Associated Press photo
Howard Dean has an emotional moment, including the “Dean scream,” in Iowa in January 2004, after he devastatingly came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses (behind John Kerry and John Edwards), the first contest of the presidential primary season. Howard Dean widely was considered the inevitable victor of the contest for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, but once individuals actually started participating in the caucuses and primary elections, it was clear that they had dated Dean but decided to marry Kerry. Billary Clinton, like Howard Dean did, came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 (behind Barack Obama and John Edwards). And like Dean in 2004, Billary in 2008 never recovered from her stumble in Iowa. Billary is a stunningly weak candidate, yet the lemmings have lined up behind her, just as they did for Howard Dean.
I certainly hope that Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie was not “inspired” by “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri when he recently sloppily compared presidential aspirant U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to former Repugnican/Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Democrat in name only McCaskill, who is on Team Billary, recently bloviated that Sanders “is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president” and dismissed the large crowds that Sanders attracts at his campaign events by stating that Ron Paul “got the same-size crowds. [Former Repugnican Party presidential aspirant] Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”
As many have noted (such as this writer for Salon.com), a majority of Americans actually quite agree with Sanders’ so-called “extreme” message. Democracy sure sucks when it doesn’t go your way, when your center-right claptrap (like McCaskill’s) actually isn’t in line with the majority.
And leave it to a member of the pro-dynastic, anti-populist, Democratic-in-name-only Team Billary to try to make your popularity with the people into a bad thing.
I get it that McCaskill lives in what I’d certainly classify as a red state: Mittens Romney won Missouri in 2012. (The last “Democratic” presidential candidate who won Missouri was Bill Clinton in 1996.) Missouri has a Democratic governor and one “Democratic” U.S. senator (McClaskill), but both houses of its state legislature overwhelmingly are Repugnican, and its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is six Repugnicans to two Democrats.
So to survive politically in a state as red as is Missouri, McClaskill has to pander to the right and the center-right. I get that.
But is the entire Democratic Party to shift even further right so as to further please DINOs like McClaskill in the red states, as former “Democratic” Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (good riddance!) expected it to?
What about those of us in California, for instance? We’re the most populous state in the nation. Our governor and both houses of our state legislature are in Democratic control, both of our U.S. senators are Democrats (well, plutocrat Dianne Feinstein is a DINO), the majority of our U.S. representatives are Democrats, and a Repugnican presidential candidate hasn’t won California since 1988.
But we’re to stifle our values and ourselves for the likes of Landrieu and McCaskill? I have a much better solution: red-state DINOs (like McClaskill) just call themselves Repugnicans already and be done with it. They need to join the party with which their political philosophy and worldview is most aligned instead of trying to get the rest of us actual Democrats/progressives to convert to their version of what the Democratic Party “should” be.
Their tent is just way too damned fucking big. When you stand for everything, you ultimately stand for nothing.
Even Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie, most of whose writing I find insightful and wise, even though he acknowledges that “At 10,000 people, [Sanders’] crowd [in Madison, Wisconsin, last week] was the largest* of any candidate in the presidential race so far,” joins the conventional-“wisdom” herd and proclaims that “visibility isn’t viability, and there’s almost no chance Sanders will become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, even if he sustains his momentum into next year.”
Bouie adds: “Sanders is a fascinating candidate with a vital, underrepresented message in American politics. But the same qualities that make him unique — relative independence from the Democratic Party, a foundational critique of American politics — make him unsuited for a major party nomination, much less the Democratic one.”
Bouie concludes his unfortunate screed on Sanders:
Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be important. Here, it’s useful to think of Ron Paul, the former Republican representative who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012. Paul drew large crowds and raised huge sums for his campaign but couldn’t translate that success into votes. Nonetheless, his splash mattered. He helped bridge the divide between libertarians and the Republican right, and he inspired a new group of conservative and libertarian activists who have made a mark in the GOP through Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
If Sanders can sustain and capture the left-wing enthusiasm for his campaign, he could do the same for progressives. He could bring their issues onto a presidential debate stage and into the Democratic mainstream, and bring them into the process itself. No, Democrats won’t change overnight, but with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit.
Hey, I have an extremely radical idea, perhaps even more extreme and radical than any idea that even Bernie Sanders has put forth: How about we, the people, actually get to vote in the primaries and participate in the caucuses in order to determine who ultimately emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate?
How about we allow Bernie Sanders to run his campaign for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination – the first caucus and the first primary election aren’t until February, seven months from now – instead of declaring Billary Clinton the winner now and giving Sanders the lovely parting gift (like Rice-A-Roni) of the warmth of knowing that his candidacy helped to melt the cold, right-wing hearts of those who call themselves Democrats but who actually are a bunch of Repugnican Lites?
But seriously: How about we, the people, and not DINOs like Claire McClaskill and not media pundits who are steeped in the conventional “wisdom” of wolf-pack “journalism,” decide, through actually participating in the actual democratic process, whether or not we deem Bernie Sanders to be an acceptable presidential candidate to put forth in November 2016?
Jamelle Bouie educates us silly Sanders supporters:
Despite the polls and the voting, presidential primaries aren’t popularity contests. Instead, they’re closer to negotiations, where interests and individuals work to choose a leader and representative for the entire group. That person has to appeal to everyone, from ideological factions and political power centers to wealthy donors and ordinary voters and activists. The candidate also has to show that he or she can do the work of a national campaign, from winning debates to raising money.
Oh, I agree, for the most part, probably. But then Bouie continues: “Clinton has done this. She came close to winning the 2008 nomination and spent the next seven years — right up to the present — building her stature in Democratic politics. …”
Yeah, 2008 was close but no cigar, and Bouie apparently essentially advocates that because Billary has been working at this since 2008, we should acknowledge that and coronate her as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate already; Bouie’s conventional “wisdom” apparently can be reduced to telling us Sanders supporters: “Surrender, Dorothy!”
But I recall clearly that this was what the “Deaniacs” essentially were saying to the rest of us Democrats and progressives in 2004: That former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was So Self-Evidently Inevitable that everyone should just accept that fact and get on board with Team Dean already. (I still recall that one of my favorite fellow leftists, Ted Rall, at the time a Deaniac, even went so far as to write a blatantly anti-democratic column in which he suggested in all seriousness that the Democratic primaries and caucuses just be canceled in order to save money, since Dean’s victory was assured anyway.)
I supported John Kerry as the 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate from the get-go (as I saw him as the candidate who best could unseat the incumbent “President” George W. Bush), but I was told then by the Deaniacs: “Surrender, Dorothy!”
Except that in early 2004, when the voters actually had their say at the primaries and caucuses – which is all that actually counts, in the end – Howard Dean imploded spectacularly, and John Kerry spectacularly rose from the dead and won the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Interestingly, campaign adviser Tad Devine, who was instrumental in Kerry’s spectacular rise from the dead like Lazarus on crack, right now is a senior adviser for Bernie Sanders.
So yeah, those who smugly write Bernie Sanders off (those would be Billary supporters, mostly), methinks, could be in for a big shock in early 2016, much as the smug Deaniacs were in early 2004 when underdog John Kerry, who had been left for dead, and not Howard Dean The Inevitable, won the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Not only does Bernie have John Kerry resurrector Tad Devine on his team, but what does it say of Billary that she lost to Barack Obama in 2008? She had been first lady for eight years in the 1990s and a (carpetbagging) U.S. senator for New York for eight years, yet upstart Obama, who had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full term, beat Billary, which wasn’t “supposed” to happen.
Billary is significantly flawed – or she wouldn’t have lost to Obama, who came from nowhere in 2008 to snatch – democratically – the crown away from her.
And let’s face it: The uber-scandalous, slimy Billary is just one leaked e-mail or one leaked secretly-recorded video away from implosion.
Do we want Billary’s implosion to happen before the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate is actually elected by the primary-election voters and the caucus-goers, or do we want to risk that Billary’s implosion happens after we stupidly just allow the high-risk Billary to have the party’s presidential nomination (you know, because she wants it so badly and because she has been “working” for it for so long now!) but before the November 2016 presidential election?
I, for one, not only cannot in good conscience support DINO Billary Clinton – whose vote for the Vietraq War in October 2002 when she was in the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders voted against it when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives) alone makes her unfit for the Oval Office** – but I wouldn’t take the risk of gambling everything away in November 2016 with her, with such a flawed, risky candidate.
I wisely resisted running with the Lemmings for Dean in 2004; I similarly am resisting running with the Lemmings for Billary in 2016.
For me, it’s Bernie or bust.***
*Bouie further notes:
Hillary Clinton drew 5,500 people to her [formal announcement] speech on Roosevelt Island in New York City, while Jeb Bush drew just 3,000 people to his announcement event at Miami Dade College in Florida. (Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to 11,000 students at Liberty University, but they had to be there — Cruz announced at the school’s convocation, which is mandatory for students living on campus.) Before Madison, Sanders spoke to a packed auditorium of 700 people in Iowa, and before that, he spoke to 5,000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
**Gee, I wonder if Billary felt any pang of guilt or even remorse when, on this past Fourth of July during a parade in Podunk, New Hampshire (at which Queen Billary’s henchpeople employed ropes to keep the rabble safely at bay), she told a 40-year-old man whom the Vietraq War — the war for which as U.S. senator she voted — put into a wheelchair, “Thank you for your sacrifice.”
I mean, it’s not that common that the results of a soulless, self-serving politician’s wrongdoing so starkly stare him or her in the face.
***On that note, if we are going to compare Bernie to anyone on the right, in the end, when all is said and done, history just might record him to be much more like the late arch-conservative Barry Goldwater than like Ron Paul.
Not only is there the fact that in modern history members of the House of Representatives (like former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul) never go straight from the House to the White House, but must have been a U.S. senator or a governor first (Bernie meets that qualification but Ron Paul never did), but I can see Bernie winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but unfortunately losing the 2016 presidential election, as Repugnican U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona lost the presidential election of 1964.
However, while Goldwater lost in 1964 (badly), he is widely credited with having fathered the “Reagan revolution” and the success of the right that we’ve seen for the past several decades. (The right’s success is evidenced not only by the worsening income inequality of the past several decades, but also by how far to the right it has spooked the Democratic Party into moving, especially under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)
I could see Bernie Sanders doing for the left what Barry Goldwater did for the right. But the comparison of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to the much more fringy former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is lazy and sloppy at best.
So I agree with Bouie that “with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit,” but Bouie and I don’t get to that point of agreement by the same route.