Bernie is looking too reasonable
For about 30 seconds last week I thought Bernie Sanders would make a good president. I quickly snapped out of it, of course, remembering that socialism would destroy our economy. But if you think about it, the Vermont senator is looking like the voice of reason in the Democratic Party, and that’s a thought that should scare any Democrat who wants to unseat Donald Trump.
Sanders, for example, is just about the only Democratic presidential candidate who’ll say that reparations for slavery is not a good idea.
Slavery was a human rights horror, but the only people who should have received reparations for this crime would be actual slaves. Providing that money to their descendants 154 years later is just not rational, no matter how emotionally satisfying it may be to some people. It would also virtually guarantee a second Trump term if the Democratic nominee endorsed it.
Yet most have, afraid of alienating African-American voters, a key Democratic constituency. Sanders, who famously doesn’t care what other people think, will not play along.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said bluntly about the issue. “First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. … There are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”
As if that weren’t enough to win the honesty competition, last week Sanders gleefully agreed to a town hall meeting hosted by … the dreaded Fox News Channel.
Again, liberal heresy. Other Democratic contenders will have nothing to do with Trump-thumping Fox. The Democratic National Committee even said it would not hold any presidential debates on Fox.
Granted, with a few ethical exceptions like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, Fox News is so biased in favor of the president that it ought to have offices in Trump Tower. But like it or not, it is the leading cable news network. Not all of the many people who watch it worship at the altar of Sean Hannity. A few could be persuaded to vote for a Democrat — though, honestly, not a Democrat like Sanders.
But Bernie isn’t tip-toeing around the ratings giant. He’s charging into the belly of the beast. He’s gonna come out there with that wild hair and wild ideas and say, Here I am, this is what I believe, take it or leave it.
We should leave it, of course, but at least Sanders isn’t afraid to step into a hostile arena and man up. This attitude, if not these ideas, is one of the things Americans want in a president. They want someone who will speak to them honestly instead of dealing in platitudes.
This is why, more than anything, Donald J. Trump currently occupies the Oval Office. Many people who voted for him thought he was rude and crude, but no one could call him a phony. He didn’t pretend to be someone else, and he never apologized for anything — even things he should have apologized for.
So give Bernie Sanders credit for having the guts to ignore the consultants and rock the boat. If he inspires some of his Democratic colleagues to rediscover their spines, we might have an interesting race in 2020 after all.
Thomas Taschinger, TTaschinger@BeaumontEnterprise.com, is the editorial page editor of The Beaumont Enterprise. Follow him at twitter.com/PoliticalTom