Rubio defends Sanders for being honest about his socialism
Marco Rubio doesn't agree with Bernie Sanders about anything, but he defended the Vermont senator for being honest about his socialist beliefs.
The Florida Republican corrected a questioner at a "Life of the Party" event in New Hampshire Wednesday who compared Sanders' brand of socialism with what Rubio's family fled when they left Cuba.
"In fairness, they fled communism," Rubio interjected. "There is social democracy, right, like you see in Europe, where government provides for every aspect of your life, but there's consequence to that. They fled communism, which is beyond socialism, obviously where government controls society, but also government controls politics, life, the banning of religion, people were being executed."
The questioner took his point, but asked him if he ever wants to tell Sanders that he's going too far.
Rubio disagreed, saying that while he's not a supporter of socialism, he praises Sanders for speaking his mind.
"What I appreciate about Bernie is he's not trying to shirk from it," Rubio said. "It's what he believes in. He's honest about it."
He also noted that the viewpoint obviously resonates with plenty of people who support Sanders' presidential campaign and have re-elected him in Vermont.
"I don't think it works for America," Rubio said. "My argument is, you want to live in a country like that -- there's like dozens of countries around the world that are socialist -- move there. We should continue to be America."
But the beauty of democracy, Rubio added, is that the debate can happen.
"I don't personally have a problem with Bernie because he's being honest about what he believes in. I'd love to have that debate," Rubio said.
Sanders may not be a communist, but one of the dangers of socialism is that it can prove to be a slippery slope. The Russian revolution – the first one – is a good example.
When the tsar abdicated, the socialists took over. Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky, who ruled the provisional government, was a well-meaning but ultimately weak and naive man. When the time came, the Leninists easily pushed him aside and took over.
We have certain constitutional protections that the Russians didn't have relating to private property and individual rights. But Sanders's notion of "democratic socialism" would necessarily mean the destruction of some of those rights. At that point, an ambitious minority of communists could engineer a takeover. It's happened before, and it's silly to think the U.S. is immune to something similar happening.
I know what Rubio was trying to do. But he could have picked someone to praise for "honesty" besides Bernie Sanders.