Tag Archives: Joe Biden

The Cardiac Kid

Bernie Sanders has been battling bad news lately. He’s stuck in the polls, or maybe even losing ground. He’s lost the “left/progressive” lead to Elizabeth Warren. He’s had to shake up his campaign organization in crucial states. Key supporters, like the Working Families Party, have abandoned him.

But this morning brings the worst possible headline for Sanders 2020: “Sanders Has Heart Surgery.”

It may well be a blip on the radar, and Bernie may live to be a happy, healthy 120 years old. But he’s the oldest candidate in the race and would be the oldest sitting president at the beginning of his term in office. Medical issues have always been the hidden shoal that could sink his campaign.

And health-wise, he’s on a bad run.

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Arise, Teen Selfie Stars

Climate activist and current darling of the free world Greta Thunberg has had enough of your adulation.

Everywhere I have been the situation is more or less same. The people in power, their beautiful words are the same. The number of politicians and celebrities who want to take selfies with us are the same. The empty promises are the same. The lies are the same, and the inaction is the same. Nowhere have I found anyone in power who dares to tell it like it is, because no matter where you are, even that burden they leave to us, us teenagers, us children.

She said that last Friday, at a climate strike rally in New York City. And she’s dead right. Thunberg’s critics have been thoroughly condescending about this pigtailed teenager telling us how to run the world — and her supporters have offered a more subtle form of condescension. There’s an undercurrent of “how cute” and “isn’t it amazing that this teenager is so bright, so committed?” not unlike when Joe Biden called Barack Obama clean and articulate, as if that’s surprising to see in a black man. We applaud Thunberg, we get a selfie, maybe we even give her the Nobel Peace Prize, and we feel like we’ve made a statement on the world’s climate crisis.

When, in fact, we’ve done jack shit. Thunberg made this even more explicit in her Sunday address at the United Nations:

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

It may be time for Vermont’s own teen selfie stars to adopt the same attitude.

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The nastiest campaign in Vermont history?

Scott Milne is running a truly bizarre campaign, entirely based on attacking incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy. Milne’s entire “platform” consists of (1) Pat Leahy’s been in Washington too long, and (2) he’s been a successful fundraiser. Like Rudy Giuliani and “9/11,” Milne can’t open his mouth without the number “42”, as in Leahy’s tenure in the Senate, tumbling out. Milne has made no effort to outline policy differences or present his own ideas.

This may not be the nastiest campaign in state history; God knows the 19th Century featured tactics that might make Donald Trump blush. But it’s certainly the nastiest campaign in living memory.

And it’s getting worse, and louder, and nastier.

Start with Milne’s weekend rejection of Trump. He couldn’t get through three paragraphs without a gratuitous slam at Leahy. In fact, the Leahy slam was the lede in Milne’s statement.

Then came the news that Vice President Biden will campaign in Vermont. Milne couldn’t stop himself:

 “Sen. Leahy and Vice President Biden have spent the past 42 years together in Washington, and they both supported Hillary Clinton against Bernie, so it is not surprising that they would be campaigning together.”

A sensible candidate would have kept his mouth shut. Why call attention to a high-profile fundraiser benefiting your opponent? But Milne appears to suffer from a unique variant of Tourette’s, which compels him to whine about Pat Leahy with every breath he takes.

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Hillary for President

Been thinking about this for a long time, waiting to see if something would change my mind. Could still happen, but for now, I’m settled.

If the presidential primary were today, I’d vote for Hillary Clinton. With apologies to Bernie, to all of Bernie’s supporters in Vermont, and to those who believe theVPO is a “hyper-partisan, far left blog.”

Why Hillary? Glad you asked.

First and foremost, Clinton is much more electable than Bernie Sanders. The policy differences between them are less important to me than keeping the Republicans out of the White House. Especially with at least two Supreme Court seats likely to come open in the next five years. It’s just hard for me to see Bernie appealing to a national electorate, especially if the Republicans come to their senses, reject the absolute crazies, and nominate someone plausible like Jeb! or Rubio.

Clinton is the best person to take on the partisan snakepit of Washington. She’s been through the wars, over and over again. She can handle it. I believe she would accomplish more than a President Sanders, even though she’d have a less ambitious agenda.

Last Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Bernie how he’d advance a Democratic Socialist agenda through a Congress that might still have Republican majorities. Bernie acknowledged that he couldn’t do it on his own — that he’d need a “political revolution” with masses of voters demanding change. Call me cynical, but I don’t see that happening. Most people can’t be bothered to do anything more than vote once every four years. Maybe a Sanders presidency would energize the masses, but I doubt it.

Gender definitely plays a role. When other factors are equal, I’ll vote for the female candidate because women are so grossly under-represented in American politics. There is value in having a woman President, in terms of personal connection to gender issues and in sheer symbolic terms. The more glass ceilings we can break, the better.

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