Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Party Like it's 1949

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
So, I think we can safely say the collegiality of the first two debates is long since a thing of the past.  By last night's debate in Charleston, SC, #10, it was essentially an off Broadway stage adaptation of Knives Out, with Bernie Sanders playing the elderly victim.
     At least, that was how it was supposed to be staged. Instead, it was more like the assassination of Julius Caesar with collapsible stage props.
     This was to be expected. Middle and bottom tier candidates fly under everyone's radar and excite no one's interest or jealousy. Bernie won the raw vote count in Iowa, New Hampshire and especially in Nevada. In this current round of King of the Hill, Bernie's the guy to topple as the others claw at his ankles like extras in The Walking Dead.
     And, as politicians are nothing if not predictable, the early salvos against Sanders were predicted then seen with yawns. Bloomberg, having bought his way onto a second debate stage, went after Bernie over his 60 Minutes interview which included a clip of him from 1987 praising Cuba's literacy program. Bloomberg squeaked about a "dark legacy", seemingly oblivious to his own dark legacy as New York's mayor that included smashing Occupy Wall Street, Stop and Frisk that victimized over 5,000,000 people of color, opposing a higher minimum wage, campaigning for HW Bush at the 2004 GOP convention and defending tax cuts for his fellow one percenters.
     Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Berlin, Hillary stated she'd support Bernie Sanders if he was the nominee. This was before the debate that aired at eight PM last night, EST. It seems everyone is jumping on Bernie's bandwagon. Everyone, that is, except Michael Bloomberg, who clearly stacked the audience with his own ideologues at a debate in which the tickets went from $1750-3200. The entire purpose of these glorified bleacher bums was to boo Sanders when he hit Bloomberg and to cheer when Bloomberg returned the fire.
     And it was Buttigieg, surprisingly, who unwittingly put the lie to the machine Democrats' piling on Sanders for his remarks on Cuba, although it was meant to be a salvo aimed at Sanders. At one point, Mayor Pete said,
The only way you can [restore American credibility] is to actually win the presidency, and I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump with his nostalgia for the social order of the ’50s and Bernie Sanders with a nostalgia for the revolution politics of the ’60s. This is not about what coups were happening in the 1970s or 80s, this is about the future. This is about 2020.
     Now, let's unpack that a bit. The former South Bend mayor's intent was to say, essentially, "Let's just forget everything that happened in American history prior to tonight and stop this silly talk of revolution." The intended point was that Bernie should stop all this silly, nostalgic talk of Cuban and Nicaraguan revolution even if Bernie's taking the side of the good guys in the latter. And then, of course, there was Russia. As if Bernie's to blame for their cynical involvement in the 2020 election.

     But unintentionally, Buttigieg was also putting his finger squarely on the Democratic Party's own hypocrisy in taking Sanders to task for something laudatory he said about Cuba a full generation ago (long before Obama said it without challenge in 2016) when Pete was five years-old and just starting kindergarten. In its desperation, machine Democrats, not being able to assail Sander's policies geared toward the far future which a majority of us support, began acting like McCarthyites as if it was 1949 again.

A Shade He Will Never Enjoy
By now, I'm sure many of us have heard the old Greek proverb that states, "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." And if I may venture a definition that distinguishes politicians from statesmen, here's one: The former thinks only as far as the next election cycle and is influenced by polls while the latter thinks in terms of generations regardless of the zeitgeist.
   Bernie Sanders' positions and policy proposals extend clear into 2070, long past what will be Sanders' lifetime and perhaps even Ocasio-Cortez's. (Another DNC-RNC talking point is Bernie doesn't know how he's going to pay for his ambitious programs. That's a lie. He knows exactly how he'll pay for them and here's how.)
     And if politicians can be defined and faulted as not thinking past the next election cycle, then the mainstream media is especially egregious as television networks never think beyond the next 24/7 news cycle. This was actually put up on CBS' chyron during the debate when the moderators asked Sanders if he'd give authoritarian rulers "a free pass."

     You know, just like Trump.
     It was absolutely the nadir in a debate that should've seen a subtraction in the contenders, not the addition of billionaires like Bloomberg and Steyers on the debate stage. It was somewhat reminiscent of the recent debate in which Bernie categorically denied telling Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn't win the presidency only to have a moderator ask him why he'd said that.
     The CBS moderators were blasted in real time on social media for losing control of the debate. But what no one seems to have considered is that perhaps CBS didn't lose control of the debate and that allowing the candidates to speak for much longer than their allotted 75 seconds and to constantly interrupt Bernie was the intent all along.
      And, lest you think the anti-Sanders bias in the self-interested corporate mainstream television media is solely to blame, consider this hit piece in the Amazon-owned Washington Post:
    Sure, Fred, let's talk about rejecting reality, since the Green New Deal's sole reason for being is to keep the oil, coal and gas companies rich and unregulated for as long as possible.
     The bottom line is the DNC and establishment Democrats are as incoherent at countering Sanders' proposals as they are Trump's neonazi policies. And this is much more a reflection on where the Democratic Party now stands than on Bernie, which is pretty much where the Republican Party stood a couple of generations ago at the height of its HUAC/McCarthy fever dreams. Bloomberg's screaming about Communists and Russians, the others are screaming about Cuba. And all in a mad, mindless attempt to tear down a man who could rebuild the Democratic Party and stands for ideals that are more American and Democratic than all of them put together.


At February 27, 2020 at 12:48 AM, Anonymous CC said...


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