Dick Van Dyke Serenades Chris Matthews, Touts Support for ‘New Deal Democrat’ Bernie Sanders

Mary Poppins actor and 1960s television show host Dick Van Dyke joined Hardball host Chris Matthews just after the doors opened Saturday afternoon for the Nevada Democratic caucuses and before serenading Matthews with a tune from the famous 1964 film, he touted his feverent support for “New Deal Democrat” Bernie Sanders. 

Right from the beginning of the segment, the star-struck Matthews exclaimed “my God” and how he “thought I would never meet you, sir” before joking about his Sanders support: “Mr. Van Dyke, what made you come out — come out, not come out the other way, but come out so much for Bernie Sanders?”

Showing his age, Van Dyke boasted that he has not “campaigned since Eugene McCarthy, so you know how political I am, but I'm 90 degrees — 90 years old so I like to give a hand to young aspiring politicians like Bernie.”

Van Dyke observed that the socialist Senator “has lit a fire that's been lit a hundred times over the last hundred years but always got sidelined or squelched, but somehow, Bernie has caught the eye and minds of young people and I think this time it’s going to happen.”

Reminiscing over how great Woodrow Wilson was, Van Dyke paraphrased a Wilson proclamation that “there was an invisible force over and above the United States government” with “[t]he banks and the insurance companies, and it's been going on that long.”

“He's a New Deal Democrat. I was there back in the '30s and the '40s. Bernie is a New Deal Democrat,” he gushed. 

Tell the Truth 2016

As for the socialist label, Matthews asked about that and if it doesn’t bode well for Sanders to which Van Dyke brushed aside as having zero negative ramifications for him among young voters:

MATTHEWS: So, you don't think — you don't think much of his self-description as a socialist, democratic socialist, that doesn’t — that means to you just liberal Democrat? 

VAN DYKE: I don't — I don't think young people are bothered so much by that word, socialism. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I agree. I agree. 

VAN DYKE: It used to be classed along with Communist and Nazis and Fascist, but socialism has a whole different connotation now thanks to countries like Sweden. 

Before turning to the head of an SEIU chapter from California who supports Hillary Clinton, Matthews told Van Dyke that he was a big fan and requested that he “would love to hear you sing something from Mary Poppins, but I don’t know if you still want to do it. You want to do that? It’s a Jolly Holiday?”

Van Dyke closed by singing a few lines from that famous tune and with a huge smile and audible giggles, Matthews thanked him for coming on: “I love it. Burt, you were the best Burt ever.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016 on February 20 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
February 20, 2016
2:24 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm joined by the way, in fact, supporters of the Sanders campaigns and the Clinton campaigns and you know this guy from his classic roles on the big screen as Bernie in Mary Poppins, his ironic ‘60s television show The Dick Van Dyke Show and has a new role as surrogate for Bernie Sanders. He joins us now. Dick Van Dyke, my God, I thought I would never meet you, sir, and also with me is David Huerta, a local California president of the Service Employees — SEIU, of course we all know that union, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Let's start with Mr. Van Dyke. Mr. Van Dyke, what made you come out — come out, not come out the other way, but come out so much for Bernie Sanders? 

DICK VAN DYKE: Well, I haven't campaigned since Eugene McCarthy, so you know how political I am, but I'm 90 degrees — 90 years old so I like to give a hand to young aspiring politicians like Bernie. No, Bernie has lit a fire that's been lit a hundred times over the last hundred years but always got sidelined or squelched, but somehow, Bernie has caught the eye and minds of young people and I think this time it’s going to happen. We’ve got to put him in the White House. He goes back to Woodrow Wilson who said there was an invisible force over and above the United States government. The banks and the insurance companies, and it's been going on that long. Ike warned us, and even Jimmy Carter warned us of what was happening. It's time for this to happen and he is — he's a New Deal Democrat. I was there back in the '30s and the '40s. Bernie is a New Deal Democrat. 

MATTHEWS: So, you don't think — you don't think much of his self-description as a socialist, democratic socialist, that doesn’t — that means to you just liberal Democrat? 

VAN DYKE: I don't — I don't think young people are bothered so much by that word, socialism. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I agree. I agree. 

VAN DYKE: It used to be classed along with Communist and Nazis and Fascist, but socialism has a whole different connotation now thanks to countries like Sweden. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well, I was with you on McCarthy. I have to tell you that. I can say that. I loved Gene McCarthy and by the way, he was the only one to get out there with guts and do it as you recall and I recall. By the way, Dick Van Dyke, we're all huge fans so I need not get into that. I would love to hear you sing something from Mary Poppins, but I don’t know if you still want to do it. You want to do that? It’s a Jolly Holiday

VAN DYKE: Oh, you want to hear It’s a Jolly Holiday? Okay. [SINGING]. Oh, it’s a Jolly Holiday — no — Ain’t a beautiful day, bright as a morning in May. I feel like I could fly have you seen the sun so green. Oh red, blue birds. [NORMAL VOICE] How about my cockney accent? Better? 

MATTHEWS: I love it. Burt, you were the best Burt ever.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center