Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

Sen. Sanders shows spunk, however …

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has put it on the line.

The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said flat-out he will raise individual tax rates if he’s elected president next year.

The Vermont independent senator said this on CNN over the weekend: “Yes, we have to raise individual tax rates substantially higher than they are today, because almost all of the new income is going to the top 1 percent.”


As much as I admire Sen. Sanders’s spunk and his courage on some things, I feel compelled to remind him of a little political history, even though I know he’s aware of it.

In 1984, former Vice President Walter Mondale was nominated to run for president. During his acceptance speech at the party convention in San Francisco, he said this: “Mr. Reagan will raises taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

“Mr. Reagan,” of course was the president of the United States.

Vice President Mondale got a rousing cheer at the convention.

President Reagan was re-elected in a 49-state landslide.

Raising taxes doesn’t play well out here, Sen. Sanders.


Has a Hillary alternative arrived … finally?

Count me as one who welcomes the entry of Jim Webb into the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

It might be his military experience, although as an Army veteran myself, I cringe — good naturedly, of course — at the idea of a Marine running for president of the United States.

Perhaps it is the fact that he has executive experience running the Department of the Navy.

Maybe it’s his understanding — gained through his experience serving in Vietnam — of the trials and fears of the young men and women we send into combat.

Hey, it might even be that he served in a Republican administration, which gives him an appreciation of the need to reach across to those on the other side of the political aisle.

Webb jumped into the race today. He’s now the fifth Democrat to declare.


Yes, he frontrunner remains Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s no slouch herself in the realm of government experience.

The other three are running to the left of HRC, led by avowed “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee are seeking to join Sanders on the fringe left edge of their party.

Meanwhile, Webb — a former U.S. senator from Virginia — is camped out squarely in the middle.

Still, it well might be that Webb’s own military experience in combat during the Vietnam War has prepared him to avoid future blunders abroad. “I warned in writing five months before that (Iraq)  invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world, and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions, empowering Iran and in the long run China, unleashing sectarian violence inside Iraq and turning our troops into terrorist targets,” he said in announcing his presidential campaign.

Does he have a chance of derailing the HRC express? Maybe, to borrow a phrase, a puncher’s chance.

But I’m glad he’s in.


Jindal makes it a baker’s dozen … and counting

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is now among the growing horde of Republicans running for president of the United States.

We all thought he’d go hard after Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner (for now, at least).

But, no-o-o-o. He saved his heaviest fusillade for John Ellis Bush, the former Florida governor aka Jeb, son and brother of former presidents.


Jindal is one of the many 1 percenters running for the GOP nomination — that’s 1 percent in the public opinion polling to date. He’s got to make some noise, so he did so today.

“You’ve heard Jeb Bush saying we need to be able to lose the primary to win the general election. We’re going to help him do that,” Jindal said, launching his campaign.

Jindal said of Bush: “He is saying that we need to hide our conservative ideals. But the truth is, if we go down that road again, we will lose again.”

He calls himself a Christian who’s unafraid to proclaim his faith; he favors small government, less tax, strong defense, family values. Gosh, have we heard all this before? Do any of the GOP candidates oppose any of those things? Hardly.

Jindal’s the 13th Republican to declare his or her candidacy for the White House. More are on the way into the center ring. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is coming in; so is Ohio Gov. John Kasich. By my count that makes 15. Hey, there might be even more.

Democrats have just four candidates. How boring that primary could be if Clinton smokes the field. Then again, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, is making a serious move on HRC, at least in neighboring New Hampshire, site of the first primary.

Man, oh man. This campaign is going to be loads of fun.


Hey, what’s happening on the Democratic side?

Republican presidential candidates are gobbling up all the attention these days.

Have you noticed what’s happening in the “other” party’s presidential race? The once-unstoppable Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking, well, a bit stoppable these days.

Polling data suggest that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who’s running in the Democratic Party primary against Clinton, has closed a lot of the once-huge gap between the two of them.

He trails Clinton now by just 9 points in New Hampshire, according to new data.

OK, it’s fair to ask: Is that a home-boy advantage for Sanders, given that he hails from next-door Vermont?

His crowds are huge. The excitement appears to be real. He’s speaking to the Everyman among us, railing against wage equality and declaring — without equivocation — that he opposed the Iraq War authorization from the get-go, unlike Clinton, who approved it.

It’s still a significant stretch to believe that Sanders is going to be nominated next summer at the Democratic National Convention. Two others also are running to the left of HRC — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Democrats aren’t likely to actually nominate an avowed socialist whose major campaign platform plank has been to call for massive redistribution of wealth.

Actually, of the three men running against Clinton, I find Chafee to be the most interesting, given that he once was a Republican.

But those gentlemen are far behind the two Democratic frontrunners.

How strange it seems to be talking today about Sen. Sanders as someone with at least a shot at derailing the Clinton Express.

Now, let’s all turn our attention back to those crazy Republicans … shall we?


Rubio takes heat, gives some of it back

Welcome to the national spotlight, young man.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, is finding out first hand how tough it is to keep some aspects of one’s personal life out of the glare of public view.


It really cannot be done.

The New York Times has published a couple of stories about the senator from Florida. One of them details the number of traffic tickets he and his wife (mostly his wife) have run up in the past 18 years. The other examines the couple’s spending habits.

The stories aren’t exactly flattering. In fact, they’re quite unflattering. Rubio has hit back at the Times over the personal finances story. He wrote an email: “It’s true, I didn’t make over $11 million last year giving speeches to special interests,” Rubio said. “And we don’t have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion from Wall Street and foreign interests.” Those examples appear to be shots at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s come under scrutiny herself for the money she has earned since she and her husband, President Bill Clinton, left the White House in 2001.

Personally, I think the traffic-ticket story is overblown. Indeed, if he is elected president in 2016, neither he or his wife will be sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on public streets for at least the next four years. So, what’s the point, right?

As for the financial story, the Rubios reportedly have thrown a good bit of money that Sen. Rubio seem to indicate they don’t have. According to U.S. News & World report: “The Times also said Rubio has handled his personal finances in a manner that ‘experts called imprudent,’ with a low saving rate, substantial debt, buying an $80,000 boat and leasing a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7.” Rubio is going to insist on prudent spending by the government as he campaigns for president. Do as I say and not as I do? Is that it, senator?

Here’s a thought for the Times’s editors to consider: If you’re going to examine the personal spending habits and the portfolios of the candidates, be sure to look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’s account statements carefully. He is the “Democratic socialist” who’s campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination on a platform that seeks to redistribute wealth throughout the country because of what he calls the “obscene” wealth of too few Americans.

As for Rubio and the treatment he’s gotten from the media, there’s much more scrutiny to come.

It goes with the territory.


And … what about Jim Webb?


I almost forgot about Jim Webb. He’s a Democrat who’s also running for president of the United States. Or at least he’s thinking about it.

A recent blog I posted noted the entry of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley into the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race. I mentioned that O’Malley joins Sen. Bernie Sanders as declared “anti-Hillary Clinton” Democrats and that former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee is likely to join the race.

I didn’t even mention Jim Webb, the former U.S. senator from Virginia.

It might be that I keep forgetting that Webb is even a Democrat. He served the Reagan administration, for crying out loud, back in the 1980s.

Webb, though, has a nice following of supporters around the country who admire him — as I do — for his service in Vietnam as a Marine and his no-nonsense approach to governing.

Future blog posts will have to mention this fine man.

My bad.

HRC doesn’t deserve a free ride

Omalley runs for pres

One of the recurring themes of my column, back when I worked as a daily print journalist, used to drive incumbent officeholders nuts.

I liked to write during election season that no incumbent — regardless of his or her record — deserved to run unopposed for public office.

Every so often, I’d write such an essay and I’d hear from an incumbent who’d gripe half-heartedly about my insistence that they draw an opponent.

“Too bad,” I’d say. “You shouldn’t get a free pass. You need to work for it.”

So it is with some joy that I welcome the entrance of another challenger to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Party primary race for president of the United States.

Wait. Hillary’s not an incumbent? Oh, I almost forgot. But she’s such a prohibitive favorite to win her party’s nomination next that she might as well be one.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has joined the field. I’m not sure precisely how he’s going to separate himself from Clinton. He wants wage equality; so does she. He wants to improve everyone economic future; same for Clinton. He calls himself a “liberal”; I’m betting Clinton will tack to the left as well.


He referred to Clinton as a “dinosaur,” and promises to bring fresh ideas. The “crowd” that greeted his campaign kickoff was, to say the least, modest in size — about 300 or so supporters; Clinton draws that many while she’s eating at a diner.

O’Malley’s in, along with Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a card-carrying socialist; it looks as though former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee — a one-time Republican — is going to run as a Democrat, too.

Good. The more the merrier.

Clinton remains the heavy favorite for the party’s nomination and is a favorite still to win the White House in November 2016.

But she’s going to get a test in her primary. The individuals who will challenge her will — and should — ask her about her coziness with big banks, overseas contributors, her work with the Clinton Foundation and whether she actually built a record as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator before that.

Competition is good for the process, not to mention for the candidates’ souls.


Intraparty squabble good for political soul

President Obama says Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “is wrong” to oppose him on a free trade proposal with a dozen Asian countries.

OK. So, the Democrats are now squabbling.

Meanwhile, Republican candidates for president are taking pot shots at each other over a wide range of issues, with tax policy and immigration leading the way.

There. Now the Republicans are fighting.

Is this bad? Do these intraparty squabbles harm our form of government?

Not in the least.


So far it’s been mostly a GOP fight. Democrats have been fairly quiet in assessing each other.

Until now.

Warren has emerged as the far left’s champion — oh, maybe co-champ, along with independent socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ‘s running for president as a Democrat. A lot of lefties want Warren to run. She’s said everything but the categorical refusal to run for president in 2016. She keeps couching her intentions in the present tense — “I am not running” or “I have no interest” in running. None of those responses eliminates the possibility of her changing her mind.

She disagrees with a free trade deal with Asian nations. The president stands by his insistence that freer trade with our Pacific partners is a good deal for the country.

So, let’s continue to debate this issue.

It strengths our political process to have these fights within our respective major parties.

It’s going to test the mettle of the parties’ nominees when they emerge from their party fracases.

And, yes, that includes you, too, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Diversity marks GOP field in 2016

You want diversity in a presidential campaign?

The growing Republican Party field is turning to be as diverse as any I’ve seen in oh, maybe forever.


Carly Fiorina has just announced her candidacy; she’s the first woman in the GOP field.

Ben Carson followed her into the arena later in the day; he’s an African-American neurosurgeon.

Ted Cruz is running; he’s a Cuban-American.

Marco Rubio also is running; he’s also a Cuban-American.

Mike Huckabee is going to run; he’s a former Baptist preacher.

And … what about the Democrats? They’ve got Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I suppose you can say that a card-carrying socialist — Sanders — gives the Democrats a scintilla of diversity.

But the Republican field is looking like a diverse bunch. It’s ethnically diverse. There’s a hint of gender diversity. Occupational diversity is showing up as well. Many of the rest of the expected GOP candidates, though, appear to be run-of-the-mill politicians.

I do like the looks of the GOP field as it’s developing.


Socialist could do HRC a huge favor

Bernie Sanders’s campaign for president next year is likely to produce a huge favor for the Democratic Party’s frontrunner, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sanders is an unapologetic socialist. He’s an independent U.S. senator from Vermont. He’s going to attack Clinton from the left as the two of them seek their party’s presidential nomination.

The favor? It will be that Clinton will be seen as the mainstream candidate and — perhaps — more palatable to the vast middle-of-the-road sea of voters who dislike extremists on either end of the political spectrum.


Republican candidates and members of the TEA party wing of the GOP try all the time to label Clinton as some kind of “closet socialist.” Well, she’ll be running for her party’s nomination against the real thing.

Sanders has no qualms about extolling the virtues of wealth redistribution, which is a socialist tenet. Clinton doesn’t say such things — out loud, at least. That doesn’t stop her fervent critics from hanging the socialist label on her.

So, look for Hillary Clinton to welcome Sanders’s attacks. She’ll parry them easily and possibly deprive her Republican foes a key weapon in their own arsenal against the probable Democratic presidential nominee.