Bernie Sanders gave a big speech at Georgetown University today and used the opportunity to make clear a few things:
"I’m not running for president because it’s my turn, but because it’s the turn of all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity not for some, not for the few, but for all.”
Well, that wasn’t the big theme of the speech but Sanders no doubt liked the line and the distinction it draws between his campaign and that of his chief opponent who is, also, the frontrunner. The speech was sold as a big-theme affair in which the candidate would make clear what he means when he calls himself a “Democratic Socialist.” (Hint: he does not favor nationalizing the means of production.) What the speech turned out to be was pretty much an effort to restart his campaign and get people excited, again, about Sanders’ positions and prospects.
So he ran through the usual litany of economic woes facing the United States making it sound as though the two terms of Barrack Obama have been almost as bad for the common man and woman as the one term of Herbert Hoover. Sanders points out, routinely, that for the middle class, incomes have fallen and that the real unemployment rate is 10 percent. People don’t have enough set aside for retirement. The health care insurance that they have is made unaffordable by high premiums and co-pays. Higher education is either entirely out-of-reach or a sentence to a lifetime of debt. And so on. Democratic socialism, he insisted, was good old Democratic party tax-and-spend, with a pedigree going back to Franklin Roosevelt. What he proposes, then, is nothing more than the New Deal’s logical next step.
Under President Sanders “democratic socialism” would amount to redistribution. College and health care would become free. Old age benefits and the minimum wage would go up. This would be paid for by increasing taxes on the people at the top. For Sanders, the mechanics for this are self-evident, so he didn’t spend much time on them. You tax here; you spend there. Simple.
So simple that Sanders wrapped up his tutorial on democratic socialism and used the opportunity at Georgetown to say something about what he would do to defeat ISIS and “radical extremism.”
... we must work with our partners in Europe, the Gulf states, Africa, and Southeast Asia - all along the way asking the hard questions whether their actions are serving our unified purpose. The bottom line is that ISIS must be destroyed, but it cannot be defeated by the United States alone. A new and effective coalition must be formed with the Muslim nations leading the effort on the ground, while the United States and other major forces provide the support they need.
Sanders took a few questions from the students (they are always his best audience) and he knocked them straight out of the park.
Not a speech for the ages and not one to make the phrase “democratic socialism” into something that will ignite passion among the masses.
Just a good speech for his base. And a very clear signal that Bernie Sanders isn’t going anywhere.
It wasn’t much of a debate. This might have been because of the scheduling. Everybody ought to have something better to do on Saturday night than argue over the correct level of the minimum wage. Also, the atrocity in Paris hung over the proceedings, making the words of the candidates seem even more calculated and inauthentic than usual.
Bernie Sanders, who has bemoaned America's vast deodorant selection, is now being featured on a patterned shirt. The Des Moines Registerreports that the clothing shop Raygun has begun selling this shirt, covered entirely covered by Bernie Sanders's face:
In an interview with CNN, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton insisted that she's not so different than her main rival, socialist Bernie Sanders:
"I mean, you could see on that stage in Las Vegas how we are maybe approaching these problems with different solutions, but we're both seeing the pressures that American families are under and the challenges that they're facing that we want to try to address," said Clinton to CNN.
Bernie Sanders has never met a corrupt, inefficient, obsolete government agency or initiative he didn’t like. The only thing he finds objectionable is that they aren’t being given enough taxpayer money. Earlier in the week, during the Las Vegas debate, he bragged on his efforts to get the Veterans Administration more money.
Speaking at a recent town hall meeting, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont tried to have it both ways on Gaza. Wrong, he said, to shoot rockets. But Israel overreacted. This is the progressive equivocation. The precise, moderate, and acceptable reaction by a nation that his under rocket attack has, so far, not been outlined with any precision.
Recent weeks have brought more depressing economic news from Venezuela, where populist leader Hugo Chávez seems intent on destroying not only democracy but also the last remaining vestiges of private enterprise.
On April 21, the Latin Business Chronicle predicted that Venezuela would post the world’s highest inflation rate in 2010, ahead of even the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last month, a sword-brandishing Hugo Chávez marked the eighth anniversary of his return to power after an abortive coup by addressing thousands of government-backed paramilitaries. “You should be ready to take up arms at any moment and give your lives if necessary for our nation’s independence and the socialist revolution,” roared the Venezuelan leader. The reported 35,000 militia members represent an effort by Chávez to create his own version of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (who are committed to defending the theocratic dictatorship in Tehran). They effectively serve as a government security force. Chávez is relying on them to frighten and subjugate his domestic opponents.
For anybody with a lingering belief that some form of socialism is benevolent, a visit to Norway, where I came during my first visit to Scandinavia, should settle any doubts: successful socialism is a fantasy.
Norway has oil wealth, a claim to superior public morality on which its awards of the Nobel Peace Prize are based, and a full-fledged social-democratic welfare system, based on confiscatory taxes. But even apart from its onerous tax levy, it has left ordinary Norwegians surprisingly poor. Once one leaves Oslo, which is drab, uninspiring, and depressing, and goes out to the countryside, many roads are as unpaved and potholed as in war-devastated and long-undeveloped Kosovo.