Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders – Snake Oil Salesman Extraordinaire Threatens to Take his Act Nationwide.

Yakov's Elixir, the best that can be had, Yakov's Elixir, it's good for what is bad.
Try this elixir, it's sure to quench your thirst, Buy this elixir, it's best for what is worst!-         Song of the Snake Oil Salesman Yakov sung by Danny Kaye in “The Inspector General”

What to do when a significant portion of your fellow party members have bought into the siren song of a Snake Oil Salesman?

That’s what confronts those of us Democrats who do not buy into Sanders-mania.

A snake oil salesman is someone who sells something knowing that the product cannot do what the salesman says it will do. Before the advent of modern medicine, snake oil salesmen were common, selling everything from furniture polish to lemon-water, claiming the potions would cure all sorts of ailments.

Sanders presents the same picture as a candidate. Sanders is making wild claims about being able to enact single payer healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and a host of other claims. 

The problem, for those of us not under his hypnotic trance, is that we know that due to redistricting, the House of Representatives will remain Republican until January of 2023 at the earliest and that is if everything goes as well as possible for Democrats in the next four state and congressional elections. It’s more likely that the House will remain Republican until January 2025 and if things go badly, for much longer.

We’ve watched how Republicans in the House operate. They do not pass bills submitted by Democratic Presidents and they are ensconced in very Republican districts safe from the ire of a public who wants congress to do something. In fact, Republican congressmen get punished if they are seen as helping Democratic Presidents. Several dozen have received strong primary challenges and even lost their seats to primary challenges from fellow Republicans for the sin of seeming to be too open to working with President Obama. That lesson has by now been received loud and clear by the rest of the Republican House Caucus.

All of this is a long winded explanation proving how Sanders cannot deliver on anything he is promising, and what irks many of us Democrats who oppose him is, he has to know this and knowing this he continues to snow his supporters into believing he will achieve something revolutionary if elected.

Even that is getting ahead of ourselves. To get to that point, Sanders of course first needs to defeat Hillary, and then he would face an avalanche of negative ads seeking to define him from the Republicans. The worst part of this is, the Republicans won’t have to lie or exaggerate to do it.

In past elections, I’ve worked hard to defend the Democratic nominee from lies and exaggerations from Republican candidates and PACs. Sanders would present a unique problem for those trying to defend him from such attacks because they will all (or a large majority of them will) be true.

He expressed support for the Sandinistas when they were considered an enemy of the United States. He is a Socialist who was a member of several college Socialist organizations, honeymooned in the former Soviet Union and was so far left he refused to join and expressed disdain for the Democratic Party until he had no other choice if he wanted to contend for the Presidency. He proposes a total government takeover of healthcare and has proposed a middle class tax increase in order to pay for it. The list goes on. The Atlantic’s Paul Starr summed it up thusly:

In 1980, he served as an elector for the Socialist Workers’ Party, founded by Leon Trotsky and committed to nationalizing major industries. In 1989 he said the Democrats and Republicans were “in reality, one party—the party of the ruling class.” That year he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times describing the two parties as “tweedle-dee” and “tweedle-dum” since both subscribed to what he called an “ideology of greed and vulgarity.”

Someone with the above record is a Republican strategist’s dream opponent. To make matters worse, every time he has been asked about his Socialism, Sanders has refused to answer the question directly and instead pointed to countries in Europe or talked about individual policies he proposes that he thinks people will like. That isn’t defining what he believes as a Socialist and it leaves him wide open to others defining his Socialism for him, which Republicans will do quite happily.

I’ve written these things about Sanders since the beginning of his candidacy. My opinion has not changed with Hillary’s win in Iowa or Sanders’ win in New Hampshire. Sanders candidacy presents a heavy lift to get the nomination, can only win the general election if the Republican nominee implodes, and if elected cannot enact any of the proposed agenda with which he is snowing his followers.

Level headed Democrats, i.e. those who have not bought into Sanders’ nonsense, may soon be confronted with a question. What is worse, a Republican who gets elected President now, or a Republican who would get elected in four years after a failed Democratic President who failed to enact anything of an agenda that carried huge expectations with all the baggage that would carry for the party. The perception of the Carter Presidency as a failed Presidency, as unfair as I think that is, cast a shadow over Democratic Presidential politics for the better part of twenty years and enabled three consecutive Republican White House victories. Republicans used the Carter Presidency, again, unfairly if you ask me, to great effect in claiming that Democrats were not up to being able to run the White House.

I will leave the main part of this article with one final thought regarding Sanders’ Snake Oil agenda. Is there anything about the last seven years since President Obama was elected that gives anyone the impression that the country wants to not just move further left, but farther left than any current elected official in the Democratic Party? With the Tea Party, Democratic losses in the mid terms in 2010 and 2014, I don’t understand how anyone could answer yes to that question.

p.s., for the Bernie bros who attack anyone who criticizes Sanders, let me save you the work, I’m bad, I’m terrible, I wrote some contradictory stuff a few years back, etc., etc. There, saved you the trouble.