Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

No such thing as ‘free college’

As long as I’ve declared my opposition to Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for president of the United States, I want to discuss briefly what I believe is the goofiest notion of the Vermont U.S. senator’s campaign platform.

He is promising to provide a “free college education” for any publicly funded college student in the United States of America.

I have tried to figure that one out. I cannot get there.

As near as I can tell, there is no such thing as “free college.” Such a pledge reminds me of the motel marquee that offers guests who stay there “free cable TV” and “free hot breakfast.” I always chuckle and think, “Who are they kidding? They’re hiding the costs in the room rate.”

Free college is a non-starter. It cannot possibly be enacted, given the costs that public colleges and universities have to cover. Absent student tuition and the attendant fees that go with a college education, these institutions cannot possibly provide the kind of education they are able to offer.

As for the “free” aspect, how do we fund these institutions? With more tax revenue!

I offer this rebuke of Sen. Sanders’s pie-in-the-sky promise as one who attended college with help from Uncle Sam, courtesy of the GI Bill offered to military veterans. That “pre-paid” college assistance allowed me to avoid acquiring the crippling student loans that so many students have to bear when they finish their schooling and head out into the working world.

This notion of offering “free college,” though, in my view is a serious head-scratcher.

Bernie still singing off the same song sheet

I just have to get this off my chest: Bernie Sanders annoys me.

The independent senator from Vermont is running for president once again. He sought the Democratic Party nomination in 2016, but fell short of the delegates he needed.

He’s back in the game this year, again as a Democrat.

Why the annoyance? He is singing off the same song sheet he used in the previous election. When given free rein to talk about the issues of the day, he turns to his favorite: income inequality. 

OK, it’s not an unreasonable issue. However, the senator needs to immediately expand his list of talking points. The presidency requires its occupant to focus on a wide range of issues. The war against terror? Russia’s election interference? Syria? NATO? The future of the European Union? Trade policy? Infrastructure repair and rebuilding? Budget deficits and the national debt?

It always turns back to income inequality. All of it. It never seems to fail.

Sen. Sanders has had his day. He came up short the previous time. There now are 24 actual Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

I know what you’re thinking. So has Joe Biden had his day. He has run twice for president already. He came up far short both times. Barack Obama selected him to serve as vice president, a task he performed well for two terms.

I just am hearing a more well-rounded, diverse and global list of issues that are driving his candidacy.

Start talking to us, Sen. Sanders, about something other than income inequality. Oh, and tell us just how we will be able to afford to send every student to college for free.

AOC joins Bernie in pitching a nutty notion

This comment is for you, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

You, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, have rocks in your noggin. You need your head examined. This notion you’ve backed to give felons voting rights while they are locked up behind bars is a nutty notion that needs to find its way to the trash heap.

I hope you don’t mind if I call you “AOC.” It’s the new term being assigned to you despite your lack of any meaningful experience on the national stage. Maybe you’ll earn some standing once you get past your rookie term in Congress, but for now you don’t deserve it.

Still, since the media are infatuated with you and Republicans have deemed you some sort of existential threat, I guess your endorsement of Bernie’s nutty idea deserves a brief rebuke here.

You say the prison system is out of whack. Maybe it is. You don’t fix what ails the federal penal system by granting voting rights to incarcerated felons. Let them finish their prison terms and then grant them the right to vote once they have paid their debt to our society.

You see, where I come from, AOC, when you commit a felony you lose some rights of citizenship. Voting is one of them. It ought to stay that way, in my humble view.

A couple of Democratic presidential candidates — Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro, both of Texas — want to give those votes only to non-violent felons. I’m not keen on that idea, either, but at least it’s a little less wacky than what you and Bernie are pitching.

Prison reform? Sure thing. Felon voting rights? No way, young lady.

Prisoners have right to vote? Hardly!

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to have his head examined.

The Vermont independent lawmaker who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, has come up with a doozy of a notion: He wants to give prisoners, convicted felons, the right to vote even while they are locked up!

Call me old-fashioned. Call me a hard-ass if you like. That is about the goofiest idea I have heard from this guy; OK, maybe the free college education for every American rivals this one in the goofiness category.

When someone commits a felony and then serves time in prison for that crime, they surrender certain rights of citizenship. They remain citizens of the United States, but they are unable to do perform certain acts reserved for Americans. They not allowed to walk freely among the rest of us; they cannot possess firearms; they aren’t allowed to drink adult beverages.

And they aren’t allowed to vote in elections!

Sanders and many of the rest of the gigantic Democratic field of presidential candidates are at odds over the voting-rights matter regarding prisoners.

I want to chastise Sen. Sanders today because he is considered one of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. This notion of granting voting privileges for criminals who are locked up is a non-starter at virtually every level I can consider.

I have no problem with paroled prisoners being allowed to vote. Sanders is in step with other Democratic presidential contenders, all of whom have expressed support for restoring voting rights for those who walk out of prison.

Those behind bars now, sitting in their cells serving time for potentially heinous crimes? Not a chance.

Self-awareness, Mr. POTUS … self-awareness

There he goes again, spouting nonsense without a semblance of self-awareness.

Donald “Braggart in Chief” Trump is now criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders because his tax returns reveal he is — gasp! — a millionaire. Sanders is one of a few dozen Democrats running for president. He had declined to release his tax returns until now. He has done so and we are now hearing that the champion of “income equality” is worth a good bit of dough in his own right. But . . . that’s another story for another time.

What is astonishing yet again is that Trump would dare mock someone who has done the very thing many millions of Americans are demanding of the president: release his tax returns.

Then again he launched into his requisite nicknaming of foes, saying in this Twitter message: “I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!”

That final sentence needs some examination too, but perhaps at a later date.

Still, the president is being engulfed by his own phony sense of self-worth — politically and perhaps financially. Given that he brags incessantly about his filthy rich he is, we are being asked to take him at his word, that he really is as wealthy as he claims to be.

Sure thing, Mr. President. You’re such a trustworthy individual. We can believe everything you say. Is that right? No. It isn’t!

Release your tax returns so we can judge for ourselves.

As for his criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wealth . . . I am laughing my a** off.

He’s even riled Bernie . . . wow!

You might be inclined to think that Sen. Bernie Sanders would be an ardent foe of one of the Senate’s most outspoken and well-known Republicans.

Then he posted this on Facebook:

Sen. John McCain was a friend and a man of great courage and integrity. We need a president who will fight for our veterans, not attack the memory of an American hero.

Yep, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has gotten the dander up on a democratic socialist — and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate — by denigrating the memory of the late John McCain.

Who knew?

‘Horse race’ takes on new meaning

Many of us lament the nature of political coverage, how it centers on the “horse race” aspect: who’s up and who’s down?

Now, though, the “horse race” element is taking on a new context.

Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Democratic Party presidential primary field this past week was followed immediately by his jaw-dropping fundraising effort. O’Rourke managed to raise $6.1 million in just 24 hours, a record for such political fundraising. Beto beat Bernie Sanders’s previous record of $5.9 million in the first day of his 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

So now the media are talking about the Texan’s prodigious fundraising capability. They take note of how they come from small donors living in all 50 states and the various U.S. territories.

The political pros also are comparing Beto with Barack, saying that O’Rourke’s huge initial cash take dwarfs the amount that Sen. Obama raked in as he campaigned for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

All this money is just fine. Beto has a lot of it to spend as he seeks to elbow his way past the gigantic — and still growing — 2020 Democratic field.

The pile of cash doesn’t necessarily translate to a pile of votes. At least that has been the norm.

Until this year?

Bernie to Hillary: Don’t call with advice

Bernie Sanders is still angry with Hillary Rodham Clinton, or so one might presume.

The two of them competed for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Clinton, the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state, defeated the Vermont independent U.S. senator in the primary contest.

Then, with the wind supposedly at her back, she managed to lose that year’s presidential election to Donald J. Trump in one of the country’s most stunning political upsets.

Sanders and Clinton “have differences,” Sanders said this week. Has Hillary called him? No, he told the co-hosts of “The View.” He won’t ask her to, either, he said.

No need to call

Hey, I kind of get why Sanders is miffed. It’s not that I buy into the notion that Clinton pilfered the nomination from him. She won more votes in the Democratic primary than Sanders. Thus, she collected more convention delegates. End of story.

The real story ought to be that Clinton was supposed to be a shoo-in to win the presidency. Then she threw it away, losing to the carnival barker nominee the Republicans sent against her.

Does the defeated Democratic nominee have any credible advice she could give to any of the growing horde of candidates now seeking to defeat Donald Trump? Probably. Who, though, is going to listen to someone who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?

Not going to feel the ‘Bern’ this time, either

Readers of this blog no doubt understand that I want Donald Trump to be defeated for re-election in 2020. He is unfit for office. He is unfit for public service at any level. I want him to disappear from public view. The sooner the better.

That all stated — yet again! — I am chagrined that one of the possible challengers to the president has decided to re-enter the fight.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, is now a member of the gigantic and still growing field of Democrats running for president in 2020.

Please, Bernie. Why are you back in this race?

Sanders isn’t even a Democrat. He runs for the Senate as an independent, meaning he is unaffiliated with either major political party. He caucuses with Senate Democrats, votes with them on virtually all legislative matters and so I guess that makes him a  de facto Democrat.

My hope remains as I stated it some months ago: I want the next Democratic Party presidential nominee to be someone no one has heard of. I want that person to emerge from the tall grass, to burst on the scene with flair and panache.

Please forgive me if I sound like an ageist, but I also want that nominee to be someone a lot younger than the 77-year-old Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is a political retread. He ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016 essentially on a single issue: income inequality. He beat that issue bloody while losing the nomination fight to Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is a totally legitimate issue, but it is not the singular issue that commends him to the highest office in the United States.

Indeed, the senator needed to demonstrate a much wider range of knowledge than he has exhibited.

I suppose his candidacy elevates him immediately to the top tier of potential Democratic nominees. He’s up there with, say, Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and perhaps even Elizabeth Warren.

The roster of candidates is sure to grow. Goodness, it might exceed 25 or so candidates.

I want one of those Democrats to emerge as The One, the individual who can take the fight directly to Donald Trump.

It’s just not Bernie Sanders.

Socialism is a serious straw man

Donald J. Trump stood before a joint congressional session and received his share of cheers — mostly from Republicans sitting in front of him — during his State of the Union speech.

One applause line deserves a brief comment here. He declared, without an ounce of equivocation, that the United States is never going to become a “socialist nation.”

GOP lawmakers stood and cheered. So did a handful of Democrats.

Why mention this here? Because the president of the United States only revealed his acute command of the obvious.

He was taking a direct shot at one member of the Senate, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders. He also was targeting a handful of House Democrats, too, namely the rookie lawmaker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a media superstar while serving for an entire month in the House of Representatives.

Is the president’s declaration actually intended to stave off some hidden stampede toward socialism? He clearly intends with that statement to stoke some kind of made-up fear that there is enough support in Congress to allow for a government takeover of heavy industry. He is breeding panic among those who believe that the United States of America is going to forgo capitalism in favor of socialism.

Let’s catch our breath. There is no way in the world that the United States of America is going to adopt a socialistic economy.

The issues that some congressional progressives can be resolved without converting our economy from one that produces individual wealth to something that distributes wealth evenly among all 300 million-plus Americans.

“Medicare For All” is no more of a socialistic solution than, say, the original Medicare was when it was enacted in 1965. Or when Social Security became law in 1935. Yet lawmakers and, yes, the president insist that the Affordable Care Act — President Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative — marches the nation down the road toward socialism.

There remains a tremendous amount of individual wealth in this country. I happen to believe firmly that individual wealth will continue to flourish likely until the end of time — whenever that occurs! Socialism, as I understand the meaning of the concept, seeks to redistribute wealth through some nefarious government grab of individual assets.

Does anyone seriously believe that is going to happen? Ever?

If you believe it, then you likely have swilled the Kool-Aid dispensed by demagogues who flourish in a climate of fear.