2 notes on Bernie Sanders, viable president

1.

It is not the job of the leader of the free world to be a realist. The world itself sets the bar for what’s possible or not and we do our best to deal with the results. The President of the United States should be the country’s biggest dreamer, its inspiration, the person saying “We choose to go to the moon.” Imagine Hillary Clinton debating Kennedy on that one.

Clinton and Bernie Sanders have much in common but they also have very different ideals about the fundamental direction of our future. Clinton’s stance is that everyone should have a chance to reach a “God-given potential” (…to be as successful as she is). The implicit message here is that full stature in American life has to be earned. Sanders says, no, your health, your education, your parental leave, your fair minimum wage — these things are American rights. You should get them when you walk in the door (socialism!). They shouldn’t be gambled on, or left to the rigged hellscape of a fundamentally amoral capitalism.

This perspective, more than anything else, is why I am supporting Bernie Sanders for president.

2.

It’s easy to frame the disrespectful, obstructionist Republican efforts and attitude against President Obama as a party-wide move to the far right with a healthy dash of old-fashioned, vanilla white supremacy. This is certainly accurate. But it is worth remembering the previous democratic president, who happens to be Bill Clinton, faced a GOP opposition so unruly that they put him through impeachment proceedings.

Republicans haven’t played fair in decades. They are a toxic party holding back the progress of America and failing even the bare minimum of their representative role — to keep the government from shutting down, a move Ted Cruz, Iowa caucus winner and real-life, not-Netflix-drama presidential candidate, accomplished with glee.

And they have a particular hatred for Hillary Clinton that dates back decades. There is this weird common-sense consensus that Clinton has more accomplishments than Senator Sanders, that her achievements will somehow carry over into a more productive presidency. If elected, Clinton’s future co-workers are the same schmucks who just put her through a Benghazi witch hunt. When she reaches across the aisle, her hand will get slapped. It would be shocking if impeachment proceedings don’t start the day she’s inaugurated.

This is not Clinton’s fault, nor is it to lessen her tremendous intelligence, capabilities or political record. They’ll do the same thing to Sanders: the idea that either of them has a productivity advantage, that a “reasonable” Democrat proposal will get more traction than any Democrat proposal at all, is magical thinking. The climate in Washington will change when the craziest Republicans, which is almost all of them now, are voted out. When that happens, and the engine of progress starts burning again, wouldn’t we rather have the Democrat with the boldest vision launching the shuttle?