Hillary and Bernie: Socialist Cage Match

Bertrand Russell, I believe, once said that the problem with truth is that it isn’t very interesting, or at least not as interesting as the alternatives. A flaccid football in New England or a larger Kardashian azimuth is big news. Severed heads in the Levant, not so much. Truth and news are often worlds apart.

Surely, the pretty lie sells better than ugly truth.  Celebrating something like obesity as just another life style choice is a little like bathing your kids in the Bronx River in the name of cleanliness. Small wonder then that a euphemism, like “full figured,” displaces or rationalizes the shmoo among us. Alas, polite rhetoric might be the modern rule, but truth still doesn’t care whose feelings get hurt.

Bernie back in the day

Bernie Sanders is my favorite ugly truth these days. Sanders did not hold a steady job until he was elected to public office in Vermont as a middle-aged man. He is everything a Social Democrat should be: tedious, shrill, annoying, nerdy, regressive, baby daddyish (nee deadbeat Dad), and wildly popular amongst public school graduates, Facebook sheep, Vermont crackpots,  and Q-tip hippies. And Sanders, to his credit, just passed the “pain in the ass” threshold. He’s taken a large bite out of Hillary’s azimuth.

Bill and Hill back then

Mrs. Clinton will not be able to brand Bernie as part of the establishment. Sanders is certifiably fringe. Hillary will not be able to cite inexperience. Sanders is a registered political lifer, having done nothing but run for or hold office all of his adult life. Hillary will not be able to outflank Bernie on issues dear to liberals either, short of planting a bomb under the Wall Street bull.

While Clinton is trying to resuscitate Khrushchev and the Cold War, Sanders is unearthing Karl Marx and the Russian Revolution. You could do worse than think of the Clinton/Sanders bout as an irredentist’s wet dream -- or gunfight at a hippie campground.

For the moment, political candor, except on paternity issues, is Bernie Sanders’s edge over Mrs. Clinton. Sanders is an out Socialist and proud of it. With Bernie, the “haves” and the “have nots” are not just a clichés. After a life in government at several levels, Sander’s knows everything there is to know about redistributing other people’s wallets, purses, and small change.

Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, is saddled with rich friends, bimbo eruptions, and mendacious baggage from her husband’s regime, not just lying, but perjury too. And as Secretary of State, Hillary did little to put the “Slick Willie” jokes in the rearview mirror. Indeed, Hillary (Benghazi) Clinton may have set a new Clinton family standard for feminist fibbing and mind-boggling blarney.

And then there’re those pantsuits; an homage to polyester, thunder thighs, and obsessive compulsion as a fashion statement. Surely, Mrs. Clinton must know by now that persistent pant suits, like burkas, actually call attention to that which you would have us ignore. 

Bernie’s worldview is not necessarily sanity or ground truth either, but unlike Hillary’s liberties with truth, Sanders’s socialist rap is not a hedge or a lie. Truth is what you believe and Sanders acts on his beliefs. What you see is what you get

Mrs. Clinton may be having hot flashes of déjà vu at the moment. Surely, she remembers that Ross Perot helped to elect her husband Bill. Bernie, not even a Democrat, has the same fifth column potential for the Democrats in 2016.

Hillary stalwarts are sure to include angry women (arguably a majority these days), men who would rather be women, government employees, the untaxable 50 percent, union robots, scholars, and minorities across the melanin spectrum. Running to Mrs. Clinton’s Left, Sanders peels off more than a few Socialist (or Communist) true believers.

Sanders has two other things going for him, fate and reality television. Fate allows even a blind squirrel to find a nut now and then. Bernie has collected most of the utricles in Vermont. Who is to say he can’t harvest the rest of the Left? And the prospect of a Sanders/Clinton debate series might knock the Kardashians out the “reality” TV sweeps.

A Bernie/Hillary match is the real deal for a political party running back to the Internationale -- a genuine nostalgia trip and a cage match to boot. The entertainment potential of the Democratic Party presidential primary season is unlimited.

Contrast the Sanders media phenomenon with the Republican Party flash mob if you will. What was once seven dwarfs in the last presidential election cycle is now two dozen elves and still counting. Not only has Bernie burst the Hillary coronation balloon, but he is also sucking all of the air out of a circular firing squad on the Republican right.

Bernie Sanders has one more asset that might change long shot to sure shot. He has a superpower, the rare ability to bookend the voting demographic. His base includes millennial hipsters and geriatric hippies, those aging Q- tips, bald or blanc. With a little fill in the middle, candidate Sanders could become the vanguard for the People’s Republic of AARP.

Although Sanders and Clinton seem to be headed to the same ideological rabbit hole, they are very different candidates. Whatever political capital Bernie has, he earned. Hillary, in contrast, is still a coattail phenomenon. And Sanders is the real deal. Nobody knows what Hillary truly believes because Mrs. Clinton seldom tells the truth about anything. For all we know, Mrs. Clinton is running because she would like to give her husband another shot at those White House interns. 

If we were to forsake pretty lies for a moment and cast and honest eye on the last seven presidential elections, we might see the worms in the American apple, a poorly educated or informed proletariat deftly manipulated by a venal political elite, an oligarchy elected by pandering at the expense of candor, competence, and restraint.

The problem with modern social democracy is the same as it was with Communism, a mendacious vanguard selling sweet fibs, making promises that cannot possibly be kept. Like a Vermont autumn, green America gives way to red – and then leaf litter. Bernie and Hillary seem to be the logical, if not inevitable, outcome of the profligate nanny state, the global socialist desert, and a childlike electorate that continues to settle, at the moment, for pretty lies.     

G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.