Leading From Behind

Jerome Boger
No more safeties Democrats!

On the California stump Hillary Clinton is spinning that pragmatic politicians don’t “dash hopes” or “frustrate” voters, avoiding bold policies that supposedly won’t pass.  She touts deal making over end-zone plays against the Party of No; grinding it out with short pass plays and runs up the gut to move the chains, one first down at a time.

The problem with this tactic is that Obama tried it and largely failed.  Yes he signed the Affordable Care Act, but he let Congress write it with virtually no guidance, so we got an overly complex, expensive law with a giant donut hole for top-end low-wage earners (among many, many other problems).  Obama didn’t introduce a bold initiative like a public-option or single payer system and force Congress to say no.  Instead, he started in the middle and we ended up with the GOP’s 1993 “exchange”.  Lesson learned:  When Democratic presidents start by giving Republicans what we think they want, we end up way right of center.  In football parlance, that means giving up a safety instead of scoring a touchdown.

But Bernie Sanders realizes that strong presidents stand up for what they believe in.  They lay out bold visions and back ‘em up with bold proposals.  They introduce transformative programs like TR’s Square Deal, FDR’s New Deal, or LBJ’s War on Poverty.  They win hearts and minds.  They use the Bully Pulpit to sell the message and merits of their policies directly to the American People, above the heads of Congress and their lobbyists.  Most important, strong presidents either get the people’s agenda passed or force Congress to vote it DOWN, exposing lawmakers’ real allegiances.  Strong leaders send ’em home to explain their no vote to angry constituents during Congressional “recess”.

So there it is.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have Bernie Sanders push real change and see it fail than watch Hillary Kabuki dance around the edges of big problems.  Of course, her “successes” will include ample give-aways to big business; bones thrown in to sweeten the pot, rendering her victories neutral at best, but at least we’d make a few baby steps along the way right?  Maybe not . . .

Obama’s been trying to pass moderate legislation for eight years and what did we get?  The Trans-Pacific trade deal (TPP), which, like Obama-Care, is a GOP bill.  Everything else was blocked, and it’s ironic that Dr. No (Mitch McConnell) is currently plugging a memoir about all the bi-partisan “legislation” he pushed through the Senate during Obama’s tenure.  His favorite accomplishments are two budget bills that halted government shutdowns.  McConnell’s really proud of this.  Thanks Mitch.  Are these the kind of “deals” Hillary’s talking about?

First steps of small baby isolated
America is sick of baby-steps Hillary

 

Leading From Behind

No More Next Years:

1955_next_year
Was Brooklyn-born Bernie in the stands with the rest of “dem bums” . . . ?

It’s become increasingly apparent that the most vital plank in the 2016 Democratic Convention Platform will be reforming the entire nomination process.  For starters, Bernie wants to “open up” the primaries to parties of every political persuasion, including Republicans and Independents.  The standard argument against this is that it opens the door for the GOP base to vote for a “weaker” candidate in the primary so they can beat him/her in the general election.   Well what does “weaker” candidate really mean anyway?  Someone who truly represents old school Democratic values?  Someone like Bernie Sanders?

History of the Hijack

Back in ’72, George McGovern got blown out by the incumbent (Nixon) because the economy seemed strong and Vietnam was winding down, yet McGovern’s loss is commonly cited as a rationale for the Democrats current super-delegate system.  Question:  Is this when the Democratic Party lost its way, selling out instead of taking one on the chin and regrouping?  Apparently, party leaders couldn’t swallow such a bitter pill, namely Tricky Dick winning in ’68 with the Southern Strategy and in ‘72 by dumping the Gold Standard, which saved jobs in time for the election but bred inflation for Ford and austerity for Carter.  Pretty clever huh?

Then Reagan beat Carter in ’80 with more Southern strategy, tax-cuts for the rich and deregulation, but this time with the incumbent battling both a brutal recession (thanks to Nixon’s fuzzy math) and a Ted Kennedy primary.  That’s a triple whammy folks, and maybe Carter pulls it out if Ted waits his turn, but, typical of politicians faced with losing power, party panic set in.  Instead of reframing, rebranding, and offering alternatives to Reaganomics, these self-appointed super-delegates inherited dictatorial powers while silently shifting Right.

Rather than saving fast-fading unions, they scattered to every K-Street corner, rattling their tin cups at the well-heeled boots of a vast lobbyist army marching on Capitol Hill.  Presto!  The stage was set and the road paved with gold for the “New” Democrats, Republican Lite, Blue Dogs and Purple People-eaters to hijack the Party.  Big Business never had it so good, and the rest is history.

Clinton Coronation

Fast forward to 2016:  Now the super-delegates have morphed into a gigantic Coronation Committee for Clinton, even after she loses primary after primary down the stretch and polls half as high as Bernie vs. Trump.  This is anti-democratic (and counter-intuitive), yet the lame-stream media continues to serve as an echo-chamber for the Clinton campaign by refusing to acknowledge Sander’s momentum.  Of course, it all makes sense when you consider that television, radio and print media were gobbled up and consolidated by corporations around the same time Democrats sold us out thirty years ago.  Do you really think some talking head will expose the charade and risk losing star status, a 1% income, and a really cool job over truth?  Think again.

Bernie’s Big Fix

So here’s the bottom line:  Bernie’s call to trash the super-delegate system targets the Achilles Heel of the Democratic Party, namely, its inability to differentiate from Republicans.  It forces the Party to return to its roots by opening up the primaries, the platform and nomination process to outside campaigns fueled by small donations, not corporate capture.  Otherwise, the system will continue to operate like a modern day Tammany Hall; a churning, burning, old fashioned political machine where instead of passing bags of money around, Party Bosses nurture a complex system of legalized corruption.

Bernie’s political revolution is the antidote to this grand illusion; this Matrix where the appearance of change cons us into believing it’s right around the corner, when in reality the base is teased like Brooklyn Dodger fans (“dem bums!”) every cycle with front office promises of: “Wait ‘til next year!” Meanwhile the bank-rolled Bronx Bombers (a Wall Street dynasty) keep winning, year, after year, after year . . . and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, year, after year, after year, and the middle class disappears, year, after year, after year . . . and the climate gets hotter and health care more costly, year, after year, after year . . .

No More Next Years

Well guess what?  Berners aren’t waiting ‘til next year, next week, or even tomorrow.  We want real, big, bold, change NOW!  And like it or not, the party powerful WILL hear our VOICE at the Convention in June, because we’re sick of the con, and because, most important of all:  We are the real Democrats.

FDR
Fellow “bums” . . . I mean Democrats:  You have nothing to fear but fear itself!  Sooooo . . . squash those pesky Super-delegates and return to your ROOTS!

 

No More Next Years:

Masters of the Universe

Panel moderator Chris Matthews of MSNBC, left, hugs Senator

 

The Washington Post, New York Times, and NY Daily News just won’t give up.  Bernie keeps winning while they keep whining, ignoring him in coverage and bashing him on the back page, even after he hammered Hillary in eight out of the nine last contests.  These jaded pieces are so strident they border on the boorish, painting the first populist since John Edwards and Howard Dean as a delusional, lying lunatic bent on sending the U.S. straight to Stalinist Russia.  Did these papers rip that other Democratic Socialist (and top-tier POTUS Hall of Famer) FDR like this when he ran for Prez?  Doubt it.  Yet it’s quite clear this Clintonite crew is experiencing a visceral, knee-jerk reaction to Bernie’s New-New Deal, but why?

Tom Wolfe coined these types “Masters of the Universe” in Bonfire of the Vanities, his classic fictional case study of elite hubris.  This current cast of vain-glorious characters recoils at the notion of Bernie’s revolution, which challenges business-as-usual in the corporate media establishment.  Heck, if Bernie’s elected they might have to cover future elections on substance rather than gossip, gotcha-questions, and horse-race politics. Or cover corporate corruption the way their predecessor Walter Cronkite did instead of soft-pedaling it from their pedestals.

In their quest for harvesting eyeballs and cheap profits, mass media has contracted mass amnesia. Mainstream news has completely forgotten its sacred mission and public duty to constantly QUESTION the status quo rather than shamelessly and vigorously defend it as they do with Clinton.  For the Washington Post, the case is hopeless so long as Amazon magnate Billionaire Bezos owns that dying paper.  Honestly folks, would the current Post have pulled out all the stops to expose Watergate under its current regime?  Pleeeease . . .

And we don’t need to read tea leaves to see that citizens on the left AND the right are fed up with a system that’s been ripping them off for two generations.  The People are demanding change NOW, not next year, or next month, or next week, but NOW, so it’s high time the tone-deaf media started challenging the status quo instead of coddling it.  Not only that, they should thank their lucky stars they live in a country where they still can.  These guys should know journalists around the world get murdered every day for pushing back against power, yet they insist on denigrating Bernie’s revolution against a system that, ironically, gets less democratic by the day.

Granted, some Clintonites genuinely fear big change might disrupt the overall economy, but Bernie’s answer is:  What economy?  The current system may be working for them, but not for 99% of their fellow citizens.  The bottom line is, despite all the elite media’s kicking and screaming, we really do need an FDR redux to fix forty years of disastrous, neo-liberal economic policy, and Bernie brilliantly fits the bill.

So when Hillary’s henchmen like Chris Matthews bitch that Bernie “makes promises he can’t keep”, it’s not just a lie but an insult to any American, liberal or conservative, demanding real change.  Statements like these assume the American people aren’t capable of freeing their government from corporate tyranny, even via a grassroots groundswell of political pressure not seen since the Sixties.  Apparently, Master-of-the-Universe-Matthews and other media honchos just don’t believe the American people have the juice to get the job done.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I take that as a challenge, especially when it comes in the form of a patronizing dictum hurled at me (a mere mortal) from the lofty heights of Mt. Olympus.  In fact, it makes me damn mad.

 

 

Masters of the Universe

Citizens United to Kick Congress in the Can!

PinkSlipAnother current critique fomenting Bernie bias is that Sanders would be a lame duck president, with tone-deaf pundits trashing his aggressive agenda as “D.O.A.”, “down for the count”, and “dead as a doornail” in our cash-infused conservative Congress. These egoist establishment naysayers argue that if centrists like Obama couldn’t push “pragmatic” policy past the GOP, how will a hard-hurling lefty hit the strike zone in the Land of No? Well, if that’s your attitude folks, why not just vote Republican so we can “get stuff done” like Hillary keeps hollerin’?

But such maximal measures may be moot, because if Bernie wins the nomination turnout tallies will explode, sending a stampeding storm of victorious voters to the polls, not for charity (as red baiters believe), but to destroy disastrous disparity in America.  This history-making horde will flip the sinister Senate, even that hellacious House of horrors, back to our Democratic damsels in distress. Bernie’s message will energize these voracious voters as will the prospect of triumphing over a tirading Trump, the demonizing demagogue who fosters fear and strikes terror in trans-migrant hearts.

But wait! What about those Democrats who danced on Bernie’s coattails all the way to D.C., sizing up their shiny Senator seats on Inauguration Day? Won’t they be bought-and-paid-for with cold, hard campaign cash? How will Bernie dissuade these dishonest Dems from lapping at the well-heeled loafers of lascivious lobbyists?  Answer:  By boarding T.R.’s train to the Bully Pulpit and bellowing, from sea to shining sea:  PURSUE THE PEOPLE’S PROGRAM.  PRONTO!

But this won’t do the trick, even in tempestuous times, if the Almighty Dollar rules the roost.  Will unsatisfied citizens in a sickly system have the power, or the means, to circumvent the High Court’s campaign-cash cabal?  Unless these judicial figureheads of finance frustrate their overlords by finding religion on the true frequency of free speech, Bernie’s bellows will fall on deaf ears.  So how will the people confront this confounding conflation of the First Amendment franchise and Big Business-backed bucks?

With diminutive democratic donations of course! Bernie’s bastion of small contributors will continuously crash our occupied offices like waves at Normandy Beach.  Voters will recoil at repugnant Representatives reneging on (and reigning in) the People’s promise.  Millions of Mr. Smiths will “go to Washington” to chastise craven Congressional charlatans hooked on corrupt campaign cash, and cry:  “KICK ‘EM TO THE CURB!” on Capitol Hill.

And we will!  No mid-term melancholy here folks; no reprise of those dreaded days when oscillating Obama cobwebbed his campaign until Term Two. Sanders will keep the fire BERNing while we brazenly boot irreconcilable Representatives off the reservation.  Not with virulent violence as Trump would tout, but by virtue of VOICING OUR VOTE.  That’s right!  Bernie-backers will blast the blithering bums into oblivion, re-setting the mid-term that laughed its way to the bank in lieu of lighting Lady Liberty.

So Citizens Unite!  After all, according to the Court’s munificent majority, money equals speech.  Right?

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bernie_sanders_political_revolution_still_can_transform_america_20160317

 

Citizens United to Kick Congress in the Can!

Mo’ Message

bernievstrump
Turnout trounces Trump in a general election.

Keep heart Bernie-backers! The revolution continues. He (we) may not have done as well as expected Tuesday, but as long as we feel the Bern, this movement will hound Hillary to the convention (and beyond).

First, Clinton won Florida because that primary was CLOSED, shutting out Independent voters more likely to vote for Sanders. Many of these voters were also older, comfortably retired, died-in-the-wool Clinton fans who aren’t looking for a revolution. Trust me, if you’re retired in Florida, you’re probably doing OK and won’t rock the boat (I mean yacht).

Second, exit polls revealed voters in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Missouri believed 2 to 1 that Clinton has a better shot at beating Trump than Bernie, even though a Hillary nomination will depress turnout and serve the White House to Trump on a silver platter (he loves silver platters).

So it behooves Bernie-backers to knock these folks off the fence (gently please) and get ’em to feel the Bern again. Look: 8 in 10 exit-polled voters on Tuesday trusted Bernie more than Clinton, which means those uncertain citizens wanted to VOTE FOR BERNIE, but feared (wrongly) he’d lose in the general. This is a disturbing development, and I’m even hearing it from friends, but it’s a scam, rooted in the illusion of “electability” – a synonym for status-quo.

These folks need to know that, unlike Hillary, Bernie excites the base and INCREASES turnout, because he’s already won the message. Witness Hillary’s sudden stance on unfair trade agreements (TPP), her out-of-left-field anti-corporate talking points, and her 180 pivot on whether Michigan’s governor should resign over the Flint water crisis. But like the old 80’s hit, Hill is just “talk-talk” while Bernie’s all walk-walk, even though her new songs spawn side-splitting SNL skits.

Why does Bernie walk while Hillary talks? Because the American people know lobbyists can’t buy him, which is why 80% of those exit-polled voters trusted Bernie more than a finger-to-the-wind flip-flopper. Now all we need to do is get ’em to vote for the candidate (and the movement) they trust instead of against a false fear.

The convention is in June, so time is on our side. More time means more democratic donations, more voracious volunteers, and above all, mo’ message.

Two months is a lifetime when information (and a donation) travels at the speed of light.

Mo’ Message

The Lenoir Voice Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

The youth movement of the 1960’s ended Vietnam and pushed Civil Rights over the goal line, ushering in a long, steady march towards social equality, culminating with the landmark same-sex marriage ruling last year. The youth movement of the 2010’s will end the endless War on Terror and win ECONOMIC equality for every American: White, black, Latino, Asian, straight and gay.

The Lenoir Voice Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Stop the Biased Bernie-Bashing

 

 

The establishment media, especially the Washington Post, is doing everything in its power to dampen Bernie-movement enthusiasm by collectively reporting that Clinton is “sprinting” to the finish line and relegating Bernie’s victories in 4 states (and 1 tie) on Super Tuesday to after-thought status.  I’m frankly flabbergasted and outraged at their biased reporting and editorializing.  Bernie handily beat Hillary in major states: Minnesota (25 points), Colorado by 20 points, Oklahoma by 10, and Mass was a virtual tie.  His percentages in almost every southern state also improved from the dismal 18% in the SC primary (with the exception of Alabama) well into the 30% range, yet all we hear from the Washington Post are quotes like:  ” . . . as she marches towards the Democratic nomination.” and “”Clinton is now on a path towards a PERMANENT lead among delegates, etc.”  They did it again this week when Bernie won Michigan after being down 20 points in the polls by hyperventilating over Hill’s win in a minor state (Mississippi) while brushing Bernie’s win aside.  Forget about the Post’s completely distorted anti-Sanders editorials.  That’s a subject for another Bernie Blog.

The most outrageous trick is the Post’s failure to differentiate pledged “super” delegate tallies from actual EARNED delegates won through the primary process, so what we end up with is a totally distorted 883 to 232 delegate “lead” for Hillary pasted above Super Tuesday’s front page headline: “THE FRONT RUNNERS SPRINT AHEAD”.  BUT, her actual lead in reality was not nearly so insurmountable:  577 to 394 with 2383 needed to win!! Now, which sounds better, an 8.8 to 2.3 ratio, or a 5.7 to 3.9 ratio with months of primaries left on the calendar and delegate-rich New York and California on the horizon?  And all this with Bernie breaking records for small cash contributions?

Bernie is absolutely right – this system is rigged and it should be no surprise the Clinton Democratic machine and neo-liberal media are all singing the same song, but even NPR? And Al Franken?  A real progressive (so I thought), but still waving Hillary’s coronation crown when his own state just went for Bernie 62 to 38?  The bottom line is that all these guys, including the Black Caucus, are all about protecting their own interests over the people’s, and it should make us really sick.

 

Stop the Biased Bernie-Bashing