Home | About | Donate

Give 'Em Hell, Bernie


#1

Give 'Em Hell, Bernie

Matt Taibbi

Many years ago I pitched a magazine editor on a story about Bernie Sanders, then a congressman from Vermont, who'd agreed to something extraordinary – he agreed to let me, a reporter, stick next to him without restrictions over the course of a month in congress.

"People need to know how this place works. It's absurd," he'd said. (Bernie often uses the word absurd, his Brooklyn roots coming through in his pronunciation – ob-zert.)


#2

Bernie Sanders & Bruce Springsteen, the Working Class Hero ticket. Come on Bruce, baby you were born to run!


#3

Best thing that could happen to US politics in 2016. Senator Sanders knows what he's talking about from Social Security to Immigration to Income Inequality. Go Bernie!


#5

Until we enter a 1929 style Depression, and millions of people have been forced into grass roots union and community organizing, we will not have a non-Wall Street, progressive president.

But having Bernie in the race will help us to start the work we need to do, which is not so much electoral as worker to worker, neighbor to neighbor, student to student; and also between those categories.

Those who say get out of the 2 party monolith are right, of course. But we already have third parties. (I'm a Green) If they are to compete with the billionaires we need to build a mass movement.

How? That's what we need to be talking about.


#7

You raise interesting points about how it is that we envision our situation. There is a weird mad ave. pseudo national identity crisis that comes from generations of chasing the hope of being able to buy the next best thing to make one's self complete - but actually absolute complete hogwash.

The same applies to being beings on a planet just beginning to talk about something called 'the Anthropocene era'. Well, we've got a name for it, but when you begin to talk about it as a societal reality - its four fingers short of hand.

Bernie still has those fingers and hands and a memory - just like the majority of people in the world, who can tell the difference between sh*t and shinola. In the mean time the predatory corporate profit model on steroids is doing its damndest to pretend they've been erased under its cloak and dagger song and dance. Oddly enough its a mass hypnosis chimera, a flash in the pan and still proving how deadly it is.

Working Families, National Farmers Union, other Unions, Coops, countless others and its going to take true changes of heart, courage, joy and an inclusive sense of adventure. The hardest challenges are where our greatest strengths await. This, I think, is where the artists come in.

Run Bernie Run!! Run Warren Run!!


#9

Too bad Matt's observations of the oligarchs is limited to offshoring jobs. Obama and Congress have enabled the too-big-to-fail banks to grow 40% larger since 2008, requiring even larger taxpayer funded bail outs when the next crash comes, and Obama's TPP and TTIP will offshore more jobs AND reassign judicial authority from courts to those same oligarchs, thereby enabling them to siphon off even more money and resources from the 99% including those left unemployed.


#10

Mr. Taibbi:
1. How does Bernie's race feel to YOU compared to Obama's race in 2008; and
2. Why should we vote for yet another DC politician running under the same old 2-party system that is wholly responsible for the sad state of our union?

Convince me that Bernie really is different from the obadrone that was running in the 2008 silly season.


#11

The most useful bit of this piece is to communicate just how cosseted the Washington DC press corps (corpse is more apt) truly is. In the space of a generation, they have out paced the hacks covering Wall Street in terms of damage done to the American body politic.
Though Bernie Sanders is not exactly the ideal candidate (who could be in the American first-past-the-post electoral system?), he is the sort of firebrand much needed in US political discourse.


#12

Bernie knows exactly what he is doing. He has entered early so the media can't entirely ignore him and what he has to say. As soon as there are more Democratic candidates, he will be ignored as was Kucinich in 2004 and 2008. Things have changed a bit since then and what he has to say will more likely resonate with the public. The media will declare him unelectable as they did with Kucinich and he knows that, but there is always the remote chance that something will happen that makes it impossible for the media to ignore Bernie. My general strategy has been to vote for the most progressive Democrat in the primaries and then vote for a left party (Socialist Workers, Peace and Freedom, Green) in the general election. Some say that is throwing my vote away but I consider it the best possible use of my vote considering the historical influence of third parties on the trajectory of American politics. Who knows whether conditions will change radically enough so that there may be an American Syriza or Podemos arise. One can work for that. Not voting will not produce such a result.


#13

Possible scenario:

We are treated to much publicity about Bernie's defeat by Hillary in the Democratic primary.

Bernie is invited to run as the Green's presidential candidate, and does.

The MSM then cannot escape reporting, and possibly following, Bernie's Green candidacy.

All radical and progressive parties, single interest groups and individuals agree to support and vote for Bernie as a Green.

It becomes obvious to a sizable number of voters that the Green Party is the party of the people, and the Democrats are not.


#15

"His chief opponents in the race to the White House, meanwhile, derive
their power primarily from corporate and financial interests. That
doesn't make them bad people or even bad candidates necessarily"

Yes. Yes it does.


#18

You need proportional representation for this. Then wall street will take him out. After taking out those who advanced PR.


#19

"If they are to compete with the billionaires we need to build a mass movement."

True enough, and that mass movement needs a political party as a base.

If all people and parties to the left of center will support a SINGLE party, we will have a voice.

If there are more than a single party of the left competing for votes among themselves, our power is diluted.

Solidarity of the left in a single party is a realistic strategy.

Multiple party competition is foolishness.

The Green Party may not be the ideal vehicle to represent the US left, but it is the best established, and for that reason I think it should now be adopted as the representative of all factions to the left of the Democrats, ideally with Sanders as their candidate for president.


#20

Once again I think William Jennings Bryan is the best hope for a left wing candidate finally able to bring the Democratic Party back to progressive/populist party it never was and only occasionally pretended to be. No one here understands my reference? Of course not.


#21

As always, Thanks So Much, Matt! :O)


#22

Bernie has a much different and lengthy track record.


#24

Electing Bernie Sanders as president would give him the power of the bully pulpit. Can you think of a

better way to spread a populist message?


#25

This new comment format SUCKS.


#28

I certainly share the cynicism, but I've been following Bernie for sometime now, and he's consistently taken progressive positions on the issues. I'm convinced he is not pretending to be a Roosevelt democrat while intending to serve the interests of the ruling class once elected, like Presidents Obama and Clinton.

That's not Bernie. In fact I think Bernie is calling Americans to what he has referred to as "the people's political revolution." I think Bernie thought long and hard about running before he decided that he could be the catalyst for unifying progressives, while finding common cause with people across all political, social and economic lines, who believe that our country has been hijacked by a system that has brought us to a dead end.

It's happened before: maybe this time enough people will be convinced their vote would actually make some kind of difference for them and for what they care about, maybe social justice, equality, opportunity, peace instead of perpetual war, real health care for all, fewer prisons and more jobs, better schools, affordable higher education, a less corrupt politics, a healthier environment, and so on, and Bernie thinks he can be the identifiable difference maker, so we the people will have a chance to show up out and prove that democracy can work. In the end, perhaps Bernie thought he'd at least be able to say he gave us a chance to take back our country.

It feels good to me. After all, when you scratch the surface of a cynic you usually find an idealist. Why else would we care?


#30

I feel the same way!
whether he has what it takes to get all the way to the oval office, he is affecting the candidates and the tenor of the discussion. His baggage of advocating nationalizing some business stops me from voting for him. on an emotional level i feel like him about the pigs in power and shifting the wealth back to the middle class and poor.