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March 10, 2016


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"The Democrats are the party of government activism. The party that says government can make you richer,smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work,and then get elected and prove it."

P.J. O'Rourke

just saying

The flight from complexity is a hallmark of any campaign season. The Republicans not only specialize in the dumbing down of American voters, they demonstrate how they do it to themselves in their presidential debates, their echo chambers, and their substance-free "policy" positions. Once truth becomes truthiness, there is no standard by which to judge anything. Just say it often enough and it becomes something even better: a talking point.

Democrats have a much tougher standard to live up to because we are the party of government. We can't simply spout toxic bullshit. We have to advocate for the only bulwark that defends the weak against the strong, the poor against the rich, and the social contract against the Hobbsian state of nature. Or do you think the Kochs will do that for us with assistance from Grover Norquist?

The problem with the Bernie wildfire is that the left is now tacitly agreeing with the right that government can't do anything right, which is why we need a revolution. Just believe, click your ruby-red slippers three times, and presto!, utopia. Another metaphor would be the Underpants Gnomes game plan:

1-get underpants
2- ??????????
3- $$$PROFIT$$$

For Bernie Sanders, #2 is "revolution".

How did it get to this point that we on the left are now doing Karl Rove's work for him? We've gutted the legitimacy of the Democratic Party and its intelligentsia for a cranky gadfly from the fringes who's essentially telling us to give up on the only process we have for something that might as well be supernatural. And because it's so seductively simple, we believe it. Complexity is a bummer, as Donald Trump reminds us, day in, day out.

I will disagree with Rogue partially: it's too soon to write out our death sentence. Yes, Hillary is hated for being the adult at the rave but she's nice to have around when the Ecstasy wears off. Older people understand continuity. We've lived through enough hysterias in the past to see the pitfalls in messianic prophecy. It's not that we're unimaginative so much as cautious. Bequeathing a workable space for change, which involves doubt and humility, is what will keep our life raft afloat.

Well, for Arizona voters, does Clinton v. Sanders even matter as I doubt the state goes for the Democratic candidate, no matter who the nominee is for either party?

Lots of people "on the left" see Clinton as Republican-lite and I'm just not going to pull the lever for a *Republican*, even if there is a 'D' next to the name. Perhaps if the state becomes competitive and it is Clinton v. Cruz or Clinton v. Trump close contest, I will grudgingly cast a vote for Clinton. But otherwise< i vote Sanders or 3rd party (Jill Stein).

Well, I'll vote for any Democrat, even a yellow dog. That's what republicans and their policies have made me.

Good points and well written, but I believe:

1) the bigger forces lie outside of the presidential race as our changing climate, the world economy, and social stability, and none of the existing industrial age models (especially high tech) are going to satisfy our real needs -- slow or fast, we're facing necessary change at a scale we've not known in modern times;

2) the same mouthy, frustrated FB people on the other side are bashing Bernie just as cruelly;

3) money continues to distort our reason and reduce the quality of our leadership (the money changers in the Temple scenario). What we can do I think is to make thinking and reason and proper debate respectable by example -- and maybe even love our enemies

Here's the conundrum with Bernie/ Hillary:

1. First, Bernie is clear and succinct in his message. He is a much better communicator that HRC (or any of the GOP candidates). He needs a revolution. He needs millions to support his agenda- at all levels of government. He will not get that. We will not see free college or a single payer health system during even a two-term Bernie presidency. But he will tilt the country to the left much more than HRC (or any of the GOP candidates). He will leave a mark. He has a MUCH better chance of unifying the parties because he has integrity and does not have the baggage that HRC does- even given his far left agenda.

2. HRC will do whatever she needs to do to get elected and reelected. As poor a uniter as Obama turned out to be, I will guarantee you that she will be worse then he was or than Bernie might be. She will betray the left (or anyone else) if she's thinks it will get her a second term. You can trust her as far as you can throw her, and every single poll supports that Bernie is more trustworthy.

3. Bernie can win it all. If there's one thing that the Trump situation has taught us, it's that votes matter. Not parties, not the establishment, not money. Votes. The Obama election proved that, too. Given the anti GOP sentiment, the Democrats had a lock on the White house in the 2008 election. An unproven, relatively unknown US senator came out of nowhere to beat "the establishment candidate" (HRC). Why couldn't that happen again?

4. I like Bernie Sanders. I trust him; I believe what he says- much more so than any of the other candidates on either side. I also believe in the other checks and balances in the system that would keep him from implementing all of what he wants. I would worry about just how much he could tilt the country to the left. But I think I'd be proud of him as a President- and that's really tough to get my arms around with any of the other candidates.

5. If I can come up with an example, I think that Bernie has a much better chance a lowering the cost of college education by "x" (not free) than HRC does of lowering the cost of a college education by "x".

Jon, Jon, Jon...

It is rally very, very simple... This election year, we are not faced with the Lessor of two evils... All we have is DUH, DUH and Crook, Unethical, Liar and a Marxist, (not a Socialist).
HRC has not told the truth since she was FIRED from the Watergate Investigation due to her unethical behavior and LIES. She accomplished NOTHING as SOS and is TOTALLY responsible for the deaths at Benghazi, by her FAILURE to heed the months of requests for Security by Amb. Stevens. She DID NOT Answer that phone that fateful night, and BHO was too busy getting ready for the Vegas and LA Celebrity fundraiser.
Bernie has NOT worked a day in his life until he was about 40, and has lived off the tit of Government (State and Federal) ever since. a true friend of Abby Hoffman!! Give me a break.
Trump...4 bankruptcies, what, 3 marriages...etc.
Cruz says whatever makes him popular, depending on where he is speaking.
Mario is doomed..
We have NOTHING...
Now "rumors" fly about that Romney is filing to run... He couldn't even beat BHO!! He has no balls, up intil now... He seems to know all now, doesn't he..
We are doomed... and, the GOP, IF they change their rules at the Convention in order to NOT help Trump, should he have the delegates, will be doomed.
We have gone from one of the most respected, strong, influential Governments of the World to "Obama wimps"

Ken, not sure chasing the money changers out of the Temple will work today. Give Robespierre some thoughts. The Romans of yesterday are the Romans of Today and they have 99 percent of us Nailed to a stake.

Jon I will always consider U and Walt my friends. Even Apache Ruben and that great socialistic Petro. I fear Jon may be right in his prediction of, for lack of a better word that Nazi, Donald Trump and even scarier the Insane Theocratic Teddy Cruz.
Did someone besides me say Uruguay?

Skip, here's a short and sweet refutation of your lie that Hillary was fired from the Watergate investigation. I have every confidence it won't change your mind but maybe some of our lefty purists might pause before repeating the slander:

Next up: INPHX, the Randian sociopath, would be proud of a Bernie presidency. Why? Oh, maybe it's that Jimmy Carter kind of delusion that personal goodness can somehow unify the nation. My own suspicion is that his testimony on Bernie's behalf is more like ratfucking. Underneath their breath, Republicans are muttering: please God, let them nominate that commie, please, please, please. This morning I came across an interesting blog entry at The Washington Monthly. Given the amount of disinformation that INPHX has spewed here about the VA, I'll copy and paste this in its entirely. Turns out our far-right Bernie Bro is simply regurgitating Koch-funded talking points:

At last night’s debate in Miami, the Republican candidates - as they have all primary season - attacked the VA health care system and demanded its radical restructuring. Few viewers were aware, however, that the candidates were following a script written by the Koch brothers.

In the next issue of the Washington Monthly, investigative journalist Alicia Mundy reveals how the Kochs and their network have executed, with meticulous detail, a plan to get Washington to outsource the health care of millions of our nation’s veterans to corporate sector providers. Among other revelations, Mundy shows:

that stories about veterans dying while waiting for VA care in 2014 (the “scandal” that sparked the current call for privatization) turned out to be baseless.
that these claims were cooked up by the Koch-funded group Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) and key Republicans precisely to stampede Washington into passing legislation to outsource VA care.
that the first round of outsourcing has been a fiasco.
that independent research mandated by that legislation shows that the VA continues to provide the same or better quality care than do private sector providers.
that the commission now making the outsourcing decisions is stacked with members and allies of CVA and representatives of private sector providers.

To read the full story, click here.

Bernie has said he will support Hillary if she wins the nomination. Once he is campaigning for her, as I presume he will, will his supporters go along with him or regard him as a traitor? I think the former.
I have voted for Bernie here in Arizona, but one thing no one brings into the presidential race is the Electoral College, where the Democrats have a huge advantage. They start out with 234 votes as a lock, the Republicans 166, if I recall correctly. And get this: If the Republican nominee wins every state Romney won, PLUS the three Obama won by 3 points or less, he still will lose to the Democrats' 272 EC votes. Those three are Florida (29 EC votes), Ohio (18) and Colorado (9).
Given how Latino voters are flocking to the Democratic side, winning Florida and Colorado doesn't look too likely for the GOP.
One other thing: There is little the Republicans can throw at Hillary that hasn't been used yet (nice try, Skip). Sanders has yet to feel the full wrath of the Republicans, who never let truth get in the way of a good smear. Did you know that he's a Socialist Jew? That will be said time and again, that he's a Socialist Communist Jew. No, really, a Socialist Communist atheist Jew. Etc., etc., etc. until November. Good luck there, Bernie, although I am in your corner.

Pravda has more cred than Washington Monthly, Soleri. But you did get "our lefty purists" right. That is a bulls-eye description of this blog for the most part.

Skip is not a wimp and neither am i. However the wimps in my world have been extremely brilliant and much more successful in a non violent way. Sure I expected more from Obama but given the odds he did fairly well and I think unbiased historians will treat him well.
The Atlantic has a good article on Obama and his thought processes.

Wimp reminds me of Chapo who is not a Wimp but is back in prison. While the quietest and wimpest but powerful and oldest drug dealer in the world remains free. Geeks and Wimps, maybe they know Chit the macho braggadochio's don't know.

Terry I got a Sombrero I'll give you to prevent heat stroke.

mr. obama was a tabula rosa, a blank slate to project our fantasies. the combination of little knowledge and few negatives especially after bush was irresistible. it was the lack of negatives that gave us the 'more colorful' white house opportunity.

hillary's original problems are the same old problems--she is greedy, sociopathic to an extreme, and of no real discernible true character except ambition. these are not criticisms, these are the tools that got her here--she will make a capable potus.

the last president that passed a moral litmus test was jimmy carter--an unfailingly good man. not my kind of dude but still a good one.

the rare possibility of being able to cast a vote for an idealistic good man is hard to pass on. perhaps we are all sancho panzas, but don quijote had a certain nobility that had my admiration..

Terry, given your tribe's ironclad echo chamber, you couldn't do much better than Pravda.

Well, Soleri's well known lunacy apparently includes some type of paranoia, so there's that.

From the VA inspector report (the OIG) linked in the Washington Monthly Report that HE posted:

"OIG examined the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other information
for the 3,409 veteran patients, including the 40 patients, and identified
28 instances of clinically significant delays in care associated with access or
scheduling. Of these 28 patients, 6 were deceased. In addition, we identified
17 cases of care deficiencies that were unrelated to access or scheduling. Of
these 17 patients, 14 were deceased. We also found problems with access to
care for patients requiring Urology Services. As a result, Urology Services
at PVAHCS will be the subject of a subsequent report. The 45 cases
discussed in this report reflect unacceptable and troubling lapses in followup,coordination, quality, and continuity of care. "

See, Soleri doesn't read things. He's not interested in detail, data, facts and the like. And his sources? Impeccable and objective.

But by God, if someone can link the Koch's to anything, Soleri is ready with the torches and pitchforks.

No- all is well with the VA. We know that because the Koch's tell us it isn't.

From that article:

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, who received this internal memo, told CNN there are almost 500,000 appointments with extended wait times, which includes appointments with delays longer than 30 days and veterans waiting on a list for appointments to become available.


Those damn Kochs!!!

I have never, ever understood the personal hatred toward HRC, other than noting it's similar to that directed toward Janet Napolitano. Both apparently tap into some fundamental gender-based threat that provokes men. I don't support Hillary as a candidate, but there's no hatred.

The discourse in this election cycle is the worst I've ever seen. Politico posted a piece calling for the end of debates during the primaries. I think they're onto something. The longer these political reality shows go on, the more insipid and toxic the results for us all. It's like "American Idol" meets "A Clockwork Orange."

My friendships are more important to me than playing the insult game on Facebook. I've indulged a couple of times of late, and it is so not worth it.

This current state of affairs reminds me of Vietnam War protests that got violent. It is unfortunate but true that the sh*t has to hit the fan before any substantive change takes place. it's always been the case. It's easy to forget that before FDR took office, there was a period of great unrest. I suspect things will only get worse before they get better.

Gee, if the waiting list is so long at the VA do you think maybe, just maybe, the VA is understaffed and underfunded and under prepared to deal with all the casualties of W and Cheney's wars?

And who would be responsible for funding the VA? Could it be the Congress?

And who has stopped the Congress from doing anything substantive for the last 5 years, all to spite the President?

Could it be the "starve the beast", "government is the problem" party?

Sorry, Bernie Troll, but I don't believe ANYTHING a Koch stooge says. But please carry on trying to deprive veterans of their care because we know where your allegiance really belongs. It's not with those "takers". It's with the guys who make fortunes off of the wars that maim them.


Boy- I'm shocked to learn that a Democrat thinks that "more money" is the answer to all problems and that it's Republican's fault that there isn't any more money.

Maybe it isn't the money:

And from the White House, maybe you can help us with how much money it takes to reverse a "corrosive culture:

If HRC is indeed "fatally wounded" is it because of criticism from BS? Because of BS's supporters' vehement dislike of her? Or is it that she is vulnerable on "the economy, stupid?" If she is indeed so badly hurt its because TRED will be able to demagogue and go populist on NAFTA and other jobs issues. It won't ,matter that it was Bill and not HRC, and TRED only needs a shred of truth to do real damage. It's not as if TRED needed BS to criticize her on these issues. He's unique as a GOP outsider- he doesn't have to go with the party line on this. If this proves to be the case, it's chickens coming home to roost. Will we see a substantial number of white, working-class TRED Democrats, ala 1980?

Diane please forgive me for being male. I had high hopes for Saint Janet but she was not Joan De Arc and abandoned Arizona for her own resume. Her untimely departure insured the complete take over by Theocratic White Jihadist's. My problem with Female Hillary is not gender but history. Of course who really knows the truth. My myopia struggles with the corrective lenses of fact. What's true and not true. So as pointed out by many the choices are Hillary or the great white hopelessly floundering whale with green hair or even worse Theocratic Teddy with his bible and sword.
It's getting scary to be an agnostic even scarier to be a non white agnostic. God forbid if you are an atheist.

I've lost a couple of friendships over the Bernie-Hillary thing, but there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Hattie, Given the current state of humans, particularly politicians and the destruction of the oceans there may be few fish left to have.

Let me start out by saying that I will vote for HRC if she is the nominee. The alternative would be unthinkable. Plus, I'm a Democrat, so there's that.

I'm going to disagree with Rogue and Soleri here. Despite being a millennial (just barely) I'm not a big social media guy (and I don't have cable) so I don't have any idea what the Sanders / anti Clinton hysteria is that you guys are referring to. But, and I think you probably know this, it's probably not representative of who you guys call "Sanders Supporters". The fact is, I agree with Sanders more than Clinton. He's right. It's not helpful to have a candidate who runs on socialized medicine, carbon tax, and taxes on the rich called out as some kind of crazy hippy by the left.

I'm a long time reader/commenter on this blog - going way back to when Soleri was "Walter" on AZCentral and INPHX was "Pete".

I don't have enough fingers to count the number of times that I've read - on this blog - that the oligarchs/"banksters" should be prosecuted. Now we have a candidate saying the same thing and he is called unrealistic and naive (and worse). Weird. Or, how many times have Soleri/Rogue called out the GOP as tribalistic - but now we shouldn't support Sanders because he "isn't a real Democrat" That's a reason?

I totally disagree that Sanders message is anti-Obama. In fact, if you go back to '08 and read some of the commentary on this blog about Obama vs. HRC, I'm pretty sure you'll find the same commentary - "a young inexperienced, black man with a muslim name winning the Presidency Great speaker, naive optimism, not a chance." Now it's an old "socialist Jew, unelectable." Sorry, I don't vote out of fear - I didn't in '08 and I won't in '16. Trump is an opportunity, not a threat.

I'm not going to support Hillary just for the chance for "deals around the margins". That's precisely not what the country, or the planet for that matter, needs in 2016.

Ex Phx Planner,

Thanks for staying with me so long, and your comments are always excellent and welcome.

I agree with Sanders, too. I question whether he has a strategy to actually make his reforms happen, especially enact them into law, given the enormous resistance he would face.

Secondly, I want to remind that the amazing political coming that Bernie represents to some of his loudest social media they remember Obama?

Things would be very different if progressives had commanding majorities in the Congress.

I do appreciate your blogs, Jon, and this one especially. But Soleri had the winning line this time...."Hillary is hated for being the adult at the rave." To me, concise insight doesn't get better than that. I wanted Elizabeth Warren to be the Democratic candidate. But I will go to the mat for Hillary, even though I believe in Socialism and grew up in an American City with a history of Socialist mayors. That city was Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A country with a frontier mentality where people proudly vote against their own best interests will probably not elect Mr. Sanders. Hope I'm wrong and hope you are wrong Jon, but I think I will escape to lots of Donna Leone's books where Brunetti and family show us how to find shards of joy in a totally dysfunctional society. We need to buy lots of wine, cook good stuff and turn up our favorite my case Radio Swiss Jazz.

Ex Phx Planner, you have a great memory. I did not know INPHX was Pete of AZCentral. We battled back then much as we do today. I assume he's much more than a disinterested observer, maybe even a party apparatchik of some kind. BTW. what was your handle back in the day?

FWIW, I pretty much agree with everything Sanders says. My problem is much less his beliefs, than his engagement with the grubby political reality that would somehow make them real. Saying things in speeches is very easy as is idealism. But what is the roadmap that takes a 50-50 nation to genuine social democracy? You need more than buzzwords and righteous anger. You need to show in your own life a willingness to work with others to advance a common agenda, not just trumpeting your own maximalist political positions. I've said this before but it bears repeating: we're not going to browbeat half this nation into either crypto-fascism or socialism. The political process is terribly gummed up with extreme polarization and it's not likely to give way anytime soon. Blaming the Clintons and Obama, even indirectly, for this Republican strategy of complete obstructionism is absurd and makes it seem as if the unicorns would line up if we simply voted for the right messiah. This false hope, one that some saw in Obama's 2008 campaign, soon led to disengagement and apathy. Absent some actual institution that can harness and direct our collective political energy, this would likely happen again in a Sanders presidency. It's hardly an accident that Sanders has no vocal supporters in the Senate and only a handful in the House. It's going to take more one man and his enthusiastic following. It's going to take a lot of committed people working together to make any progress happen. It will be grubby, painstaking, tedious, and slow. Pardon me for thinking this is not in Bernie's toolkit. We need real political vectors, flexible and forceful, much more than a personality cult. I seriously doubt we're going to stay interested in Bernie's Wall Street fraud, millionaires and billionaires, rigged-game speech that much longer. We need more than rhetoric. We need a party.

Exphx planner good posts. Cable what's that? That coat hanger antenna of mine out here in the desert gets 5 PBS stations.

OK INPHNX, I read your little links. Nothing there to change my opinion.
Better luck next time.

And, for the record, I'm not a Democrat.
Although I do find myself voting that way more often than not.

Probably because I've seen what 35 years of Republican "governing" has done to this state.

I understand that the media likes a close race, so Sanders gets a lot of attention. However, I'm surprised there isn't more recognition on this site that there is NO chance of Bernie getting the nomination. HRC has the money, the establishment support and the minority vote all locked down tight. Bernie did a good job trying to stick his foot in the door that no one else could, but it has slammed shut now. His only chance is an indictment, which given the political nature of the justice system seems extremely unlikely. Bernie has succeeded in getting HRC to run further to the left, but that could come back to haunt her in the general election.

What do Chicago 2016 and 1968 have in common. FURY? REVOLUTION?

Well, Skip, we each have our own worldview, and it's always one that's informed by our own life experience, so I don't intend to try to argue you out of yours, but I don't really believe, going forward, that America's biggest problem will be looking weak to the rest of the world. Batshit crazy, always, but weak? We should be so lucky. I sure wish we were seen to be as weak as Canada, or Denmark. You should know, though, and I'm sure you do, that most of the country has rather suddenly turned against foreign adventuring as a way of life. Nobody even gives a crap about the insignificant little incident in Benghazi (if you don't believe it was a pumped up scandal, re-examine the events leading up to and following the Lebanon Marine Barracks bombing and the repeated embassy attacks both before and after, then explain why Reagan and Rummy and the bums got a free pass)anymore, since exactly, oh, when Trump did in five minutes on stage what everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Jesus couldn't do in twenty years: destroy the Bush Dynasty and any remaining affection for it. There's a massive sea-change in the Heartland regarding our eternal presence in faraway lands, and it isn't going to be good for the Establishment right. Don't believe me? Explain the South Carolina pro-military audience booing Jeb. Trump's success lies in the very center of a larger truth: since the election of Ronald Reagan, the Right has provided the unsophisticated, hard-working, high school-educated middle of the road citizenry with exactly nothing. Just cuts in capital gains taxes for the wealthy and children coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan in pieces.

By the way, to everyone who may be employing the tactic of implying that everyone who doesn't support Clinton ( in the freaking primary, for God's sake!) is a misogynist, or naive, or treasonous, please stop now: it's a tactic that will backfire in the general election. I don't dislike Clinton because she's a woman, I dislike Clinton because she's a chameleon. In 2008, when she was fighting Obama for the nomination, after he made his comment about people clinging bitterly to their guns and bibles, she said "I'm a Second-Amendment loving churchgoer!" Now Sanders is being hammered because he didn't think mom and pop gun shop owners should be civilly liable for legally selling a gun that's been used in a violent crime. I had thought we were done with that pair after 2008, but I really should've known better.
What's up with Bill's larynx, by the way? anybody know?

Pat, in 1932, FDR ran for president on a platform of balancing the budget. Fortunately, he changed once he got into office. Richard Nixon's tough-on-Communism bona fides were the foundation of his political career that he casually flicked away with his ping-pong diplomacy to China. Reagan saber-rattled his way into the hearts of birdbrain America but was able to make a comprehensive nuclear arms deal with Gorbachev his last year in office. In 2008, Obama ran against the individual mandate in health-care reform, which he dropped almost immediately once in office. It led to his signature legislative achievement, ACA.

I mention this because a real-world politician keeps their options open. The ability to change your mind is probably a sign of functional adulthood. The inability is something we ascribe to ideologues and rigid personalities. When I hear Bernie Sanders giving the same speech over and over and over, I wonder if he's evolved at all since his student radical days. I'm sure he has, but there's something worrisome about a politician who makes that kind of consistency his calling card. The presidency is many things but it's seldom a blank slate you can transcribe your ideology upon.

What a Day!
I watched the wonderful services for Nancy Reagan.
I tuned into the late news but I really stepped into "Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine"
It was suddenly Chicago '68.
The politics of hate rise again.
Trump can continue to deny his contributions to this, but his behavior says otherwise.

Meanwhile - The Wonderful Wizards of W. Washington Street continue to hide under the cover of the national mess and dismantle AZ.
They just passed bills to ensure that many children will not hve healthcare. Rewrite conflict of interet laws, etc.

I cry for my Arizona.

Good words Pat.

Ramjet U badmouthing the theocratic pols that vote only to profit the faithful while bleeding the Beast. Wait until U see what they are about to do to public records requests.

Soleri I hear Slick Willy is looking for an accountant as he needs help counting Carlos Slims $$$$$.

Cal, I am not "bad mouthing anyone" Just telling it like it is. My energy level doesn't allow the many hours needed to document the actions of the AZ Leg and El Duce.
90 members - collective IQ 90?

Soleri writes:

You need more than buzzwords and righteous anger. You need to show in your own life a willingness to work with others to advance a common agenda, not just trumpeting your own maximalist political positions

I'm pretty sure Bernie didn't spend a quarter century in Congress sitting in the corner arms folded like a stubborn idealistic old man. I believe he has the record of most successfully adopted amendments.

Obama ran a similar visionary, idealistic campaign style. Then he pivoted to deal-maker mode once elected. He "compromised" all the way to supporting purely Republican ideas and was nevertheless stonewalled. So this is your strategy - to try this again? You think HRC has better relationships with the GOP than Obama did? I seriously doubt it.

"Deals around the margins", in my opinion, is much more of a naive strategy than clearly communicating ideals, simply and, yes, repetitively to the electorate. That is how elections are won.

Its electoral - not legislative - victories that are needed for any progress to be made. That's the lesson of the Obama presidency.

Obama didn't run for president as an ideologue. He ran as an agent of transformation who would transcend the partisan paralysis with the very qualities Sanders rejects - compromise and pragmatism. Was Obama naive? Yes in the sense that he thought Republicans would rise to the occasion he thought he embodied. The logic of their opposition is not based on real-world policies or ideas. It's based in the extremism of their own media, which posits Total Political War as the logical outcome of a Manichean worldview.

Obama has governed, nonetheless, successfully given the constraints imposed by his implacable opposition. This is all anyone could do given that half the American population is now politically untethered to reality. Sanders' theory of change, by contrast, is based on a deus ex machina "revolution" that has no historical antecedents or logical political sequence. Saying we'll create a revolution without the necessary political infrastructure in place is akin to the believe-and-make-it-so ideology of hucksters like Zig Ziglar.

I can appreciate the moral outrage and anger of zealots. That said, I don't believe you imagine the presidency as a the starting point of a revolution. Rather, just the opposite. We have thousands of laboratories of democracy where real change is occurring, particularly in cities. The structural impediments in the Constitutional political system, however, are simply too difficult to circumvent. We are not going to wish them away. But we can, over time, win the primary struggle in creating a nation that is no longer rigidly tribalistic. I see 2024 as perhaps the first chance to get a functional majority in place for change. That doesn't mean "revolution", however. It still means grubby, incremental exercises in compromise and partial victories. I know you Bernie people don't want to hear this. You really do believes there's a unicorn out there that will save us from all that effort and heartache. That's not reality and it never has been. That's why I prefer Hillary. She has been in the vortex of actual political battle for nearly 25 years. She understands the difficulty of the process itself. Feeling the Bern is not enough. You need enough patience to work with the world as it is, not as you think it should be.

Sanders' theory of change, by contrast, is based on a deus ex machina "revolution" that has no or logical political sequence

Sanders' approach worked for Roosevelt and Reagan, and a number of observations have been published comparing him to the latter:

I agree with you that transformative change or "revolution" doesn't start at the top but that doesn't mean it doesn't eventually need the top. Cities, for example, have never been successfully transformed without acquiring top-down civic leadership. There have been plenty of national grass roots movements: Occupy, Fight for 15, Dreamers, etc.; Bernie isn't the inception of these but rather an outcome.

The hour is too late for hoping that conditions may improve in 2024; I don't think the U.S. or the world has the luxury of that kind of time. Is "revolution", or, put another way, actual policy reform, possible? Maybe not, but I'd rather spend my time and effort trying to seal off the lower floors on the Titanic rather than polishing its brass railings.

Incrementalism is the real Unicorn

Because presidents don't have all the power, eight years of Bernie will not make this country Socialist. That is a good thing because socialism doesn't work and neither does the mythical "free market capitalism". Balance is the key and there is little force in government now for the needed course correction from our slippery slope toward dysfunctional income inequality. Revamping the current government will require grassroots support and I would like a president that enables sensible solutions. Most of what I would expect from Bernie is to frame our nation's problems honestly, call out the corrupting influences and promote a government of the people. I am open to the possibility that tea partyers would see that the Gubment is not the problem, but the corporate money that is running it against their interests, much like the original tea party was about as much of kicking the East India Company out of the country as the British government. I will vote for Bernie in the primary and not Republican in the general. I want to be optimistic and I don't expect a free unicorn.

Ex Phx Planner, I read the piece in Salon and have been thinking about it for the last hour or so. I didn't want to rush my response because your thoughtful comment deserves something that, I hope, will advance this conversation.

I think the differences between Reagan and Sanders are as compelling as the similarities. The major one is Reagan's deep roots in Republican Party politics. He was not a lone wolf nor did he suggest that other Republicans were somehow flawed for being less ideological than himself. Another major difference would be Reagan's sunny personality, which conveyed optimism and moderation. That avuncular style was pitch perfect for a republic more rooted in television than actual community.

Sanders, of course, barely qualifies as a Democrat, which might not be that much of an issue given how weak the party has become over the past several decades. But it still suggests why a "transformative presidency" needs an institutional vehicle to sustain itself politically. Reagan could not have accomplished what he did without a deep base in not only party politics, but also allies in the Religious Right, think tanks like AEI, Heritage, Cato, etc., the NRA, and various anti-tax organizations. Reagan had organized legions behind him. Bernie does not.

Bernie is authentic and has something of a personality cult, which could be useful as a political base. But as you indicated above, so did Obama, and it didn't transform the political landscape. This leads me to think that the real issue still is how much infrastructure the left can create to advance its interests. I ask this question over and over - where are our armies? - to suggest the problem is deeper than the presidency itself. The left has failed to match the right when it comes to the depth and width of its movement. Enthusiastic demonstrations like OWS and those for ad hoc issues like Dreamers and Fight for 15 need institutional heft and funding to be effective in this way.

Reagan's sunny personality was also crucial in disguising the wholesale capitulation of government to the interests of the rich and powerful. It also mainstreamed the dog-whistle politics of racial polarization (see: Lee Atwater, Karl Rove) in GOP efforts to capture the white working class. Reagan's "transformation" was fundamentally predicated on deep-seated pathologies in our society.

I keep coming back to the demographic shift that will eventually neutralize the Republican advantages with those pathologies. I don't see a left-wing resurgence until 2024 for that reason. Voters are not entirely, or even mostly, rational. Republicans speak directly to people's fears and loathing but, in so doing, alienate an increasing number of "others" who will eventually be a majority of Americans. Already, Democrats have a structural advantage in the Electoral College. But we don't have state legislatures, and by extension, Congress. That will come but not for a few years yet.

Bernie's personality, I suspect, is not going to wear well. While it's bracing to hear someone declaim rousing truths like an Old Testament prophet, how long will people want to hear a steady diet of this stuff? And while I personally enjoy actors and comedians like Larry David, I can't imagine this being a majority taste. Maybe I'm off-base here but I can't think of an example where a dyspeptic politician was loved by the voters. Joe Arpaio maybe?

Finally, incrementalism is how the process works if it works at all. I'm frustrated by our paralyzed process, too. Will electing Bernie un-paralyze it? Republicans will see the light and the lion shall lay down with the lamb? The most left-wing Democrat in Congress will somehow unite this country with his goodness and crusty-but-benign personality? Unicorns, unicorns.

Two quotes from Will Rogers:

"I am not a member of an organized party - I am a Democrat."

"America does not have a native criminal class - if you don't count Congress."

The second one might be Mark Twain, but I think was Will - at any rate it probably applies to all politicians.

I've not been around awhile, and this kind of thing is one of the reasons:

"...But the Hillary hatred is astonishing. She is never mistaken, or disagreed with, or made some head-scratching bad judgment calls — she is evil, despicable, a "war bitch"... you get the idea..."

How can you honestly say "never?" I, and many in my thread are perfectly civil in our differences with HRC. Yea, there are the haters, but I often chime in to admonish that sort of thing, as do others. I think that many of us, on all sides of this astonishing and stomach-churning debate, have our telescopes turned around and are obsessing over the churlish mites in this unfolding tragicomedy.

And this passive-aggressive faint praise:

"I understand some of his appeal. He calls it as he sees it — which is often the way I see it, too."

And yet, just before:

"...he never seemed presidential material."

You know what makes someone presidential material? Getting elected. This race isn't over, and I'm quite willing to refrain on commenting on this ephemeral "presidential material" business regarding Clinton - or even that high-clown Trump, because elections are the thing.

If Bernie Sanders calls it the ways you sees it, then a refusal to see him as "presidential material" speaks to something more emotional and id-like, and I'd advise a bit of naval-gazing so that you can inform us, your readers, of the substance of it.

Sigh. Perhaps some of these things have been addressed in earlier threads, or even this one, which I haven't even bothered to skim. But I have tired of the acrimonious aspects of this season.

I'll go away again now.

Cal -- you said "Diane please forgive me for being male." I don't understand this remark. I don't support HRC for the same reasons you don't. Same goes for JaNap. What's up?

I prefer Bernie to Hillary but prefer her to all of the Republicans. Respectfully, Jon, this purported Sanders-HRC war is largely the work of GOP trolls. Some of it was started by HRC supporters annoyed that her inevitability strategy was not working. It was frustrated Hillary supporters who started the meme that Bernie supporters would vote for him or nobody. Bernie himself has very much declined to play rough. Hillary can certainly do the job, especially if the job is defined as managing imperial decline. I don't dislike her and don't know any Bernie supporters who do. I just think she's out of touch. Of course, out of touch and competent is preferable to batshit crazy.

Diane read your 1st paragraph above re "men".

Soleri -

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this. Maybe I'm the naive one but I'm clinging to the notion that democracy can still work and if systemic change is what is needed we have the ability to vote for reform over incrementalism.

I do worry that we are in real trouble. As we all know, decades of dismantling public education and Fox News have helped create a population that doesn't think for themselves. One outcome of this epic dumbing down is that we are an easily led people. There's a reason why Bernie polls better than Hillary vs. Trump and it's not because of his lack of a vagina. Who will lead us? A fascist, socialist, or a sharp bureaucrat? I doubt it will be the latter. BTW, my handle back in the azcentral days was mi2000.

Diane maybe I misunderstood U. But I'm tired and unable to post the reams of thoughts I had. I spent the day selling vegetables and breaking up a potentially deadly large Duck fight. So time to shower off the Duck pond water and crap and go to sleep. However a Wildly green painted Smart car with the license plate "Feminist" made my day with a window sticker that said "Imagine No Religion ".

I definitely agree with you about the impact of Fox News, which has done more to tilt our political discourse to the right than any other modern development. More than any particular politician, it has helped devolve the Republican Party to the toxic cult it has become today.

Democracy if it's going to work requires buffers. This means a respect for expertise, institutions, lawful authority, and even politicians. It also means respecting legitimate information and journalism, as opposed to propaganda and disinformation. All of these bulwarks of democracy are under attack by oversimplifiers, mostly on the right but, I fear, increasingly on the left as well. I think this over-the-top Hillary-hatred is an example of this breakdown. If we don't check our enthusiasm with skepticism and doubt, we're cutting a critical safety line that ensures both social comity and legitimate government. I cannot recall a time in my life, not even 1968, when extremists have been so emboldened and brazen. Something is very wrong here and it's not just the other team. We're a 50-50 nation that needs to step back from demonology and maximalism. This is more than a civic virtue. It's a necessity for our collective survival.

Germane to this discussion:

"Incrementalism is the real unicorn."

Thanks, Ex Phx Planner. Gotcha. And here's to the revolution! For my family, and my country, I'm looking for REAL change for the 99%.

Ya'll vote your conscience.

Bern, baby, Bern!

While I am grateful sj weighed in, I still want to know how Sen. Sanders accomplishes a "revolution" against a Republican lock on Congress and most statehouses? What does he do that Barack Obama didn't?

SJ" vote your conscience". Your only honest choice.
However might I suggest a Trump presidency will bring out the worst of the White supremists. Not just in the South but in the West also.
And I think Realestate Trump will easily sign legislation that sells off national parks and wilderness to those folks that have been trying to legislate this privatization effort for years. This type of legislation will not only put land but water resources in the control of a few, profiteers.
So the goal has to be to defeat make a deal game show host Trump or Crazy Cruz. And non GOP Extremists and Democrats must make a herculean effort to take back control of this country from Dog Catcher to President.

People are getting hung up on the semantics of "revolution". What Bernie is talking about when he says that is the effort it will take to elect a Congress that will enact systemic reforms. The fact that he is using this type of language and not pretending that he will be able to do it himself is less unicorn than HRC's messaging.

Neither candidate has a platform that can be accomplished with the current Congress. What's Hillary's strategy to take back Congress? I would rather a President spend less resources on the running the government - leave that to the cabinet and chief of staff - and spend the first years campaigning in swing districts and states, along with the entire west wing staff. This would be a better use of resources than Obama's endless roundtables, summits, dinners, etc. that led to absolutely nothing - not even a budge from the GOP. Bernie is a better campaigner than Hillary.

Jon and Cal,
Sanders' revolution is a peoples' revolution, not just the election of one man to one office. It is the people letting the 1%, Wall Street, the donor class and the incompetent Congress know that the scales have dropped from our eyes. We will no longer vote against our interests.

There won't be any finger-snap, instant presto-change-o going on after the election. But the revolution will be rollin' in the right direction. (Hold onto your hat, Goldman Sachs!)

When Sanders is elected, the people will have spoken loudly. More importantly, after the election, people will continue to pay attention to the slight-of-hand that has wrecked this country. We CAN keep the spotlight on!

I'm hoping Sanders uses his bully pulpit to keep people informed, and to urge them to make their wishes known to Congress. (I'm not sure this was Pres. Obama's strong suit).

Don't be defeatist! We can make down-ticket changes (from dog catcher on up); we can vote the bums out. The only other option is bloody . . . .

When a man like Bernie Sanders comes along, well . . . if I don't vote for the change that I want, then I don't deserve it.

Hillary's strategy for retaking Congress is fairly basic: party politics. She's raised $24 million for the Dems, Bernie nothing. I agree that Obama's strategy failed. Instead of doing what he could for the party, he directed his fundraising to his own political arm, OFA. That said, the dynamics of the midterm races was always going to be difficult for Obama given the offyear tendency to vote against the party that holds the presidency.

Bernie's "revolution" would count on him doing something he has neither done before or exhibited any enthusiasm for - campaigning for Democrats. Assuming that he would become Campaigner-in-Chief is really just another unicorn but if it were to happen, there's no guarantee it would make a difference, let alone fundamentally transform political dynamics to the advantage of the left. You need to raise a lot of money to keep Democrats competitive with Republicans, which means trolling for dollars where you can find them, including Wall Street and corporations. It's grubby work and you have to get your hands and souls dirty. You do what it takes. Hillary gets that, Bernie obviously doesn't.

If you want to fundamentally transform a complex nation, you are not only Thinking Big, you're pretty much in Impossible Dream territory. That's why Bernie's policy centerpiece - single-payer health care - illustrates the quixotic nature of his crusade. It would be virtually impossible to enact no matter how many left-wing the nation became. Moreover, it wouldn't even make health care significantly cheaper since it's provider compensation that is so outrageously high. How would Bernie roll back the salary scales for orthopedic surgeons who make $300K a year? Or nurses who make $90K a year? I agree single-payer would be better and certainly fairer, but it would only minimally impact the excessive total cost of our health-care system.

The political process, the only one we have, is frustrating. Somehow, I trust it more than the fantasies of an aging radical and his credulous if adoring fans. Believing in miracles is a lot easier than linking hands with people you don't like (say, Republicans-lite such as myself). In the end, however, you're just using a mind-altering substance - enthusiasm - to cloud your thinking. I use the word "unicorn" not to damn your idealism but to force you to think harder about your roadmap. You need more than airy theories and group think. You really need to commit yourself to the political infrastructure in place and get involved. To be blunt: everything else is bullshit.

Again, Sanders is not only coherent but he is logical. At least to me, what he's saying is that not only does he need tour vote, he needs you to vote "super progressive" across the board. That's the revolution he is suggesting. He know he can't do it alone.

BTW, Hillary and Bill made just under $28.0M in 2014. And they showed their interest for the poor by contributing $3,022,700 to charities.

Of course, $3,000,000 of that $3,022,700 was to the Clinton Foundation.

Wonderful people.

Ex-Phx Planner and Cal -
So what are the orgainizational aims of the new president's Bully Pulpit and the Herculean effort of non GOP extremists and Democrats? aim for? How does it happen, and what is the role of the individual? Party politics?

TL, I was hoping you could tll me?

Even if we hold our breath until 2023, like Soleri suggests, I don't think we are going to make much progress on economic inequality by having the Clintons go around raising money from $10,000 a plate Wall Street dinners in order to fund campaigns of centrist Dems. Even if those Dems win (and that's a big if), I'm skeptical that we'll get true economic reform. We may get some "deals around the margins", but it won't change the trajectory of our economic system. If this is all you think is possible, vote Hillary. Maybe you think you're being the adult at the rave, but I think you're just being cynical.

What I think Bernie can do, that the Democratic party alone cannot, is inspire more people to run for office who might not have otherwise. And, I think it's possible to win purple and even red districts on a mainly economic platform of higher taxes on the wealthy in exchange for free college, a $15 national minimum wage, and Medicare for all. Even if those candidates don't support social issues such as abortion rights and Black Lives Matter.

I get it that we are told that the key to winning elections is to shut up, get on your knees, and bend over for Goldman Sachs. Then we are surprised that raising taxes on the wealthy is always "off the table", "naive"or "a unicorn".

And, last I checked, Bernie is raising more money than Hillary without Wall Street.

Why is raising taxes on the rich always off the table? Clinton, that tool of the plutocracy, did it. Obama, that fair-weather friend of the proletariat, did it too.

I'm sorry if mainstream Democrats are not good enough for you zealots. It's a terrible thing to have a civil war in an election year but Bernie has released some epic passions that are immune to reason and argument. I catch the drift immediately from my FB friends who think I'm the enemy because I oppose the most honest man who ever lived. Except that man is not honest, to you or to himself. He's selling you beliefs that are little more than millenialist fantasies. We have never in the history of this country voted huge tax increases on ourselves or elected a socialist president or, for that matter, anyone from the political fringe. Nor have we as a people ever done the right thing merely because zealots are so absolutely sure they're right. Every battle we fight is for a system that keeps the elderly out of poverty and the poor from starving, that keeps health care accessible to the middle class and poor, and that keeps the environment safe and, hopefully, the planet from overheating. Democrats, not Republicans do this. But somehow this isn't good enough because Republicans oppose in lockstep every decent and good things Democrats propose. So, purists insist that it must be the fault of Democrats that our nation is imperfect.

Wake up. It's not for lack of purity that we're so fucked. It's because so many of you vote Republican or don't vote at all. You want to buy cheap grace in a political campaign because you're not willing to do the basic work of democracy. You want some benevolent and lovable crank to do it for you.

Mmmm . . . gimme summa that cheap grace.

"We have never in the history of this country voted huge tax increases on ourselves . . . ."

Hey! What about all the wars that were dutifully funded by the American taxpayers!?! It's only recently that we haven't paid our way.

We can tax ourselves, tax the rich, and tax corporations. We CAN give our children a free college education!

Well, history is always right, until it's not. And no, the largest inequality in the nation's history - inequality that continued to worsen under Clinton and Obama - is not good enough for me. A dangerous climate for my children - one that continued to worsen under Clinton and Obama - is not good enough for me. And, I'm sure campaign finance has nothing to do with it.

While no sane person would vote against Hillary if she is nominated, incrementalism is the wrong approach. Reform is the right strategy to work for, even if there are longer timelines and higher risks. You might think Sanders supporters are naive and being sold snake oil, but the real nonsense is that deals around the margins are even going to move the needle, much less solve, the biggest threats to society. Empirical evidence, like the financial and physical health of our citizens and the stability of the earth's climate, indicate that the half measures that Sober Adults lap up with irreverent certitude from establishment candidates is the real bullshit being sold in this election.

What kind of volunteer work are you doing for the Party at the local level, Soleri?

From this morning's Paul Krugman column, Trump Is No Accident:

I still sometimes see people suggesting an equivalence between Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders. But while both men are challenging a party establishment, those establishments aren’t the same. The Democratic Party is, as some political scientists put it, a “coalition of social groups,” ranging from Planned Parenthood to teachers’ unions, rather than an ideological monolith; there’s nothing comparable to the array of institutions that enforces purity on the other side.

Indeed, what the Sanders movement, with its demands for purity and contempt for compromise and half-measures, most nearly resembles is not the Trump insurgency but the ideologues who took over the G.O.P., becoming the establishment Mr. Trump is challenging. And yes, we’re starting to see hints from that movement of the ugliness that has long been standard operating procedure on the right: bitter personal attacks on anyone who questions the campaign’s premises, an increasing amount of demagogy from the campaign itself. Compare the Sanders and Clinton Twitter feeds to see what I mean.

Some of you might think I'm simply being a contrarian about the best thing that ever happened in American politics. I'm not. You people frighten me with your credulity and ideological blinders. This will not end well. A movement predicated on group think and suspension of reasonable disbelief is dangerous not only to the Democratic Party but democracy itself. We've seen what has happened to the Republican Party when ideology and dogma supersede all doubt and respect for complexity. Republicans today might as well be living on Mars given their contempt for empiricism and the political process. It's a full-blown cult now that has devolved pretty much to its id: white nationalism. I shudder to think who would win this war in November if Sanders is the Democratic nominee.

Democracy will survive. And who really cares about the Democratic party? They've sold us out, over and over, for 30 years.

I see some interesting overlap between the Trump supporters and the Sanders supporters: Both are angry at political parties and upset by their economic circumstances. They share concerns about jobs/wages/income inequality, trade agreements, and healthcare costs.

It is short-sighted and elitist to dismiss the anger (and fear) of working-class Americans as cultish because they are finally expressing that anger.

Group think? Suspension of disbelief? Or maybe people are just fed up and bone-tired of the status quo?

I don't know about you, but as for me and my neighbors and family, we live in reduced circumstances: Employment is sketchy (90 day temp job, anyone?); pensions are non-existent; we know personally what EBT stands for; the Great Recession wiped out savings and took homes; drug prescriptions are just too expensive to fill all the time; and Goodwill is now the first stop for "new" clothes and shoes.

F*ck the Democratic party.

I'm appalled by Trump's use of divisiveness and bigotry, but I'm not ready to write off all of the Trump followers as racists and fools. I support Sanders' call for unity, systemic change, and a better life for all Americans.

Soleri, Bernie will not overcome Hillary. However the 100 FBI agents assigned to investigate Hillary's Foundation ties and Her Email problems could result in indictments. Then she like Bill will have to decide whether to fight on or capitulate. I'm betting she will fight.
Maybe thats what makes her the better woman for the job. Bernie the commie and Mussolini Donald have never had to withstand such continuing lifetime assaults.

Aside from the breathless hysteria that Sanders supporters are cult members, zealots, and "you people" because they have positions to the left of HRC, it feels like Clinton supporters are making the case that politicians should always compromise, just for the sake of compromise. Anything else is childish fanaticism, a lack of an understanding of complexity.

I agree with Soleri that the party of Trump has become completely ignorant of facts and empiricism. So, the solution is to compromise with them? I remember reading Krugman blast Obama in column after column about the stimulus/bail-out for "compromising". He also ridiculed Obamacare - in column after column - comparing it to a massively expensive Rube Goldberg machine.

Now the GOP has gone full batshit and the solution is to move the Democratic party further the to the right so compromise is possible. The party of empiricism now believes that the definition of progress is that something happens, even if it's wrong and empirically ineffective.

So people like Robert Reich, Steve Wozniak, Bill Moyers and other fanatical, group think, zeolots scare Soleri? So what.

Just read Krugman's column. Well put. So, a Clinton supporter says that Sanders supporters launch "bitter personal attacks on anyone who questions the campaign’s premise" - and, as an empirical guy - cites a Twitter feed for proof. Guess he doesn't read comments on Rogue.

So let's assume Sanders wins the nomination. What is the game plan to win the general election in a country that is so closely divided, and arguably one that is center-right?

I don't think it would be easy for Hillary or any Democrat. But how does Sanders counter the inevitable Republican attack machine ("socialist! radical! communist!").

I'm not trolling. I am genuinely interested.

The problem with political maximalism - that is promising the heavens if you vote in a particular way - is that you've already said it's either my way or no way. You start with a position as far as possible from the center, double down on the purity of your beliefs and agenda, and then what? Jesus descends on a unicorn and we all live happily ever after?

We have one political process and it's not a compound of wishful thinking and populist enthusiasm. There are real obstacles, opposition, and checkpoints. You don't say we'll do it on Facebook, or have a rally, or write a $27 check. You need actual institutional vehicles to store that energy you mobilize. You need a lot of money, like-minded allies, and deal-makers to get things done. Now, what in Bernie's career makes you think he will succeed in a system like this? Bernie is not LBJ on the one hand or Obama on the other. He's a gadfly inhabiting his own caucus where he can be as pure as the driven snow. As you earnest types know all-too well, purity is not only morally superior to effectiveness, it's the entire point of your politics.

The left has manifested its own Tea Party where ideological certitude and anti-politics matter more than real-world policy and the grubby process that gets things done. We all laugh at the ignorance of Republicans who live in an echo chamber and know with absolute certitude that they're right. You're doing this from the left. I know you think we're on the doorstep of the apocalypse unless we do things your way. My fear is pretty much the opposite: you and the heavy breathers on the right are the apocalypse.

Soleri, Bernie is not going to get the nomination but in the end he may get the Nod.
Jon, I'm not smart enough to give the long answer to your question, so my short answer is, maybe it's time for Amerika to have a atheistic and socialistic president. But if he makes it there goes my chance at a quiet coffee with him and Jose Mujica.

AND deep dwn in their "Soul" who do U think Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama are rooting for?

"socialist! radical! communist!"
My first thought is that only old people get worked up about those labels. Young voters don't.


Hillary is light years easier for the GOP to attack than Sanders. At best, the emails and the Foundation reflect horrible judgement. Iraq. Benghazi was poorly handled at best. Wall Street ties. Her expanded role in politics just gives the GOP more places to attack. Sanders has been much more under the radar.

the GOP can attack Sanders on his stances on issues, but he is a guy without almost unquestionable integrity. He won't try to weasel his way around the stances or positions he has taken. He is what he is.

Every poll on the planet has him destroying HRC (and probably the GOP candidates, too)in terms of trustworthiness. That's hard to attack.

Koch Stooge, George McGovern was another lefty who was absolutely above reproach. Your team destroyed him. John Kerry was a war hero with an unblemished public record. By the time your team was finished with him, he was a wind-surfing dilettante who faked his war wounds.

I appreciate your love of Bernie Sanders since it's so obviously insincere and calculated. But you won't have any problem destroying him if he's the nominee. In fact, you'll be here every day this fall doing yeoman's duty for the the party of Trump.

Gabriel Debenedetti ✔ ‎@gdebenedetti
Favorability among Hispanics, according to Gallup:
Clinton +33
Sanders +19
Rubio +6
Kasich +1
Cruz -4

Trump -65
12:55 PM - 11 Mar 2016
Trump Has a Major Image Problem With Hispanics
Donald Trump continues to have a major image problem among U.S. Hispanics, with 12% viewing him favorably and 77% unfavorably. Trump's image among Hispanics is significantly worse than the images of...

"Bern down the House"
how about
a Dump the Trump?

Rogue and Soleri have already said that they agree with everything Sanders says. I think the real concern, despite Soleri's heavy breathing, is the risk that Sanders could lose the general election and will be ineffective at advancing a majority or even workable minority in Congress.

In sports they call this “playing not to lose” rather than “playing to win” and often ends in defeat. While older Dems have wisdom and perspective, they are also bitter, cynical, and somewhat defeatist in their approach to campaigns. You can see it in Soleri’s comments above – it’s almost like an inferiority complex with the GOP. Voting for Sanders may be a little more risky, but at some point Dems need to take a few. The 2016 GOP clown car may have the weakest group of candidates in decades. I’m pretty sure Noam Chomsky could wipe the floors with any of them.

As far as electing a Democratic majority, I have my doubts that HRC can effectively lead that campaign. First, as the "inevitable candidate" she lost to an inexperienced black man with a Muslim name. Now a 74 year old socialist Jew from Vermont with no party and no name recognition is giving her trouble. If the ability to fundraise from big donors is all that mattered, HRC would be crushing Sanders.

I think a strategy, in some red and purple districts, is to run a purely economic reform campaign by supporting candidates who will run on a narrow socialist economic platform – even if they are batshit on every other issue - and have them run as Independents or even Republicans. Tell the DNC to back down and not compete. This approach would be a risk on non-economic issues, but Sanders could mitigate anything crazy with a veto.

A big share of the white working class may be racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and misogynistic, but I don’t think they are as far to the right on economic issues as many assume they are. If Trump was screaming for the heads of Wall St. titans, a higher minimum wage, Medicare, etc. you think his supporters would abandon him? Not a chance.

What this guy says:

Ex Phx Planner, I'd feel better about your optimism if I knew it was grounded in something other than wounded feelings. Simply asserting that Bernie will do this or that is more magical thinking. You're trying to imagine an effective presidency in a sharply divided nation from possibly the most left-wing politician there is, someone who has not made a name for himself working with others, compromising, or even changing his mind about anything. Maybe what you say would happen, but how could you really know? This is wishful thinking posing as sage prognosis.

I don't mean to offend you but the road forward goes through a minefield of extraordinary passion and anger. Bernie himself is passionate and angry to a degree not seen on the left since Henry Wallace. His followers are as fervent as those of Trump's, and as the weekend in Chicago showed, the possibility of real violence, even death, is now openly discussed. This degree of polarization is dangerous for the country and the future of democracy. Bernie promises more polarization, not less, and Trump will certainly up the ante from his side.

I do not love Hillary Clinton. I don't get a warm, fuzzy feeling thinking about her. But she's not a demagogue even though the right has alleged mind-boggling acts of evil against her, up to and including murder. In 1968, the last time the nation was this polarized, we elected someone who straddled the establishment and the right's paranoid style of politics. Today I see this danger both on the left and right where the country is screaming for insane "solutions" like border walls, ripping up trade agreements, and even an end to ordinary civility (in the guise of squashing "political correctness). Bernie is feeding fueling this rage, if more cogently, than Trump. But it's still making us less able to function, let alone enact meaningful change.

We need a calming voice more than ever, someone who is practiced in the politics of compromise and pragmatism. I know you want a kind of "revolution" but that's the last thing we need right now. I have a very bad feeling about this moment, the election and the kind of discussion we're having here. I know how my voice sounds condescending and imperious. But I want to hear from your side some acknowledgement that it might be better to tone down the maximalism and demonology. A 50-50 nation is not going to survive being this jazzed up with certitude and fury. We really need to calm down and stop feeding this insanity. Politics that is either/or is a bomb waiting to go off.

This is the most intelligent debate on this topic I've seen yet. Thanks to you all.

President Obama is now at over 50% favorability per Gallup. If that holds (and barring some unforeseen calamity, it will) and he throws his his support and machine behind Hillary, she will win. Not easily, but she will.

Calm?? How about Biden and Kerry for prez and vp ?

Are you smoking "wacky tobaccy" or eating loco weed out there in the Great Sonoran Desert?


Your fairly shallow historical comparisons are not helpful.

First, times change. As many point out, wealth division in this country is at an all time high; the deficit has never been worse, there are foreign skirmishes all over the world, the 1%, the middle class is getting squeezed, tax policy is broken, immigration is a mess, most Washington disapproval listings are at all time highs, technology presents ts own challenges, globalization, a shaky world economy, central banks losing control, the list goes on and on and on.....

Different times require different approaches and different solutions. And different people.

More specifically, McGovern and Kerry were both running against incumbents (Sanders or Clinton clearly won't). That's usually a very uphill battle.

But like the Salon article points out, HRC is a MUCH easier target than Sanders. If one of your criteria is to support the candidate who is the most immune to GOP attack, Sanders wins that hands down.

You have a history of avoiding literature that does not coincide with your pre-conceived notions; thus, you are able to keep your blinders affixed rather snugly. So, here's a quote from the Salon article (that you probably didn't read) that I think is spot on:

"The right wing knows how to go after Hillary, because they’ve been doing so for 30 years. Within the media and a significant portion of the electorate, the neural pathways have already been carved out. Hillary is defensive, programmed, ethically suspect.

They are going to have a more difficult time smearing a candidate whose biggest liabilities are his “extreme” policy positions, most of which sound more like a common sense corrective to the excesses of capitalism. Higher taxes on corporations and the super-wealthy? Healthcare as a right? A higher minimum wage? Increased funding for education and infrastructure? Good luck demonizing those positions, Big Donald. "

He's right. People can demonize Hillary. For Christ's sake, she is currently the subject of an FBI investigation. Sanders can be disagreed with on his policy positions- but he's very difficult to demonize.

Roger, sat around that Mesquite campfire last nite and been floating ever since. Even the Superstitions are more purple this, late afternoon. My campfire friend and I were looking for Pete and Walt to join us but just a few rabbits and javelin passed by. Maybe tonite a Wiley Coyote.
This has been a most fun blog and very intellectual, requiring me to look up a lot of words and historical stuff.
Hasta luego.
Vaya con Bernie.

May my next meal be Migascalvegan.

CNN has been running "The Race to the White House", a historical program. It's worth a watch (especially the Lincoln-Douglas one). Krazy Konvention time is just around the korner!

Jerry I sent U an email about ur inquiry about coffee.

Assuming that it's possible for BS to win: just doing what he has been doing all along quite effectively - to lay out the economic message, probable benefits to the majority of Americans, and be clear about what will fund it: raising taxes on the haves. He will have to play defense- his only chance there is to spoon feed this message " they're afraid of this movement and ( emphasis on this) here's why." His only chance is to do what the Dems haven't seen fit to do- show how his positions can benefit average working people, and trust them to turn out for him. The question has been whether GOP candidates and party heavies will back TRED should he be the nominee. . Should BS prevail, what support might he have from the Mainstream Dems?
if he were nominated, or if he won the general, it wouldn't be an isolated anomaly, It would be part of a larger dynamic among voters. . His message might influence Senate races as well.
Rogue, your question is a good one- the possibility of a BS nomination is kind of mind bending: (political) science fiction.
The response to all of the mud and innuendo is to stay above it and to contrast his career with TRED's - he's done everything to help the average person. Simple parallel public bios- factual, not nasty. "In 1989 BS was doing this.... TRED was doing this." And it will be important to point out what TRED's real record has been.
Ultimately it depends on the good sense of the average voting- American. I'm not optimistic.

"Lesson of 1972 isn't that progressive nominees lose. Dems lose when they are out of step with voters, like Hillary"

The overlooked key to the 2016 election is right there at the top of the Front Page: over 200,000 registered North Carolina voters could be blocked from the polls by new ID law.

Now multiply that by however many states are controlled by Republicans. Each with its own gerrymandered counties and shiny new voter suppression laws. These laws are designed to deal with "voter fraud", which is statistically so infrequent as to be non-existent. Naturally, the voters being suppressed are generally Democrats.

Of course, that's just a coincidence.

And that's how you steal a close election.

U R right B.Frank


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