Favorite

Rainbow stew 

Unpack your old tie-dyed T-shirts, roll yourself a fat doobie, and warm up the ancient VW bus. We're going to do Woodstock and the 1972 presidential election all over again.

click to enlarge SEN. BERNIE SANDERS - WIKI COMMONS
  • Wiki Commons
  • SEN. BERNIE SANDERS

Unpack your old tie-dyed T-shirts, roll yourself a fat doobie, and warm up the ancient VW bus. We're going to do Woodstock and the 1972 presidential election all over again. And this time, the hippies are going to win! Four years of peace, love and single-payer health care.

But do take care to clear the path for Bernie Sanders. Because if he steps in something the dog left behind, he's going to blame Wall Street and start yelling and waving his arms around.

And you know how much that upsets Republican congressmen who are otherwise so eager to oblige his plans to soak the rich and give everybody free college, free health care, free bubble-up and rainbow stew — as the old Merle Haggard song had it.

OK, so I'm being a smart aleck. I was moved to satire by a couple of moments from last week's Democratic and Republican presidential debates. First, Sen. Sanders, boasting about a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that shows him beating Donald Trump by 15 points — 54 to 39. Hillary Clinton tops Trump only 51-41.

Both would be huge landslides. In 1972, Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern 61-38. The Democrat won only Massachusetts.

The part Sanders left out and that Hillary was also wise enough to leave unmentioned is that the same poll shows her leading him 59 to 34 percent in the Democratic contest nationally. Twenty-five points.

She'd have to be a fool to take that to the bank, although it does demonstrate why a lot of the racehorse commentary has it upside down. See, unless Bernie manages to prevail in the Iowa caucuses, his campaign pretty much goes on life support. A New Englander nearly always wins in New Hampshire, and rarely goes anywhere after that.

Almost needless to say, all polls are individually suspect. Also, the national media gives far more play to surveys depicting a close contest. They're better for journalists' careers.

That would be true even if you didn't know that bringing Hillary Clinton down has been an obsessive quest in Washington and New York newsrooms for 24 years.

During most of which time it's been "Bernie who?" That Vermont socialist who's all the time yelling? That guy?

Yeah, him. The guy with the Brooklyn accent and the Wacky Prof look who says "billionaire" the way some people say "ebola."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The same guy Ohio Gov. John Kasich boldly predicted would lose all 50 states if Democrats were foolish enough to nominate him.

Actually, I'm confident Sanders would carry Vermont and probably Massachusetts against any Republican nominee. New Hampshire and Maine could be out of reach.

Even against Trump? Well, theoretical matchups mean next to nothing this far out. Also, I suspect that Bernie's big advantage — hard for politically active readers to believe — is that most voters know almost nothing about him. Only that he's neither Hillary nor The Donald.

I also suspect that a Trump vs. Sanders matchup would bring a serious third-party challenge. Anyway, let the GOP attack machine get to work on Sanders, and I'm guessing we'd soon learn that there's no great yearning among the electorate for socialism — democratic or not.

Did you know, for example, that Sanders took a honeymoon trip to the Soviet Union in 1988? George Will does.

Does that make him disloyal? Of course not, merely a bit of a crank. As Sanders loyalists are quick to remind you, President Reagan went to Moscow to negotiate nuclear arms reductions with Gorbachev that year.

Anyway, as a personal matter, I got my fill of Marxist faculty lounge lizards back in the tie-dyed, VW bus era. Disagree, and you're an immoral sellout. That gets old really fast.

Writing in Washington Monthly, David Atkins does a manful job of trying to explain away a Gallup poll showing that while 38 percent of Americans say they'd never vote for a Muslim president, and 40 percent wouldn't support an atheist, fully 50 percent said no socialists need apply.

Can Bernie persuade them otherwise?

I don't see how. Most Americans don't actually hate the rich, and his despairing portrait of contemporary American life doesn't square with most people's experience.

"Against these liabilities," writes Jonathan Chait, "Sanders offers the left-wing version of a hoary political fantasy: that a more pure candidate can rally the People into a righteous uprising that would unsettle the conventional laws of politics."

Meanwhile, not only has Sanders presented no realistic political scenario for enacting his vaunted reforms, serious observers also question their substance.

Liberal MVP Paul Krugman:

"To be harsh but accurate: The Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up."

During the recent debate, Bernie accused Hillary of failing to take his candidacy seriously. Fair enough. But has he?

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Gene Lyons

  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • More on pits

    Some years ago, I visited the local Boys Club early one morning. There had been a break-in.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Trump: not so smart

    You know, along with having the impulse control of a 7-year-old boy, it's becoming increasingly clear that Donald J. Trump just ain't real smart. He's a cunning self-promoter, but dim. He did manage to go bankrupt in the casino business, you know. That's really hard to do.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump and political correctness

    So I see where candidate Donald Trump and former Gov. Sarah Palin are complaining about "political correctness," the supposedly liberal sin of being too polite to tell the unvarnished truth. Me too. I've always laughed at the follies of self-styled "radical" left-wing professors.
    • Sep 3, 2015
  • Not again

    This just in: Nothing boosts circulation or enhances ratings like a sex scandal.
    • Jan 14, 2016
  • Never wrong

    Quite a few people make noises about leaving the country if the wrong person gets elected president. I've been making discreet inquiries in the vicinity of Kinsale, County Cork, myself — from whence my people emigrated after 1880.
    • Apr 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
  • Metroplan sets public hearing on 30 Crossing

    The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.
  • New suit argues Bruce Ward mentally unfit for execution

    A new lawsuit argues that Bruce Ward, scheduled to die by lethal injection next month, is not mentally competent to be executed. It says his condition has been worsened by decades of solitary confinement.

Latest in Gene Lyons

  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • More on pits

    Some years ago, I visited the local Boys Club early one morning. There had been a break-in.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Trump: not so smart

    You know, along with having the impulse control of a 7-year-old boy, it's becoming increasingly clear that Donald J. Trump just ain't real smart. He's a cunning self-promoter, but dim. He did manage to go bankrupt in the casino business, you know. That's really hard to do.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
  • The two cities of Little Rock

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated the capital city's division again last week.
  • Repeal charade

    The debacle of the repeal-Obamacare movement left the president and the Republican Congress ruminating about the terrible lessons they had learned from the defeat — mainly that neither ever had a health plan or even a clue about how to frame one.
  • Hope for Gray

    The Arkansas Democratic Party recently elected House Minority Leader Michael John Gray (D-Augusta), a Woodruff County farmer, over Denise Garner, a retired oncology nurse practitioner and founder of Feed Communities of Fayetteville, to replace outgoing chair Vince Insalaco of Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • And don't tell me you care about any toddler. That toddler's suffering is but a…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Many different dogs bite many different people. Before reacting out of hysteria and ignorance, better…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • Good point. Onward!

    • on March 30, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation