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    « More on the Sanders/Cruz Comparison (Fiasco Version) | Main | Shifting Stories: Is Marco Rubio a Centrist? »

    Why Bernie Sanders is a lot like Ted Cruz

    This appeared in the Boston Herald over the weekend:

    Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren welcomed fellow liberal from the north, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, into the presidential sweepstakes yesterday, even as she continues to resist efforts to draft her into the race.

    Being the cynical beast that I am, I can’t help but imagine a private conversation recently taking place, one that perhaps went something like this:

    “Bernie. Hey, thanks for taking a few minutes. Listen. I’ve been thinking. Someone’s got to run against Hillary.”

    “I’ve been thinking the same thing, Liz. You can already see how’s she’s being pulled more and more toward the bland center. Pretty soon she won’t stand for anything.”

    “Or stand up to anyone. Not the banks, not big money in politics, nothing.

    “Sure seems likely.”

    “So we’re agreed, Bernie?  One of us should run?”

     “I think so, Liz. Probably it should be you. You’ve got much more of a national profile. You could actually pull off an upset.”

    “Yeah….hmmmm….I’m not so sure….I think Hillary’s probably going to end up with the nomination anyway.  I’m thinking it might be better if it were you, Bernie.”

    “Why me? I’m not set up to go national at all. Hell, most of the people in my own neighboring states think I’m a bit of a left-wingnut, thanks to that ‘socialist’ comment I made a while back.”

    “Right. That’s the reason, actually. You see, Bernie, somewhere in the not-too-far future—let’s say, I don’t know, maybe eight years from now—I could actually win.  While you…well… let’s be honest….”

    “So you’re saying I should be a sacrificial lamb, Liz? Don’t know if I like that so much.”

    “It’s probably our best move if we want to have any influence on the issues at all.”


     “Jeez… OK… Sure…. Why not…”

    And so Bernie’s in the race.

    But even if he is something of an extremist, something of a sacrificial lamb, does that make him like Ted Cruz?  Of course not. But this does:

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is NOT a Democrat.

    Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. He’s an (I), and has been since 1979. He caucuses with the Democrats, of course, and certainly leans more leftward than anyone else currently holding national office, having declared, in 1990, “I am a socialist and everyone knows that.”

    That statement—that one statement—makes him quite a bit like Ted Cruz.

    Stay with me for a minute while I ask you to remember the key thrust of nearly all my political commentary: Hypocrisy, dishonesty, and political hijackery is completely and totally unacceptable, even when viewed as the means to an otherwise desired result.

    Ever. Period.

    In the same way that Ted Cruz isn’t a real Republican, Bernie Sanders isn’t a real Democrat. Both of them are using the major parties as cover for extremist views, ones that, if implemented, would create radical changes in the fabric of our society. In both cases these men lack the courage, the willingness, to come out and run as they truly are. Ted, you’re not a Republican. You’re a Tea. Bernie, you’re not a Democrat. You’re a Socialist.

    I’m particularly disappointed in you, Senator Sanders, since you have, until this time, proudly declared yourself an Independent—and won while doing so. But now, regardless of your reasons (and how noble they might appear to your supporters), you apparently believe the only way to make an impact is to disavow one of your core beliefs, something that makes you who you are.

    I simply can’t respect that. In the same way that Ted Cruz blithely lies about being a genuine Republican, you think it’s okay to pretend you’re a genuine Democrat.

    We deserve honesty from our politicians. We won’t get it, though. Too many are perfectly happy seeing our process hijacked by dishonesty, as long as it serves a purpose they happen to deem somehow “higher.”

    But remember not just who you’re voting for, but what. A vote for Sanders (or for Cruz) is a vote for deception, a vote for the two-party system, a vote for corruption.

    Because lying to get what you want—even if it’s just to make a point—is corrupt.


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    Reader Comments (33)

    I love your blog Michael, but there is so much wrong with this post it is hard to know where to start. I'll focus on your main idea that he is somehow deceiving the voters. It is clear he is running as a Democrat due to the sorry history of Ralph Nader's failed third party attempt in 2000. You know; the one that got W elected? That led to a destroyed budget and to the ill fated war in Iraq? And that created the current corporate cabal on the Supreme Court? Enough said.

    May 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

    Steve: I actually don't think Sanders is deceiving the voters. People understand why he's doing it--it's the same reason the Tea Partiers insist on running against mainstream Republicans: to force the agenda of the party.

    We are, unfortunately, stuck in a terrible two-part nightmare, but contributing to it doesn't help. Nader isn't somehow "responsible" for Iraq--that's a red herring. He ran on his beliefs which were not--and this is critical--the same as the Democratic platform. I think you make the classic argument that Sanders he ran as an (I) he'd siphon votes away from Hillary, thereby letting the GOP win. My counter is "So what?" Isn't that democracy (even if some don't personally like the outcome)? I fundamentally disagree with anyone who changes a core belief in order to "play" the game in a certain way. Sanders has been (I) for over 45 years, and today he's declaring as a Democrat. It may make some happy that he's in, but that doesn't change the fact that he's traded in a little piece of his core to be there.

    May 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterMichael Charney

    I believe he is and has to run under the democratic party in order to participate in the debates.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJRD

    What's your point? Bernie is running as a democrat because that's where the money is. He changed nothing about his core beliefs. He took advantage of an existing political apparatus. I am going to vote for him in the primary. I hope I get to vote for him in the main event. I hope you will listen to his words and look at his track record, ditch this bogus critique, and vote for Bernie!

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

    Bernie is what the Democratic Party SHOULD be and can be. I'm not a member of the Nit-Picky Party. Been calling myself a Dem for years but they've moved away from me. We've created a deadly minefield for anyone who strays off the two=party track.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVince

    I'm not big on Bernie, but that is the stupidest thing anyone has, as of yet written about him. Bernie = Ted Cruz is a long reach to nowhere, obviously. What I want to is why and to what end. I'm pro Hillery but I'm not getting there with easily refuted pretzel logic! Steve, get a new job. You suck at this one.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRick Montano

    Bernie is running as a D because he wants to affect the dialog and platform more than he actually wants to be in the White House. I appreciate that he is not willing to risk jeopardizing the nation like Nader clearly did, regardless of your slant on his Independent label. We saw what happened. I hope he will pull Hillary left, then win or concede the nomination; and let's move on.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKAlan

    From his days as mayor Sanders has described himself as a "Democratic Socialist." Independent just means he didn't have a party structure supporting his campaigns. So tell me again how he has been disingenuous about his political philosophy and how that philosophy is anything like Ted Cruz?

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTim4change

    Bernie had no choice but to run as a Democrat. He states he is a Socialist Democrat. Look it up. It's not the same as being a pure socialist. He has run as an independent and won in his state. We are talking about the Presidency. If he didn't run Democrat and he got the nomination, he wouldn't be able to be in the debates. They only allow the Republican and Democratic nominee. Sometimes the rest get together and debate but they are barely noticed. If he is serious, this was his only option. He is nothing like Ted Cruz. People like him and most everyone including Republicans think Cruz has a few screws loose. I knew someone would start with the propaganda and I'm saddened I was proved right. After all we all know it is the Electoral College that actually elects the President.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica Daze

    Let me guess: Hillary supporter, or maybe just a plutocratic flunkie? YOu, I mean?

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterconcreteblue

    I was quite surprised by how biased and inaccurate this post is.

    If you've watched Bernie Sanders interviewed on the Sunday morning shows and elsewhere, he makes no claim whatsoever about being a genuine democrat. He was quite clear about being an Independent and Democratic Socialist and running as a Democrat because of how difficult it is to get on the ballot in all 50 states if you are outside of the system. I'm not really sure how you can label that as lacking courage (as opposed to unlimited sums of money) or willingness to come out and run as he is. To my knowledge, not one of his positions has changed since deciding to run as a Democrat. His positions are the same, he's open about being a Democratic Socialist and he's very vocal about all of it. Can you please let us know how you justify your accusations? They seem baseless and discredit your arguments in general. I hope you will consider modifying your post to reflect the facts. This was very disappointing as Bernie Sanders is the furthest candidate from being a hypocrite.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mc

    Frankly, Cruz IS the modern Republican. He may be Tea, but so are the majority of the Republican party. Sanders may be an Independent, but like me, goes Democrat because there is no other choice. Like it or not, the US has a two party system and it will take a serious revolution to change that. Too many voters would rather catch the latest episode of Housewives of Wherever or catch a game. Bernie Sanders knows this and he knows that most Independents vote Democrat because what else is there? A split vote on our side that gives the election away to the Republican nominee? No, he's doing the right thing. For now, at least, until we change how the system works. No one seems interested enough in doing so. When that happens, I'm sure he'd be happy to run as an Independent, but you can bet Cruz wouldn't dare run on a Tea party platform.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBextra

    Don't blame Sanders for running as a Democrat. Blame the two-party system for shutting out all the others from the debate and instead arranging a few joint appearances by two candidates - one right of center and the other, in the far right.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterwhirlaway

    Total bullshit. Sanders can't even get on the ballot on many states as an Independent. Comparing him to Cruz is disingenuous and misleading. Sanders is not out to hijack the government in Jesus's name and establish a theocracy. Cruz is a well documented liar and hypocrite who appeals to know-nothing teabaggers. Sanders may be a 'socialist' but he isn't a communist. To imply that Sanders is 'corrupt' is just utter rubbish.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLucius

    looks like anyone can have a blog. Glad to see the comments on this. You're (the author) has apparently not been paying attention. Good thing your readers have.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRMZ

    Articles like this are pure, utter, horseshit. Bernie's not a "leftist." He's centrist. Polls show that his ideals are in line with the American people. Extremist views? Sorry Michael Charney, you need to repeat 1st grade.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeth

    While it is understandable that someone would somehow compare Bernie to Ted, it just doesn't pass the giggle test. Looking past the superficial, Bernie is emminently more reasoned and factual. It's just unimaginable how Ted graduated from both Princeton and Harvard based on what comes out of his mouth. Bernie is championing sorely needed economic reforms as Ted panders to uninformed radical conservatives and naive libertarians. It is more important to look at who would be hurt by either's policies. Ted fits that description to a "T."

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLRA

    That's ridiculous. You know as well as anyone that if Sanders were to run as an Independent, he would simply take votes away from Clinton thus giving the GOP candidate, (whomever that may be), an advantage. Insipid, fear mongering, hyperbole or " Why Michael Charney is a lot like FOX news".

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Baglia

    Aside from the general inanity of the premise that Sanders is "just like Ted Cruz" (Thanks for nothing!), your assertion that he is not a true Democrat is completely factual. He's an INDEPENDENT, you stupid moran. Thanks for showing how ignorant and stupid you are. Stupid is a choice.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJCM1953

    This post is a mess. "We want honesty from our politicians." Yeah, and we want money to fall from the sky. "Hypocrisy, dishonesty, and political hijackery is completely and totally unacceptable, even when viewed as the means to an otherwise desired result." Okay Mr. Highhorse, let's go back to the last time that any process involving two human beings trying to come to an agreement from opposing viewpoints that didn't rely on one of these "Never ever. Period," Deal breakers....thinking...thinking...what came before Cain and Abel? Pre-human simians maybe? But we know chimps can lie, so we probably have to go back to some mammalian common ancestor like a tree shrew. How old are you? 6?
    Come off it. The guy says hes a socialist. He's an Independent because the Democrats have TOO MUCH of the crap you're condemning and don't support human being-focused legislation. He's campaigning as a democrat because if he didn't he'd be a god damned moron. Plus, last time I checked "socialism" is an economic model, and "Democrat" is a political party. (See: Hypocrisy, dishonesty, and political hijackery). You can be a socialist and be a democrat. You can be a communist and be a democrat. You can even be black and be a democrat. So wake the hell up.
    Look, you want Hillary to have a cakewalk into the firing line? That's retarded. It's also weak sauce. What are you, afraid? HIllary is NOT a home run candidate. The fiction you tell yourself every night is that she's unshakeable and unbeatable and if she could just avoid a primary battle then she's got it made. What. A. Load. The republicans have been preparing for this day for 20 years. And frankly, as a democrat and a bleeding heart, I've been dreading it. She is a LINO, a crony, a businesswoman and a board member of Wal Mart. How much compassion do I expect from her? Bush league. Laughable. I'm voting for Sanders in our Caucus, and I'm voting for him if he's on the ticket. As a Democrat.
    Your conceit is that he's like Ted Cruz. I suppose he breathes oxygen and requires water and nourishment to survive, but that's about the only similarity I can divine. Especially since even you point out, he never claims to be a democrat. He's not lied about what he believes in to get votes, his policy pronouncements are good for people and good for the country and he enters the race with the clear intention of pulling the prime candidate in the direction the nation needs, not some tangent the base demands. Anyway, this post was a huge #2.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThe_Flush

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