Shawn Macomb: Sandernistas on the MarchPosted: February 7, 2016
Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.
Shawn Macomb writes: So now that the Democratic party is well and truly feeling the Bern, how should those of us who identify not as democratic socialists nor oligarchs nor oligarch-enablers feel about those lighter-shade-of-Mao “Bernie 2016″ yard signs reddening up the landscape?
“The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.”
The perhaps counterintuitive answer is . . . thrilled. Ecstatic, even. The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.
Skeptical? Allow me to relate a single line from Outsider in the House, Sanders’s memoir of his 1996 congressional campaign: “I’m not sure how many of them actually heard my fourteen-second speech about the dangers of Newt Gingrich, given when I stepped out of my tiger costume.”
Sanders is describing his collaboration with the Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus, “a political company whose accomplished theatrical productions are,” the then-congressman assured us, “truly radical”—radical enough to induce a sitting congressman to hold up the hind quarters of a tiger costume, anyway. “It’s better than being a horse’s ass,” Sanders writes, though whether he speaks from experience is not immediately clear.
“Alas, the charge of ‘insufficient Leninism’ is not the campaign-killer it once was. The Sandernistas don’t care about realpolitik lectures from ex-congressmen or the bitter ravings of the man whose 2000 campaign on the Green party ticket robbed the nation of four-to-eight glorious years of prime-time PowerPoint presentations from President Gore.”
Sure, the tiger-costume anecdote is a bit rich coming from the same guy who a few pages before slagged freshman Republicans who slept in their offices to save taxpayer cash back in ’95 as “total nuts” making “some kind of weird political statement.” But Sanders’s tale takes an even more absurdist turn as he recounts his address to the all-volunteer Mississquoi Valley Emergency Rescue Service later that same day. “Person after person,” Sanders notes, “talked about the trauma of seeing people die and the joy of saving people’s lives.” The contrast “from radical theatrics to community-based service,” he allows, “was striking.” Indeed. But “the differences strike me as more superficial than deep,” Sanders inexplicably feels compelled to add, as “both the rescue workers and the drama troupe are focused on . . . giving of themselves to build community.”
Even if he isn’t plotting to replace America’s first-responders with a puppeteer corps, Bernie Sanders is clearly delusional enough to be president. But is he delusional in the appropriate way?
Many of his erstwhile ideological allies are not so sure. Former congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, for example, snarked to National Journal, “I don’t understand what [Sanders] running for president would do other than frankly show that his viewpoint is not the majority viewpoint.” In a scathing Salon piece, writer Charles Davis averred that while, yes, Sanders “tosses rhetorical Molotovs at America’s 21st-century robber barons like few other national politicians,” he’s also “rather non-threatening, his politics reformist, not revolutionary—more old-school liberal than Leninist.” And in an open letter delivered to the Burlington Free Press on the day Sanders announced his presidential intentions in 2014, Ralph Nader declared the Vermont senator’s run unsafe at any speed, deriding him as “a Lone Ranger, unable even to form a core progressive force within the Senate,” “aloof,” and a narcissistic fearmonger using his office to cash in:
You do communicate in one way—repeatedly, intensely, and expressing alarm. Along with others deemed to be on the right mailing lists, I receive many of your fundraising letters to help Bernie get reelected. Your letters are full of warnings about the right-wing, corporate interests out to defeat you—a shoo-in for reelection. Quick send a check to ward off the Huns. In the two years before your election the letters flow with predictable regularity, recounting your record and the perils confronting your election. Once you are comfortably and predictably re-elected, Bernie returns to the Lone Ranger mode.
Alas, the charge of “insufficient Leninism” is not the campaign-killer it once was. The Sandernistas don’t care about realpolitik lectures from ex-congressmen or the bitter ravings of the man whose 2000 campaign on the Green party ticket robbed the nation of four-to-eight glorious years of prime-time PowerPoint presentations from President Gore.
Credit where credit is due: Sanders may have found…(read more)
Source: The Weekly Standard
Cover Illustration Credit: Jason Seiler