Saturday, May 02, 2015

"Mr. Hooper's" Doppelgänger Throws His Hat Into This Blog

The Krait aka Gail Collins of the NY Fishwrap's Op-Ed page grabbed this blogger today. (See the explanation for "The Krait" label here.) It doesn't hurt that Senator Bernie Sanders reminds this blogger of "Sesame Street's" shopkeeper, "Mr. Hooper." Actually, Mr. Hooper was a kinder, gentler version of Bernie Sanders, but socialist activists tend away from kinder, gentler. However, Senator Sanders is all in. The Krait helpfully compares Bernie's "extremism" with the recent behavior of the pseudo-conservatives like the governor of Texas and the Idaho state legislature. If this is (fair & balanced) truth to insanity, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
Bernie Sanders Yells His Mind
By Gail Collins

Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing

created at

Our topic today is: Bernie Sanders for president?

“My fifteen minutes of fame,” the Vermont senator said gruffly over the phone. Gruff is pretty much his normal way of speaking, but Sanders was actually in a good mood at this point in the conversation. Later, the volume would escalate.

He announced he was running for the Democratic nomination on Thursday, first in an email, then in a makeshift press conference on the lawn outside the Capitol. There are worse approaches. One of the few previous presidential candidates from Vermont was George Dewey, the hero of the Spanish American War. Dewey started his campaign off with a statement that read, in part: “Since studying the subject I am convinced that the office of the president is not such a very difficult one to fill....” It was pretty much downhill from there.

Sanders’s beginning was more auspicious. His infant campaign raised more than $1.5 million in donations in the first 24 hours: “Thirty-five thousand donations averaging $43 apiece!”

For you, concerned citizen, this is nothing but good news. For one thing, we can now spend the winter entertaining the idea of a President Bernie. Plus, competition is always better. Hillary Clinton is no longer in danger of spending the next year just listening to average voters and denying she feels entitled.

Besides the two announced candidates, there will probably be other contenders, including former Maryland governor Martin (“former Maryland governor”) O’Malley. Also interested are ex-Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator turned former independent governor who is now a Democrat.

Question: What about Elizabeth Warren?

Answer: As a rule, when somebody says they are not running for president more than 100 times, it is a strong indication that they are not running for president.

Question: Sanders self-identifies as a “democratic socialist.” Aren’t people going to think that’s a little extreme?

Answer: This week, the governor of Texas announced he was putting a special watch on U.S. military exercises this summer, due to public speculation that the soldiers might take over the state and confiscate everyone’s guns. Also, the Idaho Legislature recently killed a bill that would have provided federal aid in tracking down deadbeat dads, due to concern that it might involve the use of Shariah law. I do not want to hear you calling Bernie Sanders an extremist.

Sanders said his campaign goal is to “lay down a progressive agenda which speaks to the needs of working people.” This would include making “the wealthiest people and corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.”

Now this is a problem for Democrats who envision the senator as a tool to push Hillary Clinton to the left. We already know she’s going to talk endlessly about bridging the economic divide. It might help if there were more specific specifics.

“You don’t know much about me, right?” asked Sanders, launching into another list of his causes: tax reform, health care, fixing the crumbling infrastructure.

“I voted against DOMA — you know what DOMA is?” he demanded, referring to the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, which Clinton once supported during her husband’s presidency. “I’m not evolving when it comes to gay rights. I was there!”

The sun was sinking over this conversation. (“You got me riled up here!”) The problem was that I was talking about his potential as a debating partner who could turn Clinton into a more progressive candidate, while Bernie Sanders wants to be regarded as a potential president of the United States.

“I do resent that,” he agreed. “I am in this race to win.”

Sanders doesn’t really want Democratic voters to compare him with Clinton to see who has the best positions on the issues. He wants them to decide who has the most consistent record is fighting for those issues, and there is absolutely no question in the world that when it comes to consistency, Bernie Sanders is Mount Rushmore to Hillary Clinton’s Sheila the Shapeshifter.

Her political life has been a continual, sometimes unedifying, struggle to get the power to do what she believed were the right things for the country. His began with a long list of principled and totally hopeless campaigns whose dismal outcomes he recounts proudly in speeches: “...I received 2 percent of the vote. Not dissuaded, I ran a year later for governor of the State of Vermont, and received 1 percent of the vote....”

Then came an improbable win for mayor of the small city of Burlington, which he governed well. Then it was off to the House and the Senate, where he fought for progressive causes. He has now been in Congress for 24 years — longer, he likes to point out, than any other independent in American history.

You’ve got to give him credit. Welcome to the race, Bernie. Ω

[Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she took a leave in order to complete America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. Collins returned to the Times as a columnist in July 2007. Collins has a BA (journalism) from Marquette University and an MA (government) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Gail Collins’s newest book is As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda (2012).]

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