If you only read establishment press reports, you might (finally) know about the "unexpectedly" competitive race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, but you would have no sense of the deep concern within the left's ranks about their unsavory choices.
Card-carrying lefty Dana Milbank, from his perch at the Washington Post, laid that near-panic bare in his Tuesday evening column. It's an indication of just how bad things are that in going after Bernie Sanders as someone "Democrats would be insane to nominate," Milbank had to completely ignore Hillary Clinton's growing legal exposure over having her own private email server while she was the nation's Secretary of State. For Milbank, it comes down to this: Bernie Sanders is unwilling to lie to America's voters about his and the left's true agenda, but Hillary Clinton is — at least through November 8. This makes Mrs. Clinton his preferred choice.
Milbank would only acknowledge that a "whiff of scandal" follows Mrs. Clinton. Dude, we can smell it from thousands of miles away, and no amount of Obama administration-aided attempts at air freshening will ever change that (bolds are mine):
Democrats would be insane to nominate Bernie Sanders
I adore Bernie Sanders.
I agree with his message of fairness and I share his outrage over inequality and corporate abuses. I think his righteous populism has captured the moment perfectly. I respect the uplifting campaign he has run. I admire his authenticity.
And I am convinced Democrats would be insane to nominate him.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is a dreary candidate. She has, again, failed to connect with voters. Her policy positions are cautious and uninspiring. Her reflexive secrecy causes a whiff of scandal to follow her everywhere. She seems calculating and phony.
And yet if Democrats hope to hold the presidency in November, they’ll need to hold their noses and nominate Clinton.
... Watching Sanders at Monday night’s Democratic presidential forum in Des Moines, I imagined how Trump — or another Republican nominee — would disembowel the relatively unknown Vermonter.
... are Democrats ready to accept ownership of socialism, massive tax increases and a dramatic expansion of government? If so, they will lose.
... It doesn’t speak well of Clinton that, next to her, a 74-year-old guy who has been in politics for four decades is a bright and shiny object.
Milbank engages in misdirection, as usual.
It's clear that a significant percentage, and likely a majority, of activist Democratic Party members who participate in presidential caucuses and primaries have already accepted socialism, want massive tax increases, and desire a dramatic expansion of government. Milbank himself, sharing the left's obsessions over "income inequality" and (very selective) "fairness," is likely one of them.
For at least the past 45 years, the most important question for Democratic Party strategists seeking electoral victory, especially in races for national office, has almost invariably been: "Which candidate has the best chance of convincing voters that we're really not socialists, that we really don't want tax increases, and that we really don't want to dramatically expand government — even though we are socialists and want all those things?"
Unlike Sanders, Mrs. Clinton can embrace President Barack Obama's far-left policies during the primaries, and then shift gears in the general election by claiming she'll be as "moderate" as her husband Bill was in the mid- and late-1990s. (Never mind that Bill was able to be remembered as "moderate" only because the Republican Congress kept him somewhat in check, and because his own scandalous behavior which ultimately led to his impeachment greatly impeded meaningful accomplishment in his final three years.) The establishment press, which values putting Mrs. Clinton in the White House above almost anything else, will certainly play along.
Then — horrors! — Bernie Sanders comes along and is honest about leftists' real agenda. Milbank's column quotes the Vermont Senator in two such instances:
- “We will raise taxes, yes we will.”
- In response to ABC's Chris Cuomo observing that Sanders wants to grow government bigger than ever — “Fine, if that’s the criticism, I accept it.”
Milbank writes that telling the voters these things makes Sanders not "a rational choice," in essence because being honest with the electorate is an "insane" Democratic Party strategy.
Truer words have seldom, if ever, been written. Thank you, Mr. Milbank.
Instead, a deeply flawed, scandal-plagued person who was described as "a congential liar" by New York Times columnist William Safire 20 long years ago and has done nothing since to reverse that evaluation, should, per Milbank, be the preferred nominee. Wow.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.