First, note how far down the path of politician personality cult the media has led us. Since when did candidates only have first names, like " Jeb", "Ted", "Hillary", "Bernie", and of course, "The Donald" ? Since when did reporters want to know what the candidate had for breakfast rather than how he's going to break up giant banks?
In his New Hampshire victory speech Bernie said, "In a thousand years, I didn't expect to be here." But, after he pinched himself, there he was--David who had just toppled Goliath. Suddenly it dawned on him, "I COULD be president", quite unlike Hillary who has probably already hired an interior decorator to redo the Oval Office. "Wow! What could a Progressive do behind the desk of the Oval Office? I better watch what I say," he thought, "I might blow it, just when I'm so close."
But the weight of this realization has been heavy, far too heavy. If his last debate performance is any indication, it has been almost suffocating. Looking at the shinning possibility of how this could all could turn out has caused Bernie to take his eyes off the ball. When he began his campaign in Iowa his constant theme was "This is not about me. I'm just the most visible part of this tsunami of outrage at the betrayal of the American people by the Wall Street - Washington cartel. Yes, I've been inside the Halls of Power but I feel your pain and I've gone rouge. I've come outside to help you organize and lead you back to take over. Grab your pitchforks and light your torches because the revolution starts NOW! In a democracy we, the People, rule! It's one citizen, one vote, not one billionaire, one Congressman."
Now Bernie has something to lose. If he truly represents the rage of the Lost Class, if he really expresses the moral indignation of the world against imperial wars destabilizing the Mideast, drones, water boarding and Guantanamo, he might lose some votes. Political Correctness has crept into his head.
Not surprisingly, winning the early battle in New Hampshire has had the same effect on both "outsiders". An interviewer of Trump told him she was uncomfortable allowing her young daughter to watch his rally. She wanted a president she could point to as a role model. He responded that he'd gone to the best schools and he knew how to behave better. I'm sure he's already re-reading The Prince where Machiavelli will explain to him if you want to wear the mantle of power you must assume at least a public veneer of decorum.
In a more subtle and far more disastrous way, Bernie has been throttled with the prospect of real power. He no longer can recklessly confront the actual monsters, hiding in plain view. Not once did he mention the trillions of dollars wasted in the War on Terror. Only once did he politely hint that the U.S. spends perhaps a tad too much on "defense". What about WAR? Not once did he quote Dr. Martin Luther King who declared that war is taking what a moral nation would be spending on the poor. Not once did he quote General, President and Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Today, more than ever, income inequality unites the underclasses, regardless of color.
When Senator Sanders announced his run for president, the pundits knew he was no threat to the coronation of the queen, the passing to her the ruling scepter in the unbroken lineage of the Clinton Bushbama dynasty. In the beginning, he didn't take his campaign too seriously. He was doing it to highlight his favorite issues and perhaps pull Hillary a bit more toward the left. He said it wasn't about him, it was about all the people who had lost their future, whose jobs had been shipped out.
During the last debate, Bernie no longer felt the burn. While he can still yell, it's beginning to sound hollow. Now he's shy about poking the real elephant in the room, the real reason why we can't afford ANY of the welfare and environmental programs he's proposing without raising taxes. He could have said, "Look at how much we spent on war just since year 2000! $$$Xmxm, more than enough to pay for it all without raising taxes on anyone. Our disastrous military adventures are draining our budget. Worse than that, they're making new terrorists. When a drone strike destroyed your family at a wedding, what kind of feelings do these people have about the U. S?"
Bernie said, "Kissinger's no friend of mind" but he could have asked Hillary, "Did Kissinger whisper in your ear, vote for war?" Kissinger may seem like ancient history to many millennials but Bernie must connect the dots for them to show how we got to "perpetual war" through an Interventionist Foreign Policy which has drained our federal budget.
Hilary's saying, "There's more smoke than light here, folks!" Already she's stolen Bernie's talking point for a program to break up big banks--his doesn't go far enough! Bernie could have reminded us that trust and integrity are essential qualities voters are looking for and mentioned that the FBI's not investigating his files. He could have mentioned that no Wall Street bankers have endorsed him, that he is not beholden to any Israeli PAC for giving him millions of dollars. By the way, what did you say when they gave you all that money? Without making any accusations he could have observed, "In a system where money talks, the Clintons listen real good".
And speaking of character, Bernie could have reminded us of his early days in the civil rights movement and the anti-war. "I've been for civil rights, against the war ever since the Civil Rights movement. I've got the courage to stand up for what's right even when it's not popular". Bernie's afraid Hilary's going to "throw the kitchen sink" at him. What's far more dangerous to him is being suffocated by his own reflection.
Bernie has no Wall Street power brokers, no Democratic Machine, not even any well defined programs. He has nothing but the moral high ground, and the challenge that, if we stand together, we can overthrow the status quo! If he is now too frightened by the prospect of real power to shine the light of public attention on the obscene amounts of money spent on the disastrous U.S. ambition of world dominion so clearly stated by PNAC (Project for a New American Century) and carried out by every president since 9-11, then we are lost. None of the other presidential candidates will even hint at it.
Just as Dr. Che Guevara abandoned his privileged life to lead the peasants against their landlords so Bernie's vision burned bright as long as it was only a fantasy. But just as when Don Quixote's friends (only trying to shake him out of his delusion) held mirrors up for him to see himself, so also self-consciousness has been a terrible blow to Senator Sanders. Political Correctness is killing him. He's got to throw caution to the wind. Let the Power Brokers be damned. Shout truth to power. Out military monster is eating us alive!
Is there anyone who can break through the bubble which now surrounds him to get him this message? Who can crack the echo chamber of syncopates urging him to keep yelling promises of bread without warning the villagers they must first slay the Giant of the Iron Triangle, the Corporate Overlords who hold the Ring that binds all other rings, even their very digital thoughts?
By R. B. Trembly