The Times’ Condescending Attitude Toward Bernie Sanders

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Yves here. We’ve been giving some attention to the Bernie Sanders campaign because it is serving the important function of moving what the media regards as acceptable political discourse to the left. As the remarkable move of the US to the right since the 1970s, as a result of a well-funded, persistent corporate campaign (Google “Powell memo” if you doubt me) attests, social values are malleable. But as the ready uptake of the Sanders message also attests, “progressive” ideas have remained popular even if press outlets and pundits have given them short shrift. As Richard Kline wrote in 2012:

…let’s dispense with several basic misconceptions regarding why progressives are presently so unsuccessful.

“Progressive goals are not popular.” Even with the systematically distorted polling data of the present, this is demonstrably untrue. Inexpensive health care, progressive taxation, educational scholarship funding, curtailment of foreign wars, environmental protection among others never fail to command majority support. It is difficult to think of a major progressive policy which commands less than a plurality. This situation is one reason for the lazy reliance upon electioneering by progressives, they know that their issues are popular, in principle at least. Rather childishly, they just want a show of hands then, as if that is what goes on really in elections…..

“America is a conservative society.” That is demonstrably untrue on any historical analysis. Like the other points here, it is a meme invented and spread by the right wing itself. There are three grains of truth in the contention, however.

More than some West European derived socio-cultures, there is an initial value placed in Christian profession; not faith, profession, and not an enduring one either. I won’t argue this in detail, as it takes a text, but the profession of a higher cause is the personal entry point to belonging in the society distinct from a more discrete paradigm of ethnicity. This makes the society seem from the outside more Christian, and hence ‘conservative,’ than it is in fact. This has for the majority become the ‘civil religion’ of Bellah, but is in effect a secularized form of Christian pilgrimism; one must profess to belong.

Second, there are specific communities in American culture which are deeply conservative, notably most rural whites. Their society is in fact distinct from the culture of the county as a whole, something they understand but that the majority chooses not to. (This concept is argued, if slightly differently, by David Hackett Fischer in Albion’s Seed, an analysis I endorse and would extend.) The point being that their society in America is conservative, but American society as a whole is liberal if one does a sociological analysis.

Third, American society is not radical because it is deeply suspicious of ‘combinations,’ cabals, cliques, or factions who combine to advance their own interests as distinct from the broader public interest. There are deep socio-historical roots for this antipathy to faction, but they are real. One consequence of this, though, is that American society as a whole has generally been hostile to organized labor as a ‘special interest.’ American society also has a bedrock attachment to personal property and personal liberty—essential liberal values, one might add, not conservative ones—which impede any advocacy of leveling or uniformitariansim; i.e. liberty always trumps equality. The flip side here, though, is that Americans are just as suspicious of ‘sections,’ ‘trusts,’ ‘banksters,’ and oligarchs if they see them as an organized, self-interested force. This distrust is not a conservative preference. These are further points I won’t develop, but the in aggregate they make society seem ‘more conservative’ since radical goals are shied away from.

We thought this post was useful for another reason: it provides a close reading of text to show how a writer works to undermine his object of scrutiny.

By David Bromwich. Originally published at Huffington Post

On the fourth of July, the New York Times gave its readers a first extended look at the political history of Bernie Sanders in Vermont. The article, by Sarah Lyall, is titled “Bernie Sanders’s Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in ’60s Vermont.” This sketch of the young Sanders is free of obvious malice. It would serve its purpose less effectively if it were malicious.

The attitude that Lyall adopts toward Senator Sanders is, instead, mildly and cheerfully disparaging — affectionate, but at the proper distance of condescension; ironically agreeable, as you are allowed to be in dealing with a second cousin or an eccentric uncle who is a bit of a blowhard. Hers is not the first such article to appear on Sanders in the Times. Is it safe to predict that this will remain the paper’s approach to his campaign for as long as he stays in the race?

Though malice is absent, the pejorative shading here begins with the title. Does Sanders today describe himself as a revolutionist? “Revolutionary roots” implies that he does. Sanders indeed calls himself a democratic socialist. But it was a pretty steady difference between socialists and communists, throughout the twentieth century, that socialists would choose not to describe themselves as revolutionists. They were radical reformers and tended to reject the violence that revolutionists embrace. “Radical reformist roots” would have made a truer but a less eye-catching headline.

Symptomatic excerpts from the article follow in boldface, with my comments in italics:

[The young Bernie Sanders] came to Vermont in the late 1960s to help plan the upending of the old social order.

Did he in fact come to Vermont to execute a plan? The word suggests that Sanders was a bit deluded. More likely, he came to Vermont with no plan except to organize and reform: something that people with political convictions have been known to do. The word “upending” is curious. It comes from football: a linebacker who tackles a charging halfback by grabbing his ankles and tossing him head-over-heels is said to upend him. You can’t do that to something as heterogeneous and extended as American society. The word suggests as much without having to say so. But it is unlikely that he ever used the word “upend”; once again, the relevant missing word and idea is reform.


[A youthful article by Sanders in the Vermont Freeman gave] an apocalyptically alarmist account of the unbearable horror of having an office job in New York City.

The pileup of “apocalyptically alarmist” and “unbearable horror” triggers the sarcasm. You can almost hear the unwritten sequel: “An office job in New York City? Give me a break.” Various personalities of the era – Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel — seem to have shared the sentiments of the young Sanders, but the incredulous adverb and adjectives do their work.


Chalk some of this up to being young and unemployed. Mr. Sanders, now 73, has had a steady, nonrevolutionary job for quite some time now.

It is the usual dig. Resistance and protest come from dissatisfaction and failure; get a decent job and watch how your politics change.


… barely 30, full of restless energy, with wild curly hair, a brash Brooklyn manner and a mind fizzing with plans to remake the world. Short on money but long on ideas…

Human-interest writing may come disguised as biography but it performs that duty imperfectly. The fizzing mind is there because it rhymes with the frizzy hair. “Short on money but long on ideas” is a cliché so lazy that the barb is robbed of its sting.


[Sanders’s description of himself as a freelance writer] is a bit of a stretch. A look through his journalistic output, such as it was, reveals that he had perhaps a dozen articles published.

How many articles do you have to publish to qualify as a freelance writer? Two dozen? The pedantry is polemical.


[In a 1972 article by Sanders, the] opening passage, which deals with men’s sexual fantasies, is meant to be satirically provocative but comes across as crassly sexist.

The article was reprinted in Mother Jones, and readers are free to check their impressions against Lyall’s description. It opens with a suggestion that men too often fantasize themselves as rapists and women fantasize being raped: the pleasurable compulsiveness of the fantasies reveals the sickness of the sexual roles in American society. However shallow or wrong this speculation, Lyall’s characterization of it as “crassly sexist” is false. The title, “Man — And Woman,” is enough to indicate the perspective.

Men think of women as an afterthought, the young Sanders was saying, and that is our mistake. The article declares that the typical male vice is “pigness” while the typical female vice is “slavishness.” It advises men to stop being pigs and women to stop being slaves. Lyall says that this early article has drawn “unflattering attention,” but her only link online yields a brief Times article which alludes to criticism “bouncing around social media.” In fact, the unflattering attention has mostly come from right-wing corporate and pro-war sites — Town Hall, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Breitbart — whose reasons for undermining Sanders are remote from feminism.


“Sexual adjustment seemed to be very poor in those with cancer of the cervix,” [Sanders] wrote, quoting a study in a journal called Psychosomatic Medicine.

“Wrote, quoting”: but if he quoted it, he didn’t write it. This is meant to emphasize again the supposed oddity of Sanders’s sexual attitudes, but it should never have passed editing.


He also made a half-hour film about his hero, Eugene V. Debs, the labor organizer who ran unsuccessfully for president five times.

What a peculiar fellow to have as a hero. The conjunction of “unsuccessfully” and “five times” makes Debs an average union organizer and a serial failure: he couldn’t stop running for president. Not a word about Debs going to prison for his opposition to American involvement in the First World War. Would it be different — and perhaps fairer — to speak of Eugene V. Debs as “the union leader who founded the Social Democratic Party of America”? Of course, that would open up a weakness or two in the story of Sanders’s hopeless eccentricity.

None of this is likely to change as the contest of ideas in the presidential race grows warmer. “What contest?” you may ask. The Republican field has drawn amused contempt from the mainstream media for its array of qualified and unqualified candidates — the former seeking ever more assiduously to resemble the latter — and its consensus that climate change is a hoax, and that we should have more wars, less immigration, no unions, and work together to facilitate the extinction of public education. The exception is Rand Paul, with his stand against warrantless mass surveillance and his opposition to the executive policy on drone strikes and the Libya war.

The Democrats have been saved from embarrassment by their lack of interest in public discussion. With the exception of Bernie Sanders: his announcement of his candidacy and early speeches in Wisconsin and Iowa have shown no slackening in the force of his criticism of Wall Street and the multinationals. Almost alone, he gives a voice to the widespread disaffection today with American politics generally, and the well-earned suspicion of vested interests that for three decades have set limits on reform. From the viewpoint of the political and corporate establishment, such popular discontents must be controlled, domesticated, shepherded, and the dissatisfactions made somehow laughable. Every amusing and dismissive report on a figure like Sanders or Paul goes to serve that larger purpose.

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  1. James Levy

    If you view yourself as a sophisticated insider, and I’d lay my bottom dollar that the vast majority of middling to powerful players at the NY Times certainly do, then getting a hearty chuckle out of what you view as the silly naïvete of a Bernie Sanders is de rigueur. Sanders is not in the “club”. He is not “serious.” Therefore is an object of derision and disdain. That is, as long as he is, in their opinion, a “joke candidate.” If he really looks like he might upend Hilary, expect the knives and brickbats to come out and the condescension to sour into bile.

    1. Demeter

      The sophisticated insiders can ridicule Sanders all they want to. Nobody is paying them any attention…

      The People are dead serious. They’ve had enough. Sanders’ campaign has already upended Hillary’s, and the knives are being sharpened as I type away, one little atom of the electorate, talking to several other atoms.

      What do you get, when you put enough of the right kind of atoms together in the right pattern?

      Anything you want!

    2. James Collins

      Perhaps it might be useful to add all law enforcement groups to the category “special interest groups” rather than viewing them as inclusive to our communities. Asking the question: Are you a citizen or a cop first?

      1. lord koos

        That’s funny. It reads as if Sarah herself likely added that precious Wikipedia entry… a little online “who’s who” attempt. Like, who cares about her “transatlantic relationship”?

  2. ambrit

    That this level of ‘dirty tricks’ against Sanders has appeared so early in the campaign is a good sign for his candidacy. Someone in a position of power fears his message.

      1. ambrit

        I think ‘we’ as a class, (NC commentators in general,) would do well to take into consideration the fact that many “ordinary people” have been trained to not think for themselves. Hence, the importance of the MSM in manufacturing consent for the program of looting.
        I’ve read that before the Second World War, Einstein had been a part of a movement that believed that a certain small percent of the population could guide the whole. Others argued that the key to the control of society by ‘criminal’ elites, to steal from some French writer, was the suppression of the self actualization of the ‘average’ person; done through the propaganda apparat. Either way, the proper response to pieces like this one is full throated denunciation. Sometimes, the mere knowledge that there is an alternative will sway events.

        1. Code Name D

          It’s not a question of being able to think for your self. Propaganda works not through the distorted truth they would have you believe, but with the truth that you never get to see.

          As long as they are trying to smear Bernie, they are not covering his real record or talking about the ideas he is trying to raise in the debate.

          A mem that seems to be rising from the left is that Bernie is “moving the debate to the left.” This implies you are even talking about the issues at all, which is not happening and not going to happen. Hillary doesn’t do issues.

          And don’t forget, we need to stay skeptical with Bernie as well, least we get another Obama.

          1. ambrit

            I hear you loud and clear.
            I guess what I was trying, imperfectly, say was that people ‘educated’ to think can see a pattern of ‘abuse’ and be encouraged to go search for the underlying ‘facts’, as Lambert replied to me yesterday.
            I must plead guilty to being fooled by Obama’s campaign in ’08. I failed to do “due diligence” on the man. Some others did, and called him out on it. That didn’t get far, for many reasons. Personally, I blame a lot of this on the frequent resort to ‘cult of personality’ politics by the large organizations.
            There is much truth to Jerry Pournelles quip that; “But no one had ever gone over the top shouting, ‘A higher Standard of Living!'” Symbols seem to be the basis of mass politics. Syriza wrapped the Eurogroup question in the Greek flag and prevailed in the election. So far, I see little enthusiasm for the European Union flag, an evil portent for them.
            So far, Sanders has a lifetime track record. Obama evidently tried to remain an enigma, and a symbol. The good side to the Obama presidency is that the ‘real’ progressives have been well and truly exposed to the evil on all sides.
            My Snark Demon just whispered in my ear. “Hey bud! It’s time to say it! We have to destroy Hillary Clintons’ village to save it! Bill can take care of himself.”

          2. James Levy

            My wife is upset that a close relative repeats nonsense about Obama and his “Moslem friends” and how the President is “out to take our guns” even though he knows, and we know he knows, that these are lies. I told her honestly: people repeat nonsense because that is what their friends and neighbors say. It is very reassuring to be saying the same things as everyone else. It is safe, it signifies that you are one of the tribe. I am a firm believer in objective reality, as in cancer, H-bombs, climate change, etc. They exist and can kill you. But our culture and standard of living insulate us from reality. You can pretend it isn’t what it really is for a long time and it doesn’t necessarily kill you the way it would if we were out tramping the Serengeti Plain like out ancestors; there, if you pretend you can make shit up as you go along, you are likely to starve, die of thirst, or get eaten by a lion or a pack of hyenas if you fall ill or break your leg. So people today can believe and spout nonsense and it takes a long time to catch up with you, if ever. Our problem is that our problems no longer allow for such childishness, but we haven’t figured that out as a culture yet.

            1. ambrit

              Most unfortunately, human history testifies to humanities inability to effectively plan for the future, as a culture. Culture ‘Heros’ rise to that status through doing the hard work for everyone else. Then everyone else takes the fruits of the ‘Heros’ work and uses it to muddle through crises. This exposes the basic weakness of Technocracy, indeed, any “merit” based social system. They are reactive, not proactive. (As a thought experiment to try and make my point, let us imagine a slow moving crisis. Group “A” has a “Cunning Plan” that will require societal deferred gratification without an obvious and present threat. The hidden threat can even be existential. Group “B” has some small tweaks to existing systems that supply immediate benefits. Further down the time line some results of inaction are not factored in due to their non obvious effects. Imagine a lively debate in todays media between proponents of each camp. Who “wins” and who loses?)
              It appears to me, from my reading, that individuals must experience some transitional phase from childhood to adulthood that involves a crisis. Are cultures the same? Does this observation scale up? I wish I knew, because history is full of “Lost Kingdoms and Peoples” who did not survive.

          3. different clue

            Do Sanders’ actions and policies etc. over the decades seem sneakingly Obamaform to anybody here?

    1. John Smith

      ” Someone in a position of power fears his message.”

      Of course. The PTB have made it very clear that we have socialism for the rich, How then can they object to socialism for everyone else?

      1. ambrit

        One of the hallmarks of a ‘professional’ elite is it’s mastery of hypocrisy.

          1. ambrit

            As the boys down at the corner store would say, “He’s spun.”
            The beauty of hypocrisy is that one can never contradict oneself.
            Oh, I just got it. You mean like “managed care” in medicine, right?

    2. jrs

      I tend to think the powers that be react against the slightest threat, massive parallel redundancy in dealing with any possible threat even if it’s not likely to amount to much. Of course I think Occupy caught the media a bit unawares.

  3. Steve H.

    I want to believe….

    But I’m over a half a century old, and the real reason geezers got no trunk is all the times we’ve been bitten in the ass. Unless we Stop The Wars, there’s an inflationary spiral of enemies, pulled from the ranks of the unemployed relatives of dead civilians. Countertravesty is a strategy, not a tactic.

    What I especially notice in the cited comments is an ‘old man attitudes towards women’ cudgel, ready-made for an identity politics fight. He could flip the cudgel into a lever pushing the other way by focusing on the children, the future. The past is Bush-Clinton, and the history is writ.

  4. The Insider

    There may be some sympathy toward Sanders or Paul or other candidates within the establishment, but there is also a widespread expectation that Clinton will win, and as is the custom with her kind, that there will be Consequences for those in the media who have not been sufficiently enthusiastic in supporting her.

    The currency of the Washington-New York set is access, and loss of access is what the media fear should they not be sufficiently supportive of the Clinton campaign. If anyone in the media lines up to support Sanders, but Clinton goes on to win, they can expect their phone calls and e-mails to the White House to be returned very slowly or not at all. That’s not quite a death knell for a media organization (Fox News is still doing relatively well, after all), but it’s not good for the type of media organization, like the NY Times, that relies heavily on access.

    If the outlook changes and Clinton looks not quite a lock for the White House, will that change things? Probably not by much – the retribution against those who have supported Sanders in the event of a Clinton win will be far more serious than the reverse, and likewise for supporting the Republican candidate against Clinton. Intimidation works. With that dynamic in effect, what Sanders or Paul needs is a groundswell of popular support so big that the media can no longer ignore it and has to set aside its fears of Clintonian retribution. Like what happened with the last guy who ran against Clinton.

    1. david fitelson

      The Snarky NY Times is merely echoing Hillary’s “Tell me something real.” (which, of course, reveals her terrible cosmology). But Bernie IS real and one would hope that the Kleptocracy is beginning to quiver in its boots.

      What could be more unreal, by the way, than President JEB Bush?

      1. Garrett Pace

        President Hillary Clinton would be just as unreal.

        President Donald Trump would be more unreal.

    2. steelhead23

      I spent the evening of the 4th with my liberal next door neighbors. After asking what I thought of Sanders’ candidacy, they asked me if I thought he could win, they quietly interjected, no,he’s just changing the conversation. My neighbors see Sanders as a spoiler, dangerously capable of dethroning Hillary, but incapable of winning the big show. They’re afraid of another Nader and another Bush. This is not entirely irrational, but it is debilitating. Somehow Sanders has to convince the skeptical liberals that he can win and that a victory for Hillary is no victory at all. The media is not going to help him make that case. Perhaps if he convinced Liz to be his VP ….

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Why there is expectation Hillary is a shoo-in is beyond me.

        -Al Gore isn’t President. Theft aside, the election was close enough to steal.
        -In 92, Bill won 42% of the popular vote, and only 49% as an incumbent.
        -Hillary already collapsed despite money, the democratic establishment, and name recognition against another candidate
        -Hillary’s record. She voted for the Iraq War. Does your neighbor understand the lack of success Iraq War supporters have had? Kerry, Biden, Dodds, and Edwards did very little. Blagojevich is the only Democrat to win state wide when they weren’t already an incumbent. Do your neighbors realize the Iraq War vote is a clear separation? There are Democratic voters who can’t vote for that kind of person. It hurt Kerry, but it didn’t hurt Obama who was accused of lacking experience and all other kinds if insults by the Clinton people.
        -As for women voters, is there evidence for female candidates from the nominal left bringing in non voting women? Women-identity voters already vote Democratic. Geraldine Ferrara didn’t lead to a Team Blue success. A generic Democrat would Pelosi’s seat. Why didn’t the women voters by promised by Hillary supporters help Hillary in 2008? Title IX had major effects beyond sports teams,. Hillary is not a story appealing to younger women. They would much rather have and rally around a woman candidate running on her own career.
        -Hillary underscored her own lack of potential by not choosing to help the Democrats win the Senate by not using her fame to win a GOP held seat in Arkansas in 2002 where she spent most of her adult life instead running to NY where she could bully her way through what was shaping up to be a crowded democratic field and win a seat that would be Team Blue anyway.
        -What are her accomplishments? She has been a major player for over two decades. What can she bring that AL Gore didn’t bring? Nader had votes because his voters had no reason to vote for Al Gore. They knew Ralph wasn’t going to win. Why is Hillary going to bring them into the Team Blue fold?
        -Hillary campaigned for a number of losers in the last election who considered as centrist candidates some were even women. Where were the Hillary voters?

        Ask your neighbors, why is Bernie a spoiler or wacky? Ask them to explain why without saying the MS anchor said so.

        1. James Levy

          You’ve done an excellent job of pointing out the weaknesses of Clinton, but if you presented that argument to most of the people I know, in the way you do here (effectively saying to them: are you ignorant or an asshole?) they’d tune you out and double-down on Clinton. Your accusatory tone is just not going to cut the mustard. We’ve got to make points without making potential allies feel berated for what we aren’t very effectively concealing as our judgment that they are imbeciles.

          1. Truehawk

            Not so much imbeciles as buying the story of those who make money selling lies.
            Yeah, it is difficult.
            But Bernie Sanders is a candidate that I can vote for with relief and without reservation.

          2. hunkerdown

            Points? What do Hillaroyalists care for points? They have the blood of Christ and they simply don’t care.

            1. James Levy

              I guess we just need a properly organized vanguard to sweep in and kill all those stupid “Hillaroyalists”–hey, it worked great in Russia didn’t it? I mean, what’s 20 million lives compared to the monument that will be The Worker’s Utopia?

              1. ambrit

                I almost dropped my tea when I read your comment. Hillary Loyalists as Kulaks! If this does transpire, somehow I do not see Putin as our Herbert Hoover.
                (I am bemused by the thought that Putin, a child of the old Soviet Union, might occasionally ponder what’s going on today and tell himself, “I can’t believe this. Marx and Engels were right. Capitalism is destroying itself right before my eyes.”)

          3. oho

            ***You’ve done an excellent job of pointing out the weaknesses of Clinton, but if you presented that argument to most of the people I know, in the way you do here (effectively saying to them: are you ignorant or an asshole?) they’d tune you out and double-down on Clinton. ****

            lolol, i had this very type of exchange with a “gay liberal” Hillary supporter…..trying to deftly explain how Bill Clinton (signer of DoMA, Defense of marriage) is at the very best a fair-weathered friend of gays.

            Cognitive dissonance is a b*$th for people overcome.

      2. flora

        Interesting item in this month’s Harpers Index:

        Percentage of Americans with strong party loyalties who say that winning elections is more important than policy change: 41 ”

  5. Dino Reno

    Piling on today, Cokie Roberts said large crowds turning out to hear a candidate like Sanders mean nothing. Remember McGovern? Thank God the country had the good sense to elect Nixon.

    As to the article cited above, I thought the overall tone was to make Sanders seem creepy. There is no other more powerful negative connotation that can befall a man. Ranks up there with a woman being branded a slut or a whore.

    1. ambrit

      Remember McGovern? H— yes I do! If he hadn’t dumped Eagleton so obviously after the depression “scandal,” McGovern might have had some chance.
      I remember the ’72 Convention too, as I lived on the Beach then. A group of us punks hung around that summer and saw a lot of it. Free concerts by name bands in Flamingo Park. The “Hippie Village” there as well. The wild scenes on the street for the Yippies. Interesting times indeed.
      Then the Republican Convention came to town!

      1. different clue

        I again recommend reading and at least considering the arguments and descriptions in Thompson’s book Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72. Thompson describes Eagleton as being a perfect specimen of the Democratic Establishment that McGovern’s campaign had just defeated at the Convention. The mere naming of Eagleton to begin with, as well as seeking to appease and win over the Democrats just defeated repelled millions of people from McGovern, in Thompson’s opinion. And perhaps McGovern hurt himself by backing Eagleton “One Thousand Per Cent” to begin with after the depth and scope of Eagleton’s cynical self-promoting lies about his condition was made known. Perhaps savagely rejecting Eagleton and casting him out within hours would have made McGovern look competent and effective at getting things done, anyway. Well, we will never know.

        As I said before, I hope Sanders and his people read that book. If he wins the nomination, I hope he treats the Clintonite Obamacrat scum he will have defeated as the enemies of everything human and decent they are. Let THEM bear the blame for electing Jebbie-poo Bush by defecting from Nomination Winner Sanders. Let them show themselves in public for what they are and have always been. Making peace with them would be the most utter betrayal of everything decent that a nomination-winning Sanders could ever perpetrate. If he did that, he would lose by a McGovern landslide, just as McGovern did.

    2. DJG

      Dino Reno: How is it that you had to listen to the execrable Cokie Roberts, the most bogus analyst who ever was? [I can send you a bottle of wine to take the edge off your horrifying experience.]

      1. Dino Reno

        Hah! It’s like rubber necking at the scene of an accident. I’ll probably have nightmares for weeks.
        More wine is the only thing that seems to help.

  6. Tyler

    I follow a lot of lefties on Twitter and can tell you that they couldn’t care less who the Democratic nominee becomes. They’re going to be ecstatic about whoever it is. They love Hillary, Bernie, anyone with a D next to their name. They’re a bunch of morons, but at least they don’t vote Republican.

    1. sharonsj

      I’m not on Twitter but most of the liberal sites I read have nearly all the commenters ecstatic about Bernie and not Hillary. I don’t trust her and I’m a Democrat.

  7. TG

    Well, yes: certainly the elites don’t want to lose control of the narrative. Political assassinations are no longer done via bullets, but via mass media campaigns designed – one way or the other – to convince us that any alternatives to the standard corporate shills are somehow not serious.

    But I would be careful talking about giving a voice to dissatisfaction. I mean, not so long ago Obama sounded like al liberal, and Hilary Clinton’s poll-driven media campaign will likely veer left as well – but it’s all fake, and the big money knows it. Talk is cheap. The deal with Bernie is that his long voting record demonstrates that he means it.

    But what’s wrong with less immigration? Excessive immigration certainly is making America much poorer and more crowded. It was the standard progressive view the moderate the pace of immigration to one that does not drive wages down (FDR, Samuel Gompers, etc.). The deal with the Republicans is that most of them give lip service to reducing immigration during the campaigns, but when elected immediately go for open-borders cheap-labor. Scott Walker has recently done an about-face and said that he want to stop illegal immigration – but rumors abound that he has been promising his wealthy patrons he means none of it, and the press still treats him with respect.

    So again, words are wind. It’s not Bernie’s words per se that matter. It’s that they appear to be more than Potemkin liberalism.

    1. Vatch

      “Excessive immigration certainly is making America much poorer and more crowded.”

      Absolutely. Here’s an interesting article about Bernie Sanders and his record on immigration issues:

      It appears as though Sanders knows that too much immigration is harmful, but he is also aware that many of his supporters reflexively approve of high levels of immigration. So he’s in a somewhat awkward position: he has a history of opposing high levels of immigration, but he’s also being pressured to support excessive immigration by people who just don’t understand the implications of immigration. It lowers wages, and it puts pressure on public health, education, and infrastructure.

      1. MRW

        I don’t agree with statements that excessive immigration “lowers wages, and it puts pressure on public health, education, and infrastructure” for the simple reason that it places the emphasis on the wrong issue. The US federal government can certainly pay for those projects with zero debt to taxpayers or their progeny.

        We now have a new generation of Millennials that can’t find jobs. If we had a fully employed population–assuming all those who want work can find it–then immigration is not an issue should we need more workers, or need people to increase the fertility rate. It’s not a hard-and-fast dictum or issue. Sometimes we need immigration to increase, sometimes not. it’s a flexible requirement.

        The State of Texas, for example, did a formal study in 2006–the only one at the time to do one, and probably since–that proved illegal immigrants benefitted the state by $17x billion, a sizeable chunk of the state’s income that the State Comptroller, and Bush press-secretary Scott McClelland’s mother btw, said was a tremendous boon to the state’s coffers: they would have been in deficit without it.

        I’m a proponent of take care of our own first, then welcome the others. But we’re not taking care of our own. Bernie Sanders recognizes that over 50% of black youth don’t have jobs. I saw a photo recently of young black males in either Detroit, or some city, with signs that read “We need jobs, not handouts,” “Give us jobs.”

        1. Vatch

          “need people to increase the fertility rate.”

          Why would we need people to increase the fertility rate? There are 7.3 billion people on Earth — we need to reduce the fertility rate, not increase it. Let’s provide adequate resources for the people who are already alive before we even think about increasing the population. As fossil fuels become more scarce, it will become even more difficult to provide an adequate living standard for the people of the world.

  8. pdx

    All points well-taken. However, I’m none too impressed with anyone, including Sanders himself, who failed to call Obama out. Sources, please, if you claim he did. Are we supposed to believe that he just recently learned to smell a rat?

  9. Unkle Smokey

    I attended the Socialism 2015 conference in Chicago this past weekend and heard a debate on whether or not socialists should support Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president. I thought the ‘No we shouldn’t’ side was more persuasive and many of the reasons given I think I first read here on NC by a commenter; namely, his campaign will round up progressive support, not unlike Kucinich did a few years ago, and after HRC wins the primary (probably) will hand his support over to the Democratic machine.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The pre-2009 perception of Obama is radically different from Hillary Clinton of 2008 or 2016. The Democrats had come off a huge win in 2006, a tough cycle given the Senate seats up for grabs, and had passed a minimum wage increase, not for waiters. It’s 2015. A good portion of Sanders’ current support in Iowa and NH will never vote for Hillary. Bernie is an anti-Hillary candidate. He could go to every event with her and say all manner of wonderful things about her, but Bernie isn’t preventing voters from hearing that message from every other Democratic elite.

      Hillary is a known commodity. Bernie’s voice won’t change minds except among people who think there are no alternatives. With Obama’s short career, it was easier to project onto him. I don’t watch cable news, but I’ve always thought Howard Dean took a hit after he went full Obama. His strategy for elections is praised, but I don’t see a call for Dean to return from any corner.

  10. DJG

    From Kline, a remarkable insight that bears repeating:

    “More than some West European derived socio-cultures, there is an initial value placed in Christian profession; not faith, profession, and not an enduring one either.”

    Profession, which means advertising one’s religiosity. Hence the sudden spate of resignations among county clerks who are being forced into the unbearable immorality of issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Who then go on to claim that there is such a thing as biblical marriage–ahhh, yes, like the story of Leah and Rachel, the serial marriage(s) arranged by Laban to Jacob. The USA is the land of denominations that act as exclusive clubs, with lots of public testifying to the importance of religion (and spirituality!). Hence, the effuse praise for Obama’s dubious recent use of that old chestnut, “Amazing Grace,” the ultimate advertisement for the perfection of one’s own religious choices.

    Another interesting point in Kline’s analysis is the conservatism of rural and exurbian whites. Yep, there goes Jim Webb’s candidacy into the vapor. Webb seems unaware that he has to put together a coalition.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ah, the Webb 2006 Senate campaign was bizarre to say the least. He needed sacrificial congressional campaigns to squeeze every vote and rumors about Allen to be confirmed for Allen not to win. Webb whole campaign was…just awful.

  11. Roquentin

    For starters, I don’t think the NY Times is nearly as influential as it used to be. This goes double for any voter under 40. That said, editorials like this just illustrate how much the Democratic Party establishment is frightened of Sanders. Ultimately, this is a good thing. The more press like this appears, the more it serves to illustrate that Sanders truly is an outsider and not another corporate stooge. The more political distance put between Clinton and Sanders politically, the better.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No, media outlet is, but the nature of the attacks against Bernie will echo the NYT’s Clinton approved attack.

    2. hunkerdown

      They are a newspaper of record. They represent the nation’s present to the future. In the costume of John Hurt in clownface and a big white ruffle collar, but history is excessively deferential to its victors.

  12. mk

    We elected Obama in 2008, we can elect Sanders in 2016. If we elect Sanders in 2016, I expect that he will ask We The People to help him bring pressure to bear to bring some of the hope and change that Obama promised.

    1. jrs

      Yea this never made any sense. If we are to bring pressure to bear on the government that movement needs to be built Sanders or no Sanders, because if there was such a movement even Jebbie if he was elected might have to throw some bones to it.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      No way! Don’t you remember how Obama’s skin color, lack of experience, soft stance on terror, wacky name, and so forth would only hurt Hillary in the general leading to a third Dubya term?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I forgot Obama’s detailed drug usage. The man was a coke user. He can never win.

  13. SJB

    The Washington Post seems to just ignore him. They act as if the only contenders are Shillary and Jebbie.

  14. nat scientist

    The word “Socialist” is unfortunate. Capitalism incents individual interest; the social contract thing needs to be put up front. Citizens United is the crush, until corporations have a responsibility to the humans who let them ride on their bus with a Constitutional affirmative. bypassing the paid-to-play legis(much)laters and conscience-free jurists.

  15. Stephen E. Shaw

    The Times had not a word about 10,000 people turning out for Bernie’s appearance in Madison, and instead ran the Lyall piece. The Guardian carried it on page one.

  16. don zuger

    what about Jesse Ventura? Hillary sucks real bad but she will probably strong arm her way through the primaries and barely win the nomination. Jesse is saying he might go to the Libertarian convention next summer and accept their nomination for pres. They apparently have ballot access in about every state. He’s got my vote. Also, is there any chance Bernie will lose to Hillary for the Dem nomination but switch to a third party run?

  17. colin

    Ahh… that tired gray whore that is the nytimes.

    Yves, do you and the readers here still hold the times be anything more than a tool of mass brainwashing?

    And everytime hillary needs a boost, she redirects attention and starts bashing china. Hack anything that moves? Well, the US hacks everything that moves, and everything that doesn’t.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      First, you’d be amazed at how many people think the Times is gospel truth. And they are often well educated and articulate, and thus help amplify the Times.

      Second, it is very important to read it as a vehicle of official messaging and orthodox opinion. Otherwise you are talking only to fellow members of your ghetto and have no idea what you are up against.

  18. Ruth Walker

    Why in the world would what he wrote way back then be relevant? He’d worked in a psychiatric hospital and was only quoting the research of the times:

    Life Stress and Cancer of the Cervix.


    Psychosomatic Medicine:

    July 1954

    Summary: A personality study of 100 women with cancer of the cervix was carried out and the findings compared with a similar study of women with cancer at other sites. A higher proportion of severe personality maladjustment of a particular kind was found in those with cancer of the cervix, than in the women with cancer at other sites.

    This finding deserves further observation and documentation. It is possible that this knowledge can be useful in experimental carcinogenesis.

    Copyright (C) 1954 by American Psychosomatic Society

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