The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

As usual, feel free to comment here on topics unrelated to recent posts.


AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Tlaib Endorse Sanders


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 20, 2019


  1. “Karl Rove to Hillary Clinton: ‘Put up or shut up’ on Tulsi Gabbard accusations”


    Hillary believes Gabbard is a Russian asset. More likely, she pretends to believe this, because how could anybody be so stupid?

    Gabbard’s response:

    “Great! Thank you, Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” Gabbard wrote.

    “From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose,” she added.

    To conclude her take-down of Crooked Hillary, Gabbard told Clinton to actually join the presidential race if she had the guts to take her on directly rather than having cronies and sycophants do her dirty work.

    “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly,” Gabbard concluded.

    Unfortunately, Gabbard’s “this primary is between you and me” is wishful thinking.

    If the networks play this up, it could give Gabbard a significant boost. OTOH, giving this exchange lots of attention could finally destroy Hillary Clinton’s influence amongst Democrats, enough to kill her political aspirations. That would be very good for the Democratic Party.

    IMNSHO, it might also give Bernie a big boost if he comes down firmly on the side of Gabbard.

  2. Watt4Bob

    It’s with extreme sadness that my gut reports its current suspicion, that being, it may require four more years of Trump to eradicate the Clintonista/DNC infection within the body politic.

    OTOH, the Ukraine-gate thingy might blow-up in their faces, but even that may take too long to digest on the part of that portion of the public that aimlessly follows the zombie party’s insistence that TINA.

    IOW, it takes too long to turn the Titanic, and it’s steaming full-speed while the crew on the bridge is arguing over the rent on Boardwalk with a hotel, and they’ve turned off the radio because they’re sick of Bernie’s insistent iceberg warnings.

    The people have spoken, and they continue to speak, yes, there is an alternative, and if you want more proof, just keep doing what you’ve been doing.

  3. Eric Anderson

    One word: Television.

    Try to argue that regular consumption of television does not create learned helplessness:

    I’ve been railing on this point for years on here. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s f*cking obvious.

    We are taught through advertisement (read as “capitalist propaganda” by those with a clue) from a very young age that the only thing that matters is the individual. Now, why on earth would someone think that they can band together with a bunch of other people to create substantive change in their world after being bombarded their entire lives with the message that if only they bought the right product “their” lives would be better.

    Seen any ads (capitalist propaganda) lately calling for a bunch people to band together to create a better world. No? Hmmmmm … strange that.

    Also, see the PEW study (and Willy’s comment in the last thread) on baby-boomers being the leading edge of this mass psychological experiment. They have a very hard time discerning digital truth from fiction. An entire generation brainwashed into learned helplessness.

    Good times.

  4. Herman

    @Eric Anderson,

    I agree with you about television and propaganda in general. I also think that people are more docile today and that this is a bad thing. I think that television has had a very pernicious impact on society outweighing any good it provides in terms of entertainment and information.

    That being said, people use TV and other distractions like video games to take the edge off of living in a very stressful environment. Political apathy works much the same way. People need to reduce stress so they try to avoid a lot of uncomfortable things like hard news. I don’t think this is a good thing but I understand why people feel the need to lose themselves in television or other distractions.

    On the subject of Baby Boomers, I am a Gen Xer and I remember when people called us all lazy slackers or miserable cynics. But really that only defined some people in my generation. Similarly not all Boomers cynically went from hippie to yuppie and not all Millennials are lazy, entitled whiners or (more positively) socially active empaths who will save the world. The real divide is not between generations but between elites and everyone else. I think the key is somehow getting good people into the elite class.

  5. bruce wilder

    The hippies were not, for the most part, boomers. Rather those idealists and revolutionaries were born in the Depression and War years : a significantly different environment politically and economically from the 1950s.

    And, yes, the boomers were the first to experience television, though they were blessedly exempt from the 24-hour news cycle.

  6. S Brennan

    “it might also give Bernie a big boost if he comes down firmly on the side of Gabbard”

    Fat Chance; Bernie-Folds-like-a-Cheap-Suit-Sanders has never shown courage when it doesn’t profit him. When Gabbard* was excluded from the debates based on tailored criteria, Bernie cheered, good for me he said

    How people can have faith in people like Bernie or, for that matter Warren, when their whole lives have been spent advancing themselves at the expense/betrayal of others is beyond me.

    *Gabbard, let’s remember, resigned from the DNC to protest the fraud perpetrated against Bernie.

  7. Eric Anderson

    Thanks for being civil. I’ll take the edge of my comments.

    I think what I’m trying to do more than anything is capture the sentiment that ‘if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.’ Lassitude is our enemy. The proles need be flat out enraged in this country if we’re ever to make political strides on the left.

    I do my best to stoke it.

  8. Herman

    @Eric Anderson,

    Thanks, this has been a good discussion. Yeah, some people are for sure not paying attention but many other people are angry. However, many don’t know what to do with that anger. I think you are right to try to steer people to the left because otherwise the right will take advantage of that anger. Trump and other right-wing populists are doing this, tapping into anger that was already there. You also see this a lot online where right-wing extremists are trying to recruit disaffected people, particularly unhappy young white men.

  9. Hugh

    I found it interesting that last night I think it was, Michael Moore who is usually a fairly traditional Democrat made a couple of useful observations. He said Democrats need to be more assertive (stand for something) and talk directly to, not at, working people. In this regard, he talked up Bernie Sanders. He pointed out that in the battleground states, Sanders had beaten Clinton. He also raised the point often made on the neoliberal MSNBC that union members in these states had great private healthcare insurance, but then went on to say a GM exec had out of the blue announced that GM was ending its coverage of workers during the strike. And that he said is the difference between private healthcare insurance and what Sanders is proposing. Private healthcare insurance is something your employer can take away at any time. Medicare-for-All, although he did not use the term, is a right you have as a citizen. It is always good to see movement among our elites no matter how we might wish it to be more and faster.

  10. Young people are committing suicide at an increasingly higher rate and nobody knows why.

    I would suggest that it might have to do with the constant drumbeat of news to the effect that the world will be uninhabitable in 12 years, that the Russians are in charge of our elections, that this nation is a cesspool of racism, that white people are evil, that without college they will fail and that college is unaffordable…

  11. Hugh

    Drugs are plentiful, and good jobs and the hope for decent lives aren’t.

  12. “Fat Chance; Bernie-Folds-like-a-Cheap-Suit-Sanders has never shown courage when it doesn’t profit him. When Gabbard* was excluded from the debates based on tailored criteria, Bernie cheered, good for me he said”

    Well, whatever his defects, he’s one of 3 people in the lead, and one of the others is Biden. There’s also a fresh scandal around Warren, wherein her more recent claims about not being rehired because she was pregnant are contradicted by her own account, years earlier.

    AFAIK, Clinton is closer to both Biden and Warren than Sanders, so Sanders can profit even by remaining aloof, and letting other people take down Clinton. There were many embittered Bernie supporters who refused to vote for Clinton. Remaining aloof will avoid antagonizing some Clinton die-hards so much that they won’t vote for him. The same dynamic works in both directions.

    E.g., Jill Stein, who HRC has also stupidly accused, has also taken HRC to the woodshed:

  13. S Brennan

    Gabbard went out on a limb in 2016, resigning her post after the DNC/Hillary “screwed” Bernie out of the nomination…Bernie has never acknowledged that deed, never said thank you, nor stood up for Tulsi at any time or, anyplace. Bernie; the ultimate backstabbing buddy, the only guy without the “eggs” to “support” Tulsi in this latest attack…scum.

  14. Willy

    I though Tulsi resigned her VC of DNC post before any DNC/Hillary decisions were made, to work on Bernie’s campaign?
    Common voter polls demonstrate that if during a (sadly unlikely) presidential candidate debate with Trump, she suddenly exclaimed: “I wouldn’t touch you for a billion dollars you crazy, corrupt, creepy old fuck”, and only ever thereafter addressed him as “Mr. Crazy”, “Mr. Corrupt”, or “Creepy Old Fuck”, that she’d be seen as not only winning the debate, but would likely win the election as well. It’s a sad state of things, our common culture.

  15. S Brennan

    Willy, you not only “thought” incorrectly, it seems, you are unable to even perform a rudimentary internet search…fine, let me do it for you…sheesh.

  16. I Hate Giving My Email

    Is anyone aware that the 2019 Canadian election is coming up? Ever since the Liberals won a majority, I think I could count the number of posts about Canada on this site without getting to double digits. It\’s disappointing; I don\’t trust anyone else to tell the truth about Trudeau.

  17. Autumn P.

    Tulsi Gabbard is an anti-Muslim member of a Hindu cult (which no does not make her a tool of Russia, Clinton is nutso). She\’s very Third Way, very pro-religion, and she\’s a friend to the horrible Modi. She was raised in the cult and I have some sympathy for her as a person, but she\’s no one to support in ANY election. She should not be libeled and she has made some excellent points such ason Kamala Harris\’s record, but thank goodness Sanders is NOT that close to her, nor should he be.

  18. Chuck Mire

    Never Touch Anything That Looks Like Donald Trump’s Hair: The “Trumpapillar”

  19. I just read a comment at breitbart that was, ah, uncharacteristically interesting. The commenter suggested that Hillary doesn’t want Gabbard to run as a Green, which is why she’s also dragged poor Jill Stein into her Russian asset nonsense.

    Such a motivation would be consistent with HRC entering the race….

    Right now, Gabbard is only polling about 1.6%

  20. Ten Bears

    Throw a monkey wrench in it – a graphic artist acquant reports: in last’s year’s calendar for the [protect the innocent] “Columbus Day” was serendipitously changed to Indigenous Peoples Day. It went to print and delivery un-noticed, been hanging in people’s kitchens all year: no one, seemingly, noticed, and the contract for next year’s calendar has been signed and delivered. That, is how you throw a monkey wrench in it.

  21. Ten Bears

    Elsewhere: If it walks like a duck, squawks like a duck …

    I’ll not defend Gabbard, she’s a Russian stooge, but to be fair there are three women that fit the profile, Gabbard is just the most likely. And to be perfectly honest, my first impression [of the Clinton/Gabbard exchange] is/was someone, I have no idea who but someone… really wants Clinton to run again. Really, really wants Clinton to run …

    The answer is never the answer, what’s really interesting is the mystery *

  22. Eric Anderson

    Autumn P.
    “I have some sympathy for her as a person, but she\’s no one to support in ANY election. She should not be libeled and she has made some excellent points such ason Kamala Harris\’s record, but thank goodness Sanders is NOT that close to her, nor should he be.”

    This is correct.

    Sub-comment: Anyone that makes less than (oh lets say) 100k annually, and doesn’t support Bernie is either: (a) a masochist, (b) drinking the MSM kool-aid, or (c) a simpleton.

  23. bruce wilder

    Tulsi is a phenomenon I would like to understand better in that she attracts hostility out of proportion to her poll standings.

    What most politicians say (and do performatively) is so tightly controlled and dampened down that the range of issues and opinion is restricted and politicians have a lot of trouble communicating. Also, they are boring and end up talking in coded language.

    Tulsi’s big issue is war and foreign policy and she runs afoul of the rogue deep state and the Blob by opposing perpetual war. I probably would not care for her economics.

    On her issue, though, freed from the usual strictures, she is eloquent.

    That she is mixing it up with usually heavily coded but still tone-deaf Hillary is kind of fun.

    Anyway it is curious to me that so many react against her, tainting her by association with Assad, Modi.

  24. MojaveWolf

    Tulsi is a phenomenon I would like to understand better in that she attracts hostility out of proportion to her poll standings.


    I can’t tell if you’re being disingenuous to make a point or serious in this statement?

    In case the latter: the hostility has been a non-stop onslaught by DNC/MIC and their MSM stooges since Tulsi, being “groomed” by the Dems as a future rising star (sort of like AOC now but more behind the scenes and with less opposition) quit the DNC in the middle of the 2016 primary, at a time when Bernie’s campaign was on the ropes, to endorse him, and specificially stated she was quitting because of the unfair rigging of the primary against him and in favor of Clinton, who she didn’t QUITE call “queen of the warmongers” back then but she made it pretty clear that Hillary’s fondness for our Forever War and war profiteering was a motivating factor behind her decision in addition to the whole “cheating people and undermining or democracy is bad” issue.

    As with Nina Turner when she endorsed Bernie, Tulsi was told behind the scenes that she was killing her career. As w/Nina, she went ahead anyway, but got a LOT more vitriol both because she almost single-handedly kept Bernie in the race AND because the evil scumbags were clearly horrified that she called out their evil-scumbaggery, and the whole idea of someone who puts principle ahead of career advancement EVEN WHEN THEY WERE ALREADY GETTING THE CAREER ADVANCEMENT is such a horrific concept to them and indicates such a degree of uncontrollability that they figure it must be stamped out at all cost.

    She then said we were lying about what was going on in Syria and our foreign policy in general and in the ME in particular essentially amounted to war profiteering and was based on an endless stream of lies. This (obvious) truth-telling was considered equally horrifying and in need of stamping out at all costs.

    (She has since come out for ending the drug war, all of it, not just pot, which is also probably considered beyond the pale and certainly outside the range of acceptable political discourse for a presidential candidate who gets on TV, as it is basically an attack on what they view as an important means of population control and another sort of war profiteering)

    Basically, she’s “not a team player” when she doesn’t like the team, not a fan of “unity” when unity is defined as “do what we say, protect our secrets, support our lies, attack who we say to attack and never ever disrupt the income stream”, and unlike Bernie, she was actually one of them who realized how horrible they were and turned her back on their evil selves, so they hate her even more than they do him. (also, it’s easier for a president to effect change in FP than domestic, so if she does gain power, it will be easier for her to mess up their plans than it will be for Bernie on the domestic threat). In neolib world, there is no greater sin than someone who won’t go along to get along regardless of what this entails, so she must be made an example of and destroyed as an example to others in addition to their anger at her for not being a typical political drone and thereby, probably, making them feel bad about what they’ve become on some deep subconscious level that they refuse to openly acknowledge.

    THAT is why she gets so much vitriol.

    (fwiw before I continue: Bernie and Tulsi are the only two among the current crop of Dems I will vote for. If it is one of the others I will sit it out, vote 3rd party, or write in either Bernie or Tulsi)(that could change if someone else surprises me but unlikely)

    To that end, the neolib types both smeared everything she did from that point on, including some things that many of them had also been doing, as being evil, beyond the pale, and from bad motives. They also dug up things from when she was a child to use against her and, since her childhood was highly conservative, to turn easily manipulated fools on the left against her as if she held these views just a year or so ago. (I exempt people who don’t have time to pay attention beyond a quick glance at the news from the “fools”; in their case it’s purely the fault of the MSM, because people have to feed themselves and spend time w/their familes etc and it’s understandable if you’ve given up on politics completely and stopped paying attention even if you do have the time)

    Re: Modi — Obama met w/Modi too. He’s a the leader of a major world country and ostensibly our ally. Meeting w/him is not a bad thing; she does not endorse everything he does or says by doing so. It’s idiotic to think so.

    Re: the Assad stuff — he may be a bad person, I don’t know him. But just as Libya clearly got a lot worse when we ditched Khadafi and Iraq got a lot worse when got rid of Hussein, Syria will be a lot worse if we get rid of Assad. But apparently learning from our country’s past mistakes, or questioning conventional narratives, or going to the country to see for yourself, is evil and must be punished. Kucinich went too but this does not make him an evil supporter of dictators in leftist eyes, because he is not Tulsi and the neoliberals the left claims to hate is not smearing him, so he’s alright. If this makes sense to you, you’re a more flexible intellectual gymnast than I.

    The homophobe smear–her father is rabidly anti-gay and she was raised that way. She was herself opposed to gay marriage until the age of 21, as far as I can tell. Clearly, changing your mind in your early 20’s (way before Obama, HRC, Warren or most of the other Dems, who waited until public opinion had solidified) is much less sincere and much more suspect and much more unforgivable than Obama/HRC/Warren/every other pol besides Bernie (who’s been defending gay rights since the 70’s when it was highly unpopular to do) waiting until public opinion had shifted. That is sincere and understandable, as opposed to home-schooled Tulsi getting out in the world, meeting people, and changing her mind.

    Re: being a Russian asset — yeah. She’s on a couple of House committees like the Armed Services or Foreign Affairs committees and a major in the national guard who just took weeks off in the middle of the campaign to go serve with a national guard unit. Accusing her of treason is just plain nonsensical as well as evil.

    re: calling Clinton “queen of warmongers” and “embodiment of the rot” at the heart of our politics– if you don’t love that, what can I say?

    re: domestic economic politics– I don’t trust her as much as Bernie, who’s been walking the walk for 40 years, but she consponsored a bunch of Bernie bills, favors Medicare4All, and generally has proven to me she means what she says and says what she means and has more spine to follow through than anyone else.

    She had actually moved ahead of him as far as who I favored before her comments on 3rd trimester abortions, which use unfortunate framing and where I think she’s just wrong (they are close enough in my mind that it’s easy for one to move ahead or behind the other; I won’t decide for sure until I vote; she’s far ahead of him in FP and he of her on domestic; I prefer her leadership style, he’s got the 40 or 50 years of proving sincerity vs 4 years on her part; my ideal hope is a Bernie/Tulsi ticket w/her taking over in 8 years).

  25. MojaveWolf

    Quickie further thoughts on HRC’s deranged/knowingly false and deliberately slanderous “Russian asset” attack on Tulsi:

    1. The timing of this was the day before the Bernie rally in Queens, and right after his pretty much universally declared “winner” debate performance and his AOC/Ilhan Omar endorsement.

    I don’t think this was an accident, but rather, the primary purpose of the deranged rant, to distract from her OTHER most hated person’s recent success and to try to keep him from building momentum. (the alternative is that she is just THAT bitter, THAT unhinged, THAT obsessed, and THAT desperate to get back in the limelight; this was my first thought and it’s not inconceivable, and it may all also be true, but distracting from Bernie seems the main point of the timing, even tho the actual rant may have been coming anyway.

    2. By suggesting anyone who runs 3rd party is a Russian asset, it’s an effort to keep anyone (not just Tulsi) from running 3rd party if they decided the Dem primary was just too screwed up.

    3. Calling someone a “Russian asset” has basically become a means of keeping the herd in line, and a way to attack anyone who can’t be trusted to be all “yay team!” no matter what. That idiots buy this in any of the cases is frightening.

    4. Could be a test run to use the same thing against Bernie.

    5.. Hopefully not for the sake of world sanity, but it may have been an effort to jumpstart a “Hillary 2020” campaign.

    Note: I signed a petition years ago that Dick Durbin led, much as I hate Dick Durbin. I voted in some Kos straw polls earlier this year. Both these things have led to me getting TONS of email from DLC/Stop Republicans/info@stenyhoyer etc. Also, “Bold Progressives” that I deliberately signed up for has turned into a Warren advocacy group. All these people, along with all their “what do you think about Biden/Buttigieg or Warren/Buttigeig or Buttigieg/Klobuchar or Biden/Warren or Warren/Booker or Castro (or anyone polling over 1% ever except Bernie, Tulsi and Yang, tho I hate mentioning Yang since I think he would be a disaster and has very wrongheaded ideas, even tho he seems likable), have been asking what i would think of Hillary running for several weeks now. Someone is seriously considering this; if not HRC herself then someone in the Dem leadership. Please for all our ears and brains no no no no no no.

    6. Several people have wondered at the attention Tulsi gets despite the poll numbers — aside from the poll numbers are low in part because of the constant smearing (that being the point of the smearing), it seems likely that just as the polls are deliberately or on purpose making Biden appear far more liked than he actually is, they are also probably both accidentally and on purpose undercounting Bernie and Tulsi (younger people don’t answer cells, the DNC is ignoring those polls where Tulsi is already frequently showing up in 5th or tied for 5th, mostly early state polls where she is actually campaigning; they probably tend to understate her support among independents, etc). So it’s not JUST that she says stuff they don’t like in public forums or that the DNC hates her and manipulates others into hating her; they probably also view her as a bigger threat than first appears. And they want to make sure she doesn’t increase her poll numbers, tho HRC’s latest salvo almost certainly backfired horribly in that regard. Unless they are hoping her increase is entirely from people who might otherwise have gone to Bernie, who is inarguably much more likely to win and who they don’t want either.

  26. Willy

    S. Brennan, are we even on the same page?

    The article you linked to discredited this, your comment:
    Gabbard went out on a limb in 2016, resigning her post after the DNC/Hillary “screwed” Bernie out of the nomination…

    Here’s the timeline.
    Gabbard resigns as DNC vice chair on February 28, 2016
    Hillary is presumptive nominee: June 6, 2016
    Hillary is official nominee: July 26, 2016

    To which post are you referring?

    Now more to what I think your point was, which is far more interesting: Why isn’t Sanders (far more publicly) willing to butt heads against the Clinton hegemony?

  27. MojaveWolf

    @Hugh — Michael Moore was right. Also, I think Bernie’s campaign was playing it far too safe and also trying way too hard to compete w/Warren for the “we are woke”/COW demographic* while ignoring the class issues that initially brought people to his campaign and led to a very strong following among independents. (this could, arguably, be considered to be one of the points of the Warren campaign–win if you can, but make sure you cause problems for Bernie regardless; I think she likes Bernie but she also likes the centrist types; I’m not at all sure who she likes more but it’s very clear who is more likely to eliminate her from the main stage if they think she’s not on board w/them)

    Have been very pleased to see him being more his old self since his heart attack; loved AOC’s endorsement, whatever issues I may have w/her, and Moore’s, and loved Nina Turner’s speech.

    @SBrennan — I spent much of Saturday trying to tell some of my angrier fellow tulsi people on twitter why Bernie might want to wait till after his rally was over for a day or so before jumping into the Tulsi v HRC fray; I won’t even try w/you, esp since it hasn’t worked w/anyone so far, but there are reasons for waiting that make perfect sense (i.e. his “comeback” rally was Saturday, makes sense to keep the focus on him and not Hillary) and Nina Turner, who is essentially a Bernie surrogate, did speak up repeatedly and forcefully. (tho yes, I would rather he said *something*, even if just a quiet “this is ridiculous, she’s a vet who deserves respect not smears” like Yang did; I’m sure he will at some point. I still think they make a great team and am dismayed when their supporters go at each other on twitter.

    @BillH–looking around at the state of the world today in myriad ways, is it any wonder people see whats going on and think “maybe I don’t want to be here”?

    *h/t Different Clue, love the COW description, even though I am somewhat offended on behalf of actual cows, who I quite like–when I was a little kid, whenever I stayed w/my great grandparents, I would climb the fence and hang out w/their cows as well as the Shetland ponies; it was neat)

  28. MojaveWolf

    Now more to what I think your point was, which is far more interesting: Why isn’t Sanders (far more publicly) willing to butt heads against the Clinton hegemony?

    @Willy — my answer will probably be different from SBrennan’s, but I’ll give my two theories, which aren’t mutually contradictory and could both be true —

    1. Bernie seems to like nearly everyone in Congress. Hillary was probably nice to his face when they met, and he never seemed to have any personal animosity towards her even when he should have. He likewise kept talking about “my good friend Cory Booker” because the two are friendly, even after Booker kinda backstabbed him earlier in the campaign (can no longer remember details and don’t care enough to look it up). He is just hesitant to be mean to people even when they deserve it. (this is why he needs someone like Nina Turner or Tulsi Gabbard as a VP; they also seem basically nice but are far quicker to go off on people when it needs doing)

    2. Bernie plans on winning the general, not just the primary. The corporatist types already hate him, and their “vote blue no matter who” mantra clearly is on shaky ground when it comes to people outside the “blue” establishment. (i.e. they are totally obviously a bunch a big hypocrites and backstabbers who have an incredible sense of entitlement, thus their refusal to admit they lost to Trump for any reason other than “racism” and “Russia”; the idea that LOTS of people thought Trump was bad but the neolib ideal had proven it was so bad any other bad option was worth trying cos it couldn’t make things much worse seems completely beyond them) He probably thinks he has to be careful or 90% of these “vote blue no matter who” hypocrites will NOT vote for him in the general and might even vote Trump, partly out of spite and partly for the reasons myself and several others here won’t vote corporatist neoliberal warmongers–they see Bernie as the bigger threat than the guy they are calling unspeakably bad and worst president ever and racist and etc. He’s in a tough position here, though I think the correct course is to ignore this possibility, be yourself, and count on the independents who make up by FAR the largest voting bloc to come through for him. I mean, they’re in a tough spot too–after all the Trump demonization, how can they justify not publicly supporting Bernie as a “must win” if he gets it? And most of them really don’t like Trump, either. That said, it’s not an enviable spot to be in.

  29. different clue

    @ mojave wolf,

    My purely intuitive opinion of why Sanders is so nice to people who deserve to be sprayed with lighter fluid and set on fire is that his political sensibility was formed in the age of Popular Frontism and the Great Alliance against Nazism. He is not psychomentally or emotionality prepared to recognize or understand the hard Zero Sum nature of today’s political and social reality.

    One side will survive by exterminating the other side from political and public-social existence. The reverse-climate-change side will not reverse any climate change unless the reverse-climate-change side can exterminate the climate denial side and the fossil fuel industry side from existence. If the Enemy has not been exterminated from functional public existence, than the Enemy has not been defeated. Because as long as the Enemy has not been exterminated, the Enemy will keep fighting for Enemy goals. In the case of Climate Change, the Enemy will keep fighting to keep society burning fossil fuels.

    And so it is with Sanders. If he does not recognize the tens of millions of Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites as a Total Enemy which will have to be exterminated from political existence or else it will exterminate “Our Revolution” from political existence, Sanders will enter the election pre-defeated by his own obsolete niceness-to-everyone. I would still vote for Sanders anyway, even if I know the Clintonite Forces will work with the StornTrumpers to re-elect Trump as their way of defeating the “Bernie Bros”.

  30. Willy

    1. Bernie is too agreeable a personality for todays politics, and doesn’t know it.
    2. Bernie is too progressive for the corporate donor Dem wing, and knows it.
    3. Bernie knows he wont look very good in ads with him blowing away cartoon cutouts of his opposition (including Hillary) with a minigun. I’d certainly be amused. But other voters?

    That he’s into all of this for himself at that age, seems way off the mark. More accurate is that he seems to care about what he believes in, but may have too much integrity to fully understand the political jungle he has to deal with. What I mean by that last part is that it’s harder to be skilled at dog eat dog warfare when you’ve spent most of your time being an honest fighter. Dishonest fighters often win because they have more weapons. It’s a very different practiced skillset from lifetime corporate types who are better at going for the head wound, as Sloppy Steve once bragged.

    I’d keep trying for a big tent of people being bullied: blacks, women, alternative lifestylers, the working class, ageism victims, coastal dwellers… while demonstrating the clever smearing techniques the bullies use.

  31. I’m quite intrigued to learn that a dude who has been a US Senator for a few terms is “not psychomentally or emotionality prepared to recognize or understand the hard Zero Sum nature of today’s political and social reality”.

    Please, tell us more!

  32. nihil obstet

    Bernie Sanders has been an elected official since 1981, and has been in Congress for nearly 30 years. He is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. His record of accomplishment is quite extraordinary — it would be good for a party loyalist during a time of party domination. For an independent who caucuses with a party that was in the minority for some of the time, it’s amazing. As a candidate for national office, he has done more for the successful organizing of grassroots groups than any other politician I have seen in my lifetime.

    But here I learn that he does so many things wrong — he can’t appropriately deal with other people, follow through on goals, keep electoral promises, understand who he’s dealing with and what he’s facing. America, where everyone is a campaign expert and very few see political success.

  33. MojaveWolf

    @DC — I think, reading your post, that negative as I am about things in general, I am more optimistic about the success of a Bernie presidency than you are. He’s survived this long. 🙂
    Counterpoint–it will depend a great deal on who he surrounds himself with. Hopefully it is people like Tulsi and Nina.

    @Willy — When I said Bernie is making tactical campaign decisions because he wants to win, I didn’t mean to imply he’s in it for himself (he and Tulsi are the ONLY two people I think are in this for any other reason) or any lack of integrity. I’m just saying that he knows he has to win to get things done, and he has chosen to not blast his enemies as one of those tactical decisions (which was basically what you said also, I think?) Sorry for lack of clarity. I got mad respect for Bernie’s integrity and selflessness, and totally agree w/what AOC said about how hard it is to stay yourself and uncorrupted in an environment like that, especially for so very very long.

  34. More generally: the president is a vicious bastard. If he’s your vicious bastard, maybe he comes through for you occasionally. As a 59-year-old silicon valley programmer (US citizen) I’m quite aware that Trumps’ white nationalist weirdos have bunged up the H1B software bracero program, and that I have benefited.

    We want the president to be a vicious bastard in foreign policy, and we want him to be Father Flanagan domestically, a moral paragon for his flock. This obviously does not work. Maybe we should have two presidents, one domestic and one world-facing.

  35. Eric Anderson

    For Christ sake. Bernie keeps it clean for political reasons. As soon as mudslinging begins, voters stay home. Except, that is, the hardcore gonna vote no matter what die hard establishment types. Bernie needs ALL the nonestablishmemt voters. This is campaign school 101. Which is why incumbents ALWAYS sling mud — to keep voters AWAY. It is known. Go read David Foster Wallace’s Rolling Stone piece on the McCain v Bush primary.

    Wake up.

  36. MojaveWolf

    As soon as mudslinging begins, voters stay home. Except, that is, the hardcore gonna vote no matter what die hard establishment types.

    “Mudslinging” is not the same as making legitimate criticisms (see: Bernie’s legit critique of the kind of things Biden “gets done” at the last debate, which was pretty awesome).

    Likewise, “my brother kept us safe” vs “yeah, he really kept us safe on 9/11”. That little exchange finished off Jeb and helped elevate Trump, who won via people who were sick of the establishment despite constant actual mudslinging and plenty of attacks that were a little more off base than that one. I think the conventional wisdom needs a little nuance here. People also want a president w/spine, and if you don’t point out things wrong w/your opponents, and the media and the opponents are constantly pointing out things wrong w/you, it’s putting yourself at a handicap.

    Also, good grief, you guys are aware people can like and support Bernie and think he will do a good job while not thinking his every move is perfection, right? People are going to disagree on tactics sometimes, and in the spot Bernie’s in, there are legit cases to be made for a number of approaches. Almost no one is going to be put off because he has a spine, the apparent belief of the democratic party and it’s consultants that “spine” and “guts” are a bad thing that might scare voters notwithstanding (yes, Hillary had a spine, it’s one of the few good things about her; her problem was policy and representing a proven-to-not-work-for-most people system, combined w/an incredibly condescending attitude towards anyone who didn’t think she was the bestest thing ever)

  37. Eric Anderson

    “Also, good grief, you guys are aware people can like and support Bernie and think he will do a good job while not thinking his every move is perfection, right?”

    Right. Good straw man. Beat it up, Mojave.

    In the mean time, he looks a whole lot better than the alternatives.

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