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Response to FromMissouri (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 11:31 PM

22. Bernie

Over and over again we have to re examine the very substantive problems that moves Bernie from being a great Senator to being a problem for the Democratic Party, one that has enriched him and created this permanent canyon between those that suspend critical thinking because of some of the things that they agree with and principles that we expect all Democrats to embrace.

1) He significantly undermined Secretary Clinton on two key issues that provided substantial ammunition to the GOP in 2016. His persistent harping about "speeches" and revealing the content of these mysterious speeches to the finance community endorsed the GOP completely false narrative that somehow Clinton was dirty and untruthful.

The irony of this is that Sec. Clinton released decades of tax returns while Bernie refused.

Secondly Bernie endorsed economic nationalism of the radical GOP right coming out against the TPP which was on track to increase workers income by $ 131 billion. But if a "progressive" endorses exactly the same thing that Trump is saying then it must be true. Sanders positions undermined the perception of Hillary's integrity and gave Trump's economic nationalism a boost.

Here's a clue: I care exactly the same for the people in that caravan, the poor farmer in Burma, and the worker in Pennsylvania. Any politician of any stripe that wants to push a policy that leverages our inherent advantages and exploit the weaknesses is not only NOT progressive but not pursuing a strategy of mutual advantage. The United States will be more prosperous and more safe with a Central and South America that is developing and prospering.

2) There are things that Bernie does that we would never accept from any other politician. We would never accept any Republican not showing his taxes so why do we make an exception for Bernie?

But there are other things that are very worrisome about Bernie that would never be acceptable from any other politician, some examples:

When Jane Sanders was President of Burlington College she funnelled $500k to her daughter's woodworking school. She also made disastrous $ 10 million land purchase that pushed Burlington into bankruptcy. This is a clear case of nepotism and the results were a calamity all the way around. If nepotism is bad for Republicans, its bad for Democrats.

But it didn't stop there. The Sanders Institute raised money for a "think tank" which is fine if it employs leading academicians who have advance degrees and publishes peer review material.

Apparently they didn't have to go far they hired Jane's son David Driscoll who makes a six figure income leading the Sanders Institute. I have found no information about David Driscoll, his education or background except that he used to sell snow boards at Burton Snowboards.

3) Bernie Sanders didn't keep his word. He promised that he was a "Democrat for Life"


“Well, he is a Democrat, he said he’s a Democrat and he’s gonna be supporting the Democratic nominee, whoever that is,” Weaver responded.

“But he’s a member of the Democratic Party now for life?” Halperin pressed.

“Yes, he is,” Weaver said.

Since that time he has joined and left the Democratic Party twice.

He continues to deny that he is a Democrat as forcefully as he can.

Here he is in January of last year:


Sen. Bernie Sanders put to rest questions about his party affiliation, telling a Fox News reporter he’ll continue to run as an independent.

“I am an independent and I have always run in Vermont as an independent, while I caucus with the Democrats in the United States Senate,” Sanders said Sunday after an appearance in Rollinsford, N.H. “That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

Except after this he rejoined the Democratic Party to tie up the nomination in Vermont and then left it again.

He talks about the Democratic in the third person (they, those, them) and never in the first person plural, (We US).

By staking out a separate brand Bernie continues to undermine the Democratic brand, and not help it. He could join the Democratic Party and state, like all Senators and Congresspeople do that they don't agree with everything in the party but he is proud to be a Democrat.

By continuing to push his "Independent" brand the "Our Revolution" brand he is stating, in neon signs, that The Democratic Party is better than Republican Party but only incrementally so.

Its like a star wide receiver who joins a team and they accept him because he has particular skills that help them and its better that he is inside the tent than out. But this player insists on wearing gold and blue jersey when the team wears silver and green. They go along. But then the WR complains about every strategy and every play. He eventually says that the only way to win is to make him quarterback. In fact they should just hand the entire team over to him and let him be the coach too.

4) This whole populism shtick is dangerous and counter productive.

It sells the idea that the only problem with the country is that a few people are destroying everything. (Sanders used to rail against the 'Millionaires and Billionaires' except that once he became a Presidential Candidate he saw his personal income increase by 500% and edited out the 'Millionaires')

I have lived in countries where I have witnessed it in detail and the damage and death that follows. Populism does 3 terrible things:

a) it sells the idea that in our highly complex technical society that things can be solved with solutions that can fit on bumper stickers. It creates social disharmony because it raises expectations that cannot be met and gives birth to deep anger when those expectations are not met.

b) it bankrupts the treasury. Whether it gives unrealistic subsidies or gigantic tax breaks to the rich the government becomes more insolvent until it cannot carry out its basic functions because of debt burden. Sanders advocated over a trillion dollars in additional benefit but never articulated where the revenue would come from.

c) it always ends up creating boogeymen of outsiders

Some of the central arguments of the 2016 presidential campaign emphasized growing American fear and distrust of globalization. Then-candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump energized large portions of the electorate against existing free trade agreements

The problem is that it is gibberish which would be laughed off the stage anywhere outside the US. The direct labor that is in your Smart phones is 85% located in California where the hard ware is designed and the software made. The 15% of the direct labor which is involved in assembling, quality control and packaging is in Malaysia or Korea, etc.

I have sat in Qualcomm Stadium and listened to idiots talk about "an unfair trade system" without realizing that the company that purchased naming rights for the stadium gets a revenue stream from every phone in the world, that those repatriated profits and fees never appear on a balance of trade sheet and that janitors at Qualcomm drive $ 75,000 BMWs because they got their bonuses in stock.

5) I continue to be astonished that Sanders gets away with actions that would never be accepted by a regular candidate and that is because he holds an independent brand and he is in essence extorting the Democratic Party, if we hurt his feelings then he is going to walk out the door. No other Democratic candidate carries that kind of threat.

Now I will give you a list of qualities and you tell me what politician you think it represents

- never admits that any vote or any action he has undertaken is wrong

- refuses to release all of his taxes

- engages in populist rhetoric that is based on emotion

- involves his children in nepotistic schemes that funnel money to them

- doesn't submit to party norms and discipline but holds him out as being exceptional to the party

- makes promises to party loyalty and then walks away from them

If you think that many people at DU are not interested in him because of some superficial reason then I have to tell you that most of the Democrats I know are all too aware of the double standard that Bernie (and I would normally refer to him as Senator Sanders but you used the familial term Bernie) has gotten away with it and really would prefer to return to bring up the next generation of Democratic leaders and let Bernie continue with his independent brand.

Politics is not an individual sport, it is a team sport and team solidarity is a critical element to victory and Bernie does not share that solidarity with the Democratic Party although he wants all of the benefits that association with the Democrats brings.

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