Yo, Bernie: What you gonna do as prez that has teeth?

Sanders’ presidential campaign needs to detail specific measures to bend a corrupt, self-centered Congress into effective action on his agenda

Bernie Sanders, he who regularly tilts at NSA windmills and shouts at the hot air emitted by billionaires, says he’s running for president. In his 10-minute announcement, he displayed the media acumen of an irritated porcupine — prickly and impatient. He didn’t even have red, white, and blue balloons soaring patriotically into the sky.

No matter. The liberals and progressives disenchanted with all-but-nominated Hillary have gleefully fled to their new standard bearer. Trouble is, what’s Bernie’s standard to bear? He announced before crafting a website that clearly articulates what actions he would take to address domestic, economic, foreign, military, wealth inequality, and [insert your beef with Obama and Congress here] issues. The site touts only an apparent promise that something will appear soon — “Coming 5.26.15.” All that’s there now is, according to Bernie’s Facebook page, an email sign-up opp for “an unprecedented grass-roots effort.” The site notes that it’s “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).”

But no matter. He’s got a strategist: “Tad Devine, one of the Democratic Party’s leading consultants and a former high-level campaign aide to Al Gore, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis.” (Wait a minute: Didn’t those three guys lose?)

Grassroots campaign, eh? Funded by the other 99 percent? (I wonder how many of the 99 percent will actually donate. Remember, the successful presidential candidate will spend in excess of $2 billion.)

Ah, Bernie. Scion of Vermont. Iconic, iconoclastic socialist. An honest guy. No one pushes him around. I’ve known him for a long time. Every journalist in New England knows Bernie. I like him very much.

So, Bernie, I’m prepared to drink the Kool-Aid for you. But before I do, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Saying something like this isn’t enough now, Bernie:

I am deeply concerned about recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies are collecting enormous amounts of information about phone calls that Americans make, emails that we send, and websites that we visit. In my view, these actions are clearly unconstitutional.

You want to rein in the NSA? Tell use precisely how you’ll do that. Easier said than done: As president, how will you corral the Congress into adopting your wishes into well-crafted, effective legislation to curtail NSA surveillance that doesn’t get watered down by congress-creeps influenced by defense industry lobbyists?

You want to move the nation’s economy into a mode that, in effect, begins to address and redress the issue of wealth inequity. You want to prevent saddling generations with crushing student loan debt. You want appropriate, swift care for veterans and fair prices for and access to health care for all.

As president, you will have the bully pulpit. Obama did, and most of what I’ve heard has been … well, just bull. We’re not going to put up with that again, Bernie. Everything you said in your announcement — about the nation having “more serious crises than anytime since the Great Depression” — I already know, and so do most of us. What we do not know is how you, as president, will untangle root causes.

Got a plan, Bernie? Remember, it’s you against 535 men and women and nine Supreme Court justices, and they’re all listening to people whose worth has at least a unitary digit followed by nine zeroes. Not only that, but you can expect our national media (you’ll recognize them; they run in packs) to treat you as a comedic side show.

Whatever’s going to happen at come May 26 better have compelling detail about how, as president, you will do what Obama could not (or would not). If you’re going to be more than an Elizabeth Warren stand-in, give us a tangible plan not watered down by vague promises that explains what you will do and how.

By the way, I prefer tropical fruit-flavored Kool-Aid. Please keep it on ice for me.

4 replies »

  1. I’ve got a craycray idea. Aside from hard lefties, the ones disappointed in Obama and dreading Hillary, you know who else should absolutely support Bernie Sanders? The Tea Party.

    Wait, what? That’s not crazy! That’s just dumb!

    Ah, but no. See, hard right conservatives would, I think much prefer a government that does as little as possible. If we get Bernie in, we’ll finally have a left-wing candidate that I think will talk the talk *and* walk the walk. But if you think Obama has had a hard time with Congress, imagine if they have a real socialist to oppose. Added bonus, I like to think Bernie would veto the shit out of most things.

    Ergo, small government. Win/Win!

  2. I’m certainly in favor of a clearly articulated platform. That said, this worries me less than it does you at the moment. I tend to look at candidates and assume that if elected they will continue to do what they have done in the past. This approach rarely lets me down.

    Bernie has a voting record. Hillary has a voting record. These aren’t guarantees that they’ll do anything in particular. Then again, neither are clearly articulated platforms posted online 18 months before the election.

  3. I’m not sure we have to worry about “what we’ll do if Bernie wins.” That’s probably just about as likely as “what we’ll do if Elmo wins.”