Bernie Sanders Reflection
Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 10:57AM
Tom Hayden in Politics
Personally and polititically I have been a Bernie supporter for a long time. I come from PDA where Bernie spoke at Tim Carpenter’s funeral; I introduced him at his first LA/PDA even despite my stroke. I think his platform is  excellent and poplular. He is on track to win two primaries and form at least a Progressive Bloc at the Democratic convention. Things might well keep breaking his way. As to the label “socialist”, let’s not forget that we aleady have elected someone named Barack Hussein Obama, though that was a big liability. So who can say what lies ahead for now?
 
I have two concerns. First, if Hillary slips, the national Democratic alternatives and donor base will step in, perhaps Elizabeth Warren or someone very credible and popular. Alienating the Bernie folk and causing a long term split in the Democratic Party like those we have seen before.
 
The second concern is about the public impression left in the media about the candidate’s persona. Put simply, Bernie’s strengths will be over-balanced by his apparent lack of humor.
 
Take the Larry Wilmore interview as a recent example. Witty, funny, fast-talking black comedian. Wilmore tried his best with Bernie, gave him several openings.Bernie was almost unable to respond to an unscripted interview. Same thing happened to me when I did Colbert a few years ago. I could not handle him and had to keep giving the same answer, “read the book.” And i am much more able to make funny statements than Bernie, as far as I can tell.
 
On a nationally-televised campaign the problem will increase.
 
On substance for example, instead of invoking Denmark and Scandinaviia, he didn’t mention and British and Canadian health care systems that changed millions of lives fter World War 1, or Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, Social Security and labor reforms. In giving examples of former socialists, he could have mentioned Mark Twain all the way down to Woody Guthrie or Michael Moore.  Etc etc.
 
There is room to grow, prepare, train, get comics to write some lines, etc.
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