Bernie Sanders Answers Questions And NBC Advises Not To Count Him Out

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Bernie Sanders will be holding a rally in Vermont to kick off his campaign tonight. Sanders answered ten questions from MSNBC–almost as many questions Hillary Clinton has answered in her entire campaign to date. Some excerpts, which show that while on the left of our political spectrum, he is still not out to destroy our market system as conservatives are bound to claim.

HARWOOD: In the latter part of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan came along and there was a big pivot in our politics. It revolves around the idea that we need less government and more market forces. Do you think that basic pivot was wrong?

SANDERS: Let me answer it this way, John. I think there is obviously an enormously important role for the free market and for entrepreneurial activity. I worry how free the free market is. In sector after sector, you have a small number of companies controlling a large part of the sector.

Certainly, in my view, the major banks should be broken up. We want entrepreneurs and private businesses to create wealth. No problem. But what we’re living in now is what I would call—what Pope Francis calls—a casino-type capitalism, which is out of control, where the people on top have lost any sense of responsibility for the rest of the society. Where it’s just “It’s all me. It’s all me. And to heck with anybody else.” I want to see the result of that wealth go to the broad middle class of this country and not just to a handful of people.

HARWOOD: If the changes that you envision in tax policy, in finance, breaking up the banks, were to result in a more equitable distribution of income, but less economic growth, is that trade-off worth making?

SANDERS: Yes. If 99 percent of all the new income goes to the top 1 percent, you could triple it, it wouldn’t matter much to the average middle class person. The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn’t matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages and you have 45 million people living in poverty. You can’t just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don’t think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on. People scared to death about what happens tomorrow. Half the people in America have less than $10,000 in savings. How do you like that? That means you have an automobile accident, you have an illness, you’re broke. How do you retire if you have less than $10,000, and you don’t have much in the way of Social Security?

HARWOOD: It came out in disclosure forms the other day that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, in the last 16 months, have made $30 million. [More on their disclosure here.] .What does that kind of money do to a politician’s perspective on the struggles you were just talking about? Does it make it difficult for recipients of that kind of income to take on the system?

SANDERS: Well, theoretically, you could be a multibillionaire and, in fact, be very concerned about the issues of working people. Theoretically, that’s true.

I think sometimes what can happen is that—it’s not just the Clintons—when you hustle money like that, you don’t sit in restaurants like this. You sit in restaurants where you’re spending—I don’t know what they spend—hundreds of dollars for dinner and so forth. That’s the world that you’re accustomed to, and that’s the world view that you adopt. You’re not worrying about a kid three blocks away from here whose mom can’t afford to feed him. So yes, I think that can isolate you—that type of wealth has the potential to isolate you from the reality of the world.

HARWOOD: I read an interview that you did about the corporate media. And you said the corporate media was reluctant to call out people for lying in public debates. You’re on corporate media right now. Who’s lying in our politics?

SANDERS: I’m the ranking member of the Budget Committee, OK? Leader of the opposition. The Republican budget does the following: It throws 27 million people off of health care by ending the Affordable Care Act and cutting Medicaid by $440 billion. Have you seen that in print? Have you seen that statement? There is a reality that goes on here. And you have many people who try to be, “Oh, I’ve got to be even-handed here and even-handed there. You got the Koch Brothers there, Bernie Sanders there.” That’s nonsense. And I think a lot of right-wing people get away with murder because the media doesn’t call them out on it.

Elsewhere at NBC, Steve Kornacki advised not to count Bernie Sanders out, although he was writing more in terms of Sanders winning enough delegates to shape the platform. That is hardly a satisfactory outcome if it still means Clinton wins the nomination. It is not as if a more liberal platform has any real bearing on what she will do if elected.

First Read has a slightly different, and more desirable, take:

For political historians out there, think of Sanders as a potential Eugene McCarthy. McCarthy’s ability to gain traction against LBJ drove LBJ out in 1968 and sparked more Dems to run. If Sanders gets enough traction to actually knock off Clinton in an early state, then Katie bar the door.

The closest political analogy would be the sitting Vice President winning on to win the nomination as Hubert Humphrey did in 1968. While Joe Biden is not my first choice, he would be far preferable to Clinton. He spent four years opposing Clinton’s more interventionist views when she was Secretary of State, and it was Biden who pushed Obama into announcing support for same-sex marriage. Knocking out Clinton could also result in other more liberal Democrats entering the race. Martin O’Malley, who will be announcing his candidacy later this week, is certainly seeing such a scenario as opening the way for him to win the nomination. I also wouldn’t rule out the chances of Sanders himself winning.

Update: Text of Sanders’ speech here.

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Need I remind you the Democrats lost in 1968?

    Nixon won decisively and would have won had every Wallace state gone to Humphrey.

    The disaster in Chicago and liberal softness toward radicals, rioters, and terrorists, black and white, did wonders to make that happen.

    The racial battles that have marked the last years of O's presidency and are likely to continue all the way to the election will do what such things usually do to voter attitudes.

    Too, all of the alternatives to Hillary you mention, though I agree they are more attractive than she, are WHITE MALES. And two of the three are OLD WHITE MALES.

    If any or all of these guys show signs of making real headway against Hillary the sisterhood will go absolutely nuts, as will a good part of the non-white left, reactions that will significantly increase the danger of a GOP victory.

    The women and children of the Democratic voter pool are not going to be thrilled with any OLD WHITE MALE, or even the young one among your three, and the absolutely crucial non-white minority of Democrats will be at best unenthusiastic about a white male and at worst positively and maybe violently opposed.

    Damn shame, but the Democrats have made themselves a house divided.

  2. 2
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Oh, all the people you mention are too Zionist for me, and though from the sound of things Hillary is the worst and Biden second worst, Sanders has a personal and emotional connection to Israel that is very troubling to me.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    The 1968 election was close (granted with Wallace distorting matters), and the Democrats lost for reasons which do not apply today.

    I chose politicians based upon their beliefs and related factors, not gender or age. Many other Democrats will do the same. Plus if Clinton is knocked out, Elizabeth Warren and/or other women candidates could also enter the race.

    Yes Clintonistas would go nuts, as you say, however the same happended in 2008. Remember all the PUMA’s (Piss On Party Unity) who supported McCain over Obama because Obama had the nerve to beat their candidate?

  4. 4
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    "Democrats lost for reasons which do not apply today"

    They lost in 68 for a mix of reasons some of which do apply today, most obviously the exacerbation of racial tensions and the identification in much of the public mind of the Democratic Party and its liberal wing, however deserved or not, with anti-American and racial radicalism.

    "I chose politicians based upon their beliefs and related factors, not gender or age. Many other Democrats will do the same."

    And vast numbers of voters as well as the more politically engaged do not, as you well know, the attitude of black Democrats and blacks in general, as well as the sisterhood, having been clear all along and having been made especially so in the election of 2008.

    It is impossible to "rise above" identity politics when so much of politics is a conflict of identities and so many issues surround identity, and when a politician's own beliefs and attitudes precisely about identities are so often crucial, as indeed are the personal and political identities of the politicians and voters, themselves.

    "Plus if Clinton is knocked out, Elizabeth Warren and/or other women candidates could also enter the race."

    Quite so. But not to my point.

    PUMA = Party Unity My Ass, by the way.

    Anyway, we can certainly hope neither the primaries nor the generals will be quite such a train wreck for Democrats as was 1968.

  5. 5
    cps828 says:

    While Joe Biden is not my first choice, he would be far preferable to Clinton.

    Sorry, Biden and Clinton are cut from the same cloth. Just look at the The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). I could never vote for Biden because of that one issue alone. 

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    There are far more issues than that.

  7. 7
    cps828 says:

    Well according to this summary (based on this survey): "On individual rights, Joe Biden is slightly more conservative than Hillary Clinton. … Joe Biden is slightly more conservative than Hillary Clinton on domestic issues. … When it comes to economic issues, Joe Biden is slightly more conservative than Hillary Clinton. … In terms of defense and international issues, Hillary Clinton is generally more conservative than Joe Biden." [N.B.: Biden did vote for the 2002 Iraq War Resolution ]

    I stand by my original point: Biden and Clinton are cut from the same cloth.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    That site is too superficial to be of much value. Clinton is far more hawkish than Biden, with Biden often opposing Clinton when she advocated increased military intervention. Biden did not join up with The Fellowship in the Senate as Clinton did. He did not push for measures such as making flag burning a crime or censoring video games as Clinton did in the Senate. It was Biden who pushed Obama to support same-sex marriage while Clinton was still opposing it.

  9. 9
    cps828 says:

    That site is too superficial to be of much value.

    It's a summary, much like the assertion, " [H]e would be far preferable to Clinton," is a summary.

    He did not push for measures such as making flag burning a crime or censoring video games as Clinton did in the Senate. 

    He voted for the Patriot Act, (as did Clinton) and indeed, takes credit for it. 

    "He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs."  On more than one occasion he introduced anti-encryption legislation.

     Clinton is far more hawkish than Biden…

    Yet on the Iraq War, the major foreign policy decision of the past half-century, they agreed. 

    It was Biden who pushed Obama to support same-sex marriage while Clinton was still opposing it.

    "IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?
    BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it. The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.
    IFILL: Is that what your said?
    PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.
    IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy."

    Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. 

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Biden is preferable for the areas where they differ, regardless of areas where they agreed.

    You are also rather misleading in how you refer to votes. For example, “Yet on the Iraq War, the major foreign policy decision of the past half-century, they agreed.” No, they did not agree. Biden was not pushing heavily for the war based upon false claims of ties between Saddam and al Qaeda as Clinton did.

    Biden’s view on same sex marriage was also markedly different from Clinton in recent years.

  11. 11
    cps828 says:

    You are also rather misleading in how you refer to votes. 

    I find this comment offensive.  

     No, they did not agree. 

    They both voted for The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. I don't know how much more in agreement they could be. I suppose if one Senator says, "I'm voting for this resolution because Saddam has WMD's," and another Senator says, "I'm voting for this resolution because Saddam has WMD's and there are ties between Saddam and al-Queda," that's a disagreement. But they both voted to give the President the authority to invade Iraq. On that issue they agreed.

    Biden’s view on same sex marriage was also markedly different from Clinton in recent years.

    I don't know how to reply to this word salad. 

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    You totally miss the point, and making your comments on voting misleading. There is far more to a viewpoint than how they vote on one aspect of the issue. There overall views on Iraq, as well as on military intervention in general, were quite different.

    “I don’t know how to reply to this word salad.”

    It is very simple. Biden supported same-sex marriage long before Clinton did. Claiming they had the same view based upon one vote many years earlier is again misleading on your part.

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