Hillary Can’t Explain the Difference Between a Democrat and a Socialist

 

In what was the softest of softball interviews, MSNBC host Chris Matthews gently asked Hillary Clinton a simple question: “What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?”

Now to someone who has been in active in politics continuously since her teen years, this question should be a lay-up. In fact, Clinton had most likely heard the question from Matthews before, when he asked it of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But, like her party’s chair, Hillary fumbled:

MATTHEWS: What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Is that a question you want to answer or you’d rather not, politically.

CLINTON: Well, you’d have to –

MATTHEWS: Well, see, I’m asking you. You’re a Democrat, he’s a socialist. Would you like somebody to call you a socialist? I wouldn’t like somebody calling me a socialist.

CLINTON: But I’m not one. I mean, I’m not one.

MATTHEWS: What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? That’s the question.

CLINTON: I can tell you what I am. I am a Progressive Democrat.

MATTHEWS: How is that different than a socialist?

CLINTON: I’m a Progressive Democrat who likes to get things done and who believes that we are better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together. Getting people to work together. There will always be strong feelings and I respect that, from, you know, the far right, the far left, libertarians, whoever it might be. We need to get people working together. We’ve got to get the economy fixed, we’ve got to get all of our problems, you know, really tackled and that’s what I want to do.

MATTHEWS: I think the difference is, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz wouldn’t answer the question either when I asked her. Because I know politically you have to keep together the center-left and the left has to work together. I know all of that.

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There are 49 comments.

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  1. Contributor

    The problem, Jon, is that there is no difference. I hope she doesn’t figure out that the label of socialist seems to be helping Bernie with some groups–otherwise she might admit she is one! Or at least she’s acting like one. For the moment. Now. But then there’s tomorrow . . .

    • #1
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:43 AM PDT
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  2. Member

    Neither can I.

    • #2
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:49 AM PDT
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  3. Member

    What a damn hack. You pick which one I’m referring to.

    • #3
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:50 AM PDT
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  4. Inactive

    Sanders would have to be a real Socialist for the premise of the question to be valid. What they should really ask is, “What’s the difference between a Democrat, a Social Democrat, and a Progressive Democrat?” You’ll find more answers about the state of the Democratic Party in that question.

    • #4
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:52 AM PDT
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  5. Thatcher

    There is totally a difference between socialists and democrats. If they are one in the same then most Republicans are socialists too. You can be both a Socialist and a Democrat, and in the broadest sense every time the government does something it could be considered a socialist act, but the traditional definition is something like “the government controls the means of production.” Most Democrats do not want the government controlling everything to this extent. Even Democrats are relatively free market, but the most vocal ones are less so.

    • #5
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:52 AM PDT
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  6. Inactive

    With friends like Matthews…

    Her lips were moving, so lies were emitted, a sordid vapor obfuscating all known objects in the universe.

    Or, as Susan says more simply, there is no difference. There’s not one micrometer of distance between these labels.

    • #6
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:55 AM PDT
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  7. Member

    When Chris Mathews forgets he’s working for MSNBC he can ask some poignant questions.

    • #7
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:55 AM PDT
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  8. Member

    Mike H: Most Democrats do not want the government controlling everything to this extent.

    No, they want to regulate to the point that government might as well own it. In other words, fascists.

    • #8
    • January 6, 2016, at 11:58 AM PDT
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  9. Inactive

    It would be a sad situation if all this election accomplishes is replacing the guy with the socialist mop for the woman with the socialist broomstick.

    • #9
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:08 PM PDT
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  10. Inactive

    These terms are getting obsolete in America. Now you have the elites supporting Bush and Clinton and the populists supporting Trump, Cruz, Sanders etc. Because the elites have become more extractive (big pay for crony work), there is a groundswell for populist candidates.

    • #10
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:18 PM PDT
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  11. Contributor

    I’d expect this to be an easy question, but then I remember that the world is crazy.

    • #11
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:23 PM PDT
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  12. Member

    The Crooked Timber: The Crooked Timber Sanders would have to be a real Socialist for the premise of the question to be valid. What they should really ask is, “What’s the difference between a Democrat, a Social Democrat, and a Progressive Democrat?” You’ll find more answers about the state of the Democratic Party in that question.

    Also, the difference between a “democratic socialist” and a “social democrat”.

    • #12
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:29 PM PDT
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  13. Member

    The fact she didn’t answer the question shows she suspects there may be a voter or two that don’t care for socialists. But the reality is she could have said anything and it wouldn’t have made a hoot of difference to Hillaryites. Including if she suggested checking for aliens.

    • #13
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:30 PM PDT
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  14. Inactive

    I thought she was candid by responding progressive democrat.

    • #14
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:35 PM PDT
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  15. Inactive

    She should have explained the difference between Stalinism and Trotskyism and see if anyone would figure it out.

    • #15
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:36 PM PDT
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  16. Inactive

    The real issue here is that there is seemingly little in the way of genuine disagreement when it comes to matters of policy and governance in the Democratic Party. Labeling a Republican a “Tea Party Republican” can lose you some Republican votes, but there is no label one could apply to a Democrat that would either reflect a different approach to these matters or dissuade Democratic voters from electing him/her. The Democratic Party has become intellectually monolithic, only intolerant of “intolerance” towards its more preferred interest groups.

    • #16
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:43 PM PDT
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  17. Member

    Socialists are honest about it.

    • #17
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:49 PM PDT
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  18. Member

    Are you kidding me?? The salient part of that exchange is how Chris Matthews (Mr. “Hardball”) excuses her from answering even before he’s finished asking!

    MATTHEWS: What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Is that a question you want to answer or you’d rather not, politically.

    That is as close to an outright confession that he’s there to promote and protect Felony Clinton politically as you’ll likely ever hear from the fifth column.

    • #18
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:50 PM PDT
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  19. Inactive

    The Crooked Timber:The real issue here is that there is seemingly little in the way of genuine disagreement when it comes to matters of policy and governance in the Democratic Party. Labeling a Republican a “Tea Party Republican” can lose you some Republican votes, but there is no label one could apply to a Democrat that would either reflect a different approach to these matters or dissuade Democratic voters from electing him/her. The Democratic Party has become intellectually monolithic, only intolerant of “intolerance” towards its more preferred interest groups.

    I agree. Do you think it has helped them advance that agenda?

    • #19
    • January 6, 2016, at 12:57 PM PDT
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  20. Inactive

    Western Chauvinist:Are you kidding me?? The salient part of that exchange is how Chris Matthews (Mr. “Hardball”) excuses her from answering even before he’s finished asking!

    MATTHEWS: What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Is that a question you want to answer or you’d rather not, politically.

    That is as close to an outright confession that he’s there to promote and protect Felony Clinton politically as you’ll likely ever hear from the fifth column.

    By even offering this out to her he makes her look weak, and unable to properly deflect the question. It seems to highlight her deflection and non-answer of the question. I think Matthews, in a moment of journalism, actually asked a good question, and immediately regretted it.

    • #20
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:01 PM PDT
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  21. Member

    The difference ended with the Wilson Administration.

    • #21
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:02 PM PDT
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  22. Contributor

    The easy out would have been to say Socialism is an economic system and Democrat is a political party, then make a funny face at Matthews that suggests he’s an idiot for not knowing.

    I don’t think Hillary is that fast on her feet, except when dodging sniper fire.

    • #22
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:08 PM PDT
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  23. Inactive

    BrentB67:

    The Crooked Timber:The real issue here is that there is seemingly little in the way of genuine disagreement when it comes to matters of policy and governance in the Democratic Party. Labeling a Republican a “Tea Party Republican” can lose you some Republican votes, but there is no label one could apply to a Democrat that would either reflect a different approach to these matters or dissuade Democratic voters from electing him/her. The Democratic Party has become intellectually monolithic, only intolerant of “intolerance” towards its more preferred interest groups.

    I agree. Do you think it has helped them advance that agenda?

    Absolutely, because the agenda that matters the most is the centralization of federal power, particularly to whichever branch(es) of government the Democrats have control of at any given time.

    • #23
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:09 PM PDT
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  24. Inactive

    Western Chauvinist: That is as close to an outright confession that he’s there to promote and protect Felony Clinton politically as you’ll likely ever hear from the fifth column.

    I remember Matthews once saying that he saw his job as “helping this president (Obama) succeed.” He said that on his news program.

    • #24
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:10 PM PDT
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  25. Member

    “Hillary Can’t Explain the Difference Between a Democrat and a Socialist”

    Well, how many people honestly carry around an electron microscope with them to an interview?

    • #25
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:18 PM PDT
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  26. Inactive

    Valiuth:Neither can I.

    You stole my response.

    • #26
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:21 PM PDT
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  27. Inactive

    The Crooked Timber:

    BrentB67:

    The Crooked Timber:The real issue here is that there is seemingly little in the way of genuine disagreement when it comes to matters of policy and governance in the Democratic Party. Labeling a Republican a “Tea Party Republican” can lose you some Republican votes, but there is no label one could apply to a Democrat that would either reflect a different approach to these matters or dissuade Democratic voters from electing him/her. The Democratic Party has become intellectually monolithic, only intolerant of “intolerance” towards its more preferred interest groups.

    I agree. Do you think it has helped them advance that agenda?

    Absolutely, because the agenda that matters the most is the centralization of federal power, particularly to whichever branch(es) of government the Democrats have control of at any given time.

    I tend to agree, but a lot of folks don’t because the democrats lost Congress as a result of their latest push.

    Like you I respect their relentless consistency. I think if we had that on the right we would be more successful.

    • #27
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:39 PM PDT
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  28. Inactive

    Man With the Axe:

    Western Chauvinist: That is as close to an outright confession that he’s there to promote and protect Felony Clinton politically as you’ll likely ever hear from the fifth column.

    I remember Matthews once saying that he saw his job as “helping this president (Obama) succeed.” He said that on his news program.

    Does anyone, including Matthews, consider his a news program? I always thought it was a 30-minute editorial.

    • #28
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:41 PM PDT
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  29. Member

    Socialists work towards social control over the means of production, and in many cases the eventually destruction of the price mechanism, while Democrats(who, as someone else mentioned, are members of a political party and not adherents of a particular philosophy or ideology) believe in pragmatism and positivism, but do not hold a particular economic philosophy, except a belief in utilitarianism.. This can cause socialist goals and methods to overlap with those of liberals/progressives, but that is not always the case.

    • #29
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:42 PM PDT
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  30. Inactive

    BrentB67:

    Man With the Axe:

    Western Chauvinist: That is as close to an outright confession that he’s there to promote and protect Felony Clinton politically as you’ll likely ever hear from the fifth column.

    I remember Matthews once saying that he saw his job as “helping this president (Obama) succeed.” He said that on his news program.

    Does anyone, including Matthews, consider his a news program? I always thought it was a 30-minute editorial.

    Or maybe a 30-minute Democratic Party campaign video.

    I have a good friend who only watches MSNBC because, he tells me, it’s real news, not like Fox.

    • #30
    • January 6, 2016, at 1:45 PM PDT
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