Much ado has been made about the presidential campaign of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.
The self-styled democratic socialist is scaring the pants off libertarians and conservatives who see his rise in the Democratic primary as a legitimate threat to the country. “Bernie Sanders Is The Most Dangerous Man In America,” declares libertarian activist Christopher Cantwell. Pundit and internment-defender Michelle Malkin thinks Sanders’ “socialist odor” stinks, and would be a bad scent for the nation. Historian Tom Woods is dedicating an entire e-book to why Sanders is wrong for America.
Progressives are just as intrigued by the Sanders surge as conservatives, if not more. “Hillary Clinton can’t afford to ignore Bernie Sanders any longer,” contends Princeton professor Julian Zelizer. The septuagenarian senator is not only out-polling Clinton in New Hampshire, but is drawing massive crowds across the country. Even comedian Sarah Silverman is feeling the Bern: she recently introduced the senator at an L.A. rally, declaring he “is not for sale.”
I admit it: At first I was piqued by the independent senator’s quixotic bid for the White House. Sanders refuses to have a Super PAC – an infinite spending machine meant to provide a vehicle for the wealthy to invest dollars and gain favors. He is against open borders, saying that without national boundaries there is “no United States.” He speaks openly and passionately about the struggle working-class Americans face as they are falling behind in an increasingly competitive economy. Plus, my family hails from Vermont, and the Green Mountain State is one of the best in the Union.
So maybe, I thought, it was a good thing Senator Sanders is speaking out for the little guy in the rat race for the Oval Office. But then, as Irving Kristol once said, I was “mugged by reality.” Sanders may be a radical socialist, but his presidency wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans, politically-speaking. It would be another ho-hum administration like any other, just further centralizing power in Washington while simultaneously benefiting large corporations and rent-seekers looking to bleed the nation dry.
Here’s proof: the Obama administration, much to the scorn of environmentalists, just approved of a permit for Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Why does this matter? Because President Obama has repeatedly suggested that climate change, caused by harvesting fossil fuels like oil, threatens our very existence. And yet, his administration went ahead and gave its imprimatur to drilling parts of the wild previously off limits.
Summed up, it’s business as usual in government. It doesn’t matter that President Obama believes environmental protection is a necessity. When big business wants something, it’s drill, baby drill! That’s how government works.
For more proof of the incorrigibly venal nature of the state, just look at the coverage of Hillary Clinton’s ongoing email scandal. The presumptive Democratic nominee is being dogged for her evasiveness on the issue. She is lashing out at reporters who dare to ask her simple questions about whether she followed the law as Secretary of State. She is even cracking wise about the whole affair – a gambit that isn’t tickling her supporters as much as she would like.
Legal experts believe Clinton broke that law by putting classified information on her own personal server, and then subsequently deleting the evidence when she started taking heat. She acts coy with reporters, claiming to not know the difference between what’s top-secret and what’s safe for the public. Clinton, being a Clinton, is even engaging in a fine form of verbal subterfuge, obviously gleaned from her tomcat of a husband.
All this and more would normally incite the blood-smelling proclivity of the media. But so far, with the exception of conservative press, Clinton is avoiding the attack dogs. They’re too distracted by the fat, succulent calfs of the blustery Donald Trump. Reporters and network heads alike despise the Donald, but they can’t help but report on what’s popular. We end up with celebrity gossip passing for informed political insight. And Queen Hillary gets off scot-free.
It all goes to show how impenetrable the government is to accountability. American democracy is by and large a sham. The people voters send to Washington are at a complete loss to rein in the unwieldy leviathan. There are currently 537 elected officials in the federal government. There are over 2 million federal employees, not counting the innumerable contractors and lobbyists who feast on the federal largesse. I’m no mathematician, but I’d wager it’s damn near improbable for 500 individuals to control the actions and interests of millions. And it’s certainly difficult to hold bureaucrats accountable when they, knowingly or inadvertently, break the law.
Remember when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied before Congress about the NSA’s spy capabilities? Or when the Senate Intelligence Committee released its scathing report on Bush-era torture? Or when President Barack Obama issued an executive order to close down Guantanamo Bay?
A whole lot of nothing was done in all those instances. Clapper walks free to this day. No torturer was punished for breaking the law (or violating the code of basic human decency). Guantanamo Bay remains open, with many prisoners still not charged for any crime.
W.H. Auden once wrote that “we would rather be ruined than changed.” Given the current trajectory of government, it seems ruination grows as a possibility by the day. Our course is charted; the bureaucrats in Washington have made sure of that. Unfortunately for them, their self-serving behavior will disrupt their lives along with the rest of us. Only then might they learn the error of their ways.
If Bernie Sanders somehow outsmarts the Democrat elites, beats Hillary in the primary, and trounces whatever yesteryear loser the Republicans nominate, it will make no difference. Sure, the richest Americans may be forced to pay a higher rate in taxes. But then they will just weasel their way out of the shakedown – just as they always have. It doesn’t matter who the next occupier of the Oval Office is; the fix is in. Government will get bigger, the empire will continue, and the debt will climb upward.
There’s only one option left for conservatives fed up with D.C.’s bullsh*t: cheer on the unexpected rise of Donald Trump or keep praying Ron Paul comes back.