Friday, February 5, 2016

Bernie Instead of Hillary - You've Got to be Kidding!

I'm watching friends and family deciding to support Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination. I'm saying to myself: "You've got to be kidding!"

Initially I was stunned that after years of fighting for Affirmative Action I'm hearing women "progressives" saying they won't vote for Hillary just because she would become the first woman President. They rationalize saying it would be discriminatory. I think: "When did they start thinking like the right wingers on the Supreme Court who opposed affirmative action?"

Do they really want to pass up this opportunity? But that's not even my greatest puzzlement.

Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton - what's the difference? As one writer put it:
"It’s 'theory of change' debate at its core: one candidate intends to fight for progress through incremental gains; the other candidate believes a president can uproot the existing political system and replace it, institutional limits be damned."
The institutional limits are real and if Sanders were to win the Presidency, the Congressional wagons would immediately circle to defend the status quo.

I don't understand why people don't remember the Clinton health care plan of 1993 which made Hillary a political target for the right and which is a lesson I'm sure she hasn't forgotten. From Wikipedia:
Opposition to the Clinton plan was initiated by William Kristol and his policy group Project for the Republican Future, which is widely credited with orchestrating the plan's ultimate defeat through a series of now legendary "policy memos" faxed to Republican leaders.

"The long-term political effects of a successful... health care bill will be even worse — much worse... It will revive the reputation of... Democrats as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government." - William Kristol memo, "Defeating President Clinton's Healthcare Proposal" 12/93

Op-eds were written against it, including one in The Washington Post by conservative University of Virginia Professor Martha Derthick that said:

"In many years of studying American social policy, I have never read an official document that seemed so suffused with coercion and political naivete ... with its drastic prescriptions for controlling the conduct of state governments, employers, drug manufacturers, doctors, hospitals and you and me."
Derthick's description of the proposal sounds a lot like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that was adopted 17 years later.

Progress like this is almost never more than incremental in our country and takes time. Obamacare was passed because of the price Hillary paid in 1993. But let's face it, the biggest criticism from the left is that it wasn't revolutionary and contains compromises. Yes, that's true. That's how it has to be done.

The last Democratic President to successfully obtain a revolutionary policy change from Congress was Lyndon Johnson. He was a powerhouse in Congress before he became President, and we all know that he wasn't and couldn't have been elected President before 1964. But he got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed albeit a compromise version.

What people seem to forget is that in July 1965, after he was overwhelming elected President he got Medicare passed. In fact historians argue that Johnson's presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism in the United States after the New Deal era. Johnson is ranked favorably by some historians because of his domestic policies and the passage of many major laws, affecting civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation, and Social Security.

Nonetheless, we should not forget that in achieving his revolutionary success in the Civil Rights Act, he did destroy the Democratic coalition created by Franklin Roosevelt that included the South.

Some argue that Bernie Sanders is going to get a revolution if he becomes President. You've got to be kidding. Neither he nor Hillary have that kind of clout with the current Congress. And as we have seen before, there is no way all these newly aware "populist" supporters of his are working hard on Congressional elections this year and will remain active for the Congressional elections in 2018.

So you have to ask yourself, do you really want to watch on Fox News some nitwit saying something like "How's that hopey, changey revolution working out for ya?"

In the meantime, let's not forget that Bernie is a politician and doesn't have some sort of clean, perfect lefty record.

In 1993, Sanders voted against the Brady Bill, which mandated federal background checks and imposed a waiting period on firearm purchasers in the United States and in 2005 he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which prevents firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products.

This doesn't make him bad, it makes him a politician who sometimes disappoints his supporters.

But why on Earth would Democrats want to nominate a grumpy old  man over the person who could be the first woman President of the United States? Could this group delusional thinking prevail? You've got to be kidding.

No comments: