Bernie is The Smiler
I've been trying very hard to keep my mouth shut about Sanders since Sunday, but his statements about Venezuela are the last straw. I must rip that band-aid off.
This is 2016 all over again, when I was waiting for Trump to do anything that would materially harm Putin’s interests, and, when that never happened, not even in any little way, concluded — way before the October assessment from the IC — that Putin controls him in some way. Nobody would even listen to me, I was ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist. Well guess what, according to McCabe, the best minds of the FBI later used the very same reasoning — “why else would he do that” — to conclude that they have to launch what has become known as the Mueller investigation.
And now, the same pattern emerges. And when I point at it, all I get is insta-banned, or at best shushed and ignored. Talk to me, people, I want to be wrong about this!
I’ve run out of benefit of doubt for Sanders after I had a good look at Tad Devine, what he did for Sanders (my favorite was throwing a subodinate under the bus in the DNC polling data access scandal), what he did to other Democrat campaigns he was involved in (tl;dr they all lost), and who else he worked for outside US. If it were just Devine, I’d think Bernie’s got sh*t taste in people, but there was also Our Revolution sabotaging 2018 California open primaries with spoiler candidates, and Tulsi with her support for Assad, and the deafening silence from either of them in response to their supporters— led by bots pretending to be their supporters — tearing down all other Democrats for not being progressive enough.
You don’t get this far by being too stupid to understand, again and again, the harm these dirty tricks do to the progressive cause. The most generous explanation I can give is that he is an opportunist who would work with anyone and sacrifice anything to get to a position where he can enact his agenda. Add to that not being able to trust anyone else to move that agenda forward (otherwise he would have endorsed other Democrats instead of running again), and it already looks like an authoritarian mind that can’t be trusted with power.
And then I saw him dodging any kind of action that would harm Putin’s interests, and began to doubt that he even cares about the progressive agenda, and isn’t just exploiting it the way Trump exploited racist backlash against Obama.
I went through his entire voting history on foreign policy going back to 1999 and couldn’t find anything.
• Sanders voted against the Magnitsky Act in 2012. He did join the unanimous vote for the Global Magnitsky Act in 2015, but that only expanded the same sanctions to countries other than Russia, so, instead of vindicating him, the reversal only shows that he did not have a principled position against the law, he just didn't support applying it to Russia.
• The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 passed the Senate with a voice vote, so there is no record of Sanders voting for or against it.
• In 2017, Sanders was one of only two senators who voted against H.R.3364, which expanded sanctions against Russia. The other was Rand Paul, who went on to become Trump's courier to Moscow in 2018. Bundling additional sanctions against Iran gave Sanders a convenient excuse, except no other senator believed these to make any difference for the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.
• In January 2019, he failed to show up for a vote to stop Trump from lifting sanctions on Deripaska. Once again, he had a convenient excuse.
• And now, he hands another massive gift to the Republicans and joins Putin in refusing to recognize Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.
No analysis that I have seen so far explains the entire range of consequences of this self-sabotage. Losing the Hispanic vote is only a start. And he didn't just lose that vote for himself, he made anyone who knows anything about Venezuela doubt sanity and integrity of the entire Democratic Party, especially its progressive wing.
For years, Republicans have been using Venezuela as a poster child of how bad socialism can be for a country. It could be a good example — the situation in the country is dire and has been for a while — except Venezuela under Maduro is about as socialist as Germany under National Socialists: not at all. And now, instead of pointing that out, Sanders effectively says, “yeah, Maduro is my kind of guy, Venezuela is exactly the kind of socialism I want in United States.” If you wanted to scare never-Trumper Republicans away from defecting to Democrats in 2020, you couldn’t have come up with a better controversy.
I can’t believe Bernie is that stupid. Seriously, I can’t. So instead I am asking myself: “why else would he do that?”