"That's All Folks!" No Really, That's All There Is
There are plenty of good reasons why Democrats overwhelmingly want Hillary Clinton as their nominee and President rather than Bernie Sanders, the larger ones being that dreams and fairy dust aren't a substitute for governing. After a year in the race, and a year of people saying exactly this as an answer to Bernie's ongoing platitudes and resistance to reality, it says a lot about Bernie that this is still all he has to offer.
Rolling Stone conducted an interview with Sanders earlier this month and published the Q & A today, which proves that Bernie is still all talk, if there was anyone out there who still hasn't gotten the memo. The entire piece is well worth the read for those mentioned above, but these were the questions, and Bernie's answers that really stood out to me:
[Q.] The question is: Assuming you're president and you're dealing with a Congress that looks like the one we have today...
[Bernie:] Let me just comment on that. If I am elected president, the odds of the Senate remaining Republican would be minimal. You'd have very large turnout helping Democrats up and down the line.
First of all, Bernie's been saying he does better when there's a large turnout, which has been proven to be false, and second, Bernie has done nothing until recently to even give a nod to any other Democrats running down ticket, and even then he's only chosen a select few who support Bernie Sanders. So unless Bernie's saying Democrats would take back the Senate based on his magical powers alone, that's a pretty small handful of supporting Democrats who would also need to posses magical powers.
But here's the kicker:
[Q.] But you'd still likely face Paul Ryan as your negotiating partner. And I'm trying to figure out how you get something like public-college-for-all passed with Paul Ryan as your counterpart. Given that you just said today that they won't play ball.
[Bernie:] To answer that question successfully requires us to think outside of a zero-sum game. You're saying to me, and it's a fair question: "Bernie, if you sit down with Paul Ryan and say, 'Paul, I want a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and to lower student debt,' the likelihood is that Paul won't say, 'Hey, Bernie, why didn't I think of that? Fantastic idea! Let's go forward together.'" So what's the strategy? The strategy – which is unprecedented, and this is where we're talking about thinking outside the box – is to have a president who actually, vigorously goes around the country and rallies the American people, who are in favor of this idea. This is not some sort of fringe idea. The American people want it. And [the president] rallies the American people and makes it clear that people in the Republican Party – or Democratic Party – who are not sympathetic will pay a political price. That changes the dynamics.
Shorter Bernie: Barring reality, turning a Sanders presidency into a continuation of the Sanders campaign with rallies and large crowds would magically move the GOP into submission. Poof! End of the problem and bring on the rainbows!
Let me also point out that this idea of rallying the country around specific issues isn't "unprecedented" as Bernie claims, unless you ignore President Obama, which Bernie often does, and seems to be a requirement in Bernie's circle. President Obama has taken many an issue on the road in his eight years. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn't, specifically because he still had overwhelming opposition and unprecedented GOP obstruction to deal with. Just because a bird landed on Bernie's podium once doesn't mean that things would be any different with Sanders. All Bernie's crowds and rallies haven't even moved Democratic voters, and no act of Congress is needed for a Democratic nomination.
And if you thought to yourself "surely he's come up with substantive plans to back up all those goals he's been promising for a year now on the campaign trail," you lose. We rejoin Bernie's answer above, already in progress::
Everything that I campaign on – they're not fringe ideas. They're not radical ideas. They're ideas that the American people support. What we've got to do now is close the gap that currently exists between the American people over here [gestures to one side of the table], who have needs and goals and desires, and a Congress [gestures to other side], which in almost every instance is ignoring what the American people want.
Now, is it easy to do? No. How do you do it? It's a good question. And the truth is, right now I'm a bit busy running for president to have figured that out...
Sorry folks, but there really is no pony in there somewhere. It's still a unicorn. But Bernie-I'm-A-Bit-Busy-Running-For-President-To-Have-Figured-That-Out-Sanders, who's been in the House and the Senate for 30 years now, says he's the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, as opposed to Hillary Clinton who's managed to come up with some pretty solid plans while running herself? I don't think so. The voters and the math say otherwise.
But Bernie wasn't finished. There were plenty of other questions he had no specific answers to:
[Q.] Your fundraising network gives you a tremendous bargaining chip in an endgame in which you're not the nominee. What kind of promises or concessions might you be looking for from Secretary Clinton for her to start enjoying dividends from those relationships?
[Bernie] It's premature to talk about. And I don't think it works quite like that.
[Q.] How's that?
[Bernie] Right now, I'm running for president, and that's what we have to focus on.
[Q.]You've lit a fire under a young generation of progressives – brought them out in droves to the Democratic Party's primary process. What does the party have to do to keep them there?
[Bernie] That's a good question. Unlike all your other dumb questions.
OK then! And with that, Bernie reverts to his stump speech about crowd size and math that doesn't add up.
Since this interview, Bernie has made several demands for concessions, like trying to get DNC committee picks thrown out because they've criticized him in the past, and he's made platform demands which, oddly enough, don't include his pet priority: Wall Street.
But I guess getting down to specifics really doesn't matter in Bernie World, as long as you talk a good game and draw crowds. It's just what you have in mind for the Presidency if you're in the market for electing an ego.