JB: Nice, the best of both worlds! In one of your 1991 Radio Curious interviews, you hosted a guest who is now a 2016 presidential candidate. Could you share that story with our readers?
BV: My guest was Vermont's Representative in Congress, Bernie Sanders. We visited in September, 1991. That was during his first year in Congress. I called his office, requested an interview, the answer was "sure." That interview, like all the others, is free to download and enjoy. [See link at end of article.]
All the Radio Curious interviews are pre-recorded which makes it so much easier than arranging for a live visit. At the time, my program was called "Government, Politics and Ideas," which to some sounded like "thud, thud and thud." In 1994, I had a few other names in mind, but none that stood out. When I was arranging an interview that year with Terry Gross, she suggested I change the name; I agreed, and it became "Radio Curious."
JB: Cool name, much better. Tell us more, Barry. What was Bernie like 25 years ago? Were the same issues on his mind already back then?
From the Radio Curious website:
Over the course of his 25 years as an Independent member of the House of Representatives and the Senate he has consistently advocated for economic reform and social justice.
When Bernie Sanders and I visited in 1991, we discussed what he would do if he were President. This interview, recorded by phone from his office in Washington, D.C., in 1991, began when I asked him to describe his experience in government.
BV: He basically said the same thing 25 years ago as he says now. Rather than paraphrase him, I invite you to listen and decide for yourself.
JB: I did, indeed, and I urge our readers to do so as well. You might observe, rightly, that Bernie's focus and positions have not changed much after all these years. That points to his remarkable focus, fortitude and perseverance. It also reflects how little we as a nation have progressed in the meantime.
Here are some quotations from that interview with Bernie Sanders, 28 years ago.
"If you look at the bottom line policy of what is happening in the Congress, who benefits from legislation being passed and not being passed, I think you'll find that both parties, by and large, end up coming down on the side of the wealthy against the interests of working people, middle-income people and poor people."
"The people want change but whether the Congress will open up the political process which will allow challengers, working people who don't represent the wealthy, to get a fair shot at our elections, well, we will see what happens..."