July 20, 2019

The Many Quirks of Bernie Sanders

“Hippie freak. Weirdo. Pervert. Old commie thug. It’s hard not to get the sense we are really supposed to be both shocked and appalled by the fact that Bernie Sanders is the only living American who never quite got over the ’60s counterculture and its organic free-range version of leftism. After Altamont, when the dream was supposed to be over, Bernie spent the ’70s living in a Vermont farmhouse writing for underground zines. In the ’80s, when even the Russians were souring on the whole community ownership of the means of production thing, there was Bernie honeymooning in the Soviet Union and keeping the dream alive.

Here is something that GOP hacks and Clintonites alike have failed to understand: this weirdness, far from alienating millions of Americans, is actually part of the secret of Sanders’ appeal.

If it were only a matter of holding the right policy positions and having a more or less consistent record on progressive issues — to say nothing of clearly articulated plans — the favorite son of the American left would in fact be a daughter, i.e., Elizabeth Warren. But Warren, for all her substance (not to mention her fascinating background in Oklahoma), still seems very much like the sort of person who is, well, a politician: a graduate of a good law school who taught at Harvard before being elected to the Senate.”

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