Monday, May 25, 2015

What's this? Bernie beat a billionaire to the US Senate?

More than a few pundits have repeated the following quote from Bernie Sanders, "Don't underestimate me." When I first read that, I figured that his statement was typical for a politician. But then I noticed an article mentioning how in 2006, he beat a billionaire in a hotly contested election for a Senate seat, and won.

The opponent running against Bernie was Richard Tarrant, a Republican candidate who spent $7 million of his own money and still lost. He was almost completely self-funded and ran the gamut of negative ads, doing everything he could to smear Bernie. Of course, it might have helped if Tarrant actually had his residency verified. Since he didn't get that part cleared up, most people figured him for a cocky billionaire living in Florida, thinking that he could pick off a Vermont socialist from Congress. That didn't work out quite like he planned.

Bernie never ran a negative ad against Tarrant. He only rebutted the ads that Tarrant ran to show that the statements made by the Tarrant campaign were wrong. Bernie still does not run negative ads, and has nothing negative to say about Hilary Clinton, his likely opponent in the Democrat primaries coming soon, and in the debates for the Democrat nomination.

Seeing a man run for the highest office in the land, unbeholden to corporate cash is really quite a sight to behold. Here we have a man who doesn't owe anything to anyone in Wall Street, the military industrial complex or Monsanto. What can we extrapolate from a man who doesn't make uncomfortable alliances based on money? We know that some kids might find that unsettling, but someone has written a guide for how to talk to your kids about Bernie Sanders.

We know that without alliances based on money, he can look at legislation and make an assessment based on the merits. Instead of determining if the legislation will benefit his relevant funders, he can look at the legislation with new eyes. You know, to see if that legislation will actually help everyone in the country more than hurt them. That sort of attitude is sorely missing from even many Democrats in Congress. Bernie is an independent, but he's running for nomination as a Democrat.

Hilary on the other hand, has a lot of Wall Street cash piled up on her side. She's very friendly with corporations like Monsanto and has hired long time Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford to help run her campaign. That action speaks of a candidate beholden to the interests of the Monsanto corporation rather than the people she purports to represent.

As to the Republican clown car, I doubt there is a single candidate in there who is not beholden to corporate money. If the election comes down to choosing between two corporate cronies, I'm going to put my vote somewhere else. But if Bernie gets the nomination at the Democrat convention, we will finally have a truly progressive Democrat we can send to the White House.

How important is this? We haven't had someone we can describe as a true progress running for president since Jimmy Carter. To put this in perspective, let's compare Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. What is Jimmy Carter doing these days? He's been building houses, working as an activist for social causes, and generally trying to make the world a better place.

How about George Bush? Well, he suffered extensive brain damage from serving 8 long years as president, a job that he really wasn't prepared to do. Now he is resting comfortably at home, sipping wine and painting pictures. That's it. That's all he can do. At least he can rest assured that his friends have made plenty of money from two wars.

To me, that's the difference between Bernie Sanders and everyone else. Bernie is unafraid to speak the truth that Americans so desperately want to hear from our president. He's not working for any corporation. He's working for the rest of us.
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