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    bernie with gutman

    An Outsider in the (White) House

    by | 9 | Jan 4, 2016

    image420

    Outsider in the White House by John NicholsOutsider in the White House reviews the various campaigns Bernie Sanders has been involved in, those he overwhelmingly, sometimes unexpectedly, won and those he dismally lost. Interestingly he uses his 1997 reelection campaign as something he is “currently” working, to which he returns again and again from excursions off into earlier campaigns. He obviously won the 1997 campaign but the details and outcome are used in the book to build a sort of advancing suspense, interspersed with the other campaigns. He certainly uses the form to lay out his political philosophy. The “White” is added to the title, for the book was originally published in 1997 and is updated to 2015 for his presidential run.

    What stands out is that Bernie has been preaching the same pro-democracy point of view (real democracy, not the corporate-manipulated exercises that impersonate it) from day one. Candidate Clinton obviously tries to capture citizens attracted to Bernie by appropriating some of his rhetoric but her friendship with Henry Kissinger, vote to back the Bush/Cheney illegal invasion of Iraq and support for the Honduran coup create a high bar of suspicion that she is not likely to clear, not when you throw her corporate campaign contributors into the mix. And though it’s a long way back, there’s a telling double photo drifting around facebook that shows Hillary and Bernie in 1964, what they were doing – Hillary working for the election of Barry Goldwater and Bernie working for the civil rights movement in Chicago. People grow and change but Bernie has been consistent. He’s not playing to the base, he’s with, and always has been with, the base, the people. This is why Vermonters trust him.

    Bernie offers up programs that would serve the general population rather than the usual 1% – single payer health care, debt-free college, public financing of elections (so that the public rather than the corporations and wealthy own the candidates), infrastructure repair, mass transit, minimum wage increase, environmental remediation, anti-corporate trade deals; He lists current wasteful priorities that could be curtailed or cut and those funds transferred to his (our) projects. Among them is ending new nuclear weapons development, which would make us safer and also fulfill obligations the U.S. has under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This particular item is refreshing. Nuclear weapons could end our civilization in an afternoon through an accidental launch of warheads now kept on hair-trigger alert, an outrageous lauch-on-warning policy remaining from the insane cold war. Despite this serious threat the pundits peppering the candidates with questions in the debate go no where near this one, support for Chomsky’s notion that the so-called watchdog media are actually lapdogs in the service of power.

    Many programs and policies have been put in place by corruption, that is, in exchange for campaign contributions congress and administration have channeled taxpayer monies into corporate hands. Hand-outs like the regulations that allow mining companies to extract resources from public (and private) land with little compensation to the owners nor the public. Subsidies for fossil fuel companies already awash in profits, and dangerous, uncompetitive nuclear energy which no insurance company will touch,

    Past Sanders’ opponents have often relied on the time-tested smear, hurling the scary word communist or socialist, words the 1% have worked diligently over the years, quite successfully, to demonize. They’ve even made politicians nervous of the word Liberal. But a cheery exception: Sanders won by 70% in a Republican state, with a Republican opponent spending millions of dollars on the usual attack ads. Name-calling doesn’t work when the object of your smear has gained the trust of the electorate. We can hope that he might pull this off on a national level though of course the difficulty is not slight, the opposition’s tactics predictable and formidable in terms of resources and the electorate predisposed to manipulation – the 1% will not meekly relinquish its power, profits and privilege. It will fight tooth and saber the faintest wiff of curtailment, the meekest request for sharing. Its ownership of the major media give them a huge leg up. Yet, the stakes now are very high. This may be the last opportunity to begin the necessary protection and repairs to the life system on which we all depend. Half measures will not cut it.

    ###
    • Images: The thumbnail image of Bernie Sanders is by www.nicksolari.net via flickr and used under a creative commons license; the feature illustration is by the author, Tom Ferguson; and the book, well, that is a promotion photo.
    Tom Ferguson

    Tom Ferguson

    Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

    • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
    • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
    • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
    • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

     

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    • hannah

      I’m not a Sanders supporter, if only because I am suspicious of anyone whose agenda sounds just like my own. I know full well that much of what the old legislator is touting can only be accomplished by the House and Senate working and that’s not likely with the current crew. So, we need a presidential candidate with long coat tails and I’m inclined to think Joe Biden’s would be longer. Though Joe is not campaigning, he could still be recruited at the Convention if Bernie has made it close.
      The Clintons are getting worried. They’re talking about New Hampshire making Bill the Comeback Kid, without mentioning what he had to come back from was a loss in NH, depleted funds and the need to sell his soul to the Waltons’ banksters. NAFTA gave us the shafta.

    • I love Bernie (except for his lack of commonsense on race and gun violence; his lack of support in congress which would prevent him from governing and would drive away the last few yellow dogs; and that young people will rally, but won’t vote), but I have three daughters and five granddaughters. If a woman with the resume of Hillary Clinton cannot be elected in this country, we ought to stop right there and fix things (we should really stop and fix this war-race-citizens-united-immigration-gun problem, anyway). Hillary may not be your favorite person though she’s been helping we the people while raising a family for more than 40 years; you might be tired of the Clintons because crazy Republicans are always calling for an inquisition and failing to ever find anything that would embarrass your grandmother; you might not like that she’s often more hawkish and conservative than President Obama; or that she is going to need Wall Street to compete against the oligarch’s of the right; but surely men have screwed up this country long enough to give her a chance. I vote female.

    • Ernest Bass

      ” Bush/Cheney illegal invasion of Iraq”
      Legal or illegal, here is the vote for war powers resolution for the use of force in Iraq:

      Democratic-led Senate voted 77-23

      Republican-led House passed it 296-133

      • Ernest, you have a good point. It was legal here even if it was illegal internationally.

    • tom ferguson

      many voted because they were ideologically aligned with bush/cheney but many also were duped by lies, manipulated intelligence (naive in the extreme… i mean i, a lowly citizen in the hinterlands knew they were lying) or cowardice, afraid of being seen as wimpy & so vulnerable at election time.

    • tom ferguson

      i think bernie gets a bum rap on race… as i stated above, he was working in the civil rights movement while hillary was working for barry goldwater

      • Are saying that he is older than Hillary?

        • tom ferguson

          just pointing out a consistency, bernie was working for justice in 1964… that’s pretty consistent. sure hillary’s entitled to youthful delusion (a la goldwater) hell, i was once a hawk on vietnam… we can change but if bernie was working for civil rights in chicago in 1964 and hillary was working for the election of goldwater ( obviously on the OTHER side of that issue) then to say bernie is weak on race and hillary is not doesn’t compute

          • Thanks, Tom. We are fortunate to have candidates who are arguing the issues. To think that we will have a choice between three serious, highly qualified and experienced candidates makes be proud.

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