A month ago, Bernie Sanders tried to square a circle by claiming a political affiliation heretofore unnamed in the US. When pressed whether he supported capitalism at all or stuck to his Socialist affiliation, Sanders proclaimed himself a Democratic Socialist. When asked to explain what that means, Sanders offers only fuzzy platitudes and class-warfare sloganeering, but no ideological or economic details. When repeatedly asked how he will pay for his $18 trillion Democratic Socialist agenda, he grows even fuzzier, but promised to offer a detailed explanation in the near future.
He’s still looking for an explanation …. or enough OPM (Other People’s Money) to make it work:
Bernie Sanders’ ballyhooed speech on socialism is now on indefinite hold.
Details about how Sanders would pay for his proposed single-payer national health insurance program to provide Medicare for all Americans have yet to be fleshed out — even though a July 30 post on his campaign website says the Vermont senator would file legislation on single-payer “perhaps as soon as next week.”
And with two-and-a-half months to go before the first votes of 2016 are cast, the candidate whose raison d’etre is ending income inequality has yet to unveil any details of his tax plan, such as whose tax rates would go up and by how much.
According to Politico’s Annie Karni, Sanders keeps promising people an explanation, but has yet to even come up with the answers for himself. That certainly sounds like socialism:
“What we’re probably going to do to begin with is hold a major speech in the not-too-distant future, to define exactly what I mean by Democratic socialist,” Sanders said during a campaign stop in Iowa. “To me, Democratic socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people in the country.”
But it’s been postponed indefinitely because Sanders has not yet finished writing the high-risk speech, or agreed that he is ready to deliver it. The delay highlights another issue facing the Sanders camp – an apparent disconnect between the candidate and his staffers, who say they are pushing the senator to give his speech sooner rather than later.
He hasn’t finished writing the speech yet? Well, that’s a confidence builder. Sanders has been in politics for most of his life, and in Congress and the Senate as a declared Socialist for almost 25 years. He’s been officially running for President for almost seven months. And he still can’t explain his ideology? Maybe that should be the first clue to voters, eh?
Maybe Sanders would be better off talking about foreign policy, where he’s a bit more hawkish than one would expect from a Democratic Socialist, CNN notes, although largely in step with Barack Obama:
“Look, I think the President is trying to do the right thing. And what he’s trying to do is put together a coalition of the Western democracies along with the Muslim nations to destroy ISIS, while at the same time making sure that we’re not involved in a perpetual war in the Middle East,” Sanders told CNN after a speech here.
“My own view is that the major issue that we have right now is to destroy ISIS. And I think we’ve got to work toward a political agreement to get Assad out of office,” Sanders said. “But the highest priority right now is to work with Russia, to work with Iran, work with Saudi Arabia to destroy ISIS.”
But make no mistake, despite Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Sanders isn’t changing his campaign’s approach. For the Vermont senator, domestic policy is where it’s at.
Yes, it is … as long as he doesn’t have to actually explain his domestic policy. It’ll be interesting to see how many media outlets note that Sanders wants to keep talking about his domestic-policy plans but hasn’t yet figured out how they’ll work. Prediction: Few. Very, very few.