The decisive moment in tonight's debate was the exchange on guns. It was decisive not just because it rehashed the already well-trod turf of Bernie's weakness on the issue, but because it underlined as never before the hypocrisy that destroys his broader argument, his core self-definition.
He's the purist. Every issue is a moral choice in his world, and he's the independent defender of morality. And yet here he was saying, "You can want something all you like, but you have to acknowledge when something is never going to happen. There are 50 states in this country." (I may be getting the exact quote wrong -- video and/or transcripts haven't been posted yet. I'll correct it when they are. But this was the thrust.)
Really. The guy who never heard a pie-in-the-sky leftwing policy he wouldn't laud with no real idea of how to make it happen criticizes Hillary for pursuing gun control -- and he does so for the most realpolitik of reasons: because it's politically impractical. Because in many of those states, the NRA is just too powerful.
What if we had a citizens' revolution to fight against them, Bernie? How'd that be?
And, of course, he revealed his lack of moral and emotional sechel by laughing while Hillary was raising the topic. And she nailed him on it. The chuckle slowly faded from his lips, and he was left silent.
The truth is, Bernie Sanders is not a courageous person. He's a pedant who's all talk. He found a progressive sinecure early in life and settled into it like a comfy couch. He's a professor who reads the same notes to every class for 50 years, never learns much of anything new, certainly never rethinks any of his idees fixes. He gets tenure, and then repeats the same schpiels at faculty meetings while his colleagues tire of him. He, on the other hand, never tires of those smug, self-righteous diatribes.
Update: Delusion vs. facts. Tie-breaker. Of course, the real verdict will come Tuesday.
And, as she implied last night, his gun position is hypocritical in another way: it's exactly the kind of pragmatic coalition-building he hates in everybody else. He was never going to go anywhere in Vermont politics without getting in good with gun owners and the gun lobby, and so, miraculously, guns turned out to be the one issue on which he wasn't more-liberal-than-thou. And now, of course, taking a right-wing line on guns is part of his flailing attempt to bring in the vanishing electorate of conservative, white, working-class Democrats. In other words, the same voters Trump is counting on to make him president. Good luck with that, guys.
Terrific insight by Falstaff as usual.
I think HRC has opened up two new attacks on Sanders that will be his quick undoing. First, of all the issues to be a pragmatist why did he pick the issue of guns? That speaks volumes as discussed here. Second, HRC can easily accept that Bernie may be right on the diagnosis but he has no clue on the cure. If HRC wins New York -- and wins big -- it kills the main rationale he has been touting lately -- he has all the momentum. I mean is the point to jam $15 an hour down everyone's throats or phase it in? I think the Cuomo approach is sound -- but maybe because I have spent a lot of time in Upstate New York.
One thing that has come out of this prolonged primary is the idea that any Democrat who supports business is therefore a Democratic technocrat. The world is changing. These folks need to read The Second Machine Age. They have great arguments for 1980 -- not 2016.
Thanks, guys -- very acute comments. The good news is that it'll all be over in ten days. She's gonna clean his clock in NY, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, etc. -- and she doesn't even need to do so in order to wrap this up.
I keep reminding myself how much better all this is than '08.
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