A Socialist In The White House? Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 5 2015 @ 3:41pm

A reader isn’t jumping on the Bernie bandwagon any time soon:

I love me some Bernie, but the good Senator might ask himself whatever came of Occupy Wall Street, the Climate Change March in New York or the various metropolitan marches to protest aggressive police force against African Americans … NOTHING. The Koch Brothers still roll merrily along, thank you very much. So much for protests in the streets.

How another reader puts it: “I fear he would be a significantly quixotic, ineffective president, no matter how well meant his agenda was.” Another:

I’m from Vermont and probably fit the Vermont political stereotype – progressive in some sense.  However, Bernie Sanders is one of the reasons I’ve been less supportive of progressive causes.

Here in Vermont, he has been steadfast in his support of basing the F35 in the Burlington area despite the warnings and caveats of Air Force’s own Environmental Impact Report.  In other words, Bernie supports progressive causes AND military pork.  He gives progressive movement permission to be for military pork as long as their rhetoric is sounds good.

Media types like you give Bernie a pass in that you don’t question his progressive credentials when it comes to military pork. The F35 deserves to be questioned at a lot of levels.  For one thing, it’s a poorly-designed piece of military hardware that is ridiculously expensive (1.5 trillion dollars).  We could fight another Iraq war (with the same result) for that amount of money and not need the F35.  For another, it’s not really clear what its mission is in the 21st century.

The Dish recently featured Fallow’s latest cover-story, which contains a sizable takedown of the F-35, a project that “illustrates the broad and depressingly intractable tendencies of weapons development and spending.” Jim also takes aim at Bernie:

Whatever its technical challenges, the F-35 is a triumph of political engineering, and on a global scale. For a piquant illustration of the difference that political engineering can make, consider the case of Bernie Sanders—former Socialist mayor of Burlington, current Independent senator from Vermont, possible candidate from the left in the next presidential race. In principle, he thinks the F-35 is a bad choice. After one of the planes caught fire last summer on a runway in Florida, Sanders told a reporter that the program had been “incredibly wasteful.” Yet Sanders, with the rest of Vermont’s mainly left-leaning political establishment, has fought hard to get an F-35 unit assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard in Burlington, and to dissuade neighborhood groups there who think the planes will be too noisy and dangerous. “For better or worse, [the F-35] is the plane of record right now,” Sanders told a local reporter after the runway fire last year, “and it is not gonna be discarded. That’s the reality.” It’s going to be somewhere, so why not here? As Vermont goes, so goes the nation.

A followup from Fallows on the F-35 here. Shifting focus, another reader quotes from the Prokop piece we featured:

Beyond Clinton’s desire to raise campaign cash, there’s a long-held belief among many Democratic political consultants that messaging critical of the rich simply isn’t effective in US politics. Instead, they argue, much of the American public actually rather admires successful businessmen, and aspires to be like them. And lack of trust in government is a real and consistent force in American politics and public opinion.

Fucking Hell. This is why we can’t have nice things – or a nice country. What good is the damn Democratic Party if it doesn’t, you know, advocate policies that once upon a time the Democratic Party advocated – successfully for the country, I might add. In addition to literally possessing one, Hillary Clinton – and every “Democrat” – is a pussy. We live in stark times where the status quo just won’t help citizens. True leftists aren’t asking for the French Revolution, just some courage against the prevalent and powerful forces that have taken away economic human rights en masse. But apparently, even that is too much, and the income inequality gap, with all its attendant problems, will continue unchecked and unabated.

I have always though D.C. and Hollywood shared the worst qualities. The above quote proves it. Just like the studio heads at Hollywood, D.C marketing guys – the real power players of the country – are conservative and think Americans won’t cotton to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Just as movies now are generic sequel after generic sequel because Hollywood thinks Americans want to be comfortable and given entertainment they already know, so too the political class thinks Americans want to stay in the hard times, because, hey, it’s the new normal and rocking the boat isn’t going to fly with the public.

Trust me: a slight change like a little redistribution of wealth to the needy won’t result in Thermidor. We’re too placid as a people for that. What it will do is get millions excited about politics again – for we are all desperate for someone, anyone, even an identified socialist like Bernie Sanders, to lead us.