While many politicians alienate voters with their apparent flip flopping, and may even seem to change their views to suit popular opinion, Bernie Sanders supporter argue that the candidate has steadfastly “kept it real” throughout his entire career.
In this 1995 House floor meeting originally aired on C-SPAN, Sanders can be seen slamming Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham for his comments about homosexuals in the military.
It is important to take into account that this exchange happened twenty years ago, before LGBT rights were a mainstream part of leftist discourse. At this point in time “don’t ask, don’t tell” was the unquestioned law of the land. The video begins with Cunningham’s crude remark:
“Is there any shocking doubt that the same [people] that would put homos in the military, NO I will not sit down you socialist!”
Democratic Rep. Patricia Schroeder immediately responded with a killer zinger, smoothly raising the question:
“Do we have to call the gentleman a gentleman if he’s not one?”
Bernie Sanders then delivers the deathblow to Cunningham.
“Now, my ears may be playing a trick on me, but I thought I heard the gentleman a moment ago say something about homos in the military […] You have insulted thousands of men and women who have put their lives on the line in defending this country—and I think that they’re owed an apology.”
A career record of staunchly held beliefs on the part of a politician is rare. It also important to note that since this debate, Bernie Sanders has gone on to run a presidential campaign and Randall Cunningham resigned from the house in 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting more than $2 million in bribes. He also plead guilty to the federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy.
Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison and fined $1.8 million in restitution.
[Good Magazine] Featured image via screen grab