Friday, March 4, 2016

Enough Already!


Okay, this is now getting stupid. This 2016 campaign has now passed from the sublime to the ridiculous. Mud throwing, name calling, character assassination. My God, John Belushi didn't behave this way in Animal House. This is not the way grownups are supposed to act.

Now you probably think I'm referring to the asshats currently vying for the Republican nomination. Well, I'm not. That isn't to say they're not an embarrassment to their party and their voters; they are. But the group I'm referring to are the throng of Bernie Sanders supporters, many of whom have taken over social media sites and declared war not only on Hillary Clinton but on just about anybody who doesn't feel the bern like they do.

I've heard of movements going bonkers, but this one takes the cake. I mean you have to see it to believe it. To read some of their comments you'd think Hillary Clinton is the second coming of Gordon Gekko. Gordon Gekko? Wasn't Mitt Romney supposed to be the second coming of old Gordo? Same difference, they'd say. Yeah, Hillary Clinton is Mitt Romney, or, better still, Donald Trump. Right, and I'm Mitch McConnell. In one posting I actually saw a picture of kid holding a knife and about to insert it into a wall outlet. It read "Trump or Hillary? Top socket or bottom socket?"

Sadly, this is the mindset of a good many of Sanders supporters. Not only have they convinced themselves that Bernie is the only way, they've ginned themselves up to such a fever pitch over Hillary that even the mention of her name makes them apoplectic. I have written several pieces on why I think Hillary would make a better president and, more to the point, why Bernie wouldn't, and even though my puny little blog barely gets a sniff of attention, I was taken to task for, how shall I put it, being a "quitter" and a "defeatist." Yes, because obviously believing that just getting to the Super Bowl isn't good enough means I'm a defeatist. Ask the Buffalo Bills what it means to just get to the Super Bowl. They lost in all four of their appearances. Winning the big game counts in politics as well as in sports.

But when you bring that up to many of Sanders supporters it falls on deaf ears. For them, it's about principle, or rather, Hillary's lack thereof. I can certainly grant their point that when it comes to authenticity and principles, Mrs. Clinton could probably use a little of both. What I can't quite grasp is this image that his supporters have of him that Bernie is an outsider. Outsider to what? The man has been in politics almost as long as I've been an adult. If that's what an outsider is, I think we just invented a new definition for the word. Someone should call Webster's.

Not content, however, with attacking Hillary and her supporters, the Bern squad, as I call them, are now focusing their attention on Elizabeth Warren. It appears that some of them are quite taken aback because the Massachusetts senator did not come out and publicly endorse their guy for the nomination.  Like it was Warren's responsibility to carry Bernie across the goal line. You should read some of the things these zipper heads are saying about the woman who, let's be honest, rejuvenated a movement that was moribund for well over a decade. Without Warren, Dodd-Frank would most likely have failed and the Democratic Party would belong to Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin. That anyone calling themselves a progressive would attack Elizabeth Warren is sheer idiocy, period.

Frankly I think Warren's decision not to endorse anyone in this race is good politics on her part. I know Bernie supporters think that word is terrible, but the simple truth is that whether they like it or not, politics plays a vital role in how the world is run, and not just in Washington. Think about it, if Warren had come out and endorsed someone it would've split the Party wide open. If you think tensions are high now between both camps, it would've been World War III had she thrown down with one side over another. By staying neutral, Warren allows herself to get behind whoever the eventual nominee is, thus giving Democrats a much better chance to unite and win in the fall. But there's that three-letter word again: win. Who cares about winning when you're right? Ah, the '80s. How dead was my valley?

Now for those of you who might be saying, hey wait a minute there, buddy, what about all those personal attacks on Bernie from the Hillary supporters? Well, first of all, while there have been "attacks" on Bernie, the overwhelming majority of them have not been personal, but rather substantive; that is to say they have questioned, like me, whether Sanders would be able to win a national election and, if he did, how effective he would be in office. If his congressional record is any indicator, I'm guessing not very. The simple truth is he can't answer the sixty-four thousand dollar question. How would he be able to get his agenda through Congress with only a slight majority in the Senate and a hostile Republican majority in the House? The answer is he can't and deep down he knows it. Unfortunately his followers don't seem to care about that. They want their revolution. Well, I want a Villa in the south of France. I'm not getting that either.

I don't give a rat's ass whether Bernie is a nice guy or whether he marched with MLK in Selma, anymore than I care whether Hillary stumped for Goldwater in '64. Hey, I voted for Reagan in '80. We all make mistakes. At any rate, that's more than fifty years ago, or, put another way, some twenty years before many of Sanders' supporters were even born. What I do care about is keeping the White House out of the hands of Donald Trump and it annoys and frightens me to no end that some people are contemplating sitting out this election rather than show up and vote for Hillary.

In a couple of months, maybe less, this primary season will be over and we will finally have a nominee. In all likelihood that nominee will not be Bernie Sanders. His supporters need to accept that reality when it comes. Because if they think there are no consequences for casting either a protest vote or staying home, I have two words for them: George Bush. By staying home or voting for Ralph Nader in 2000, progressives gave the presidency to Bush, albeit with a little help from the Supreme Court.

Believe me, compared to Donald Trump, Bush is practically Albert Einstein.

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