TIME TO STOP TREATING BERNIE AS THE BAD GUY
which Democrat has a better chance of beating Trump?
Let me assure you that you’re not alone in freaking out because of the imminent calamity that is about to be visited upon a fearful and anxious nation.
You know what I’m talking about:
- The continuing spread of coronavirus, which is killing thousands, sickening millions and worse, is unnerving the stock market?
- The break-off of another iceberg - the size of a) Texas, b) Rhode Island or c) Dixville Notch - from the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, accelerating sea level rise around Mar-a-Lago?
- Another price hike for Amazon Prime?
We're talking, of course, about Bernie Sanders.
And what did Bernie do? Did he boast that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, blast away with a gun and get away it? Pardon a war criminal? Force refugees back into the clutches of their would-be murderers? Draw a phony weather map?
Nope, worse. He won the Nevada caucuses, and won big. And that’s after eking out the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses (So, so long ago), and barely winning the New Hampshire primary.
All of which, if you watched the candidates' shameful screamfest yesterday in South Carolina, really has Bernie's fellow Communists, oops, I mean socialists, no that’s not right, either - has his brother and sister Democrats struggling with how to deal with their multiple stages of grief.
Rather than congratulating the former Congressman and now Senator, and instead of cheering the 705,580 people who have donated to his campaign, his fellow Comm … candidates, the Democratic Establishment (Someday, somebody will tell me exactly what that consists of) and the entire National Academy of Political Pundits, set upon him with a fury usually reserved for unindicted real estate cheats and convicted movie molesters.
Panic everywhere, like this Politico headline:
But it really seems like everyone else, except the voters, is out to get The Bern.
“Look, if you want to keep the House in Democratic hands,” ex-South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg scolded Sanders during the debate, “you might want to check with the people who actually turned the House blue: 40 Democrats who are not running on your platform. They are running away from your platform as fast as they possibly can.”
Mike Bloomberg, ex-mayor of an actual city, played the Russia card: “Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping you get elected: So that you lose to him.”
So, Sweet Dog, what's the good news?
It’s not easy. But it’s possible.
One of my two Humans here in Rhode Island - The Grouchy One - was actually born in Vermont, in the cute little college town of Middlebury, which is just down the road from the city of Burlington, where Sanders once was mayor.
Now, it’s also true that the other Human at our house is The Nice One, and with patience and good humor, she goes a long way to overcome the many hurdles of living with someone who yells all day at the radio and TV; whose idea of a conversation is: “What, Phoebe? You want to go out again? We were JUST out.” Or, “Stop barking at the mail lady, that’s MY job.”
But underneath, The Grouchy One is, well, grouchy.
So give him credit for consistency, which is just one of the reasons that so many people, especially young people, are devoted to Bernie. He’s authentic in that he used to be unpleasant and still is, and that his beliefs have changed very little since the early days when he was among the signers of the Declaration of Independence. (Note to Democratic debaters: that's a joke).
Anyway, I've survived almost eight years with a grouchy Vermonter; and I'm betting that the country cand do the same with Bernie and be much the better for it, assuming he ages in place for that long in the White House.
NOW, LET’S GET one thing straight. Bernie is not my man. My man is Amy Klobuchar, because The Nice One and I think it’s time for a “good girl,” to put it in dog terms, to be president, and of the remaining candidates, she’s got the right temperament – pleasant, but not too pleasant – plus the experience as a prosecutor and longtime Senator, with broad appeal that can pull together all sorts of Democrats.
But let’s say Bernie does become the nominee. Is that so bad?
If you're e a Democrat or a left-leaning Independent, what's not to like about the issues that Bernie is pushing?
Are you against healthcare for everyone? Do you oppose housing, food, a job, good pay for everybody? Are you upset with the idea of a humane immigration policy?
I challenge anyone with a heart to go to www.berniesanders.com and find one single thing they don’t like there, other than having to pay for Bernie campaign swag.
Speaking of swag, while you’re at the website, look up one of the tote bags that no NPR-loving liberal can resist. It has this relevant slogan: “Keep calm and vote. Bernie”. The tote is only $18, but I suppose you're asking how we all are supposed to pay for the rest of what Bernie's is selling.
But here’s one idea from the Phoebe Thought Factory: putting millions of people to work building roads and houses and solar panels and taking care of the elderly and auditing rogue real estate dealers’ tax returns and all the other union-grade jobs Bernie’s programs would create, meaning lots of new taxpayers and lots more revenue from people who already paying.
NOW, ABOUT THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Which is to say that every critic seems to take it as Gospel that if Bernie is the nominee, that means he'll be responsible for a horrendous loss, and not just of the White House, but the House, the Senate and probably the entire Burlington City Council.
What about that “Democratic Socialist” target that Bernie has slapped onto his own back and that he’ll stick onto all the other Democrats, making them easy pickins' for Trump’s troops of gun-toting goons?
That's actually an easy answer: Russia-loving, Putin-kiss-up Donald Trump, whose best pen pal is Kim Jong-un, is going to call every Democrat a socialist no matter whom he runs against.
And another thing – Don’t cut me off, I still have some time left – just like yesterday, just like today, and just like tomorrow, Donald J. Trump is the odds-on favorite to win the Nov. 3 election unless he does something truly bad, like running naked around Fifth Avenue wearing Stormy Daniels’ panties on his head, and even then we can’t be sure.
He’s riding high on a supposedly strong economy. The Gallup Poll says 90 percent of Americans are satisfied with their lives. His “approval” rating is in the upper 40s, and probably higher than that, since lots of hidden Trump supporters lie to pollsters.
But it's possible that Bernie, with his enthusiastic base and his solid Democratic aspirations may be best chance to defeat Trump, and the doomsayers, The Establishment and the Russians are plain wrong.
Do you seriously think Tommy, Amy, Mikey, Petey, Lizzie or Joey has a better chance than Bernie of taking down the worst president in history?
By the way, RealClearPolitics, which averages various polls, has Sanders beating Trump by more than 4 percentage points in a national matchup, granted that kind of speculative survey has limited value.
Finally, here is more advice from a dog who is close to the grassroots and whose ancestors roamed the wilderness in packs:
Things do not go well when members of the family turn on one another, as they did at last night’s yell-and-interrupt cage match, instead of coming together before the big and bad wolf eats all of us alive.
So, if we can get Michelle Obama to run as Bernie’s vice president, or better still, reverse the order if there's no dominant nominee by the time the Democratic National Convention rolls around.
Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Yes, she can. And yes, she should.