09:39 AM

My instincts tell me some people just may never get it.

Posted by: Willbur at May 12, 2005 11:31 AM

I think Wilburs instincts are right!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 13, 2005 09:25 AM

There is a continuum of economic interference:

1) Totally "Laissez-Faire" capitalism
2) "Laissez-Faire" + fair-play/honesty regulation
3) Capitalism plus social-benefit mandates
4) Regulated Capitalism (product safety, etc)
5) Strongly-regulated Capitalism (ESA, EPA, etc)
6) Litigated (-to-near-death) Capitalism
7) Macro-Price-Fixing (CA Power, EU Gasoline, etc)
8) Micro-Price-Fixing (on food, consumer items)
9) Govt ctrl by regulation (WW2-Nazi, Hillarycare)
10) Wartime-govt-control (Any war, any country)
11) Govt ownership, means of production (USSR,CN)
12) govt ctrl of everything (communism, termites)

Anything other than #1 is sorta-kinda-socialist.

The US stopped being #1 around 1900 and certainly pre-ww2 as communication and information-gathering went from non-existent to possible to convenient.

The USSR failed totally because their centrally controlled command-economy could not price-fix as delicately and spontaneously as a market-driven economy can.

Economics (and management methodology) is about how to best manage the valuation of resources (namely human effort and raw material) during the process from extraction to consumption.

Capitalism lets pure market forces determine every step of this valuation. Communism/Socialism lets regulators and govt employees determine some or all of the valuations of those steps.

Fascism is Nationalist Socialist Dictatorship +/- Racism (around #9 to #11) and clearly, fascism is not Extreme Capitalism, no matter how hard the socialists wish to claim otherwise. Economically, the farther you move Left, the more groupist (government controlled) you get and the farther you move Right, the more individualist you get. Socialists wish to claim (falsely) that you wrap-around from communism to fascism ad-extremis, but this is false as Fascists (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Marcos, etc) were hardly capitalist (#1-#3) but regulated-to-controlled economies (#5-#10). These Fascists merely did not take the last-step to economic govt control (#11-#12). On the contrary, the ad-extremis of capitalism is "L"ibertarianism, moderated-anarchy or full-anarchy, which everyone can agree are the opposites to both Socialism/Fascism and Communism.

Capitalism has its problems, i.e. it is hard-hearted, in that it values some people highly and some not-at-all, and human-nature being what it is, the n-a-a's are dangerous to the rest of us and thus we use socialist programs to take care of them (welfare, prison, institutions, SS, Medicare, orphanages, etc). Few Americans would disagree with the need for these government programs.

Socialism has other problems, in that it substitutes lawmaker / bureaucrat judgement for market-forces. In some cases, this is a pure benefit (EPA-pollution-control) and in others debatable (nuclear-plant-restrictions) and in a few disasterous (CA-electricity-price-controls ... or actually any price-controlled situation).

The benefits of socialism accrue only in technical-areas where market forces are restrained from acting by the limits of a normal person's depth-of-knowledge, therefore we deputize select govt agents to ensure that profit-motivated companies are incentivized to play by the rules that we as a society (through our elected respresentatives) have set. (No ordinary investor has thousands of hours to pre-investigate every stock buy ... i.e. before buying Enron stock ... in an environment without regulators ensuring that information is honestly distributed (i.e. not like Enron, Tyco, etc))

The detriments of socialism occur anywhere it touches, even when it is overtly beneficial, i.e. we are paying the salaries and costs of the SEC regulating (imperfectly) Enron, Tyco, etc. More overtly, Socialism induces economic disparities that should not exist, like paying more for telephone service to subsidize rural people living in area that is economically expensive to maintain lines to. To be fair, those poor people should pay lots extra to run a telephone line halfway up their mountainside or move to a more reasonable area. Just because someone chooses to live in an inhospitable area should not mean that I should pay to subsidize their phone line. Ditto for farmers in rural Kansas, etc. Locational existence has specific costs, and if they paid fairly for their phone lines, they would charge more for the food they grow and I'd pay their phone bills through my higher grocery bills. I'd still pay for their phone costs, but fairly, through food costs, not through federal regulations. Incidentally, this would favor conglomerate farming using one phone line for X-million-acres instead of having 100 family farmers each with their own phone lines.

The phone-line argument is a microcosm of the entire economic understanding of distributed costs. Just like family-farmers are being displaced by industrial farming conglomerates, family weaving was displaced by textile mills (c.f. Luddites). When technology changes, lives are dislocated and it is up to the individual to manage their own future, not government (which is why there are ghost-towns where there used to be stage-coach terminals).

Now ... to turn my argument on its head:

Just like socialism has its limits in that it truncates / harms whatever economy it is applied to, capitalism has a limit that as far as I can tell, noone has a solution for.

In N years, homes will have "Replicators" AKA "Rapid-Prototyping-Machines" (3D computer controlled printers of plastic + metal). These exist now for about $50k but are within a few years of self-replicating on command, therefore becoming essentially dirt-cheap (literally). Extend today's "print-a-cellphone" to 2015's "print-a-dress", "print-a-car-part" (part-by-part, a whole car) or 2025's "print-a-McBurger" and you can see that in a few years we will have a serious problem economically in that only two things will have ANY value ... land and someone's time. Robotics and automation are already wiping out most manufacturing, but when you can print-a-spoon instead of going to WalMart to buy a made-in-China spoon, and ditto for textiles, computer parts, bug-spray, etc ... all that will be left are land-management, insurance, entertainment, and intellectual-property. (And remember, Linux and the free-computing people ... McBurger instruction sets will be downloadable as openly as mp3s, books and recipies are today.)

Bluntly, what are 6.? + Billion people going to do when everything you need comes from a replicator and the replicators can make more of themselves. Today: Input bricks of specialized materials, Output a working cellphone with battery, display, and touchpad. Within our lifetimes, the input will be air or dirt and the output could be as complex as you care to give the replicator time to build. (Note, I recently saw where medical researchers printed a WORKING mouse kidney ... how long before they can print the complete mouse?)


Posted by: MAW at May 15, 2005 04:53 PM