The democrats always have a very thinly veiled love for socialism. They can't say it outright, but you know they are thinking it. You know that their goal is incremental steps towards government be-all and end-all. The Nation magazine (you know, the one that is always most prominently displayed at Powells bookstore) just can't hold back any longer.
Being Like Bernie
Even if he were not a socialist, and even if he were not an independent who eschews most of the trappings of contemporary partisan politics--including those of a Democratic Party he sees as dramatically too centrist, too cautious and too unfocused to counter the country's drift to the right--the enthusiasm Sanders inspires would be remarkable.
There is nothing cautious about Sanders's politics: He opposes the war in Iraq, he is an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act, he condemns corporations and he maintains a lonely faith that government really can do a lot of things--like guarantee healthcare for all--better than the private sector.
Inside sources tell me that his stance on that last issue could change before election time, it turns out he has to renew his license at the DMV soon...
...as played out on issues ranging from protecting Social Security, retirement plans and Medicare to expanding access to healthcare, lowering drug prices, raising the minimum wage, helping small businesses get started and keeping family farmers on the land.
Read: government retirement plan, government healthcare, government interfering with the free market and stifling new medical innovations, forcing employers to fire employees or send jobs overseas, subsidies, and telling land-owners that they can't develope their own land.
Democrats have essentially backed off the race; Sanders's old nemesis, former Governor Howard Dean, now the Democratic National Committee chair, says, "A victory for Bernie Sanders is a win for Democrats," while most of the party's prominent players in the state have endorsed him.
The self-identified socialist is considered a Democrat by most on the left. Let that be a lesson on where the left stands.
At least, Sanders notes, his status as the country's best-known "out" socialist means "it'll be hard to redbait me." To counter the GOP attacks that do come, Sanders expects he'll have to raise $5 million--after years in which "the most money I have ever raised in an election is $800,000 or $900,000."
As long as we are talking about ways to better spend other people's money, couldn't that $5 million go to a more worthy cause?
Vermont's a nutty state and this will be an interesting race to watch. A statewide Senate seat is very different that an House seat however. Bernie can only promise to give government hand-outs to so many people.