Diary

Conservatives (And the GOP) Must Beware Crazy Uncle Bernie

First, let me say that I in no way expect comrade [mc_name name=”Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”S000033″ ] to make it anywhere close to the presidency. This statement is a surprise to absolutely zero people I am sure. But even so, I think that a lot of people, especially on the right, are not taking this guy seriously enough. Are his ideas ludicrous (you don’t need 23 types of deodorant when kids are going hungry)? Of course! But there are three very good reason’s that conservatives shouldn’t take this man, or his policies, lightly.

1. Ron Paul: As many disagreements as I may have with Dr. Paul, I will never deny that he has had a major impact on the GOP. After his two, consecutive runs for the presidency the Republican party has moved noticeably to the right on a lot of issues that had become squishy during the Bush years. While there are a number of reasons for this sea change, I do think that Ron Paul provided a conduit for many of the policies now pushed by conservatives to take root and find their shape. Point in case, auditing the Federal Reserve and removing the taboo of talking about cutting waste in the Pentagon, as opposed to the military. So it is from that standpoint that I bring Bernie Sanders into this as Ron’s doppelganger from the left. Sanders is the far left of the far left of the Democratic Party, He is old, a terrible communicator, and comes off as a bit cranky, and people still flock to his ideas. Remind you of anyone? Sanders draws the young people, Paul drew the young people. This flies in the face of all conventional political wisdom that says you have to be young, hip and moderate to win hip young kids. I really do feel there is a possibility that Sanders can ignite a similar sort of movement amongst the uninformed youth, from the pot smokers to the Che Guevara lovers. After all, Paul may not have come close to the nomination, but he sure did get decent concessions for a guy who placed a distant 3rd behind Romney and Santorum; namely a video in his honor at the RNC which would have been unthinkable in 2008.
Now I will make a small aside to say that one of the main reasons that Paul succeeded in bringing any of his ideas into the mainstream of the GOP was that the GOP was very much ready for his ideas.  Likewise, it is all to obvious that the modern DNC is itching, hard, to forgo any semblance of American traditionalism and conform fully to the European social democratic model. Sanders would be a useful tool for them to do this. He is so radical, that the party can move far away to the left and still pretend they aren’t as far left as he is.  This segues perfectly into my next point…

2. The GOP Sucks at Defending Basic Principles:  Of course this, like anything, comes with caveats. But come on, how often have you been convinced by your average GOP congressional grunt that freedom is better than security? That traditional marriage trumps the sexual revolution, that taxes should be low, even for the wealthy? Sure the 90% tax that Sanders has proposed is extreme on its face, but what is wrong with 30%? 40%? or even 60%? Don’t you want the middle class to succeed? Why can’t we raise the minimum wage a little? Sanders would hardly need to bat an eye to get a concession from a the current Congressional GOP on raising taxes as president, mostly because they just don’t want to put up an intelligent rebuttal. Part of that is the leadership of the Republican Party, part of that is our tendency to meet the left on its own terms. When faced with someone as socialist as sanders, the last thing you can do is concede the moral high ground, which has become something of a Republican art as of late. Notice the cases being made for state Medicaid expansion under GOP governors.
For whatever reason, Republicans are far too inept with their talking points for we conservatives to rest easy with a fire-throwing socialist vying for the Democratic nomination.

3. The Media: Going back to the Ron Paul analogy, despite zah gut Toctor’s inroads with conservatives, not much of his rhetoric went mainstream. Can you imagine though, if the media was run by closet libertarians just itching to bring their ideals and principles to the public at large. I’m thinking that, were this the case, Mr. Paul might have had a good shot at 2nd, or even first place in the presidential nominating race.

Now let’s take Bernie Sanders and the fact media are all, let’s face it, closet socialists. Most of them are currently in the tank for Hillary, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we hear a somewhat more positive spin on some of his policies. This current “women fantasize about rape” only confirms what everybody already knows, that he won’t be president. But even this controversy, which would (rightly) destroy a Republican candidate, will probably not completely derail Sanders, he will have more interviews and, barring absolute implosion, will make it to some debates. This national exposure may solidify the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democrats and help to push the party even further left. I actually wonder if a Warren endorsement won’t be forthcoming in the foreseeable future. Maybe not. But if Hillary implodes anymore, who can Lizzie back? Martin O’Malley?

We say Sanders is a crackpot. True, but he is a crackpot who is not so far removed from the Democratic base, the media, and the uber liberals in academia that he will be rebuffed for his craziness in any meaningful way. We can poo poo his candidacy or we can get out best communicators out there to so thoroughly discredit his socialism that it will hurt the rest of his party (I know he claims to be independent but c’mon, really?)  The choice is ours.