Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a statesman. He is “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. Sanders is the lone United States Senator who identifies himself as a Democratic Socialist and consistently stands up for America’s middle class and the less fortunate. Currently, Sanders is once again, taking a powerful stand for real American values. He recently started a petition drive to collect signatures in support of keeping Social Security and Medicare safe from Republicans efforts to destroy them. In a matter of days, Sanders has succeeded in collecting 500,000 signatures from grass roots Americans who are standing firm in their zeal to protect these two popular social programs. Remnants of the “New Deal” that have helped so many over the past 75 years.
Now most of you will recall, back in July, TEA party messiah Ted Cruz mounted his own grass roots effort to (wait for it…) defund Obamacare! Even with the high level of vitriol associated with the Affordable Care Act, it took Cruz MONTHS to gather 2 million signatures. Roughly one tenth of the force generated by Sanders’ effort.
Of course anyone who follows serious politics in this country will not be surprised. Earlier this year, Sanders and Cruz again used identical tactics in defense of their positions. Once again, Sanders was crusading for the middle class, and Cruz was doing his usual act, trying to make Obama look bad.
In May of this year, the 71 year-old Senator stood on the floor of the Senate for nine hours, to filibuster against President Obama’s proposed compromise tax cut agreement with House Republicans.
Senator Sanders did not read from Green Eggs and Ham, he did not do a commercial for White Castle hamburgers, he did not do an impression of Darth Vader, and he did not take inspiration from Duck Dynasty. Instead, Sanders used his time on the floor to talk simply, forcefully, and in a no-nonsense manner as evidenced by this excerpt.
“The agreement between the president and the Republican leadership also calls for a continuation of the Bush-era 15 percent tax rate on capital gains and dividends, meaning that those people who make their living off their investments will continue to pay a substantially lower tax rate than firemen, teachers, nurses, carpenters, and virtually all the other working people of this country. And I just don’t think that’s fair. That’s wrong.”
Contrast that with Cruz’s September faux-filibuster (he admitted that it was only a symbolic gesture), in Septembers. Cruz stood at the lectern for more than 21 hours, and babbled. His targeting of Obamacare served him well in his relationship with his TEA party supporters, but his theatrics did not elevate Cruz to the level of statesman. Instead he came off as more of a carnival barker, the P.T. Barnum of government. To many Americans, his act made him look more sinister toward American ideals and values.
Bernie Sanders has once again proven that intelligent, common sense, people-based politics is what Americans want and need. Showmanship and brown-nosing in an effort to puff-up your standing with extremists is becoming old. Joe McCarthy used similar efforts back in the 1950’s to make himself a political power, and Cruz should read a little on how that turned out. Ted, please leave governing to the people who see it as a public service, not a money-maker.