Saturday, October 17, 2015

About that Honeymoon in the Soviet Union

If you watched the Democratic debate this week, you may remember hearing Anderson Cooper say that Bernie Sanders had honeymooned in the Soviet Union. It caught my ear enough at the time that I thought, "What?!", but I kind of forgot about it as the debate went on. Later, I heard a commentator refer to Cooper's entire question as red-baiting.

Sanders himself didn't refute it at the time, but since it was thrown in with a lot of other stuff in kind of a "when did you stop beating your wife?" tone, he was probably best off ignoring it.

Well here's the story: 1988 when perestroika was in full play, Sanders was Mayor of Burlington, VT, which city had become a sister city of Yaroslavl, USSR, some distance northwest of Moscow.

It came to pass that the formal trip to establish this city-to-city relationship happened in 1988, which he had to participate in along with various with leading civic figures in Burlington, which he did with [his wife] Jane. It also happened to be that they got married just before this trip, and they later joked about how this official government trip along with all these other people was their "honeymoon."

I note that at this time they would have been politically sympathetic to the reformist anti-traditional-Soviet political forces in the old USSR, although he would have been focusing on all this local government sister city sort of stuff.
So there you have Bernie Sanders's "honeymoon in the Soviet Union": partially an inside joke and partially the kind of trip mayors of cities take all of the time. And 100 percent irresponsible to include in a debate question from a supposedly unbiased journalist.


Michael Leddy said...

The managing of the debate and the shameless spin that followed were appalling. I haven't watched CNN since that night, at all, not one minute. Thank you for sharing the facts behind that lousy question.

Matthew McGinty said...

I gave up on CNN years ago. Switched to MSNBC, but gave up on the news altogether. I am a much happier person with a lot more time to do other things. Various clips online and possible The Daily Show are enough!