“Progressive Independent” Open Thread: Death Wish

… AWAY & SHUT UP, if I get my wish.

If we Democrats do as well as projected in 2018, St. Bernie will be scrabbling for figurehead position on the bandwagon. If we, Goddess forbid, don’t, he’s all set to work the “Buy my book, and make a token $27 contribution to my exploratory committee” circuit, right across the aisle from Newt Gingrich. Except, as ever, the man’s timing is impeccable…

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday blamed Hillary Clinton for not doing more to stop the Russian attack on the last presidential election. Then his 2016 campaign manager, in an interview with POLITICO, said he’s seen no evidence to support special counsel Robert Mueller’s assertion in an indictment last week that the Russian operation had backed Sanders’ campaign.

The remarks showed Sanders, running for a third term and currently considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, deeply defensive in response to questions posed to him about what was laid out in the indictment. He attempted to thread a response that blasts Donald Trump for refusing to acknowledge that Russians helped his campaign — but then holds himself harmless for a nearly identical denial.

In doing so, Sanders and his former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, presented a series of self-serving statements that were not accurate, and that track with efforts by Trump and his supporters to undermine the credibility of the Mueller probe.

“The real question to be asked is what was the Clinton campaign [doing about Russian interference]? They had more information about this than we did,” Sanders said in the interview with Vermont Public Radio.
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Late Night Opportunistic Grifters Open Thread

Well, he never was a Democrat. And now that he’s been rejected by Democratic voters — but not before picking up an addiction to the perks of Presidential candidacy — it looks like Bernie Sanders is lunging for the “disaffected GOP populist” vote. Because Trump’s unlikely to be a candidate next time round, since the odds are he’ll be in jail or dead of a fatal infarction!

But I don’t think he’ll win *that* primary, either. I stumbled over this clip from last month’s televised “tax debate”, and what I see is a flustered old man getting pantsed by Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, hardly the deadliest assailants. Good fun for GOP sadists during the early primaries, but Repubs aren’t pity-voters.

Murphy the Trickster God, do I get tired of these crappy never-ending premature reboots!

Late Night Rant Open Thread: Speaking of Cranky Old Grifters…

Politico, of course, is rooting for Democratic injuries — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real problem. I give Bernie Sanders due credit: With a mere fraction of the economic advantages Donald Trump or even Jill Stein were born to, he (eventually) achieved a rewarding career that did not require more than three days’ work per week, and that doing what he loved best. Tragically, a confluence of larger forces during the 2016 election gave him a much larger platform for his talents, attracting a motley crew of fellow cranks and perennial malcontents along with the media-friendly innocents who actually believed that he offered a working alternative to our current two-party political system. If he’d only had the smarts to shut up and go back to his Senate sinecure no later than December 2016, I would not dismiss him as the least effective Presidential Change Agent since Leon Czolgosz

But it’s not just the outside agitators that Democratic lawmakers, operatives and activists are annoyed with: They’re tired of what they see as the Vermont senator’s hesitance to confront his own backers, either in public or through back channels.

Tensions boiled over recently when a handful of Sanders loyalists bashed freshman Sen. Kamala Harris — a rising star in the party and potential 2020 hopeful — as an establishment tool. Democrats were also rankled that other prominent Sanders allies said support for single-payer health care should be a litmus test for candidates.

In response, Democratic senators and outside groups have begun telling Sanders and friendly intermediaries that if he wants to be a leading figure for Democrats ahead of 2020’s presidential election, he needs to get his supporters in line — or at least publicly disavow their more incendiary statements…
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Late Night Open Thread: White Male “Ally” Dives for the Spotlight

Sure, Hillary was a Wall-Street-Whore-Corporatist-Shill when she suggested haggling for a mere $12.50 hourly wage in those areas where the cost of living didn’t meet NY/San Francisco/Seattle standards as a bargaining tactic… but if it’s a (fellow) man, even a Republican, well, whole diffrunt kettle!… as ever with the More-Leftist-Than-Thou boys. CNN reports:

President-elect Donald Trump will find himself with an unlikely ally if he makes good on his promise to be an economic populist challenging corporate America, Bernie Sanders said Thursday.

“If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations,” said the former Democratic presidential candidate, “he will have an ally with me.”

The willingness on the part of Sanders, a longtime democratic socialist, to work with Trump on a series of economic issues underscores the unorthodox and strikingly populist message that Trump used during his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, speaking with reporters at a Christian Science Monitor sponsored breakfast, said he is ready to embrace Trump on a handful of campaign promises. Those include protecting Social Security and Medicare, negotiating for lower drug prices, raising the minimum wage to $10, imposing tariffs on companies that ship jobs overseas, and re-regulating Wall Street by re-establishing Glass-Steagall…

Because if you can’t trust a notorious liar and deal-breaker like Donald Trump, who can you work with?

… By embracing Trump’s left-leaning stands, Sanders is hoping to make progress on issues of long-standing concern to the Vermont senator…

Foremost among those issues: What’s in it for Bernie?

… Sanders, who is promoting his new book, “Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In,” during a series of appearances across Washington, is stepping into the leadership vacuum of the Democratic Party.

He said it was not productive to look backward, waving off a question about whether he could have defeated Trump if he had won the Democratic nomination with a “who knows?” response…

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Another Day of the Sanders Campaign, Another Sad Trombone

Hilbot though I be, I seriously doubt there’s anything revelatory in the Sanders campaign finances beyond their embarrassing amateurism. The Senator has been puttering happily along in his Green Mountain fiefdom for many years, from the evidence so far on the record-keeping equivalent of a three-ring binder ledger and a cigar box marked Petty Cash. It’s never been a big deal for his staff to back-reconcile a bunch of line items for Misc and Other at the end of the financial year. And a government salary that seems paltry to Congressfolk from states like New York or California is comparative wealth in poor underpopulated Vermont — unless he’s made some spectacularly bad investments or nursed some unsuspected high-dollar addiction, Bernie’s no doubt set aside a tidy sum for his retirement and his kids. Knowledgeable numbers people have speculated he might even be a millionaire, on paper… no crime, even for a politician, but an embarrassing reveal for someone running as The Populist Peoples’ Candidate.

Bernie never expected his campaign to go beyond drawing attention to his favorite issues; he certainly didn’t prepare in advance for the scrutiny that comes with a real presidential campaign. His troops were heavy on enthusiasm, light on experience / expertise. There’s bound to be a certain amount of under-documentation, some questionable overspending, maybe even a little of the impulsive hand-in-the-cash-drawer minor splurges that drew so much attention to the Palin family in the summer of 2008. Nothing — up till now — that would draw more than a stern rebuke and maybe some fines from the FEC…

In today’s Washington Post, an op-ed from William M. Daley, “former commerce secretary [under Bill Clinton] and White House chief of staff [to President Obama]”, “Bernie Sanders’s stubbornness is a big mistake” —

Bernie Sanders is making a big and potentially dangerous mistake with his continuing insistence on changes to the Democratic Party’s rules and platform. I should know. As chairman of Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, I understand too well where such ideological stubbornness can lead.

Back then, many progressives insisted on backing third-party candidate Ralph Nader despite warnings it would undercut the Democratic nominee. Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida, which Gore lost by 537 votes. The result? President George W. Bush, who championed ill-advised tax cuts, the invasion of Iraq and other actions we now deeply regret.

Sanders made an energetic bid for the Democratic nomination, drawing big crowds and fueling debates on important topics such as income disparity. Although he lost to Hillary Clinton, Sanders is pushing his agenda to the party convention and insisting on “reforms” in a Democratic nominating process he describes as seriously defective.

Sanders is wrong to suggest the Democratic Party’s nominating system is seriously defective. It isn’t. It’s eminently fair to let party members (i.e., registered Democrats) select the nominee, and to give party loyalists and elected officials (superdelegates) a modestly bigger say…

Key Democratic constituencies, including the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, strongly support superdelegates. “Our delegate selection process is not rigged,” Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), a senior leader of the Black Caucus, wrote in a letter to colleagues. “It is transparent to the public and open for participation.”

Clinton beat Sanders fair and square. She won more states, more delegates (pledged and super), and 3.7 million more votes than he did…

… Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. In 2008, after losing a hard-fought primary to Barack Obama, Clinton promptly endorsed him and campaigned for him. In contrast, Sanders — who refused to even call himself a Democrat until this election — has yet to endorse Clinton. He says she, not he, is responsible for persuading his supporters to back her.

Every vote counts. Sanders should accept the primary outcome and enthusiastically rally his supporters to Clinton’s side to avoid a catastrophic Donald Trump presidency.

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