Apologies to Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders has demanded that Hillary Clinton apologize for accusing his campaign of lying. Since Clinton is overwhelmingly likely to be the nominee, and since she will need his voters to defeat Trump or Cruz or Kasich or the Fuller Brush Man or whoever the Republicans finally nominate, it would be in her interest to defer to the demands of her about-to-be-defeated rival.

And since she won’t, it seems to me that her supporters should apologize on her behalf. So here goes:

  1. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry you broke your promise to campaign on issues rather than making baseless personal attacks.
  2. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that your campaign’s original hopeful tone has turned so nasty.
  3. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that your policy proposals are so rich in slogans and so poor in practical details. And I wish you knew the difference between “universal coverage” (a goal) and “single payer” (one of many alternative means of reaching that goal).
  4. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that you don’t have any accomplishments to point to after a generation in public office.
  5. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that your campaign staff and surrogates have denigrated the work of heroes such as John Lewis and Dolores Huerta when they didn’t support you.
  6. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that your campaign is deceiving its contributors with fairy-tales about how the race for the nomination is close.
  7. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that none of your colleagues in the Senate supports you for President.
  8. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry you haven’t learned anything or forgotten anything since junior-year sociology class in 1963.
  9. Senator Sanders, I’m sorry that the Washington Post awarded you Three Pinocchios for your false claims.

Do you think that will satisfy Bernie and his fans? Or should I apologize some more?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

20 thoughts on “Apologies to Bernie Sanders”

  1. I doubt that Hillary Clinton herself could have done a better job of conveying the tenor of her candidacy! I'm sure that her efforts to reach out to everyone who is not already 100% behind her will show the same empathy and grace that your message conveyed.

    And I will pray for our country.

    1. You obviously have no clue who Hillary is. She is MUCH nicer and sincerely caring about even her detractors than her supporters are. She has enough class and grace for everyone….even enough for supporters like me that have been known to act like children, which, btw….I think you should know that we got our cues on snarkasm from Bernieorbust people….

      1. I've heard other people say this and I do hope it's true. I've seen no sign of it and that does kind of matter, as one's persona rather than one's person is what people end up voting for. Personally, my concerns with her are due to the fact that I question her judgment. Post Vietnam, has there ever been a war she didn't like? The two biggest campaigns she ran prior to this one, the 1992-era health care reform effort and her 2008 campaign were run in ways that make me deeply question her judgment. Because she seems to perceive any criticism as an attack from the vast right wing conspiracy or its left wing analog, I wonder about her ability to learn from experience.

        The original, presumably sarcastic post on which I commented struck me as fitting this pattern too perfectly.

        I should add that I'm not a fan of Bernie Sanders. I have not seen evidence that Hillary Clinton is a good choice for president, although she may turn out to be the best choice come November.

        1. Considering that your reply is somewhat non-specific I can only answer you in an equally non-specific way…. She didn't have a position to vote on a lot of the wars but had to either agree or go along based on deals her party made. She is a true democrat and may not always agree with everything but will support the party regardless. Some of her votes that she did make she may not have been happy with but had to hold her nose to get other things accomplished. I'm not sure what you mean by "run in ways that make me deeply question her judgment" but I will say this, from Washington insiders that I know personally….her character is NOT in question with her peers OR her enemies. No matter what they SAY otherwise during battle for chess position, she is usually spot on regarding opponent involvement to sway the power to control the outcome. There is a LOT more going on behind the scenes than what WE mere mortals come close to recognizing about how the broken, f**ked up system works and all I (one of the mere mortals) know is she is VERY respected by most of the people she has worked with OR against for her lack of ego and true ability to play with the big boys and sincere desire to help others.

        2. Something in this comment has an undercurrent of chauvinism–but hey, maybe not. All I know is not one thing in it bears resemblance to the realities of Hillary or her record–which is out there for all to find. But lately, some people seem to believe what they want (or have been conditioned) to believe. Her record is long, complex, and highly remarkable and I'm very sorry you don't actually know it–you'd be really impressed. And I mean that sans sarcasm. By the way–when you look at the over 2 decade long, incessant false accusations by that 'right wing conspiracy' (now emulated by some on the far left for almost the same nefarious reasons), you don't laugh it off as an excuse for anything.

        3. Oh…I also forgot to point out, that if you are thinking about anything she supported during her husband's time in office, you might want to also think about the fact that she has reiterated that as FLOTUS, she always has maintained that as such, she was expected to support her husband's policies no matter how she felt about them. It wasn't always an easy thing to do…….

      2. Back in the 90s when a close relation was freelancing, she had a brief gig working for Hilary and said that no one that she had ever worked for showed anything like Hillary's concern and consideration for her. This contributed to her being a die-hard supporter when Hillary ran for Senate (unfortunately, she was not then a resident of NY).

        1. Exactly…and thank you! Your comment matches everything I have heard from people I know that has worked with her too. They simply can't say enough nice things about her. NONE of the other candidates can even come close to that claim!

    1. I think the superdelegate idea has gone a long way to undermine Will Rogers's point. It's a brilliant internal check on the possibility of another McGovern slipping out of the northeast woods and trashing liberalism for a generation. Also the reforms regarding the "winner-take-all" primaries also help insure the party is governable and coheres. Still to do: Cut down the caucuses.

      Lastly, of course I know comparing Mr. Sanders to McGovern isn't fair…. to Mr. McGovern:

      • McGovern was only 46 years old in 1968. No where near being a one-trick octogenarian.

      * McGovern was a war hero. Flew in WW2. Actually risked everything for his country. Sanders is a career bureaucrat.

      * McGovern actually became an outstanding student and college professor who would never would have described his schooling as "boring and irrelevant".

  2. Good catch on #4. Obama was only in office as a US Senator for about three years before leaving to run for President, and he co-sponsored multiple bills. Bernie played gadfly for 25 years, which meant he had a lot of heated criticism and some amendments, but very little to his name as accomplishments.

    To his credit, I like that he's opening space in the Overton Window for serious discussion of democratic socialism: single-payer health care, free public college education, and so forth. We need more push-back on behalf of public institutions and services, against aggressive efforts to privatize and carve off big chunks of government functions for profiteering.

  3. Sorry to post again, but I am very curious what you thought the effect of this would be. Is it just one of those letters that Harry Truman used to write and then (usually) put in a drawer, or did you somehow feel that this would somehow cause people who support Bernie Sanders to realize that they're lucky that their candidate is still permitted to stay in the race? I can't think of a non-snarky way to ask this, but I am honestly perplexed as to what you thought the effect of this post would be on anyone who doesn't completely agree with you.

    1. it strikes me as well as silly and petulant. Clearly MK didn't mean it when he wrote, "it would be in her interest to defer to the demands of her about-to-be-defeated rival."

      This is a situation where grace and — I don't know, hypocrisy? — is a much wiser move. Both by the (soon to be victorious) candidate and by her supporters.

      I skipped voting in the NH primary because both in my middle age, as the parties have sorted themselves racially and ideologically, I've become pretty much a yellow dog Democrat, and 2 months ago I could make equally strong arguments for and agin' either of them. I'm just hoping that Susan Sarandon's sentiments are neither widespread nor long-lived.

    2. That's a fair question, and deserves an answer. It's wise for the Clinton campaign to lay off Sanders as much as possible. The press does so for the reason they laid off Trump for so long: because he's colorful and no actual threat to become President. But the result is that the public, and Sanders supporters in particular, hear a steady stream of vilification aimed at Clinton, and nothing comparable about Sanders. That reinforces their belief that Bernie is a saint, and that (since he says Clinton is corrupt, and after all he's a saint) she must in fact be corrupt. If Sanders had kept his original promise, you wouldn't hear a peep of criticism about him here. But eventually it becomes necessary to stand up to a bully, even if he comes in the persona of a slightly loopy, cranky-but-lovable grandpa.

      Anyway, the nonstop adulation Sanders has been getting isn't good for his mental health.

      1. Thanks for replying. I should probably out myself as one of the apparently few Martin O'Malley supporters. I do worry that Bernie Sanders wouldn't be an effective executive. I also think he's not a very effective speaker, flexible thinker, or generally good politician. All of which makes it scary to me that he seems to be doing all of these things so much better than is the front runner.

        I also worry that Hillary Clinton keeps providing support for people who want to question her integrity. Yesterday, for example, this showed up in my newsfeed (caveat that I don't know about the source and I hope it's not true): http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/01/how-hillar

        I guess this kind of money laundering is legal, but how hard will it be for a candidate Trump to describe this as money laundering?

        I worry that Hillary Clinton's entire premise seems to be that insiders will work out deals that will solve our problems. That worked great for Lyndon Johnson (foreign policy aside) after he won his landslide. Perhaps Hillary Clinton will have the same experience. But I don't think that's the world we live in and I haven't seen any evidence that she has (or is even making an effort) to expand the electorate and build the kind of coalition that would break the deadlock we've seen.

        Snarking about the people who support her opponent in the primary is probably not the most effective way to build that coalition. Nor is saying "My god, what are these 'people?'".

        A politician with any skill finds a way to make the campaign about the electorate and not about him or her. From her slogans to her reactions to criticism Hillary Clinton seems to lack that skill. I don't really know what "Feel the Bern" is supposed to mean, but the difference between "Yes we can" and "I'm with her" seem pretty big to me.

        1. You see state parties being bought. I see a presidential candidate that cares about electing other Democrats and not just herself. I don't have any problem with that, and it explains why people within the Democratic Party apparatus, including the superdelegates, prefer her to Sanders.

          Politics is a team sport, and Bernie is not a team player.

          1. Thanks everyone – this was all very clarifying to me. I'd always considered myself a Democrat, but this has helped me discover I'm not. I suspect that between whatever the Republicans are doing and Hillary Clinton and friends' remarkable ability to make enemies of people who ought to be friends, that this will hasten the day when there's a true realignment of politics in the U.S.

            I don't doubt that Hillary Clinton got involved in public life to do good, but certainly she has done very well indeed, and the corruption that this election has reviewed has finally turned my stomach.

    3. I would say it's blowing off steam. Hillary supporters have been experiencing a level of vitriol and nastiness never seen before–it's shocking and frankly, people blow their cool. I'm on numerous private Hillary pages and over and over again you see people, usually older that 40, saying, "My god, what are these 'people?'–meaning some Bernie supporters. It's like nothing I've seen before except maybe in Tea Party types. You're seeing reaction to that barrage of hate in this post.

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