Sanders for president
Well, it just shows to go ya. Last week, I ranted it up about the mind-glazing length of our presidential campaigns these days, and how it would be just peachy to have limits of time and money on them and so forth, and now—now I want to hit the stump for my man Bernie! My revised stance on all this—I'm fed up to the max with campaigns of 20-24 months. Just fit to be tied! But 16-18 month campaigns, OK, those are jiffy.
But seriously, shortly after I turned in my piece last week, I saw a report about how Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and newly announced candidate for the democratic presidential nomination, was actually causing a bit of a stir with his early appearances in Iowa. That a lot of Iowans were showing up because they wanted to hear Bernie's message, and they wanted to hear it was because the guy might be kind of refreshing. That he just may be a throwback to—dare I say it—FDR?
A quick look, courtesy of his web site, reveals why Bernie is getting attention. On the issue of income inequality, Sanders says, “If it's too big to fail, it's too big to exist.” He's introduced legislation in the Senate that would break up those huge monolithic banks that have become TBTF. Which sounds, after 2009, fairly sensible. He also notes the staggeringly obscene reality of modern America that one family—one, the Waltons—owns as much wealth as the bottom 42 percent. That sure wasn't the case in 1970 or '90.
On the issue of campaign finance reform, Sanders writes “Congress must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections.” Who would disagree? Besides a lobbyist with three homes? On climate change, Bernie says, “We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. … We need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar.”
There will be many who will try to portray Sanders as a commie, a radical, someone to dismiss out of hand. But every time I listen to the guy, I hear a reasonable man who actually gives a damn about America's beleaguered middle class, and has the energy to do something about it, someone who can get me to fish out the Visa card.
If Sanders is gonna create some mojo, if he is gonna jerk Hillary's chain, he's gonna need a few months to build some of that good ole populist grass roots ground swell. We can say this much—he's off to a very interesting start. If he's gonna be this year's Jimmy Carter, he'll need some time to get the buzz buzzin'. Right now, it might be wise to check all assumptions at the door. And let's see what happens when Elizabeth Warren tells all of her broken-hearted people that she's totally down with the Berninator.