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Bernie Sanders on 2016 (and Clinton)

Raw Story:

“[Clinton] is a very, very intelligent person, no question about it, but I don’t know what her political future is, whether she’s going to run,” Sanders told TIME. “I don’t know what she’s going to say, but if you talk about the need for a political revolution in America, it’s fair to say that Secretary Clinton probably will not be one of the more active people.”

Well, no. In 2008 I saw Clinton as the last hope for some sort of reasonable domestic policy, if only because her base needed (needs) government to work for them in a way that the "creative class" does not. But that was then. This is now.

“In terms of fundamental economic issues: job creation, a high minimum wage, progressive taxation, affordable college education — the vast majority of people are on our side,” he said. “One of the goals that I would have, politically, as a candidate for president of the United States is to reach out to the working-class element of the Tea Party and explain to them exactly who is funding their organization – and explain to them that, on virtually every issue, the Koch Brothers and the other funders of the Tea Party are way out of step with what ordinary people want and need.

Not such a bad idea! I don't know how strong the "working-class element" in the TP is -- all I can say is that in Maine, it exists.

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Notice the way he goes after Clinton, entirely on the issues. Also, look at the way he dances around the question of the Democratic party:

Q. Let’s talk about the 2016 Democratic primary. What kind of debate does the party need, do you think?

I happen to believe that we are living in a moment in history where the problems facing this country are more severe than at any time since the Great Depression, and in fact, if you throw in global warming, more severe. So these are not normal times. These are times in which the middle class in this country is disappearing and we have more people living in poverty than any time in the history of this country, when despite the huge increases in technology and productivity, the median family income is down by $5,000 since 1999 when almost all of the new income being created goes to the top 1% in the last few years, 95% of all new income went to the top 1%. In terms of wealth, we have the obscenity of the top 1% owning 38% of the wealth, while the bottom 60% owns all of 2.3%. So the gap between the very, very, very rich and everybody else is growing much wider, while millions of kids face the prospect of having a significantly lower standard of living than their parents. And that’s the first time we’ve ever seen that.

What we are also looking at is politically not unrelated to income and wealth disparity is that a billionaire class now is exerting a type of political power that we have also not seen maybe in the history of this country. Where we have seen the very richest people in the country use their money for political purposes in a way that is probably unprecedented. So you have a situation now where one could argue that the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson and the other billionaires now—as a result of this disastrous Citizens United decision—now have more political influence than either the Democratic or Republican Party.

So the way I look at the political structure right now, the process right now is you have a Democratic Party. You’ve got a Republican Party that has moved far to the right. And then you have aligned with the Republican Party another enormously powerful political grouping of the billionaire class, led by the Koch brothers and Adelson, which may well have more influence on the political process than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party itself because of their willingness to spend unlimited amounts of money.

And by unlimited, I mean unlimited. We just discovered this this morning that the Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America. They’re worth about $80 billion. Their wealth went up by $12 billion last year, 6 plus 6: a $12 billion increase in their wealth in one year. So for these guys to spend a few billion dollars on the political process, helping to own the United States government, is what for the average person would be, you know, $100 or $200. It’s not significant. When you increase your wealth by $12 billion in one year, what does a few billion dollars mean? But what a few billion dollars means is that you can buy Senate seats and governors seats all over the country and have a heavy role in the next presidential election. Now that to me, that combination of economic power and political power means to me that this country is moving very rapidly toward an oligarchic form of society, where a handful of billionaires control the economic and political life of this country. And the major political task that we have right now is to stop that trend and protect American democracy which from where I come from means one person, one vote.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Bernie's "shall we say, dithering" on the subject of just "what" the Democratic Party will do for the American people.

He always goes on a tangent when asked direct or tough questions.

He is a Democratic Party shill and mollifier of the highest order.

This is "why" I quit calling him on Brunch With Bernie, and even listening to Hartmann's show altogether. Hartmann serves the same purpose, now that he moved to D.C.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

also funded the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

From the Center For Media And Democracy. The Executive Director, Lisa Graves, worked in the Clinton Administration's Justice Department.


An August, 2000 Newsweek story on Joe Lieberman, The Soul And The Steel[1] reveals that some of the early funding came from ARCO, Chevron, Merck, Du Pont, Microsoft, Philip Morris and Koch Industries.

His selection may also complicate Gore's efforts to depict Bush as a patsy for big business. Since 1995 Lieberman has chaired the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the centrist think tank that eschews liberal dogma and promotes market-oriented approaches to policy.

Like many similar groups, the DLC (of which Gore is a founding member) has never disclosed its funding sources. But last week, in response to requests from NEWSWEEK, it turned over a list of top donors.

If Gore still hopes to score populist points by bashing Big Oil and pharmaceutical companies that oppose his plan to add a prescription-drug entitlement to Medicare, he may have some explaining to do.

Among the DLC's biggest benefactors last year (contributions of between $50,000 and $100,000) were ARCO, Chevron and the drug giant Merck. Other big underwriters include Du Pont, Microsoft and Philip Morris (which has kicked in $500,000 since Lieberman became DLC chairman). There is no evidence that the DLC has trimmed policies to accommodate its patrons, but some contributors say the money has helped ensure an open door to Lieberman.

"We've been able to have a dialogue with the senator and his staff," said Jay Rosser, spokesman for another DLC benefactor, Koch Industries, an oil-pipeline firm that is also a big GOP donor.

So much for Bernie's "winning over" Tea Partiers with that line.


Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

if the Democratic Party wants to score with blue collar workers, they will need to drastically overhaul their (free) trade policy.

I spent many years advocating for the very people whose lives were negatively impacted by NAFTA.

Many never recovered financially or emotionally.

If Sanders of any Dem wants their vote, they need to "repair" our trade policy.

McDee's picture
Submitted by McDee on

For years Dennis Kucinich was the left gatekeeper for the Dems. "Look, look at Dennis. See, there is hope (sorry) for the Democratic Party."

Dennis is gone now and it looks to me like Elizabeth Warren is the new left gatekeeper. They can always trot one out as election season nears.Just recently there was a Warren for President boomlet. Kucinich//Warren were/are there to keep the left from jumping ship.

As for Sanders I'm a little tired of the "maybe I will/maybe I won't" business or the speculation that "if he does, will it be as a Democrat or an Independent?"
I'm not taking Sanders seriously. If he actually breaks with and denounces the Democratic Party, then maybe. But I don't think that will hapen.

The Democratic Party is the place where progressive reform goes to die.

zot23's picture
Submitted by zot23 on

I don't know why we always do this to ourselves, but ANY candidate running to the left of the main contender is a god thing. It doesn't matter if Bernie Sanders was unwilling to condemn whale hunting in 1998, or Elizabeth Warren doesn't support Medicare for All; having more candidates to the left of the front runners pressuring them to more in that direction is good.

This is the power of the tea party in their primaries. It doesn't matter that Johnny Gunnut can't possibly beat the Moderate R or D in the general, he pushes their candidate to the right in the primary so much that the window is pushed ever rightward in future primaries.

I would love to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both punishing Hillary and Biden with leftward ideas and principles in every debate. Heck, throw Grayson in there for giggles and see what happens. You don't always get what you want in the end, but if they are never forced to at least pander to the base - you ain't gettin' squat.

This idea that we need an implacable, shiny white knight on an powerful steed of integrity needs to be taken out the woodshed and set straight. After all, Obama always championed gay and lesbian rights didn't he? And marijuana decriminalization? Not, he was forced into accepting it for political pressure. Movements win by moving the argument by inches, and primaries are where those inches are fought over.

Way to go Sanders, I'd tip the dude a few bucks to give it a go in 2016.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

That a great point, zot23.

Of course, I was not objecting to a "genuine" Dem Party candidate from the left, if he/she is serious--running to win.

But I see no advantage in what amounts to a "stalking horse" for the corporatist candidate(s).

However, I don't want to see Dem primary candidates fielded simply to speak "inconvenient truths"--in order to allow the Establishment candidate to avoid any campaign pledges or policy pronouncements.

Non-serious or non-viable candidates [which I fear Senator Sanders would be], sometimes only serve to muddy the waters on issues.

When have any Dem Party primary challenges, of late, moved the so-called Overton Window?

PBO ran to the left of HRC on a couple of issues, then abandoned the more liberal position as soon as he got elected.

At this point, I'm inclined to believe that this will happen--period.

Sanders did accomplish getting a little extra funding for Community Health Centers [in the ACA]--but it was taken back (or traded off) during one of the first phony "fiscal crisis."

Until I heard him regularly on Hartmann's, I took him more or less, at face value. If you can, start listening to him during his "Brunch With Bernie" segment on Fridays with Hartmann (I'm assuming he still does it). He came across quite differently, to my ears. IOW, much more like a propaganda tool, then when I'd hear him in an isolated, quick soundbite. His "mission" on that show appears to be "deflecting blame from the Democrats" for sorry, conservative policies that they pass, rather than attempting to effect real change in policy.

Certainly, between Sanders and Warren, Warren would surely have a more realistic chance of getting somewhere, than Sanders. IMO, Sanders has become too much a "caricature" of a liberal, to launch a serious run.

But, hey, "to each, their own."

I certainly don't particularly care to see a "coronation" of any candidate, anytime.

I just hope that if we have a primary challenge(s)--it will be "for real."