[Vision2020] Paul Krugman: Bernie Has Gone Too Far

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at frontier.com
Fri Apr 8 20:18:23 PDT 2016

Here is a response to Paul Krugman's opinion in the NYTimes today 8 
April 2016:

The commentator is Cenk Uygur, host of TYT, The Young Turks, on 
tytnetwork.com and a frequent contributor of videos to YouTube.


Time Length: 8:51


On 4/8/2016 2:48 PM, Nicholas Gier wrote:
> "The Sanders campaign has brought out a lot of idealism and energy 
> that the progressive movement needs. It has also, however, brought out 
> a streak of petulant self­righteousness among some supporters. Has it 
> brought out that streak in the candidate, too?"
> NYTimes The Opinion Pages | OP­ED COLUMNIST Sanders Over the Edge Paul 
> Krugman APRIL 8, 2016
> From the beginning, many and probably most liberal policy wonks were 
> skeptical about Bernie Sanders. On many major issues — including the 
> signature issues of his campaign, especially financial reform — he 
> seemed to go for easy slogans over hard thinking. And his political 
> theory of change, his waving away of limits, seemed utterly unrealistic.
> Some Sanders supporters responded angrily when these concerns were 
> raised, immediately accusing anyone expressing doubts about their hero 
> of being corrupt if not actually criminal. But intolerance and 
> cultishness from some of a candidate’s supporters are one thing; what 
> about the candidate himself? Unfortunately, in the past few days the 
> answer has become all too clear: Mr. Sanders is starting to sound like 
> his worst followers. Bernie is becoming a Bernie Bro.
> Let me illustrate the point about issues by talking about bank reform. 
> The easy slogan here is “Break up the big banks.” It’s obvious why 
> this slogan is appealing from a political point of view: Wall Street 
> supplies an excellent cast of villains. But were big banks really at 
> the heart of the financial crisis, and would breaking them up protect 
> us from future crises?
> Many analysts concluded years ago that the answers to both questions 
> were no. Predatory lending was largely carried out by smaller, 
> non­Wall Street institutions like Countrywide Financial; the crisis 
> itself was centered not on big banks but on “shadow banks” like Lehman 
> Brothers that weren’t necessarily that big. And the financial reform 
> that President Obama signed in 2010 made a real effort to address 
> these problems. It could and should be made stronger, but pounding the 
> table about big banks misses the point. Yet going on about big banks 
> is pretty much all Mr. Sanders has done. On the rare occasions on 
> which he was asked for more detail, he didn’t seem to have anything 
> more to offer. And this absence of substance beyond the slogans seems 
> to be true of his positions across the board.
> You could argue that policy details are unimportant as long as a 
> politician has the right values and character. As it happens, I don’t 
> agree. For one thing, a politician’s policy specifics are often a very 
> important clue to his or her true character — I warned about George W. 
> Bush’s mendacity back when most journalists were still portraying him 
> as a bluff, honest fellow, because I actually looked at his tax 
> proposals.
> For another, I consider a commitment to facing hard choices as opposed 
> to taking the easy way out an important value in itself. But in any 
> case, the way Mr. Sanders is now campaigning raises serious character 
> and values issues. It’s one thing for the Sanders campaign to point to 
> Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street connections, which are real, although 
> the question should be whether they have distorted her positions, a 
> case the campaign has never even tried to make. But recent attacks on 
> Mrs. Clinton as a tool of the fossil fuel industry are just plain 
> dishonest, and speak of a campaign that has lost its ethical moorings.
> And then there was Wednesday’s rant about how Mrs. Clinton is not 
> “qualified” to be president. What probably set that off was a recent 
> interview of Mr. Sanders by The Daily News, in which he repeatedly 
> seemed unable to respond when pressed to go beyond his usual slogans. 
> Mrs. Clinton, asked about that interview, was careful in her choice of 
> words, suggesting that “he hadn’t done his homework.” But Mr. Sanders 
> wasn’t careful at all, declaring that what he considers Mrs. Clinton’s 
> past sins, including her support for trade agreements and her vote to 
> authorize the Iraq war — for which she has apologized — make her 
> totally unfit for office.
> This is really bad, on two levels. Holding people accountable for 
> their past is O.K., but imposing a standard of purity, in which any 
> compromise or misstep makes you the moral equivalent of the bad guys, 
> isn’t. Abraham Lincoln didn’t meet that standard; neither did F.D.R. 
> Nor, for that matter, has Bernie Sanders (think guns). And the timing 
> of the Sanders rant was truly astonishing. Given her large lead in 
> delegates — based largely on the support of African­American voters, 
> who respond to her pragmatism because history tells them to distrust 
> extravagant promises — Mrs. Clinton is the strong favorite for the 
> Democratic nomination.
> Is Mr. Sanders positioning himself to join the “Bernie or bust” crowd, 
> walking away if he can’t pull off an extraordinary upset, and possibly 
> helping put Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in the White House? If not, what 
> does he think he’s doing? The Sanders campaign has brought out a lot 
> of idealism and energy that the progressive movement needs. It has 
> also, however, brought out a streak of petulant self­righteousness 
> among some supporters. Has it brought out that streak in the 
> candidate, too?
> -- 
> A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know 
> they shall never sit in.
> -Greek proverb
> “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. 
> Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without 
> guidance from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause 
> lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage 
> to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to 
> use your own understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.
> --Immanuel Kant
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