Monday, March 28, 2016

Bernie and the Democrats

The Bernie Sanders phenomenon is quite amazing and it reminds me of 1968, my youth and Gene McCarthy. I am very torn between Sanders and Clinton and only want to do that which will ensure our Congress gets straightened away and in working order again and that our Executive Branch gets a leader who can and will work with the Congress.
by Charlie Leck

I adore Bernie Sanders and have for many, many years, but can I support him in this race to the Democratic National Convention?

Naturally (those of you who know me, and have read my blogs for any time at all, will understand why I say “naturally”), I like a lot of Bernie Sanders’ outrageous goals. The Supreme Court’s “Citizen United” decision is one of the most damaging things that has ever happened in this nation and Sanders wants, somehow, to get that decision reversed. And, I agree with Sanders that the economic and political structure of our nation has become oligarchic and that needs to be changed very quickly. The staggering wealth of the one-percent and the enormous rate of poverty must somehow be related and must be somehow corrected. And, the uncontrollable spending on political campaigns, related to “Citizens United,” must be put back together in some reasonable, rational way – so that elections cannot be bought and sold in our precious republic.

Sanders has been proudly and typically an independent during his years in the Senate. By injecting himself into the Democratic Party primary process, he angered a lot of very well known Democrat big-wigs – like Donna Brazile, VP of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Brad Woodhouse, a former communications director of the DNC. For that reason, rather than on any ideological basis, the DNC wants Sanders stopped.

The reality is, however, that no third-party or independent challenger can beat the two established parties at their political games and contests. Sanders really had no choice but to run as a “Democrat.”

Democrats, however, ought to own-up to the fact that they have considered Sanders one of them and as a cooperating partner for the entire time he has been in the Senate.

Ralph Nader, who tried running for the presidential office as an independent, explains precisely why Sanders made the correct political choice in this matter.

“By running as a Democrat, Sanders declined to become a complete political masochist, and he avoided exposing his campaign to immediate annihilation by partisan hacks. Because if he had run as an independent, he would have faced only one question daily in the media, as I did: ‘Do you see yourself as a spoiler?’… His popular agenda would have been totally ignored by a horse-race-obsessed mass media, which would have latched on instead to a narrative in which Sanders was unfairly hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances against whichever Republican wound up with the other major-party nomination, as if any Democrat is automatically entitled to the votes of progressives.”
Bernie Sanders reminds me, in so many ways, of my entry into organized politics as a low-level ward chairman and protester against the Vietnam War in 1968. We adored the poet-politician, Gene McCarthy, and we thought he could take us to the Promised Land. Instead, in the end, we defeated the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey and allowed Richard Nixon to become the President of the United States; and you all know how that worked out (an unbelievable increase in the intensity of the Vietnam War and a sickly, sticky scandal called Watergate). OMG!

The difference here is the manner in which Bernie Sanders carries himself. He continues to assure the dems that he has enormous respect “for the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator” and that he enjoys the debates with her about the nation’s future. And there can be no doubt about the fact that the two represent very different approaches to America’s future.

My most serious question about Bernie Sanders is this: Can he be an effective and successful executive? I don’t know! I worry about that. It will be easier for him if the Democrats can regain control of Congress. If the Democrats don’t regain such control, poor Bernie will be like a duck on a pond surrounded by eager sharp-shooters of the National Rifle Association.

Bernie, I love you. I agree with virtually everything you say; but, it’s just that you scare the hell out of me and I don’t want the dysfunctional and seriously crazed Republicans to gain control of the White House.

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