If anything has buried the embers of my fascination with the sage of Vermont it has to be this article. It is a masterful take down of the Senator. But unlike the author I have already reached the conclusion that Sanders is man undeserving of my support. I do appreciate her filling out my suspicions of the man’s ideological rigidity and the annoying tendency to be holier than thou. I have always had a hard time taking him seriously and the behavior of his supporters has rebounded to a through going contempt for the man himself.
I do appreciate how Ms. Alperstein points out how responsible Sanders is for the toxic messaging of his more cultic followers. That line of reasoning does need to be drawn out and brought home. There is the normal to and fro of political debate and there is what Bernie is doing, delegitimizing Clinton for the most trivial of imagined offenses.
What really concerns me about Sanders is what is labeled “laziness” in the article and what I used to call a failure to provide the complete left-progressive program. Sanders still fails to really offer a fully formed critique of Clintonian and Obama NeoCon lite foreign policy or challenge the assumptions of the Bush-Cheney World view and interventionism for interventionism sake. There is no discussion of the Bacevich / Chalmers Johnson notion of dismantling the empire or trimming our sails. It’s easy enough to protest vote against the foolishness of the Iraq war. It’s a lot harder to make the case to rethink and reconfigure what our real National Interest may be and to reduce our military to that point. That’s a lot of head wind you have to work against, and a lot of coalition building to be done. I doubt Sanders has even heard of either Bacevich or Johnson and he does love to spend that sweet, sweet, defense money on the gold plated turkey of the F-35
I have also wonder how he was going to make any traction on his economic ideas not knowing how the International system really works, how all the moving parts connect and how his notions of breaking up the banks are a 20th century solution that is inadequate to our 21st century reality. Capital wings around the world on fiber optic lines making trades in nanoseconds, breaking up a bank via Frank Dodd would take much, much, much longer. Regulators in EU, UK and the US would be looking at smoking ruin by the time they had any notion of what to do about it. God help us if the contagion broke out in the totally unregulated wild, wild east of China or in Russia. It is totally naive to think Sanders, by presidential fiat, can “fix” too big to fail. A sudden price drop in Yak hair futures in Ulaanbaatar can melt down the Down via the Nikkei by way of the Chinese Markets before the Fed can say “oops aw shucks” And it’s not like you can regulate for these things, they are by their nature unpredictable and part of an interconnected world economy.
A small blurb about temperament. This is my least favorite talking point for or against a candidate. We should have learned with wanting to have a beer with W. Bush, but I guess not. He’s a grumpy, short tempered, rigid Brooklyn Jew. She is a wonky, overachieving, control freak. Can we move on?
Bernie is fortunate in that he exists at a time when the meritocratic elites that run DC and much else are facing an existential crisis. They are failing manifestly. The system they run is rotten to the core and rigged in too many obvious way. Bernie, a life long political operator, has been able to latch on to the frustration and rage against the failure of the system from one cohort of the population to push his agenda, an agenda in more normal times that would have no chance of a hearing.
The incrementalism of a Clinton or an Obama is frustrating. It’s sometimes badly executed. But it is slowly successful. The quantum leaps of a Sanders are pure fairy dust and not only ignore financial realities but social realities.
The Sanders campaign has been ignoring mathematical realities for a while and the realities of General if Sanders somehow got nominated. The whole fairy dust and unicorns farting glitter aspect of the Sanders campaign and their attacking anyone who dares harsh their groove is definitely off putting. I’m hoping that the next cohort of eastern seaboard states knocks some sense into the Sanders Camp and the wind out the sails of the more cultic members of Team Sanders.