On the evening of the New Hampshire primary, Senator Bernie Sanders gave the best speech of all candidates, in both parties. It was coherent, articulate, and delivered with evident sincerity. Sanders sucked up all the gravitas in the room. His speech also provided a program for disaster. More on this below. Republican commentators have fallen into the habit of treating Sen. Sanders’ candidacy like a nuisance. They often patronize him. They are wrong.
On the same evening, Republican front-runner Donald Trump talked like the habitual semi-literate C student who sits near the back of the room and sometimes says something engaging aloud amidst ceaseless boasting. He is uninformed or ill-informed about all the topics that matter to most Republicans. He often demonstrates shocking ignorance of the same current events he, himself chooses to discuss. No one really calls him out. Other candidates are afraid of him. So are the media or, with their liberal bias, they enjoy watching this live grenade roll to the middle of the Republican table. He brags constantly. When anyone disapproves of him aloud, he becomes vicious like a little bitch.
Next, two big confessions, very big ones, plus a small one:
Making higher education free of cost to the students is almost as defensible as making primary education free, a fact of civilization hardly anyone argues with now. Free high school is much less defensible except for the custodial function high school perform. Myself, I would consider replacing high school with a kind of soft labor camps.
Free higher education today would have at least the immense merit of putting and end to the lamentable spectacle, of ignorant, inexperienced, immature twenty-year old loading themselves with lifetime of debts and being treated more roughly in this respect than fully adult mortgage holders and even than banks. It would also reduce the ability of university administrations to play various recondite financial games for the sole purpose of endlessly raising tuition.
At best, a free college education would increase the number of Americans with up-to-date, superior productivity, pretty much the way universal, free compulsory education did about 150 years ago.
Second confession: I have seen single-payer health care in action in France, sometimes under trying circumstances. It works quite well. (I have an old blog on this.) And French men live more than two years longer than American men.
Please, don’t give me your Irma la Douce song and dance and tell me that it’s because of their relaxed lifestyle; why, with their sitting all day long at their picturesque cafe terraces! French life provides plenty of opportunities to be stressed, both for the employed and for the many unemployed. Normal French people eat saturated fat at every meal and twice more on Sunday. Few exercise seriously. I don’t have any number but I think many more French people smoke today than do Americans. There used to be a pleasant fairy tale that this “French paradox” could be explained by the French daily imbibing of red wine. I think this tale has pretty much been put to rest. Too bad, but truth matters. Besides at least ten per cent of French adults affirm that they never touch any alcoholic beverage.
Oops, I almost forgot! Their single-payer, government-controlled health care costs the French about half as much per capita as does current American health care. This is not that surprising. The current Obamacare looks as if (if) it had been designed to facilitate crony capitalism and pricing opaqueness. (I am not saying that’s what happened.)
The small confession is this: Illegal immigration is infuriating but it does not rank very high on my list of this country’s problems.
Sen. Sanders’ recitation is always fluid and attractive, even when what he says is patently false. Thus, he thundered against the fact that the rich (or “corporations,” or “Wall Street,” I don’t remember) buy American elections. This, although his own success flagrantly contradicts the statement while, the leading vote getter in the rival party raises no money and does not spend the large amount of personal money at his disposal.
At one point, in his New Hampshire speech I swear he mentioned Americans working for “starvation wages.” Well, I am pretty sure no one starves in America, with or without wages, in fact. It sounded good though, right out of the mid-19th century, a bit of vaguely Marxist authentication. (Why am I sure that Sen. Sanders sort of remembers the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels’ nice little piece from 1848? Yes, you read this right, 1848. Incidentally, that’s the only writing from Marx American “Marxists” have ever read; the rest of Marx’s work is kind of too uphill. End of digression.)
Mr Sanders’ followers don’t care. They only pay attention to the quality of the narrative. His is by far the best of this whole primary season, damn the facts!
Then, there are the senator’s silences, his unexplained silences. Why, for example, does he have so little to say about the numerous instances, publicly known instances of Sec. Clinton’s gross corruption. Would it be dishonorable to require that to be President of the United States possess a sort of basic honesty. It’s as if (IF) Mr Sanders were not playing to win. (I am not affirming that this is the case, I am just perplexed.)
The fact noted by many commentators that his proposals to fund the expansion of government are laughable does not place any demands on him. His would-be supporters have become convinced that all he needs to do is take that more ore less stolen-money of the very rich to finance any social programs. Once you believe this, all real numbers become irrelevant. Those who are old enough remember this from Europe a dozen times at least.
In Mr Sanders’ New Hampshire speech, there was a glint of steel that the pundits seem to have missed. He laid down the law about what degree of disbelief in doctrine is acceptable: None. Climate Change is a fact; it’s man-made; something need to be done urgently about it. That’s all there to it. This particular statement froze my blood in my veins. It reminded me of the European Communist dictators of the fifties when they were still full of ideological zeal, before the mass crimes of Stalinism became common knowledge, and before Communist parties had become just another kind of Mafia.
Sen. Sanders should get the Democrat nomination because he is more intelligent than Mrs Clinton, more clear headed, more coherent, and because he is more honest. (You can bank on this; if there were any dirt on him the nasty Clinton machine would have found out and splashed it everywhere a while ago.)
Here is what I think today (2/14/16) is going to happen. The Democrat Party machine is not going to allow Sanders to win because he is too predictable. The bastard might actually try to do what he says he will do if elected! We had a foretaste of the machine’s ways when Sanders won New Hampshire by 20 percentage points but Clinton ended up with more delegates. That’s the way they do it in many “corporatist” states – that means fascist – and in Communist states: Some democracy OK, but not too much. (Read my essays on fascism on this blog.)
When this happens, I will rejoice bitterly for two reasons. First, I think that any one of the top four Republican vote getters could drive a spike through Mrs Clinton’s heart by merely reciting the facts of her life. This count includes the loud-mouth who only pretends to be a conservative. It excludes Gov. Kasich who is a powder puff. Second, I count on the sincere leftist followers of Sen. Sanders being so angry that they will stay home in droves rather than cast their vote for the now so-evidently corrupt Democrat party.
This would not be a good victory but conservatives need any victory after seven years of the transformational incompetence of Mr Obama and five years of gross passivity of the Republican leadership.