Still Calling

Feel the Bern

Memes like this are beginning to show up all over my Facebook feed and they are really beginning to annoy the ever-loving shit out of me:

bern

It seems that a substantial percentage of my friends -all of who I thought would know better, seeing as they’re middle-aged, fairly well-educated, politically-aware adults like myself- either believe in magic, have no idea how our political system works, or simply have no memory past last weekend. So let me be forthright: this will never happen, not even if Bernie Sanders is elected in a landslide.

But let me back up a moment. Most of the people I know, both online and in real life, know I am no fan of the Clintons. I have not liked either of those rat bastards since NAFTA, DOMA, and the PRWORA. That said, I don’t “like” politicians, at least not in the personal sense. I view them as tools to accomplish certain political goals, kind of like I view the various members of a football team. I don’t have to personally like any of the Philadelphia Eagles personally, as long as they crush Dallas. I don’t need to like Barack Obama so long as he’s fighting to advance goals I hold dear.

At this point in the country’s history, one of the two parties -the Republican Party- that control the country has gone completely fucking insane. They control both houses of Congress, and their nominees have a bare majority on the Supreme Court. Thanks to a combination of Democratic dumbassery and Republican gerrymandering, they control many statehouses as well. If we as a nation are to avoid becoming a far-right dystopia that even my conservative friends would recoil from, we must, at the very least, hold the Executive Branch. Ideally, we run a candidate who will have coattails and take back either the House or the Senate.

I am not going to address Booman’s rumination on whether Sanders would lose all 50 states, although I will recommend that you read it because it is salient, important, and accurate. Nor will I address Dick Polman’s argument that Sanders self-identification as a socialist renders him unelectable, although that is also a piece well worth your time. What I will address is the magical thinking and sheer ignorance of recent history that renders memes like that above foolish and dangerous: the fact of the matter is that it is not as simple as “We fund this shit by taking back the money that the 1% has been stealing from us for the past 50+ years.” This is as silly as anything that Nader’s supporters claimed back in 2000, and their silliness (aided by Al Gore’s incompetent campaign) helped “elect” George W. Bush, and we all know what happened after THAT.

Fun fact: a president is not a magician. Bernie Sanders, if elected, will have to deal with the same cast of Democratic and Republican douchebags that Obama dealt with. Anyone watching the progress of the Affordable Care Act should know that. Has everyone forgotten that some of the worst compromises on health care reform were made at the insistence of Democrats, or were you just not paying attention? Read up on Max Baucus, Bart Stupak, and Nebraska’s Ben Nelson. Read up on the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, co-sponsored by Tom Carper. Read up on how a cabal of Democrats worked together to water down student loan debt reform. Barack Obama, let’s recall, was elected in a LANDSLIDE, and still had to work with these backbiters and thieves. With the Senate and the House firmly in the hands of the GOP -we may take back the Senate, but the House is probably out of reach- what makes you think that a Sanders victory would be any different? Even if it was another landslide?

I am so tired of the wishful thinking I keep seeing from people who should know better. I don’t care for Clinton at all, but if anyone is capable of making Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan eat a bag of dicks, it’s Hilary, who has already been through the GOP wringer. You’re electing a president, not a best friend. I’m not saying “don’t support or vote for sanders” but it is simply not a case of “elect Sanders and he’ll get the money back from the 1%”. That is a fucking PIPE DREAM. His own party will fight him tooth and nail. Be realistic.

And I wouldn’t be bringing any of this up, but for the fact that so many of these same people are saying if Sanders isn’t the nominee they won’t support Clinton. To them I say: You. Are. Fools. Clinton will not be a perfect president. Neither will Sanders. But both of these individuals will be a damn sight better than Trump, Cruz, Kasich, or any of the Republican candidates, who (with the likely exception of Trump) will be a rubber-stamp for whatever dog shit proposals the lunatics in the House and Senate will send to the White House.

This isn’t a very nice way of putting it, but grow the fuck up and get serious. You’re not electing a best friend. You’re not getting married til-death-to-us-part. You are electing someone who will advance your goals to one extent or another. Is Hillary sheisty in many ways? Sure. So is Obama, who you’ll recall fucked us on domestic surveillance, trade, and immigration. Or were you to busy making #feelthebern hashtags to notice?

What matters is whether the person in the White House is on our side. Both Clinton and Sanders are serious, thoughtful, and imperfect candidates. I admire your enthusiasm. Really, I do. But stop living in the Neighborhood of Make Believe, and for God’s sake stop encouraging people to believe in equally stupid Neighborhood of Make Believe pipe dreams that have absolutely no basis in reality or recent history.

Because if the result is President Cruz or Trump, I am blaming YOU.

2 comments for “Feel the Bern

  1. NealB
    January 20, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    You honestly believe Trump or Cruz would beat Sanders? Polls show otherwise.

  2. JustOutsideTheBeltway
    January 20, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Articles like this “Sander’s vision is never going to happen, so let’s get serious and elect Hillary” miss the point entirely.

    Barak Obama’s biggest strategic mistake was trying to meet the Republicans half way at the beginning of the negotiation. The Republicans, of course, dug in hard with no willingness to compromise. In almost every case the final result was a lot closer to a Republican solution than a Democratic one. In the last few years of his administration he has firmed up and started to negotiate hard, so we’re getting somewhere, but he lost a lot of the momentum he was handed by trying to be nice to people who had no intention of being nice.

    So here we are at the end of Obama’s term. Did he achieve everything he set out to do in 2008? Mostly. His leg of the relay race was run well. It is now time to run the next leg of the race. So who do we pass the baton of Democratic change to, knowing that the opposition is as fiercely entrenched as it has ever been. Who should we put up as our chief negotiator with the bat-shit crazy Republicans in Congress:

    A) A brilliant southern lawyer who claims to represent the middle class but hasn’t driven a car in 25 years? A person who’s convictions shift every time the political winds change? A person who proudly socializes with the very people who have the most to lose if Democratic reform happens?

    B) A cranky old Jewish liberal from Brooklyn? A fiercely independent guy who still walks to work every day so he can talk with ordinary people? A guy who is infamous for never backing down from his “New Deal Democrat” convictions?

    So please re-read your words. “This isn’t a very nice way of putting it, but grow the fuck up and get serious. You’re not electing a best friend. You’re not getting married til-death-to-us-part. You are electing someone who will advance your goals to one extent or another.”

    Take a close look at Hillary’s platform. She’s basing it on three principals – “Stay the course,” “No new taxes,” and “I have more foreign policy experience than anyone” was George H.W. Bush’s platform in 1992. He lost in a landslide to an outsider from a rural state who ran on – “It’s the economy, stupid,” “Change, not more of the same,” and “Don’t forget health care.” Those are Bernie’s principals. What happened? Why has she abandoned a winner of a Democratic strategy – the one that worked for her husband – to adopt a losing of a Republican strategy?

    So yeah. I am grown up. I am dead serious. I have followed the history, and Hillary isn’t our champion. Bernie is.

    Of course Bernie won’t get everything he wants. No one ever does. That’s s silly straw-man argument. But Hillary’s approach concedes everything to the opposition before the negotiations even start.

    As for this “President Cruz or Trump” bull crap, the only way they get in if Bernie get the nomination is if all the Hillary supporters stay home and let it happen. Do you really think that is going to happen? Really? Trump over Sanders? Cruz over Sanders? I thought not.