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“He’d Do Well To Stay There”: Bernie Sanders Should Stick To The High Road

Bernie Sanders started his campaign stumping for his ideals without savaging the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. That was an attractive combination.

Now that he’s done a lot better than anticipated (though way down in delegates), his people are wondering whether he has made a mistake by not lunging for Clinton’s throat.

The answer is no. He’d be even further down, because virtuous politicking has been the source of his charm.

Sanders has never been much of a team player. He is an independent, not a Democrat, but Team Democrat has respected his candidacy. And it has given him a platform he’d never have gotten on his own.

But the welcome mat shows holes. The impressive sums Sanders raises go to his campaign only. Clinton raises money for her campaign and for other Democrats down the ticket. Adding to an unpleasantness, the Sanders camp lashes out at Clinton’s fundraising as somehow sordid.

Exactly how are you going to get your liberal priorities passed without a friendlier House and Senate?

Not Sanders’ problem. Never has been. And that accounts for his modest accomplishments in Washington.

The Sanders campaign prides itself in speaking “the truth,” so here’s some:

Sanders did not fight alone for single-payer health care. He failed to attract a single co-sponsor for his recent single-payer bill, his fans explain, because the health care industry intimidated lesser liberals in the Senate.

But John Conyers proposed single-payer in the House and gathered more than 90 co-sponsors. (Conyers endorsed Clinton in the Michigan primary.)

Sanders recently accused Clinton of taking “significant money from the fossil fuel industry” — a claim for which The Washington Post awarded him three “Pinocchios.”

Oil and gas doesn’t even make the list of the top 20 industries contributing to the Clinton campaign. Fossil fuel money accounts for only 0.15 percent of her campaign and outside PAC sum. But Sanders gooses the numbers by dishonestly labeling donations from lobbyists who also work for other industries as fossil fuel money.

Sanders portrays himself as a one-man army fighting Wall Street abuses in the Senate. Actually, the one-man army has been one woman, named Elizabeth Warren.

Before joining the Senate, Warren championed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — detested by predatory lenders for shielding the little guys. Clinton was among the bureau’s most enthusiastic boosters and pushed other Democrats to sign on.

Sanders would have certainly won the financial industry’s enmity if it took him seriously. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page virtually ignores him, turning its wrath on the far more dangerous Warren.

Now, Clinton’s $225,000-per-speech fees from Goldman Sachs are fair game for the political opposition. But then the opposition has to show what Wall Street got in return other than her insights and her company.

A quid pro quo is hard to pin down. For example, the head of the D.E. Shaw group has given more than $800,000 to the Clinton effort. His company holds much distressed Puerto Rican debt and opposes letting the island file for bankruptcy. Clinton is for it.

Do note that the financial services industry is among New York state’s largest employers and is No. 1 for payroll. Clinton represented the state, and senators do confer with large hometown employers.

Speaking of which, Sanders waves his fist against wasteful military spending but voted to fund the $1.2 trillion F-35 fighter — one of the most expensive, most cost-overrun and most plagued weapons systems in U.S. history. Seems the maker, Lockheed Martin, employs a bunch of Vermonters.

Sanders looks best when he conducts politics from the high road. He’d do well to stay there for the sake of his legacy.

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, April 5, 2016

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Bushleaguer”: You Can Expect A Jeb Bush Presidency To Be A Lot Like His Brother’s On Climate Change, Only Worse

Evidently, Jeb Bush is no longer on speaking terms with his father and brother.

The former Florida governor and (God help us) would-be GOP presidential candidate still insists that there’s room for skepticism on the issue of climate change. As Grist’s Ben Adler observes:

…Bush [simply] doesn’t believe in [human-caused] climate change! In a 2011 interview with Fox News, Bush said, ‘It is not unanimous among scientists that [climate change] is disproportionately manmade. … What I think on the left I get a little tired of is the sanctimonious idea that somehow ‘science’ has decided all this so therefore you can’t have a view.’

…[Y]ou could expect a Jeb Bush presidency to be a lot like his brother’s on climate change, only worse. Bush is even starting out this campaign to the right of where Mitt Romney was on climate science at this point in the last cycle. In 2011, Romney was chastised by the right-wing media for accepting climate science, even though he didn’t propose to do anything about the problem. Rush Limbaugh said that stance meant ‘bye-bye nomination,’ but Romney still won it, in part by later disavowing climate science.

History shows us three things about Jeb Bush: He is no moderate, he is not too moderate to win the nomination, and the Republican primaries will drag him further rightward.

Neither George H. W. Bush nor George W. Bush governed as climate hawks during their administrations; the former had a radical climate-change denier, John Sununu, as his chief of staff for the first three years of his administration, while the latter infamously censored and edited climate science reports to appease the fossil fuel industry (the late whistleblower Rick Piltz exposed Bush’s machinations in 2005). Still, Bush 41 and Bush 43 at least publicly acknowledged that human-caused climate change was real and a potential problem.

By denying human-caused climate change, Jeb Bush is, in essence, calling his father and brother liars. Is this really the sort of message he wants to send to the public?

Jeb Bush insists that he is a pro-lifer; this is supposedly why he stuck his nose into the Terri Schiavo case years ago. However, his continued refusal to recognize the reality and risk of climate change—which will take lives if carbon pollution is not addressed—exposes him as a complete fraud and someone unworthy of even being a presidential candidate, much less President. I know she’s not perfect, but if a denialist demagogue like Jeb is her opponent on November 8, 2016, then I’m absolutely ready for Hillary.

 

By: D. R. Tucker, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, December 28, 2014

December 29, 2014 Posted by | Climate Change, GOP Presidential Candidates, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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