Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reckless Vs Responsible

Over at the Great Orange Satan, there is really only one thing I read with regularity and that's their Abbreviated Pundit Roundup.  Today, they take Dana Milbank to task for comparing St. Bernard with Tailgunner Ted and the Trumpalumpa.

Milbank acknowledges the very different styles of Sanders and Trump/Cruz.  He is not comparing the nature of the message or the messengers themselves.  He compares the practicality of each of the three candidates' plans.  None of them are plausible.  Trump and Cruz's tax plans are so transparently mendacious that they almost render debate on them impossible.  How do you debate someone about which animal is better if they pick a unicorn that is crossed with a lion and a dragon?

Sanders proposals are extreme in the other direction.  While the Trump and Cruz promise ridiculous tax cuts that can never be paid for, Sanders, at least, proposes spending money on Americans.  But he does so without any plausible way to pay for it.  Not even most of it.  Even with massive tax increases, adding the sort of spending that he wants to spend is onerous.

You can make two counterarguments.  One is that this is precisely the strategy behind "starve the beast" where Republicans run up debt so that Democrats can't add programs when they get the levers of power.  Or you can argue that Republicans routinely run out ridiculous math in campaigns, why can't Sanders.

Neither argument accounts for reality.  Milbanks best point is that elevating expectations to absurd heights is a recipe for disillusionment and anger.  We are already seeing this on the GOP side, where the Teanderthals promised to repeal everything Obama ever did and defeat him in 2012.  When they were unable to do anything, the GOP coughed up the orange colored anger magnet Donald Trump.

Up until now, St. Bernard's basic decency has led me to say things like, "I like Sanders, but..."  This is the close cousin to "I don't like Hillary, but..."  Well screw that.  Sanders is actually dangerous to liberal governance, because one huge advantage liberals have is that we work within the realm of reality.

Sanders undermines this advantage.

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