Tuesday, January 19, 2016

points on bernie

Three points.

One, the period in Bernie's life from the University of Chicago until his election as mayor of Burlington is actually interesting. That young guy, living in the the 1960s and 70s, is not the guy running for president. Still, he was political and devoted to a vision the whole time, in many ways the same vision. He was never motivated by money. He barely scraped by. He experimented with ideas, lifestyles, personal relationships. He wrote articles for $15, which he badly needed, that included language of the 1970s, logically. He constantly criticized himself and learned.
You mean straight out of college he didn't go straight into corporate law? Get married and have a stay at home wife? He didn't start planning his ascent like an egomaniac psychopath? He wandered and explored? He tried stuff? He thought about things? He has a strong personality? SCANDAL!
Okay, he's also a stubborn SOB. I mean, this is one stubborn old lefty we got on our hands here. Now, in Sweden where policy discussion is actually reasonable (they have school choice, free market education and socialized medicine, non ideological environment except on immigration), being as stubborn as Bernie for 50 years would be excessive and uncalled for-- unnecessary. But Bernie Sanders lives in the mutherf-cking U S of A and you have to be titanically stubborn if you want to move this son of a bitch even a millimeter. No wonder it took him 20 years to move slightly from hard left to smart left. He's a fricken rock. He's hard to move -- a big old rock -- until it gets going down a steep hill, then watch the f out!
Two, the idea that his health care plan, for example, is too sweeping and ambitious (as per Krugman in the NYT yesterday) for the current political environment is nonsensical. The incremental argument says that Democrats have been trying to get a national health care system since Truman and have only now succeeded in getting a better but still flawed plan through. They agree Obamacare is second rate. They've been trying incrementalism for 70 years and still think it's going to work. Bernie's sin is trying something different. If he wins and can't get single payer through, he should should get most of the rest of his agenda through: free college for all, post office banking, $15 minimum wage, infrastructure, etc. Then people will vote. Then congress will turn left. Then you can get a health care plan through that will actually work. Now this plan might not work but it's a hell of a lot better than continuing to do that same stupid shit that hasn't worked for 70 years again for four more years.
When he was elected as mayor of Burlington, Bernie could count on 2 votes out of a board of 13. So, after two years, he campaigned with others in his movement and captured 6 more seats. Then he could implement his plan.
That's the plan. Might not work, but you don't go into battle with a shitty plan B that is guaranteed not to work (incrementalism) when you have a perfectly good plan A that's never been really tried.
Republican lite in the 90s.
The fish didn't bite.
In 2016 let's do it right.
Dems heads on walls and do not learn.
Fire to your head lumps: feel the Bern.
Third Point: Abraham Lincoln said he was always against slavery and always knew it was the key issue of his day. But, he slept on the issue right through the 1840s. He figured it would disappear naturally. Only when he (and many other) figured out that people do not tend to give up profitable enterprises voluntarily in the 1850s did he decide he had to act. From that point on, he was determined to win elections and stop the spread of slavery and counter the rising pro-slavery movement.
Bernie identified the issue of the concentration of wealth and undemocratic concentration of militaristic power as the key issue. If he thought he could advance an agenda to change this issue by not running for president, he would quit. That's integrity and sincerity.

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