Archive for the ‘California Politics’ Category

GOP’s Blitzkrieg by the Bay: Nine Key Questions

Friday, April 29th, 2016

3stoogesThis weekend’s Republican state convention portends the most amusing and bizarre political spectacle since the GOP’s Astrodome presidential confab in 1992, when Pats Buchanan and Robertson teamed up with Dan and Marilyn Quayle to undertake an exorcism of the GOP.

With all three of the still-standing, Republican wannabes headed for the luxurious San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, the Calbuzz National Affairs Desk will have reinforcements parachuting in from our bureaus in Brussels, Beijing, Rio and Rough and Ready, Ca. (pop 963).

Here is a look at the nine key questions they’ll be pursuing as thousands of delegates, hacks, flacks, job seekers and journos descend on Baghdad by the Bay – well, fashionable Burlingame anyway, for three days of gaiety and jollification. Plenty of free parking.

cruzmunsterWill Cruz dare use a San Francisco bathroom? Ted “Grandpa Munster” Cruz has been howling for weeks over Donald Trump’s stated lack of concern about transgender people threatening Judeo-Christian values by invading rest rooms everywhere. Now that Lucifer in the Flesh finds himself smack dab  in the middle of the nation’s depravity and debauchery belt, will he feel safe entering any comfort station in California – or will he go wee-wee-wee all the way home?

Will Lewandowski toss Marinucci into the Bay — or vice versa? Trump thug and erstwhile chief strategist Corey Lewandowski famously was charged with battery for trying to fend off a make-believe ballpoint attack on his boss by pint-sized news hen Michelle Fields. Just wait ‘til he gets a load of Costco Carla Marinucci’s banshee act if Politico’s chief California scribe gets close enough to ask The Donald a question.

kasicheatingWill Kasich go full hipster? John Kasich, who de-funded Planned Parenthood, shut down minority voting sites and tried to bust unions as Ohio’s governor, has styled himself as the reasonable moderate in the GOP race and plans to spend considerable time grubbing for votes in liberal Bay Area districts. We can’t wait to see news footage of Kasich sporting a man bun while free-wheeling a penny-farthing on Valencia Street, then venturing into a cruelty-free vegan café for a mason jar of artisanal dark roast.

Will The Flash need the AED station? Jon Fleischman, the (all rise) Politics Editor of Breitbart California and founder of the indispensable Flash Report, has been churning out a steady series of breathless advances about the convention while banging the fan boy drum for his hero Cruz. The last time we glanced at The Flash’s full-figured physique, we gauged his total cholesterol at around 215, so we stand ready to grab the pads and shout “clear” should he suddenly clutch his chest.

brulteWill Brulte be anointed Eternal General Secretary of the Party? In just three years, state party chairman Jim Brulte has done a terrific job of restoring financial stability and political vigor to the California GOP (also, shh, a smidgen of ideological sanity to which he’d never admit). One of the resolutions before the delegates would relax term limits on a chairman’s tenure – which we expect to pass unanimously, awarding Brulte eternal incumbency, along with the titles of “Father of the People,” “Ever Victorious Iron-Willed Commander,” “Guiding Star of the 21st Century” and other honorifics bestowed upon fellow venerated political boss Kim Jong-il.

Will S.F. protesters reclaim the troublemaker crown from Disneyland demonstrators? Pro and anti-Trump forces clashed in Anaheim this week, flinging pepper spray and fuck yous at each other, divided over a resolution before the city council that sought official condemnation of the Dear Leader Who Wears an Eagle’s Nest on his Head. San Francisco’s armies of anarchists, agitators, revolutionists, subversives and syndicalists face a stiff challenge in matching the passion and scale of the Orange County turmoil but the early line has them a 1-5 favorite to pull it off.

trumphandsWill throngs of Latinos show up to sing Trump’s praises? El Trumpo just loves proclaiming how much “the Hispanics love me,” no doubt for pledging to build a wall to keep all those drug-dealing rapists away from their pre-quinceañera daughters. So we await eagerly the whoppers Little Fingers uses in eschewing the Actual Fact that eight in ten Latinos think he’s the worst thing to show up in California since 1994 when Gov. Pete Wilson – aka hijo de puta –  destroyed the Republican brand with Prop. 187 and his “They Keep Coming” TV ad.

Will Page pull the plug?  Maybe Google CEO Larry Page can staunch all internet searches from computers at the Hyatt Regency as a peace offering to ColorOfChange protesters. Furious that the Mountain View company is a sponsor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, they dumped 400,000 signatures on the Don’t Be Evil outfit Thursday, demanding they withdraw because of Trump’s “stereotypical and violent rhetoric” and his “race-baiting message.” All of which should be on display this weekend.

carlyrestingbitchfaceWill Carly defend Ted against charges he’s Satan? John Boehner has outraged the Responsible Satanic Community everywhere by calling Cruz “Lucifer in the Flesh,” thereby giving Beelzebub a bad name. We wonder if Carly Fiorina, named this week as Taliban Ted’s political fantasy camp vice president, has enough behind her resting bitch face to backstop him, given her utter failure to stand up for Christine O’Donnell in 2010 against accusations that the Tea Party Senate wannabe was a witch.

P.S We’ll be tweeting throughout the weekend at https://twitter.com/CalbuzzBlog. Our full report will appear on Monday.

The Cruz Fiorina Ploy: A Cynical Play for CA Reeps

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

cruzfiorinaBy picking failed and fired Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his would-be vice-presidential running mate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is making a desperate and farcical last-ditch play to appeal to Republican women and stop Donald Trump in California.

If Trump hasn’t racked up 1,237 delegates by the California primary on June 7, Cruz’s ploy might help him among Golden State Republicans who chose the pugnacious Fiorina as their nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010 by 34 percentage points over moderate former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell.

Of course, Hurricane Carly went on to get clobbered 52-42% by Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in November after she was hit for laying off 30,000 workers, shipping jobs to China, tripling her own salary, buying a million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets.

But before she fled in shame to Virginia after her 2010 drubbing, Fiorina had a 75% favorable rating among California Republicans and could, as a surrogate with potential portfolio, work the congressional districts where Cruz could pick up delegates. Places like the Central Valley, rural California and even in liberal areas like the Bay Area, where — although she is loathed by the electorate at large — only small numbers of Republicans reside.

natashaPure cynicism. So if – and it’s a big leap of faith – Cruz is still in the hunt by June, Fiorina, who stood up to Trump in one debate and reportedly has two X chromosomes, just might help him in the California GOP primary. Which is just as cynical as picking Geraldine Ferraro, Dan Quayle, John Edwards or Sarah Palin — people who had no business being a heartbeat away from the presidency — for purely tactical reasons.

Not since July 1976, when Ronald Reagan named moderate Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Schweiker his would-be running mate just before the Republican National Convention in a losing attempt to wrest the nomination from President Gerald Ford, has a candidate for president tried this foolhardy maneuver.*

But even if you put aside for the moment that Fiorina, as we wrote last May, is the personification of incompetence, hubris and nastiness, what matters more broadly as a political observation is that whatever good she does for Cruz in the short term, is disastrous in the long run. She’s just one more brick in the wall being steadily erected between the Republican Party and the voters and values of California.

From her false vicious attack on Planned Parenthood and her Ms. Taliban-style opposition to abortion rights, to her cavalier attitude toward throwing people out of work and blaming liberalism for climate change, the loathsome Fiorina — who came in seventh in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this year — is a bad fit for California.

Planned-Parenthood-Supporters-998x664To be Viable in California… No pro-life candidate has won at the top of the ticket (president, governor or senate) in California since George Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988, more than a quarter century ago. This would be key to all the GOP candidates – not just Cruz and Fiorina. For while they are rabidly and piously anti-choice, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is just as fervent and has killed funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio. And Trump is a born-again pro-lifer and a woman-belittling misogynist to boot.

Cruz and Fiorina (and Trump and Kasich, for that matter) oppose a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – a position sharply at odds with the vast majority of voters in California and even a substantial portion of Republicans.

In the most recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll, more than three-fourths of voters said they believed immigrants who are already here should be allowed to stay; 65% they should be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship and another 14% said they should be allowed to stay and work legally but not apply for citizenship. Only 16% said that they should be required to leave the country.

CRP Chairman Jim Brulte will be putting on a game face this weekend at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame – where Trump, Kasich, Cruz and Fiorina are all scheduled to speak. But their presence there and throughout the state will surely undermine his attempts to moderate the party’s image and isolate the right-wing extremists who have held sway for decades.

BTW, for more background on Hurricane Carly, including her H-P sales to Iran when that was explicitly illegal, here are some handy links to Calbuzz and Media Matters.

three-stoogesJust a Few Facts. Finally, with the Three GOP Stooges and Carly all speaking this weekend, the august national press corps will be descending upon us, no doubt offering their great wisdom about our fair state.

While we, of course, will learn gobs from the roving band of trail reporters and their brilliant anchors back in Washington and New York, we thought it might be useful to suggest a few additional facts about California politics that the MSM should keep in mind.

–As we’ve noted, in their short-game effort to win Republican delegates – including trying to persuade attendees at a convention for what is fast becoming an irrelevant party in California (28%) – the three GOP ass clowns will further alienate the broad California electorate, taking the Golden State’s 55 electoral votes – 20% of the total needed — further out of contention in the general election.

– President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown — who Trump, Cruz and Kasich will be trashing — are actually popular among California voters. Obama’s job approval is 59% and Brown’s in 55% in the latest Field Poll. Sure, the stooges can win points among the knuckle-draggers in the CRP convention hall by attacking them, but this will only further cut themselves off from the masses of California voters who will help elect the next president.

– Eighty-three percent of Latino voters statewide (not just Republicans) have an unfavorable view of Trump and 55% have a negative view of Cruz, according to the Field Poll. Eighty percent of women disapprove of Trump and 61% have an unfavorable view of Cruz. About eight in 10 Latinos despise Trump and nearly as many find Cruz distasteful.

– On the other hand both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders get favorable ratings from about 58% of voters and 54% of women. So while the Democrats the Three Stooges will be attacking this weekend may be unpopular among Republicans (12% favorable for Clinton and 20% for Sanders), they are quite popular with voters overall.

Bottom Line: Barbara Boxer is right — Cruz and Carly would be the “Mean and Meaner” ticket.

*Our friend the great George Skelton reports in the By God LA Times today that Gov. Jerry Brown named the Rev. Jesse Jackson as his running mate prior to the April New York primary in 1992. We were there, too, but as we remember it (and as George and David Lauter wrote back then), Brown had suggested Jackson as a “potential” running mate, should he win the nomination — not as a package deal. Of course, even that was enough to blow Jerry’s chances with the Jewish community in New York City, which never forgave Jesse for calling NY “Hymietown.”)

Senate Debate: Kamala Harris Wins By Not Losing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

kamaladebateThe entertainment highlights from last night’s U.S. Senate debate in Stockton: Tom Del Beccaro attacked Kamala Harris for being a squish on crime. Ron Unz blamed Pete Wilson for wrecking California’s Republican Party. Duf Sundheim seemed precariously close to a James Stockdale moment. Loretta Sanchez sounded like she’d been sucking on a helium balloon moments before the event started.

In the end, however, it was a genteel and subdued affair, with no memorable moments, candidate breakthroughs or big mistakes, and none of the five rivals said much they haven’t already said before. In other words, nothing changed, which means that Attorney General Harris remains the odds-on favorite to finish first in the June 7 primary, with Sanchez still positioned to make it an all-Democratic run-off in November.

Here’s a wrap on how the wannabes did:

Kamala Harris. Harris is infuriatingly cautious, if not craven, constantly deflecting even the most non-threatening questions with evasive platitudes: What should government do about income inequality? “No question, it’s a big issue.” Has Obama done enough on terrorism? “It is a very real issue.” Immigration? “It’s the most front and center human and civil rights issue of our time.” The thought of listening to this kind of blather for six or 12 years (our actuarial odds don’t extend much past that) makes the notion of watching grass grow seem like Carnival in Rio. Still, she’s by far the class act in the field – lucid, adept and serious-minded if still under-informed about national issues. She lacks the fire of the retiring Barbara Boxer and the earnest depth of Dianne Feinstein but in this field, she looks more like a U.S. Senator than anyone.

sanchezdebateLoretta Sanchez. Perhaps it’s because she’s represented Disneyland for all these years that the two-decade Congress member vocalizes like some squeaky denizen of the forest in a remake of Sleeping Beauty. Over the years, we’ve had at least one or two conversations in which she was reasonably coherent, instead of stringing together non sequiturs, which is what she mostly did last night: What will you do to break gridlock in Washington? “I’m not the status quo, I’ve been changing the Congress for 20 years.” Um, okay. Her biggest problem is her message, which boils down to me, me, me. I’m on the Homeland Security Committee, I’m on the military committee, I’m an expert on national security, yadda, yadda, yadda. Guess that’s why things are so swell inside the Beltway, Loretta, and thank you for that. Still, Sanchez is the only one besides Harris who’ll be able to afford to air any advertising before the primary, and with three GOPers cutting up the Republican vote, she should make the playoffs, after which anything can happen.

Tom-Del-BeccaroTom Del Beccaro. We’re no fans of the loathsome former Republican Party chairman, but he did an excellent job last night of staking out a clear base among the most conservative and libertarian elements of the party. He wisely kept contrasting himself to the rest of the field – “I’m different than everyone else,” began his answers to a host of questions – even though his proposals reeked of failed Reagan-era policies – government is the problem, not the solution; the power of markets will spur untrammeled economic growth that will trickle down to the masses; our militaristic foreign policy should be based on “moral clarity.” Del Becarro is slick to the point of oleaginous, but he speaks directly to the GOP right wing and if any of them bothered to tune in last night, he did himself a lot of good.

dufsundheimDuf Sundheim. Full disclosure: we really like Sundheim because he’s open-minded, thoughtful and fair, and harkens back to the days of smart moderate Republicans like George Shultz, Ken Maddy and Pete Wilson. But we couldn’t quite figure out what he was doing last night: editorial page editor and debate panelist John Diaz of the Chronicle, which co-sponsored the debate, nailed him with a question noting his liberal positions on issues from guns to gay marriage – “Why are you a Republican?” – and Sundheim kept making odd historic references – the election of 1860 and Harry Truman’s work on the U.N. with Senator Arthur H. Vanderberg – when he was wasn’t channeling Chris Christie by suggesting visa holders should be tracked like Fed-Ex packages, or referring to his wife, which he did at least three times, to the point that we ended the night knowing far more about her than him. It all was enough to put us in mind of Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s 1992 running mate, who famously opened his debate against Al Gore by asking, “Who am I, why am I here?”

ronunzRon Unz. If we were in a focus group, listening to a politician we didn’t know stake the positions on key issues that Unz took last night, arguing them with considerable clarity and force, we would be most impressed and might likely support the guy. Alas, we not only know Unz, but also recall his signal political achievement is the divisive Proposition 227 in 1998, which cut back bilingual education in the state; worse, he admitted on the stage that the only reason he got into the Senate race was to champion his opposition to an effort in the Legislature to undo the measure. Still, Unz’s stances in the debate – for an increased federal minimum wage, against the bail-out and subsidies for Wall Street, cutting salaries for UC and CSU bureaucrats to reduce tuition, bashing the Bush Iraq war as the original sin that led to widespread terrorism, legalizing drugs – seemed to capture the current political zeitgeist better than anyone else who showed up.

diazMedia matters: Excellent work by our old pal Diaz, who politely but firmly followed up with several candidates who tried to ignore his original questions, and strongly represented his colleagues in the newspaper trade amid a shifting cast of KCRA talking heads, all of whom seemed to be directly imported from happy talk morning shows.

Our big beef with the Chron was that it tried to stiff anybody who wanted to watch the live stream on their website for the cost of a digital subscription, a cheesy ploy not mentioned in Joe Garofoli’s ballyhooing of the  webcast in his debate advance, which carried a link to it. Kudos to KCRA for providing a free and robust online version for voters in markets that didn’t get the broadcast, most especially those in the politically crucial precincts of Santa Barbara, which were blacked out from the broadcast.

Here’s the Calbuzz Twitter feed (slightly edited) in reverse order:

Duf says we’re losing faith in future and politics — end high-speed rail, fix water, keep you safe — let’s shake things up

Loretta voted against Iraq war, bailout, Patriot Act — changed policy on charging wounded soldiers for meals — emotional ending

Unz says it’s going to be difficult for Republican to win — blames Pete Wilson on immigration — if he’s elected min wage wins

Hopefully Garofoli will analyze why @sactotrixie: Once again del Becarro fails to thank @sfchronicle for hosting debate.

Harris proud daughter of CA, challenges are opportunities, fought banks, homeowner rights, defend samesex couples, vs oil

DelBecc says government isn’t the answer to everything — says others want to use govt — he’s for flat tax, JFK and Reagan

Duf agrees with Harris that we need to keep guns away from criminals — says Harris hasn’t done that — she says she has

Harris defends herself on smart on crime — also that she supports a woman’s right to choose (mentioned earlier)

DelBecc says law abiding citizens owning guns is not the problem — reducing crime is key — hits Harris on SF case

Harris says we should be smarter on crime — not tough or weak

Harris backs Feinstein on guns, assault weapons, background checks — reasonable controls — war on drugs a failure

Unz doesn’t think gun control makes much diff on crime — says drug policy more imp on crime — don’t be carried by rhetoric

Sanchez says he goes over time limits cuz she has so much to say cuz she’s the one with experience. Remove MJ from sked 1

Why Kamala not get a response to Del B attack over Planned Parenthood?

DelBecc won’t say he’s comfortable with Trump as presidential nominee

DelBecc says Harris shouldn’t investigate Planned Parenthood cause she a supporter. Fair point.

Harris says she’s a strong leader. Gosh.

Why take you seriously, Unz? Because Sacto is trying to undo his English-only initiative. And he’s pissed.

Sanchez says no one has refuted her estimate of worldwide Muslims who support caliphate

Sanchez, you’ve offended native Americans, Muslims, Vietnamese — she says it’s all out of context — says she’s real people

Why are you a Republican, Duf? “I’m not a blind Republican” — not working for McConnell, working for you

Harris says immigration is fundamental civil rights issue — comes out squarely for pathway to citizenship; Loretta didn’t

Unz seems to think native-born Americans would pick fruit for minimum wage

After Loretta says she’s been to meetings, Unz says illegal imm isn’t that big a problem but higher wages is the best answer

Loretta for family values…doesn’t mention pathway to citizenship. Duf says Loretta has skipped Homeland meetings.

Duf’s for a high-tech wall. If we can track packages, should be able to track people. Perm legal status for undocumented

DelBecc on immigration: it’s a national security concern, visa reform needed — we could stop 90,000 troops on the border

Unz says Obama is wrong-headed, should be working with Russians and Syrians to defeat ISIS. Bush was even worse.

Sanchez says she would use everything before going to war. She says BHO is not doing everything he could.

Loretta says it’s easy to talk about national security without 20 yrs experience like her — military toolbox too easy

Duf says Obama falls short. He’d have long-term strategy

DelBecc says BHO not doing all he can — should call them Islamic terrorists, help our allies, shouldn’t let ISIS have land

Is Obama on the right track, Diaz repeats. “There are many tracks,” Kamala replies. Is he doing everything? Kama equivocates

Harris says we have to lead with our values internationally — Syria, Iraq, Libya — nothing about Obama

Diaz asks if Obama is doing everything to prevent terrorism at home. Harris says SanBerdu was tragic. It’s a very real issue. Duh.

Loretta: more training for cosmetologists, starting with my hairdresser

Sanchez says technology is key to cutting costs at community college. WTF??

Loretta says too much focus on 4-year college – “I want my hairdresser to do a good job each and every time!”

If you want to see something get really expensive, make it free, says Duf. Cut costs.

DelBecc opposes govt lowering costs for college. Stop subsidizing colleges.

Harris wants free comm coll, increase Pell Grants, crack down on predatory private colleges.

Unz says cut state tuitions — too many administrators — have to cut costs, bureaucracy, lower tuition — avoids free coll

Duf compares income disparity to slavery — says min wage increase will lead us down the wrong road — better to create jobs

Economic growth is key to reducing income disparity, says DelBec — others want Govt solution and Govt can’t solve everythng

Inc disparity is a big issue, Harris sez. Eureka! Min wage, affects women most, affordable childcare, pre-k, family leave, student aid

Unz cites income inequality — glad for incr in min wage. Outrageous benefits to financial elite. Would have blocked bailout

Santa Barbara focus group says so far Diaz looks most like a Senator

Who are you most concerned with, Diaz asks — Loretta talks about education, transportation, national security

Del Beccaro thanks UOP and KCRA snubs Chron – intentional dis or simple incompetence?

DelBecc says source of division is that government is at the center of it — whatever that means

Harris says she’s worked across party lines to get things done.

Unz cites his 12,000-word essay on raising minimum wage. 12,000 words! Now central to Democratic agenda — says GOP cand

“I’m not the status quo,” Loretta says, then cites her status quo credentials and says she can “shape the debate”

Duf says his background as mediator would serve him in getting something done in Congress.

Revenge of the Nerd: Bernie’s Political Ponzi Scheme

Monday, April 25th, 2016

sanderspointingIt’s time to call Bernie Sanders out for what he is: a fraud.

Not that he hasn’t done some good for the Democratic Party and the country: he has. By raising income inequality, campaign finance reform, the minimum wage, universal health care, Wall Street excesses and other left-liberal critiques, Sanders has fired up young voters and nudged Hillary Clinton slightly to the left.

But from where we sit, Bernie’s gone from being a crusader for lefty ideas to an ego-tripping old crank who just can’t get enough of the rush that comes from people paying serious attention to him for the first time his political career.

Speaking of ego-tripping old cranks, we might do the same, if we had people throwing tens of millions of dollars our way while countless millennial women hung on our every word, no matter how many times we’d said the exact same thing, skimming the surface of complex policy notions with a few tired phrases while actually having little practical idea what we were talking about.

ronpopeilDisaster Zone What, you think that’s an exaggeration? Did you see his appearance at the editorial board of the New York Daily News where he could not give a coherent answer on how he would accomplish his signature rhetorical cause: breaking up the big banks. “Pretty close to a disaster,” was the headline on the summary by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

But wait, as Ron Popeil used to say, there’s more!

Sanders and his highly-paid henchmen continue to argue that their candidate would run stronger than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in November because that’s what the polls show.

They’re right about what polls show right now. According to Huffpost Pollster’s average of polling  Sanders performs better than Clinton in hypothetical general-election matchups. Against Donald Trump, Sanders leads by 14 points, Clinton by 9. Against Ted Cruz, Sanders wins by 13 points, Clinton by 4.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with what actually would happen if Sanders were, magically at this point (by winning all remaining contests by more than 20 points each), to become the Democratic nominee.

hillarywantedTwisted Logic: Even if, at the end of the nominating process, Clinton was ahead in the popular vote and delegates, Sanders would spend the weeks and months before the Democratic National Convention trying to convince superdelegates to dump Clinton and back their guy, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC’s Steve Kornaki last Tuesday night.

“They are going to want to win in November,” Weaver said. “And if the polling continues to show that Bernie Sanders is a much stronger candidate in the general election” those superdelegates will support Sanders.

This is nuts.

The reason why Sanders runs better than Clinton against Republican contenders is simple: while Republicans have run virtually no negatives against Sanders (because they want him to be the nominee), Clinton has been accused of everything – literally — from murder to treason over a span of 30 years. Yet she’s still standing.

Calbuzz spelled this out back in January and even some of the laggard MSM have begun to understand the facts. David Corn of Mother Jones argued that the big problem for Bernie would be that he’s a socialist and Republicans would attack him on those grounds.

That’s way too naïve. Sanders would be bludgeoned hammer and sickle as a dead-beat dad with an illegitimate son — as an atheist, commie, pinko out to raise your taxes, crush your religious freedom and your right to bear arms, weaken the military and appease the Russians, set criminals free to rape your daughter, take away your home, round you up and ship you off to live on a vegan commune with leather-clad lesbians and gays in charge.

For starters.

Sanders’ popularity, his favorability and his standing in the polls would drop like a rock. Instead of winning the presidency and perhaps the Senate and maybe even the House — as they could with Clinton as their nominee against Trump –  Democrats would lose it all, including an historic opportunity to keep the Supreme Court from being taken over again by right-wing extremists.

Magican-Kid-party-rentals-DallasHocus Pocus: But wait, there’s more!

Sanders’s argument – that even if Clinton is ahead in the popular vote and the delegate count, he’ll try to persuade super-delegates to support him because he’s more electable, is an assault on his own rationale for his candidacy: wider, more open and transparent democracy. His hypocrisy is staggering: after railing against the whole idea of super-delegates, he’s now suggesting they should be his savior.

It’s the same anti-democratic argument Ted Cruz and John Kasich are making in the Republican Party – except at least with Kasich – governor of Ohio, a key swing state — there’s reason to believe he actually might be more electable than either Trump or Cruz.

Worse, Sanders isn’t even a Democrat and he’s done nothing – hasn’t raised a dime! – to help Democrats throughout the country while Clinton has raised millions for them. Why in the world would those super-delegates stomp on the popular vote and the delegate count to elevate Bernie Sanders?

The plain fact is, while Sanders loves to style himself as an outsider, he’s spent the last three decades living off the public dole in Washington, as a congressman for 19 years and a Senator for nine, and accomplished exactly nothing.

For years, Sanders served with Ted Kennedy – but where was he in 2007, when Kennedy fought fiercely, first against members of his own party and then against the Republicans to pass the first increase in the federal minimum wage in 10 years? We looked in vain for any evidence that Sanders did anything but add a cheap “aye” vote the Kennedy legislation.

While Kennedy delivered one of the more famous floor speeches of this century on the issue, Sanders was where he always was: warming a back bench with the frayed and shiny seat of his pants.

“Bernie was just kind of a mascot for the Dems,” recalled one longtime Senate aide. “He gave a lot of speeches for C-Span.”

But wait, there’s more!

clenched-fistBernie and his Sandersistas like to portray his “political revolution” as some kind of historic development. It’s not — it’s nothing more than the manifestation of the left wing of the Democratic party (with which we often agree) surfacing anew, as it does reliably, in presidential nominating seasons when no party incumbent is running (and sometimes when one is):

Frank Church, Fred Harris and Mo Udall against Jimmy Carter in 1976; Ted Kennedy vs. Carter in 1980; Gary Hart vs. Walter Mondale in 1984; Jesse Jackson vs. Mike Dukakis in 1988; Jerry Brown vs. Bill Clinton in 1992; Bill Bradley vs. Al Gore in 2000; Howard Dean vs. John Kerry in 2008. You could even include Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Ideological policy differences? Sure. Political revolutions? Hardee, har, har.

Some of those challengers continued to argue their case right up to and into the Democratic National Convention. But virtually none of them used their final months to tear down the presumptive nominee as Sanders continues to do and all of them – since they were actually Democrats – endorsed and worked for the election of their party’s nominee.

Sanders shows no signs that he has a speck of loyalty to the Democratic Party. And why should he? He’s not a member of the party and has done nothing to help elect Democrats except sign a couple of DSCC  fund-raising letters and raise a few thousands bucks for some of his supporters. BFD.

What does Sanders want at this point? To push the party toward his progressive goals? To influence who gets chosen as Clinton’s vice-presidential nominee? To speak in prime-time at the DNC in Philadelphia this summer? Because capturing the nomination is off the table. As one Democratic insider told Politico in a piece on whither Bernie: “there’s no path, there’s no math.”

Which is why Sanders — if he truly wanted to defeat the GOP nominee — would return to running for his causes and against Trump and Cruz and stop attacking the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t appear to be Sanders’s intention because, as we said, he’s not a Democrat and he’s in essence running a scam.

We have to agree with David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, who tweeted out the other day:

“Sanders has run a stunningly strong campaign fueled by passionate supporters. But raising $$ stating you have path to nomination is fraud.”

Op Ed: Earth to Bernie, Time to Endorse Hillary

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

berniesanders1By Dick Polman

Dear Bernie,

You’re toast, and I’m smelling the burn.

Time to man up. Start drafting your endorsement speech. If you insist on staggering through the next few weeks, losing big in the string of Democratic primaries that are open only to actual Democrats, wagging your finger at the injustice of it all, at least do the party a favor and nudge it toward unity. If you want to keep hawking your nonexistent revolution, fine. But it’s time to start hosing down your pie-eyed acolytes and focusing on the existential threat of Trump. Just get it done.

mushroomcloudNuked in NY: You were gutted in New York, pure and simple. No lame spin can mask that reality. You devoted yourself to winning it — you spent twice as much as Hillary Clinton on advertising — yet you were eviscerated by 16 percentage points. All your talk about Wall Street and billionaires came to nothing; according to the exit polls (this stat says it all), you even lost by 20 points among voters who earn less than $30,000 a year.

And yet again, just like in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, your “revolution” was feted only in the youngest age bracket. For the umpteenth time: You can’t presume to have a broad-based movement if you’re only cranking up the kids. Last night, people under 30 were just 17 percent of the electorate. You lost all the other age categories. In fact, 65 percent of the voters were 40 and older — and you lost them by a margin of 2-1.

As for your performance among people of color … let’s just say that you’re not in Kansas anymore. I’m not quoting The Wizard of Oz, I’m trying to stage an intervention. Stop talking about Kansas and Wyoming and Idaho and all your other tiny victories in white caucus states that always vote red in November. Stop insulting our intelligence, and start parsing the stats from last night. Roughly 36 percent of the New York electorate was black or Latino — a mirror of the national Democratic electorate. You lost Latinos by 28 points. You lost blacks by 50 points. Game over.

Start Writing, Bud: How’s that endorsement draft coming along? Are you at least beginning to face the fact that staying in Get Off My Lawn mode, that going the scorched-earth route against Hillary, would be, at this point, the most foolish of all political options?

Wait, let me rephrase the question. Did you happen to catch Donald Trump’s act last night? Der Leader was oozingly magnanimous, thanking his family and his team and even “Senator Cruz” (suddenly it’s “Senator Cruz,” not “Lyin’ Ted”) because somehow his few grownup handlers have hammered it into his vanilla head that it’s bad politics to spew hate and racism and misogyny. Better to put a lid on it and act “presidential.”

Bernie, you were 27 in 1968. So surely you remember what happened that year. A paranoid low-road politician named Richard Nixon allowed his handlers to fashion a new Nixon — branded in the press as the New Nixon — and voters were goaded into forgetting his long history of gut-fighting smears. New Nixon was, supposedly, a mature statesman. I bet you didn’t buy that con, and I bet you don’t believe for a second that New Trump can ever mask the clear and present danger that he poses to this country.

samjacksonDon’t Muck it Up: All the more reason to draft that Hillary endorsement, to think of the greater good. In fact, you can start by putting a muzzle on your campaign manager before he again makes a fool of himself — and you. On New York primary night, Jeff Weaver surfaced on CNN and delivered the most pathetic spin job since the heyday of Baghdad Bob. Remember when Saddam Hussein’s flak kept telling the press that all was well even while the American bombs were falling all around him? Weaver was like that.

When asked about Clinton’s 2.4-million national popular vote lead (which expanded to nearly 2.7 million by late evening), Weaver said the lead is way smaller if we count the teeny caucus tallies in places like Kansas, Wyoming, and Idaho. When asked about the racially diverse states still on the calendar, Weaver said that you’re doing “increasingly well with Latino voters across the country.” (Bernie, didn’t anyone text him last night about the 28-point wipeout among Latino voters?) Then he insisted that you will do “very, very well” next Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s Democrats-only primary (the polls say you’re down in Pennsylvania by 13 points), and that you will fight Clinton at the national convention no matter what.

Earth to Bernie: Don’t do it. Don’t be a fool. Face it, clawing Clinton hasn’t worked. In the exits last night, 65 percent of the voters said they’re “excited” or “optimistic” about a Clinton presidency, and 60 percent said that she’s “honest and trustworthy.” A plurality of voters chose “the right experience” as the most important candidate criterion, and that cohort favored Clinton by a margin of 9-1.

Time to start ratcheting down the rhetoric. Time to stop deceiving your fans, like you did yesterday when you said that independents “lost their right to vote” in the New York primary. As you well know, they never had it to begin with. And I don’t recall you whining like this when you won the closed contests in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine.

dickpolmanBottom line: Enough already. Time to take the high road, to draw on the party’s deep reservoir of good will. That is indeed the mood, as evidenced by this striking exit poll stat: A landslide 67 percent said that your contest with Clinton has “energized” Democrats. Only 29 percent said “divided.” (Contrast that with the Republican exits. Only 36 percent of GOP voters said their race has energized the party; a whopping 60 percent said the Trumpian hijinks have divided it.)

So build on that Democratic energy. Don’t blow it. This year, the stakes are too high.

Dick Polman, former political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogs at  www.newsworks.org, where this column originally appeared.