Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bernie's Wisconsin supporters, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, job descriptions, and that hopey, changey thing

As Bernie's supporters in Wisconsin beam with delight at their non-accomplishment, I can't help but wonder why two years ago they didn't do something that mattered and unseat the five Wisconsin Republican House members, including House Speaker Paul Ryan. Now that would have mattered!

I start getting confused when I listened to Bernie Sanders and his supporters because they seem so confused about the idea of "job descriptions." They all need to review what the actual scope of work is that is assigned in the Constitution to the President versus that assigned to the Congress and the Courts.

Stop and take a look at this (click here to view a full size readable version):

This helps me to remember a few important things.

For instance, it appears that "We the People" have given Congress the perfect right to determine if the federal government can spend or cannot spend money, or can borrow or cannot borrow money. In fact, if the mood strikes Congress, they can refuse to allow the federal government to spend money.

"We the People" have given the President the legal obligation to "take care that the laws" as adopted by Congress "be faithfully executed.

Further, "We the People" have given the President the right to tell Congress he thinks it is acting incorrectly and he can hope they will heed his advice.

Heck. Even though the President is Commander in Chief of the military, only Congress can provide for the funding and organization of, and rules for, the military.

So pretty much the next President has to depend on Congress to make any significant changes in anything the federal government is doing now and Congress pretty much can, by changing the law, undo almost anything a President attempts to do pursuant to existing laws.

Lastly, almost anything related to education and social policy apparently has been left up to the States. States can ignore anything Congress does if they don't mind missing out on "free federal money", as we have learned from the implementation of the the Affordable Care Act.

That's why it's foolish to vote for Presidential candidates that give you expectations of "hope" and "change" particularly in areas of domestic policy. The President can't do anything without the support of more than half of the members of Congress.

You will be disappointed and have to listen to somebody like Sarah Palin say:
"A year later I gotta ask the supporters of all that, 'How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?' "
On the other hand, if all the Bernie activists were to start working on changing the 7,383 state legislators and the 535 members of Congress....

Of course it's easier for a few weeks every four years during the primary/caucus season to campaign for, and donate to, your favorite Presidential candidate than to campaign constantly for, and donate to, 7,918 legislative/Congressional candidates.

In the case of Bernie Sanders supporters in Wisconsin, they couldn't find the time two years ago to unseat the five Republican House members including House Speaker Paul Ryan. Oh, and did I mention that Wisconsin is what Ballotpedia calls a "Trifecta", in this case where the Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the Governor is a Republican.

Yep, good work there in Wisconsin, Bernie. Are you going to be there two years from now and have you pushed your supporters to campaign this year for Democrats in those five Wisconsin Congressional Districts controlled by Republicans?

Oh, right. You and your supporters aren't really committed to helping liberals win Congress or State legislatures. Maybe you all ought to check out the job descriptions. Because what you are doing now, win or lose, is a waste of time. And if you don't think this matters, there is this Wisconsin story:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed Rebecca Bradley, a far-right jurist, to the state Supreme Court, and it was up to voters to decide whether to give her a full term. Despite her record of extremist views and rhetoric, Bradley prevailed over her rival, JoAnne Kloppenburg, who was supported by Democrats and Wisconsin unions in a race that was technically non-partisan.

So what went wrong for the left? The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel published an interesting report today on an important analysis of the election results.

Bradley won the election, a surprise to Democrats. This morning, some progressives picked a culprit: voters who cast ballots for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and left the rest of their ballots blank. According to exit polling conducted by the independent group DecisionDesk and BenchMark Politics, perhaps 15 percent of Sanders voters skipped the Bradley-Kloppenburg race; just 4 percent of Hillary Clinton voters did the same.
“There was an enormous drop-off,” said Brandon Finnigin of DecisionDesk. “There was a substantial number of voters in that voted for Sanders, then for nothing else.”
It’s important to emphasize that while Sanders has been criticized for raising money for himself, and not for other candidates, Democratic campaign committees, or state parties, he did endorse Kloppenburg over Bradley. Hillary Clinton also focused attention on the state Supreme Court fight, telling a Milwaukee audience over the weekend, “There is no place on any Supreme Court or any court in this country, no place at all for Rebecca Bradley’s decades-long track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual assault and the LGBT community.”

But in the larger context, the fact that so many Sanders supporters showed up to vote for him, but not other like-minded candidates, reinforces Democratic concerns about the senator’s electoral role. As Weigel’s report added, many Dems are now arguing that Clinton “is investing in the Democratic Party’s success,” while “Sanders, far from a revolution, has built a personal following but little else.”

Despite arguments to the contrary by well-meaning political neophytes, evidence is building that the Bernie Sanders campaign is doing serious damage to the Progressive cause.

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