Bernie Sanders’ politics: Many liberals very much like Bernie Sanders’ politics.
We like Sanders’ politics too. On the other hand, we were surprised to see him semi-endorse the notion of a 90 percent marginal tax rate.
Has he advanced such a position before? To us, that seems more like a position you advance as a professor, as a journalist or as a member of Congress, rather than as a White House candidate.
Just a guess. It could have the effect of “McGovernizing” a very good man—and we loved Candidate McGovern, who went on to lose 49 states.
That said, we’ll wait to see the way the campaign plays out.
We like everything we know about Bernie Sanders. We also understand one of the ways his politics has managed to stay so good—he has conducted his entire electoral career in the state of Vermont.
Also, he isn’t exactly expected to win. That’s what allowed Candidate Kucinich to advocate single-payer in 2008 when none of the other candidates would.
(We like Kucinich too. We once saw him go out of his way to do a good thing when he didn’t know that anyone was watching.)
It isn’t hard to see why liberals like Sanders’ politics. In the next few days, we’ll be asking a basic question in several different ways:
Can we like or respect more than one thing at a time?
We like the way Sanders conducts himself. We also know that the Clintons have conducted their politics in the national context, in situations where they were trying to win.
We recall how it felt after 1988, when it seemed that no Democrat would ever win the White House again. We liked and admired Candidate Dukakis—still do!—but he got left for dead in a way which was very disheartening.
We were grateful to Candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 for finding a way to win. We also agree with what he said to Cynthia McFadden in an NBC interview earlier this month:
MCFADDEN (5/4/15): Former President Bill Clinton says he has no regrets about taking millions from foreign governments for his foundation.We’re glad that boy will hear for the first time! We don’t think “there’s anything bad with that” either. We’re willing to guess that Bernie Sanders thinks that’s a good thing too. Based on everything we know, we’re able to imagine that Bill Clinton has done this work around the world on the basis of good motives.
CLINTON: I don’t think that there’s anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people, and countries that are seriously involved in development, to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up. I don’t think there’s anything bad with that. I think it’s good.
MCFADDEN: But even while the criticism at home rumbles, the heart-warming stories here in Africa are undeniable. At the Starkey Hearing Foundation program, a hundred and fifty people will be fitted for hearing aids. Their goal, a million people by 2020.
CLINTON: I’ve done these in Uganda and Zambia.
MCFADDEN: This boy will hear for the first time.
We’re going to repeat a few basic points. We like everything we know about Bernie Sanders. Also, we think it’s good that a little boy in Africa had his hearing restored.
We’re often amazed by the sour odor given off by the upper-end journalists who have been chasing the Clintons around for all these years. This is the way Ruth Marcus ended Sunday’s column in the Washington Post:
MARCUS (5/24/15): Now comes the news about the previously undisclosed speaking fees that went to the foundation, not the Clintons themselves. The foundation says it is disclosing these out of an abundance of transparency.Marcus has it in her heart to imagine a bookkeeping glitch. For unexplained reasons, she can also understand those who picture shadiness and nefarious motives here, even though the foundation disclosed these donations itself.
True, no law or ethics rule requires such reporting. As to Clinton’s agreement to disclose foundation donors, the position of the foundation and the Clinton campaign is that the document doesn’t include these because they’re “revenue” for services rendered, not charitable gifts.
This interpretation makes no sense. By this logic, Vladimir Putin himself could have given the foundation $2 billion to hear Bill Clinton speak while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and it wouldn’t have to be revealed.
Was this a bookkeeping glitch? (Another one, after the failure to specify foreign-government givers on IRS forms, or the previously revealed instances in which donors weren’t reported.) Or was it a calculated end-run around the disclosure agreement? I suspect the former but understand those who tend to the more nefarious interpretation.
One explanation involves bungling; the other, shadiness. Neither is an especially attractive proposition for a presidential candidate.
What doesn’t enter the picture here is the little boy who got the chance to hear. Beyond that, Marcus doesn’t say that she can believe that this work around the world is being done from a desire to serve.
That said, we’re often struck by the crabbed, fallen nature of our large gang of Javerts.
Earlier in her column, Marcus complained about the way Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees “invite suspicions that [companies] are seeking to curry favor with you, in your future role.” She didn’t mention the way the New York Times had to conduct a 4400-word journalistic scam to create even one “suspicious” example—the frightening scary uranium deal, which Hillary Clinton seems to have played no part in.
Marcus says that she’s concerned about possible future misconduct. She doesn’t seem to be concerned by the journalistic clown show which has already occurred.
We like everything we know about Bernie Sanders. We also like the fact that deserving children are being helped around the world. We can’t say we’re real impressed with the crabbed, dishonest form our “journalism” has routinely taken in the decades of the endless Clinton/Gore pseudo-scandals.
For ourselves, we’re willing to like and admire more than one thing at a time. We don’t plan to hate the one if we prefer the other. We’re especially reluctant to let the crabbed memes of scribes like Marcus worm their way into our heads just because we’ve heard them repeated for so many years.
We’ll discuss versions of this idea over the next several days. We think it’s a central idea for those who will experience the machinations of our new endless campaign.