Rep. Spencer Bachus’ pronouncement last week that he knew of 17 socialists in Congress seemed to come right out of a '50s playbook, but he's turned out to be a reluctant Joe McCarthy. Capitol Hill went into a tizzy over the use of the "S" word, Politico reports, but so far Sen. Bernie Sanders is the only name Bachus has named. Sanders doesn’t exactly mind—he is a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist”—but he thinks Bachus should release his other names.
“I think at the very least he has to tell people what his definition of socialism is,” says Sanders, “and I think, yeah, he should tell us who he was referring to.” What makes the whole episode especially strange is that Sanders is friendly with Bachus, who seems like a pretty unlikely Red-baiter. “Everyone’s just kind of scratching their heads,” said one Democratic consultant, “because he’s a pretty laid-back guy.”