[guest post by JVW]
I found this Kyle Smith column at NRO to be hilarious. The setting is a rally in the New York City borough of Queens for Presidential candidate Bernard Sanders this past weekend, a short distance from the aging Marxist’s birthplace in Brooklyn. I’ll let Mr. Smith describe it in his own words:
You would think the Bernie Sanders campaign would make sure to hold its biggest rallies on a weekday, given the amount of propping up he needs. Hunched over from the shoulders, he didn’t just grab the lectern on Saturday — he clutched it, relied on it, looking like Mr. Burns leaning over his walker. (It’s a good thing he’s a politician; in what other profession do they invariably put a large stand in front of you to help you keep your balance?) Sanders came on stage to the strains of AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” which was meant to make Sanders sound exciting and indomitable; in fact the song was written as a tribute to a dead guy (Bon Scott). Oopsie?
Mr. Smith then goes on to describe the Vermont Senator’s boilerplate speech mixing questionable promises such as the panoply of free stuff (college, health care, child care) he pledges to provide along with outright horsepucky that he can’t possibly deliver (“Our program will eliminate homelessness in America!”). And do you think the usual gaggle of leftist idiots manage to make the scene? Why of course they do!
To give some sense of how detached from actual American reality Bernie Sanders sounded, one of his introducers was the beach-ball-shaped remnant of the Beach Boys era Michael Moore, who made multiple references to Franklin Roosevelt as if the 3.7 percent unemployment rate and roughly 50 percent bump in the stock market since Donald Trump was elected mean that it’s 1932 again. “They say Bernie’s too old,” Moore bellowed. “Oh yeah? Well, here’s what’s too old: The electoral college is too old!” Sick burn, Mike. Any bets on which of those two old things lasts longer?
Of course it wouldn’t be a socialist hootenanny without some tiresome local politicians who have, at best, mixed electoral success. Failed Queens Attorney General candidate Tiffany Cabán eases up to the podium and unknowingly makes a compelling case against socialist policies:
Cabán’s parents grew up in a socialist wonderland: New York City public housing. As the Bernie rally was staged right across the street from the largest public-housing project in the Western Hemisphere, the Woodbridge Houses, the attempted messaging was muddled. The New York City Housing Authority, dreamed up by liberals and socialists and run by them more or less continuously ever since, has been so poorly managed by the Che Guevara-quoting mayor of New York City that a judge turned over management of it to . . . the administration of Donald J. Trump. An exemplar to the world, it is not. Just ask Cabán! “My parents,” she said, “grew up in public housing in the Woodside Houses [nearby in Queens]. . . . They grew up with mold, chipping paint, asbestos, crumbling ceilings, nameless serious health risks, and my parents had to live with it. . . . Early on our family learned that government didn’t really care about us.” Do go on about why we need more of it, then.
And then of course our lovable but hopelessly daffy socialist niece shows up to lend her support to her tio abuelo. But she too muddles the message with a personal history of rejecting the government services as delivered in hyper-progressive New York City:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also introduced Sanders and recalled being a bartender in lower Manhattan as recently as last February, is the ideal proletarian face. But she [like Ms. Cabán] is a refugee from New York City public schools, those bastions of left-liberal Democrats and the teachers’ unions that fund them. Her family moved to Westchester to escape Bronx schools, yet she and Sanders proposed to solve the (urban) education crisis by paying teachers more while demanding nothing in return, aka rewarding failure, hence guaranteeing that future Cabáns and Ocasio-Cortezes will also flee urban schools. And then use their education to become activists opposing school choice.
Notwithstanding the endorsement of our exasperating yet endearing niece, Senator Sanders has recently fallen to fourth in the polling for the Iowa Caucuses, with his support in last week’s polls only about half of what it was one year ago. His recent health problems are no doubt causing Democrats to wonder if he has the stamina for what promises to be a grueling campaign, as well as bringing back bad memories of Hillary Clinton’s many absences on the campaign trail and obvious ailments four years ago. No doubt some former Bernie Babes & Bros are taking a fresh look at Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats who are also promising to stick it to capitalism in the name of handing out freebies. And that loss of support for Sen. Sanders leaves him with a problem that he has been dealing with ever since he threw his ushanka into the ring five years ago:
Ocasio-Cortez’s presence did bring up a somewhat delicate topic, though: In a struggling part of one of the most famously diverse corners of the entire country, the crowd was, erm, shall we say, not quite as diverse as it might have been. Bernie’s fans look like they’ve spent more time in punk bands and poetry workshops than in public housing, like they came to socialism after becoming disenchanted with the Future Equestrians of America and majored in Quidditch at Bowdoin College. This is why the lustiest cheer went up when Sanders yelled, “We can cancel all student debt in America with a modest tax on Wall Street speculation!” Woo-hoo! Nothing says, “Uplift the working class” like “Giant payoffs for Bolshevik Bowdoinians!” No wonder the working people who actually live in that housing project next door to the rally took no interest in it whatsoever.
Though I am not happy about the rise of the completely phony and insincere Elizabeth Warren, I do look forward to the day when Bernard Sanders is sent back to the nursing home known as the United States Senate.