December 15, 2005
A Socialist in the Senate

Bernie Sanders looks likely to become the only Socialist in the Senate. Why? Because of his policies.

We have to develop a strong economic message which says every American is entitled to health care through a national health care program. And we’re not going to allow these large corporations to push through trade agreements which allow them to throw Americans out on the street and run to China. We’re not going to give tax breaks to billionaires and then cut back on the needs of our elderly or poor or kids or education. We’re not going to privatize Social Security — in fact, we’re going to strengthen it. We’re going to provide quality education for every kid in America, from preschool through college. We have to take on these corporate leaders who are selling out the American people, whose allegiance is now much more to China than it is to the United States. If we have the courage to take these people on, I think we can overwhelm Bush and his friends.

What about the Republican attack machine?

Q: Do you think they’re going to use the socialist label against you, and do you think that’s going to matter?

Sanders: No, I doubt it will make a dent. I’ve run for statewide office plenty of times, and people know me. If you look at what they did to Max Cleland and what they did to John Kerry, we have a pretty good idea of what they can do. It’s the politics of personal destruction. They are incapable of debating issues, because their positions on all of the issues are horrendous. Their style has always been to try to personally destroy whom they run against. So we expect a great deal of negativity.

I won my last election by forty points. The Republican I ran against, at the end of the campaign, had decided that I was “a friend of terrorists” and “a friend of pedophiles.” That’s the kind of crap they came out with. I expect that’s the kind of crap they’ll come out with again.

Their weakness is they have nothing to say. What are they going to say about the economy? What are they going to say about tax policy when they give tax breaks to billionaires and inadequately fund veterans’ benefits? What do they say about the environment when they are among the few remaining people on Earth who do not believe in global warming and have just passed a disastrous energy bill that has almost no energy conservation or sustainable energy? What can they say about Social Security when the vast majority of the people don’t want to privatize it?

On issue after issue they are bankrupt. The only thing they can do is try to destroy the character and the integrity of their opponent. That’s all that they have left.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at December 15, 2005 03:43 AM
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Interestingly, according to the Green Mountain PAC, quoting USA Today, Pat Leahy is the first and, so far, only Democrat elected to the Senate from Vermont:

"Patrick J. Leahy first made his name in politics as a tough-on-crime, attention-grabbing county prosecutor in the turbulent late 1960s and early '70s. His law-and-order aggressiveness propelled him to election as the first -- and, so far, only -- Democrat to represent historically Republican Vermont in the U.S. Senate."

And I certainly agree with Sanders (and with Dean): No more of this "We're just like the Republicans only not as bad."

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on December 15, 2005 7:16 AM

The stunning lack of Doublespeak coming out of Bernie Sanders mouth is like a healing salve on the bleeding wounds of our democracy. The only problem is words like his get nowhere near the play as the insane ramblings of Bill o'Reilly, of Pat Robertson, Bill Frist, Joe (Tokyo Rose) Lieberman, etc. I don't think the average person who is not a political junkie knows that any sane, honest politicians exist.

Posted by: peonista on December 15, 2005 9:29 AM
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