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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)

    What a pile of unmitigated codswallop this blog post was. I'll be careful not to read this blog in the future - the author clearly has very little knowledge and apparently even less curiosity about his subjects.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike D

    Is it possible that Michael Charney is just trolling fans of logic and/or fans of Bernie Sanders to see how much of a rise he can get?

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mc

    So how would you propose we lowly voters counter? If we vote against Sanders in the primaries, then who would we vote for? Another corporate shill? If a third party candidate runs after Sanders gets the Dem nod, do we vote for the third party candidate even if s/he isn't as good as Sanders? Wouldn't voting third party simply because they aren't one of the major parties be the same as voting Dem just because they aren't Republican? I'm no fan of the two party system, but most of us have very few options that would actually impact the system. Is it unfortunate that Sanders wasn't bold enough to run as an independent? Certainly - if he focused on getting money out of politics, he might have attracted more than a few moderate Republican votes. A Cruz-Clinton-Sanders three way might actually turn the system on its head. But there is nothing we can do about it now, short of voting against Sanders - and that would only serve to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel

    I don't even see how it is hypocritical. I don't think he's saying "I am a Democrat." He is saying, "I am running for the Democratic nomination," or in other words, I want Democrats to vote for me. He isn't changing nor subverting his own identity in any way. He's running for a specific office.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMonica H

    Nice try, Michael, but NO.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Grow

    Your take on the issue is a little skewed. For one thing voting for Ralph did not mean a win for Bush. That myth was debunked after the election. It is hard for someone to get elected as a third Party in this country. The two Parties have a tight chokehold on the process and they do not play well with others. It's juts common sense.
    The other issue is, what is wrong with Socialism. The opposite hasn't helped this country in the last few years has it? Helping the working class seems to be needed after the gutting of it by the self serving Republican idiots.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMJD

    Awesome. Not the article, but the backlash.

    Sooo many of us can read through the propagandizing, and are sick and tired of labels, sides taking, pandering, the special interest co-opting of America, and the people that can't think for themselves. We Independents; once Republicans (which of course are in large part due to the GOP EXODUS / Dubaya's Diaspora — the melt down and festering that caused the Extremist New Rite Wing), and the centrist Dem's that jumped ship for their reasons, can forego the ridiculous talking points, for logic and a restoration of our staid Democratic Values and true potential of this country… If not simply to separate ourselves from business as usual.

    Time for the Independently minded, competent adults to take back our country before the distracted and opportunistic parasitic consumers and predators pick the carcass of this country bare (and polluted).

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSxxxx Wxxxx

    Comparing Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz as somehow equivalent ideologues is kind of like comparing Floyd Mayweather to Muhammed Ali. Both were heavyweight champs and considered to be the best 'fighters' of their time, both with outlier personalities but with HUGE differences in substance, courage, honesty and character. Cruz, like Mayweather is a self-important, morally reprehensible opportunist who would put his country at risk for attention, while Ali was a loud, principled, self-effacing (though always self -promoting) and mostly authentic human turned humanitarian. Unlike Cruz, Sanders has mostly mainstream ideas. These are ideas that the majority of Americans support, especially before they are falsely labeled as 'liberal' or 'conservative'. Student loan reform, a strong middle class, trade agreements that favor job creation, stronger workers’ rights, better control of bankers and wall street, a commitment to work towards a better environment and energy independence, more equitable taxes, income equality and equal rights for all citizens, ending Citizens United... while Cruz has a truly radical , Waco -esque view of the government and a sneering, cynical agenda focused on war, promoting corporate America, bolstering the wealth of the top 10% and adding religion to the constitution. It is only when the corporate media focusses attention on the contest and not the content that people get muddled on the truth. Bernie Sanders is the truth, Ted Cruz is a phony.

    May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn D

    Well, I for one have seen far worse comments and far greater vitriol than what I'm seeing here, Mr. Charney. I understand what you're saying-but I think it's your view that puts you a bit sideways with your readers (Mr. Highhorse! That was pretty funny...:) In this day and age, when anyone can and does appear on fox (lowercase purposely) to conflate and obscure and purposely spew just utter trash--for someone to come out-on theoretically the "blue" side of the line-and make a comparison the likes of which you have here---I think-is pretty narrow-focused. But you appear to be putting your words to your truth-so I can't really fault you there. But I don't think you've taken as hard a drubbing as you might have elsewhere. JMHO. PS-I'm voting for Bernie. I hope you do too.

    May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRL

    Your blob succeeds in getting a reponse but mostly because its ridiculous. I dont need to rehash whats been said. You're so far off its actually laughable. You'll get that Fox News job soon enough...

    May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKevin P

    Listen to your commentators and next time you sit down to write something, try to be less simple-minded. Meanwhile, it would behoove you and the rest of the nation to learn what a social democrat is. What a waste of time this was.

    May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThe_Pyat

    To The_Pyat and others who have made similar comments: Bernie Sanders isn't a social democrat, but a democratic socialist. They aren't at all the same thing. The latter (where Sanders is) supports the establishment of a socialist economic system, which would be radically different than the one we have. I don't say it would be bad, just that it would be radically different, and which puts him on the far left.

    May 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterMichael Charney

    What does "socialist" mean? A fan of the Soviet union? Then Bernie is no socialist, because he's a fan of the Scandinavian Social Democracy, which he has repeatedly stated. Look on Bernie's votes and especially his many amendments, many of them adopted (but most rejected in the other chamber): he has been a solid liberal in congress. He has always caucused with the Democrats and now runs as candidate in their primary. He has stated that he will not run as independent and possible spoiler that could help a Republican to become president, which to me is a eminently sensible position. In summary, no false flag operation here.

    May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter T

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