Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Is Bernie Sanders Naive?

We all know that on several occasions Bernie Sanders has suggested that President Obama was naive in attempting to negotiate with Republicans (Shhh...don't tell him that Obama's still doing it. See: Criminal Justice Reform).

So the question becomes, how would Sanders get any of his agenda passed short of having a progressive majority in the House and super-majority in the Senate? This weekend, Chuck Todd posed that question to him on Meet the Press. Here is Sanders' response:
What I understand is that the power of corporate America, Wall Street, the corporate media is so great that real change to transform our country does not take place unless millions of people begin to stand up and say very loudly and clearly that the United States government has got to represent all of us, and not just the top 1%.

No president, not Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, anybody else is going to be able to accomplish that unless millions of people stand up and say, "You know what? You guys are not going to get it all." 58% of all new income is not going to go to the top 1%. We're not going to have incredible, grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality.
OK, but aren't millions of people already saying that? Sanders got even more specific when Todd asked him how he'd press his agenda with a House that will likely remain in Republican control.
What do we do? This is what you do. You say to the speaker of the House, "Hey, you don't want to negotiate with me? I think we should make public colleges and universities tuition free. And I think we should pay for a tax on Wall Street speculation."

Now, do I think the Republican speaker of the House will agree with me? No, I don't think so. But I think he'll have to look out the window and see a million young people demonstrating and marching in Washington saying, "You know what? We want to see affordability in college."
Ahhh...I get it. Once the Republicans see a million young people marching for college affordability, they'll totally cave and give them free tuition paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculators. Who cares what those fat-cats think - there are a million students standing out there making demands. Yeah, I can totally see that happening. Because standing outside Republican's window and protesting is a complete game-changer. If you ever doubted that, just watch how these Wall Streeters were cowered by OWS participants marching in the street. I'm sure the response from Congress to something like that would never be what Dick Cheney said when he was told that 2/3 of the American people didn't support the war in Iraq.

After that one, we'll get a million people to march for a raise in the minimum wage. And another million to march for single payer healthcare. Then a million for an infrastructure bank. You see where this is going, don't you? Good thing gas is still relatively cheap - because you can count on lots of road trips to D.C.

Of course I'm being a little silly here. It just strikes me as odd for someone to claim that President Obama was naive about Republican opposition and then turn around and propose this as their supposedly non-naive alternative.


  1. Sanders and his supporters are a believers in the Green Lantern Theory. If you just have enough willpower you can accomplish anything. The important thing is you have to shout louder and bang the podium harder.

    That should work.

    1. Green Lantern Theory??? This barely rises to the level of the Red Bee Theory.

      (The Red Bee was a minor hero who kept bees in his belt buckle and could command them to perform tasks for him. That's more or less Sanders and his supporters.)

  2. This type of crap from the PUB is the problem with the movement. It's not about actually governing, we just need to yell louder and the GOP will respond.

    The only way to get what you want is to win and win and win some more. There's no other way

  3. Sanders cannot possibly be this ridiculous. Please tell me this is like Wallachian April Fools Day or something, because I refuse to believe Sanders has been so completely inattentive the past several years.

    Hey Bernie, when millions of Americans started rising up to say they wanted better health care, what did Republicans do? They fostered enough Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to make people wary of change. Then they ran a disinformation campaign to make sure people would be disappointed with what the Democrats did.

    With that in mind, Bernie, how the hell do you imagine you'll be spared any of that?

  4. ... and one more thought: can anyone think of any lamentable historical precedents, any at all, where a country's ruler coerces legislators into supporting him through the use of mobs?

    1. None. None at all. Thank you for pointing this out. The idea that any of us has the time to march on the Capitol for each bill, each budget is ridiculous. Even the diehards who have NO other responsibilities (work, family, local politics) would tire of having to do this. Even I as a total believer in the power of grassroots know that it works best locally. Marching on Washington? Who has the money, the time, the desire? And if Bernie were elected, it might indeed galvanize mass movements - with no guarantee they'd be on our side. Yes the Bagger demonstrations fizzled, but maybe not any more? So think of TWO million marching - one group on each side of the issue. It would be horrible, useless, and cause more stalemate than progress. Good policies and a plan to negotiate with 'the other side' is an essential part of governance. Depending on millions, day after day after day is utterly naïve. UTTERLY.