Friday, November 20, 2015

Day-after analysis of Sanders' speech

Despite the media's studious ignorance of the Georgetown event yesterday -- none, not even MSNBC, covered any of it live, and in light of the fact that several outlets televised Hillary Clinton's 'jihadism" trope-athon earlier in the day, which any Republican could have given -- the stemwinder blew up social media.  It's also spinning off a variety of conversations, one being that his young fans have to prove themselves as a voting bloc in order to be taken seriously.

But Vox has the best breakdown in this morning's Sentences, and I'll break in with some thoughts.

That link is the full text of yesterday's remarks. If you haven't already seen the video or if you don't have time to read them at the moment, jump over and give Socratic Gadfly's summary a perusal.

Might be too cerebral for the average Democrat, not to mention anybody to the right of them.  Read it anyway; it's written for fifth-graders.  Let's underscore the fact that when you hear Clintonites say, "we can't elect a socialist because of the batshit Republicans", that they are part of the problem and not the solution.  They don't get, or refuse to acknowledge, that they will be called "soshulist" also, and that if they were just bold enough to reclaim the label -- as Sanders does -- rather than continue to allow conservatives to frame it as a pejorative, then they might win an off-year election somewhere down the ballot.

And that would be something to build on.  But that's a digression.

I think I just mentioned that.

Maybe the most important history lesson Sanders conveyed.  Again, it's worth your time.  I'll note simply as matter of housekeeping that I have written that the world really turned for the worse in 1944, when a bunch of pro-business Democrats (among them Jesse Jones of Houston) gathered in a room full of smoke and pushed Henry Wallace off the Democratic ticket in favor of a stooge named Harry Truman.  It's all been slippery slope since then.  Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick tell this story better than me in their seminal series Untold History of the United States, and that's also worth binge-watching.  (If you want more along these lines then go here and here.)

The comparisons to today's state of public affairs -- with Islamophobia replacing McCarthyism as just one analogy -- are striking.

And could be -- perhaps needs to be -- more radical still.  IMHO and without much doubt, the political revolution Sanders speaks of is ultimately going to have to take place well beyond the 2016 ballot box.  Look to this recent speech by Bolivian president Evo Morales for the clue: 'To solve climate change we must abolish capitalism'.

That should be scary enough for a few oil patch Houston Democrats, yes?

Justifiably so.  Greens and actual socialists like Kshama Sawant in Seattle (she pointedly avoided specific criticism of his war hawkishness in that link) think Bernie Sanders sold out by running as a Democrat.  They think he sold out long before, really, with his votes for an F-35 production facility in Vermont and his stance on guns.  I agree with some of this and some I do not; that's another long conversation.  For this post I'll focus on the issue of the day: IS, Syria and its war refugees, and what the appropriate US and Western response should be in light of the Paris attacks.  The most telling pull-quote from Sanders yesterday was this one, from the Q&A after his speech:

Yeah, I'm a pacifist.   In fact, to coin my own oxymoron, I'm a militant pacifist. "There will be peace in our time, and I'll kill any motherfucker that tries to break it."

Something suggests Sanders will cave to the war mongers if he were to somehow be elected.  As with "not wanting to be a spoiler like Nader", this is evidence of Bernie's misguided political calculations.  He is simply not as far left as people would believe.

I'm not buying that.  His coalition is still too Caucasian to win, there's little time left to change that, and he's doomed by the Democratic establishment even if it suddenly did change.

But he's done as much as I ever hoped and expected he would do: change the conversation in this country about real political change.  Pull Hillary left a little.  It's up to those younger ideologues to keep all of it going.


Gadfly said...

Thanks for the linking; it shall be returned!

As noted, next week, I'll also be tackling this fear of corporate socialism, since at one time, Bernie himself was OK with that.

Gadfly said...

I want to add that Yglesias has a somewhat simple reading of history. Per your note about the 1944 Democratic Veep fight, socialists were already being thrown under the bus at the time. Hasn't he heard of one of Texas' prime wingnuts from that era, Martin Dies?


On the "profile" of Sanders voters, South Carolina will be a tell.

You know who he reminds me of? The "other" McCarthy, "Clean Gene." Lots of enthusiastic students, but weak with minorities and the "traditional base."