Tuesday, September 15, 2015


All of a sudden I'm seeing attacks on Bernie Sanders in the right-wing media. This is in The Wall Street Journal today:
Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals: $18 Trillion

Democratic presidential candidate’s agenda would greatly expand government

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.
This showed up yesterday at Fox News Insider:
Krauthammer: 'Insignificant' Sanders Achieved Nothing in 25 Years in Congress

On "Special Report" tonight, Charles Krauthammer reacted to Bernie Sanders' surge in the polls and the Vermont senator's effort to reach out to African Americans.

"I think the reason that he's been rising is because he isn't an outsider in the sense that he's a non-politician, but he's been completely insignificant," Krauthammer said. "He's been in the Senate. Has anybody even mentioned him until now? Has he achieved anything? Has he passed a bill? Has he made a speech in a quarter century?"
The website of England's Daily Mail, which pursues right-wing readers with a lot of Breitbartian stories about U.S. politics, gave us this yesterday:
Bernie Sanders declares America was founded on 'racist principles' - and tells students at evangelical university Obama's election was a step toward redemption

Bernie Sanders went to the conservative Christian Liberty University this morning and told students that America was founded on 'racist principles' but voting for President Obama was a big step forward.

During the Q&A portion of the program, Sanders was asked how he would bring healing and resolution to the issue of racism as president.

'I would hope and I believe that every person in this room today understands that it is unacceptable to judge people, to discriminate against people based on the color of their skin,' Sanders began.

'And I would also say that as a nation – the truth is, that a nation which in many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back on racist principles. That’s a fact. We have come a long way as a nation,' Sanders said.
Rush Limbaugh -- who a month ago was describing Sanders as "harmless" and an "insignificant little socialist from Vermont" -- also focused on that Sanders racism statement on yesterday's show.

Maybe I just haven't noticed it, but this seems new to me. It's as if Sanders topped Hillary Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire in one poll and the word went out on the right to scramble the jets and start trying to take Sanders down.

I'd have thought the wingers wouldn't worry about a wild-haired old lefty, but they know it's a crazy year and a significant portion of the public might go for a candidate who'd have been deemed unacceptable even a year or two ago. They also know that even in defeat Sanders might have a real influence on the way we talk about taxes and government programs and economic inequality.

Right-wingers don't let grass grow under their feet. I guess they're going to try to address this threat now.


Never Ben Better said...

And the MSM will of course trot obediently at their masters' heels.

Tien said...

Of course word went out. Sanders went to Liberty University and wagged his finger at them and lectured them on their evil ways. Did you think they'd just sit back and take it?

Chris Andersen said...

I doubt they are seriously worried that Sanders might win. However, the success of his message so far could, as you suggest, legitimize some ideas that they really don't want to gain traction.

Dave said...

I think this is backwards: don't (traditionally speaking) political parties tend to attack the candidate they *most* want to face in the general election?

Think of 2004. The GOP considered John Kerry a beatable opponent. When his polling numbers in the Dem primary were slipping, they went out of their way to attack Kerry, thereby encouraging Democrats to rally around him in response. Kerry won the primary, then promptly embarrassed himself (and ourselves) in the general.

I expect they left Sanders alone until they realized he had a shot at making the primary competitive. By attacking him during the primary, they think they are hurting Hillary, not Bernie.

Steve M. said...

Nixon was the master of this. He wanted to face George McGovern -- but to get there he attacked the guy he presumed was much more electable, Ed Muskie.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think it is more paranoia about Bernie's ideas getting traction generally than an gambit to weaken Hillary. During the last election, some reporter went down the line of cars waiting to get into a Romney fundraiser somewhere up east interviewing those who would talk. I was amazed at how much angst they expressed about the masses rising up against them. I look at the "masses" and I see a bunch of cowed ninnies, mostly useful idiots for the plutocrats. But the plutocrats are nervous -- probably it's what's left of their consciences. The populism that is in the air is terrifying to them.

Steve M. said...

Yeah, I've never understood why the plutocrats are so afraid. The masses have been defanged for decades.

brett said...

The pitchforks are coming!!


Chris Andersen said...

SteveM: "Yeah, I've never understood why the plutocrats are so afraid. The masses have been defanged for decades."

I think you have to go back a ways in history to understand the mentality here. It hasn't happened much in this country or in other parts of the world in recent years, but 100 years ago it was not uncommon for the plutocrats of that age to be over-thrown, marched through the streets and hung from lamp posts. That created kind of a lasting impression on the psyche of the plutocrats and they've essentially sworn to themselves, "never again".

So, anytime there is a hint of the thinking that might (in their mind) lead to that kind of action, they will go absolutely bat-shit insane in response to it. They are literally scared to death of what will happen if the peasants rise up again.