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Friday, January 22, 2016

Bernie's super ad

We are told (by Brent Budowski, no less) that this is the great political ad of our time.

Color me unpersuaded. When a candidate faces an age problem, why use music fondly remembered only by the gray of hair? This new ad is a lot like Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" campaign: Pretty-pretty and idea-free.

Facts are facts. I am going to state the key fact again: Most people in this country think that Big Gummint is our biggest problem. In such a culture, a self-proclaimed socialist cannot win. Bernie's new ad, with its images of flags and farmers and cognate examples of all-American iconography, will only be perceived as devious Marxist trickery.

Speaking of trickery: I admire Robert Reich, but this riposte to "the Bernie skeptics" is infuriating.
“America would never elect a socialist.”

P-l-e-a-s-e. America’s most successful and beloved government programs are social insurance – Social Security and Medicare. A highway is a shared social expenditure, as is the military and public parks and schools. The problem is we now have excessive socialism for the rich...
And so on; you know where he's going with that. The fact remains: America will never elect a socialist who calls himself a socialist. America is a nutty country where people carry signs that warn the government to keep its hands off of "my Medicare."

Once again: 69% of our citizenry thinks that big government is the biggest problem facing our culture. No, I am not among that 69%. But I am realistic enough to recognize the power of propaganda. Like it or not, if it comes to a match-up between Bernie and The Donald, this nation will choose the candidate who promises to keep government limited. That candidate will be Trump. (And no-one will notice that Trump has also promised that, as president, he will force department store employees to say "Merry Christmas." Americans are good at rationalizing contradictions of that sort.)

(And yes, I am aware of polls that place Sanders ahead of Trump. Now. Those numbers will change. There has been no nationwide hate campaign against Sanders -- yet. There has been a nationwide hate campaign against Hillary.)

Back to Reich:
“He couldn’t get any of his ideas implemented because Congress would reject them.”

If both house of Congress remain in Republican hands, no Democrat will be able to get much legislation through Congress, and will have to rely instead on executive orders and regulations. But there’s a higher likelihood of kicking Republicans out if Bernie’s “political revolution” continues to surge around America, bringing with it millions of young people and other voters, and keeping them politically engaged.
"Millions of young people..." Where have I heard an argument like this before?

Ah, yes: In September of 1972, a slim, black paperback book suddenly showed up on the spinner rack of my local supermarket, titled "How McGovern Won the Presidency & Why the Polls Were Wrong." I remember it well. (I'm also old enough to recall when Simon & Garfunkel were new.) The text blathered on about millions of highly energized young people surging into the political system and changing history and installing perpetual grooviness throughout the land. Like wow. Trippy.

Wish I had purchased a copy instead of reading it in the store: That book is now an ultra-rare collector's item.

There will be no Bernie revolution; the grooviness battalions will remain un-mobilized. If he were elected -- which he won't be -- I shudder to think of the counter-revolution. Remember how the election of Obama gave rise to the Tea Party?  Obama was no socialist (propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding), yet a vast segment of our citizenry absolutely freaked out. Now imagine an even worse freak-out, spreading throughout our military...
“His single-payer healthcare proposal would cost so much it would require raising taxes on the middle class.”

This is a duplicitous argument. Studies show that a single-payer system would be far cheaper than our current system, which relies on private for-profit health insurers, because a single-payer system wouldn’t spend huge sums on advertising, marketing, executive pay, and billing...
Reich's words are both true and ridiculous. I would prefer single-payer, but we no longer live in a time when such a thing is politically do-able. (Many would say that it was never do-able.) Congress is not going to vote for such a system. Just not possible.

And even if a wave of perpetually groovy new congressfolk were to jaunt toward Capitol Hill (perhaps doing an imitation of R. Crumb's "Keep On Truckin'" poster), we would have another problem: A right-wing Supreme Court.

Preserving Obamacare suddenly matters a lot to me. If you still can't see the seriousness of the situation, may I suggest that you have a heart attack? Do not belittle the educational value of such an event.

If any Republican gets in, Obamacare goes. And I don't even want to think about what will happen to the Supreme Court.
why Bernie will win in one chart
It is not 1972 anymore.
You're right: It's not 1972 anymore. People were more liberal then. And smarter. Trust me: I was there, and you probably were not.

That chart has to do with income inequality. It's quite correct. But what of it? The American people are stupid and conservative: They have been well-trained to blame their problems on anything and everything OTHER than the upper class.

ONCE AGAIN: 69% of the American people think that the biggest problem this country has is Big Gummint. Not income inequality. I don't know why people are so idiotic, but they are. At any rate, the poll that I cite trumps the chart that you cite.

Hit me with a better argument, Alice.
I'm not convinced that any Republican elected would necessarily get rid of Obamacare. People said the same thing after the NHS was created, but when the Tories got elected in '51 even their delusional, fanatically right wing leader didn't want to get rid of it because of its popularity.
I understand, Stephen. But just as it is not 1972 any more, so too it is not 1951.

On the other hand, if the Republicans were to replace Obamacare with a "Die in the streets, you underprivileged scumbags" program, it is possible that the political winds might shift again, and single-payer would become popular.
Without fully embracing dark pessimism. remembering the heartfelt expressions of "hope" when Obama was first elected and before he disappointed everyone still suggests there is a sane constituency out there who would support rational programs such as single-payer health care. Much depends on how these policies are presented, and part of that depends on anticipating the opposition's criticisms and meeting them head on. Opinion polls must be understood in context: how they are worded is very important, but also their timing (i.e. it wasn't surprising that opinion polls found in 2003 majorities believing Saddam was behind 9-11, because the airwaves and newspapers had been seeding that impression for months). The "get government off our backs" meme can be neatly and convincingly skewered, but it would take a deft politician with a national platform (i.e. televised debate) to do it.
Eight years ago, the Hillary supporters were saying:

“America would never elect a black man.”

At the time, I thought:

"America would never elect a woman."

and voted for Obama.

In our current national-security-freakout, ISIS-terrorist-round-ever-corner mode, I worry that may still be true. Hillary's worried, too. That's why her foreign policy sounds so much like a neocon. She's got to prove she has, not just balls, but BIGGER balls. If Donald Trump is the Republican versus Hillary Clinton, this whole election will be about balls, balls, balls!

Lord help us.
As a cardiac survivor with a pacemaker and six(artery)stents can attest, you will survive a heart attack just fine in a single payer system. But the 30% skim-sucking, money-grubbing, criminal enterprise aka the health insurance industry would not survive! Mission accomplished!
As I said, Anon -- I would prefer single payer. But it is not going to happen. Neither congress nor public opinion is going to change that much within the foreseeable future.

Sorry. I didn't make that reality; I'm simply forcing my readers to deal with it.

Bernie's America commercial is brilliant. The horrible '60s pop cultural associations that are burned into your brain, form no pattern on the neural synapses of the young. They probably think Simon Garfunkel was George Washington's vise president.

You should get down on your knees every day and thank God, some political consultant didn't convince Bernie he needed to rap his message to connect with young voters.

Bonus question: what do Bernie Sanders and Donald trump have in common? Answer: they are both the anti-establishment candidates of their respective parties.
I just saw that Dave MacGowan died.
Anon: By conjuring up the image of a rappin' Bernie, you remind me of how much despair I feel whenever I think of the young. I could never have been a political consultant. Too cynical -- especially when it comes to the under-30 crowd.

Stephen: Dave MacGowan actually died in 2009. For nearly six years, a double assumed his duties. If you look at the earlobes of the post-2009 "McGowan," you'll see clear signs of a surgical graft.

(I should announce a "Preposterous Theory of Dave" contest.)

Agree with you that "socialist" is not a brand likely to go over well with voters.

However, single payer is a far easier sell. You just don't call it that. You call it "extending Medicare."

Bernie's language is gratuitously socialistic at times. How to explain this?

1. You probably have to fight for single payer to get public option as a compromise. Maybe Bernie understands this much about negotiations, hence he stakes out a far-left position in advance, even labeling his negotiating position socialist.

2. Maybe his job is to brand otherwise popular Democratic policies "socialist" to poison them. Maybe he is working for the plutocrats.

Sanders Skeptic
One thing crucial point about Bernie: His Mideast policy is quite neoconservative. To me, that's the clearest indication that this guy's campaign is a scam.

Also, he's not enough of a protectionist in terms of trade. That's curious too.

Sanders Skeptic
The Bernie Sanders commercial is great because maybe for the first time ever the politician doesn't say anything other than at the end when they approve the message. Could be very easily spoofed with an Afred E. Numan clone smiling at the end.
Laugh it up. Bernie is going to finish no worse than even with Hillary in Iowa and kick her ass by two to one in New Hampshire. What comes next? Bloomberg?
What comes after Iowa and NH? Large Clinton wins in SC and Nevada, and a probable sweep of the Super Tuesday states, except Vermont, an overwhelming lead for her as of March 1, and the end of Bernie's competitiveness.

Joseph, you are so correct that Bernie hasn't yet been given the 'treatment' that HRC has been getting for close to 30 years, amped up to 11 over the summer. His current polling better against the Rs is chimerical, and will reverse when the meat grinder media and R attacks come his way. There has been a withholding of fire on him from them so far, in order to try to stop or wound HRC's candidacy.


What comes next, Makarov?


Professor Bongwater can win a low-population, reddish caucus state and a New England State. Yawn.

Hillary will win the states which matter.

The "sweep red-state D-caucuses and little states" strategy worked in 2008 only because the anti-Clintonian wing of the Dinocratic Party chose a nominal African-American as their standard-bearer, breaking the usual Clintonian lock on the AA vote.

Unless the Fabulous Bernie Freak Brother falls asleep in a tanning booth turned up to 11, he won't be able to duplicate that feat.

Sorry, Maka-chan, but this is NOT the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. xD
Ivory Bill, in 2008 they STILL had to drag O's ass over the finish line after GIFTING him Hillary's votes in Michigan. And he lost the popular vote.

Sanders Skeptic, very interesting theory.

Alesandro, I agree. The ad is brilliant.

Joseph is right, too. The kids never turn out to vote. So when they pitch a fit about Hillary when Bernie doesn't win, it won't matter either way.
Prowlerzee, Bernie's add is brilliant but only because Bernie doesn't say anything and that is a political conundrum of the ages, politicians who make better political ads by keeping quiet.
i feel sorry for americans.. having to choose between one plutocrat and another must be a tough choice... but these are the choices in an increasingly unequal society where money calls the shots and democracy is a fantasy that belonged to some nation of a bygone era.. it ain't much different in canada for that matter either..
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