Narcissists to the LEFT of me,
Narcissists to the Right
Anyone who doubts the Bernie Sanders is as big a narcissist as Donald Trump need only look at CNN’s announcement of Monday night’s “debate” between Sanders and Cassidy/Graham. While I hope the debate will draw little or no audience (against Monday Night Football – a literally mind-numbing broadcast), Sanders is, nonetheless, giving CPR to the Graham-Cassidy bill and, quite possibly, propelling its passage by Saturday night. Those who “feel the Bern,” of course, see it, once again as their white (haired) Knight taking the case to the “evil-doers” but, as we saw in the Democratic primaries, Bernie is primarily interested in himself, as any good narcissist is. As reported in today’s Washington Post:
The news also prompted fresh panic from Senate aides — most of them anonymous — asking whether Sanders had walked into a trap. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who launched his bill with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) the same day that Sanders launched his universal Medicare for All bill, has frequently (and sarcastically) thanked the Vermont senator for giving him a contrast — repeal of the ACA, or inevitable health care “socialism.”
Just as in the Primaries, Bernie knows single payer will never happen in the United States yet his need to be in the spotlight (like our “President”) supersedes good political sense. According to Sanders’s spokesman Josh Miller-Lewis (in the Waashington Post): “Bernie’s been saying for months that he knows single-payer isn’t going to pass next week. This is about making the argument to save the ACA.” Nonetheless, Bernie is willing to help the Republicans set up another false equivalency (as they did throughout the election campaign against Clinton) about “single-payer” vs. Graham-Cassidy just before the crucial Senate vote.
Why would we expect anything less from Bernie? He is intoxicated with his own popularity and his narcissism, like Trump’s, knows no bounds. Back in April, 2016, before The Blast existed, I wrote an essay about Bernie that seems relevant to this latest grandstanding move by the Independent/Socialist (not Democrat) from Vermont. Here it is --- please note the date.
April 4, 2016
Enough already with the Bernie Sanders love fest that the media, young voters and Susan Sarandon can’t get too much of. Recognizing that I will be labeled an old crank, a voice for the “Democratic establishment” (despite being a registered Independent), and another one of those Clinton baby-boomers, I believe it is time to put Emperor Sanders fully on display, sans clothes.
While the estimable Susan Sarandon (personal worth: $50 Million) hopes that Bernie’s or Trump’s election will bring a “political revolution,” let’s be grown-ups when we assess the political landscape. Republicans control the House and Senate and Democrats can only hope that somehow Trump’s candidacy will bring enough of their party into the Senate to regain the majority there. Even with that, there is no looming “revolution.” Not that such a thing would be necessarily bad, but let’s talk about how one governs this beast of a system effectively, given the realities. “Political revolution” is not in the cards and, even though I know young people will not like to hear this, the ‘60’s (when Baby-Boomers grew up) was far closer to some kind of genuine revolution than today’s Tea Party-Trump world (even white college students got shot back then!). The “Establishment’s” ability to quash civil rights, the Black Panthers, the anti-war movement, and make women’s and gay rights a 40-year battle is testimony to the blunt power of those in charge. Bernie calls for a “political revolution” without really explaining how that is going to happen beyond his quixotic calls for some grassroots takeover. It is wonderful to sloganeer but is he really providing any more substance than Trump’s delusional proposals?
Bernie’s one note samba attack on Clinton’s taking money from Wall Street is also disingenuous. As much as I love the European socialist model Bernie espouses, how, exactly will that happen in the United States? You have Republicans winning office because they’ve convinced voters that Medicare and Social Security are needless entitlements!(September 22, 2017 bold) While Clinton’s connection to Wall Street may be unseemly, it is what politicians do. Can Sanders make any clear connection between Clinton’s Wall Street speaking fees and actual favors she has given those capitalists? And just what will replace the massive capitalist machinery Bernie hopes to displace? Like his “free college” (backtracked on) there are practical realities that will require compromise with capitalists.
Finally, why is it we have only come to know Bernie Sanders since 2015? My awareness of him, prior to this election, was like many others: “Oh, yeah, that cranky old socialist guy from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats.” While we all know of bills like Dodd-Frank and McCain-Feingold, why are we not aware of any Sanders- (House member’s name here) or (Senator’s name here)-Sanders bills in his 30 years in the Congress? Of course, he did vote against the Iraq War, and castigates Clinton for her vote incessantly, but why didn't he begin his “revolution” then and there, with a genuine issue at the forefront? Why didn’t that become a rallying point for his 2004 or 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination? He suddenly woke up some time in 2015 and decided the United States is ready for Bernie Sanders? Looking at the evidence, the United States is as ready for Bernie Sanders as it is for Donald Trump. The pundits point out that their supporters exhibit the same “anger” with the Establishment and their “business as usual.” Why, then, as a member of that Establishment, hasn’t Bernie been upsetting the apple cart for the past 30 years? Why is he so late to this party? He is more Rip Van Sanders than Robin Hood and voters, young and old, need to see idealistic rhetoric for what it is: lovely in intent but grossly impractical in reality.