Monday, February 27, 2017

Bernie Never Wanted A Cult Of Personality


It's easy to look at Republicans, especially Trumpists, and their information sources-- Fox, Hate Talk Radio, Breitbart...-- and dismiss them as ignorant morons incapable of abstract thought. Remember, abstract thought doesn't come easy to folks with IQs of less than 100-- and half the population, by definition, has 2-digit IQs. If you want to be honest, though, not everyone lacing the ability for critical thinking is a Trumpist... or even a Republicans. There are probably as many moron Democrats-- or almost as many-- as there are moron Republicans. A cult of personality is much easier than understanding complex and nuanced issues-- whether for Trump fans or, alas, Bernie fans. The difference, though, is that Trump encourages it every day and in every way. Bernie doesn't.

I don't know what percentage of Democratic politicians sided with Hillary over Bernie during the 2016 cycle. But let me guess: 85%. Just a guess. It could have been 90%. But let's look at it from a different perspective. Ask yourself how many Democratic politicians preferred Bernie's agenda and positions to Hillary's. That's where we see a more even split between the progressives-- the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party-- and the corrupt careerists of the establishment along with the Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, the Clinton wing. Now we're talking about a more even split-- 50/50? 60/40?

As you probably know, I dedicate a few hours a day talking with Democratic candidates and perspective candidates. Virtually all of them bring up Bernie's issues. Virtually none of them bring up Hillary's agenda. NONE.

Ted Lieu has probably been the most effective and galvanizing voice in Congress resisting Trump. He was just elected-- not selected-- regional vice chairman of the DCCC for the West Coast. Yesterday afternoon he told us why he's backing Jimmy Gomez for the CA-34 congressional primary. It makes a lot more sense than talking about who supported who in last year's primary election. "During these extraordinarily dangerous times, we need fighters like Jimmy Gomez in Congress. I served with Jimmy in the California Legislature and I know he will always and relentlessly fight for progressive values. More importantly, I need Jimmy with me as soon as possible so that we can keep punching back against the failing Donald Trump."

Bernie was the founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus-- and it's first chairman. Last year his first endorsements came from the current co-chairs, Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison. The only other members who endorsed him were Alan Grayson (FL) and Peter Welch (VT). Since then, Berniecrats Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Ro Khanna (CA) have been elected to Congress ands have joined the caucus. Most of the other caucus members were Hillary backers, although a few, super-progressives, like Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, stayed neutral and expressed equal admiration for both candidates. Today, the two freshmen with 100% Progressive Punch crucial vote scores are Pramila Jayapal, the Seattle Berniecrat, and Ruben Kihuen, a strong Clinton backer from the Las Vegas area. On policy, though, both are identical in their advocacy of what amounts to the Bernie agenda.

Conservative Democrats Tulsi Gabbard (HI) and Collin Peterson (MN) both endorsed Bernie during the primary, Gabbard in a very big way. Gabbard's Progressive Punch crucial vote score is a dismal 73.90, an "F" in one of the bluest districts in America. Perhaps it helps her get more bookings on Fox and helps enhance her friendship with Bannon, Adelson and the throngs of Islamaphobes and homophobes who recognize her as a kindred soul. Peterson, who hasn't been embraced by most Bernie supporters is even worse than Gabbard. His Progressive Punch crucial vote score for the current session is ZERO and for his whole career 39.75. Don't ask me what makes him a Democrat, but he virtually votes opposite of Bernie on every single important issue to come before Congress. So far this year there are 11 Republicans whose voting records are more supportive of Bernie's positions than Peterson is.

Nice of him to endorse Bernie for the Democratic nomination though. His western Minnesota district voted 61.6% to 38.4% for Bernie and against Hillary in the caucuses last year. Gabbard's district (basically all of Hawaii outside Honolulu) was even stronger for Bernie-- 69.8% to 30.0%. Just sayin'.

So what do you want-- a party that pledges fealty to a personality or a party that pledges fealty to a progressive agenda? Many Democrats who backed Hillary are good solid, sincere progressives who made a bad mistake for whatever reason. And there were many reasons-- from personal relationships to fear of the Clinton Machine to wanting to be with a winner. Terrible but across the country I'm seeing Bernie fans getting behind next-to-worthless candidates who, on some level, backed Bernie over Hillary but have, literally, nothing else to recommend them.

One of the worst examples from last year was contemptible corporate whore Shawn O'Connor in New Hampshire's first congressional district. One day O'Connor was campaigning on "compromising" with the Republicans by cutting Medicare and Social Security and, finally realizing that's a bad message for a Democratic primary, he endorsed Bernie and went around the state with him-- a Bernie low-point in my eyes. (No one's perfect.) Polling showed the million dollar self-funding Wall Street creep O'Connor losing the primary. Furious, he decide dot try to beat progressive Democrat Carol Shea-Porter (a Clinton backer with a solid progressive record) by running as an Independent and throwing the November election to Tea Party incumbent Frank Guinta.

He nearly succeeded. A worthless pile of garbage, O'Connor managed to grab 34,612 votes (9.4%)-- many of them from deluded Bernie fans-- giving Shea-Porter an uncomfortably close call in a district that went for Trump. Shea-Porter won 161,828 votes (44.2%) while Guinta took 157,011 votes (42.9%). Trump won NH-01 48.2% to 46.6%. It was a miracle Shea-Porter won.

When I interview candidates for Congress I ask them where they stood on the Bernie-Hillary primary. But the answer isn't determinative. If they were for Bernie, that starts out as a plus but it's not nearly as important as where the candidate stands on Bernie's issues, how they look on the courageousness scale and what kind of experience they've had. Example: Brianna Wu, one of the women targeted by Milo and the other Gamergate thugs, was an outspoken Hillary supporter. Today she's running for Congress against right-wing Democrat Stephen Lynch. In her official announcement of candidacy, she writes that "the contentious primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton revealed a deep divide that must be reconciled. There is a disconnect between those marginalized and our party leaders who vote too often as moderate Republicans. I personally supported Hillary Clinton in the primary, but today I see the vision of Bernie Sanders for America is one we must bring to pass. I believe today’s Democratic party is ill-equipped to fight the Trump administration’s assault on women, on people of color, on the poor, and on the LGBT community. We do have true progressives, but too often they don’t have the support of the party establishment." Her district is entirely within Suffolk County where primary votes pretty overwhelmingly went for Hillary over Bernie-- 78,083 (57.1%) to 57,872 (41.8%). Wu's statement about Bernie vision for America is similar to candidates I'm hearing from everywhere. Bernie fans would be making a big mistake to write them off as unworthy of support because it took them too long to understand why Bernie would have been a far better candidate than Clinton.

On an average tweet I post, I get around 7-800 impressions. There's a reason why these two from Saturday after the DNC election were so much more.

Sunday afternoon, Keith Ellison reached out to his supporters-- like myself-- with this message of unity in the face of Trumpism:
The Democratic Party finally has a leader-- a leader who has demonstrated time and again that he has what it takes to fight for all Americans. That leader is my good friend, Tom Perez.

I’m immensely proud of everything that our campaign accomplished, of how hard my staff, volunteers, and delegates fought. And now, I ask all those who love our country and believed in our vision to support Tom.

With Trump in the White House, at stake is the very essence of our democracy, and I want us to be able to look back at this moment and tell ourselves that we did the right thing and helped Tom succeed.

We must be united-- because we live in times when the judiciary is under attack, when the press is under attack, and hate groups are desecrating Jewish cemeteries and defacing mosques. Two Indian men were even shot down for looking ‘foreign’ in the eyes of the terrorist who shot them.

I look forward to returning to Congress and continuing to represent the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota. And I look forward to helping the Democratic Party in any way that I can. I urge all to do the same. Working people across this country are depending on us.

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At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernie notwithstanding, please spare me the unity bullshit.

If they truly are unified, it's WITH the big money and AGAINST all issues VITAL to the lower 99.99%. Perez was obamanation's hand-picked clintonista-symp corporatitst FTA-loving anti-labor pro-money whore. Ellison should have replied to the offer of second chair (as Bernie should have suggested to $hillbillary and the DNC) with "go fuck yourself".

Instead, and taking a page out of Bernie's own betrayal handbook, he embraced (literally) Perez and declared they are bffs (butt friends forever?).

Look, the DNC not only elected the SOS candidate, they also notably voted AGAINST eschewing big donors' money (and influence).

They haven't changed. They refuse to change. They'll continue to get worse.

Please lefty voters (the smart ones anyway), do not be fooled by whatever new rhetoric and promises and ass-kissing they will likely present between now and 2018/2020. They don't mean it. Just like they didn't mean it in '84, '88, '92, '96, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 (and all off-prez cycles too). I left off 2000 giving Gore the benefit of the doubt.

As to the intellect of voters. I'll wager you this: the vast majority of lefty voters WHO VOTE are not bright, otherwise they'd have noticed a pattern of betrayals (see series above) and would have started looking elsewhere. I don't know if the pavlovian reflex is more powerful than rational thought... maybe that's part of it too.
As to the righty voters. I couldn't say whether they are mostly dumbfucktards or simply pure evil. I lean toward the latter mostly because I know plenty of idiots who don't hate nor want all minorities and women to be suppressed again by society. They don't like stupid wars for oil and abhor torture as a public policy.

Our society certainly has plenty of systemic affirmation for all the dormant evil among us. Maybe it's fox and breitbart et al who magnify and bring to the surface inherent hate and evil among the dumbfucktardia... I am not a sociologist nor a psychologist.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are giving Gore too much credit. He was a neoliberal who destroyed the civil service with his successful advocacy of contracting out. And his pick of terrible Joe Lieberman really shows how bad he was. Yes, on the environment he was better, you shouldn't credit Gore.

Yes, I don't want to hear this "unity" stuff. Certainly I agree that where someone stands on Bernie's issues is more important than whether they endorsed Bernie (and thus I do not have use for Gabbard). But as to Perez, he's the bankers' friend, pro-TPP, and willing to be Obama's tool in suppressing Bernie supporters:
Now, progressives in the party are further alienated. Good luck getting them to vote for Democrats. No matter how many people may have insisted that Ellison/Perez wasn’t a replay of Sanders/Clinton, it’s impossible to deny that in some ways it was. The progressives needed to receive some kind of gesture. And they have received one: an enormous middle finger.


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