Why Bernie Sanders doesn’t participate in organized religion

Feb 2, 2016

Photo credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters

By

Growing up, Bernie Sanders followed the path of many young American Jews. He went to Hebrew school, was bar mitzvahed and traveled to Israel to work on a kibbutz.

But as an adult, Sanders drifted away from Jewish customs. And as his bid for the White House gains momentum, he has the chance to make history. Not just as the first Jewish president — but as one of the few modern presidents to present himself as not religious.

“I am not actively involved with organized religion,” Sanders said in a recent interview.

Sanders said he believes in God, though not necessarily in a traditional manner.

“I think everyone believes in God in their own ways,” he said. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”


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48 comments on “Why Bernie Sanders doesn’t participate in organized religion

  • 2
    Pinball1970 says:

    I could vote for this guy

    Me too but we are on the wrong continents for that (you in Oz yes?)

    He is smart, rational, makes the right noises on climate, gay rights, equal pay from what I have read

    Exactly why the American public won’t vote for him

    “I think everyone believes in God in their own ways,” he said. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”
    That is Yank for I am an atheist but I am in the middle of an election so I need to a little bit fuzzy on that point.



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  • Me too but we are on the wrong continents for that (you in Oz yes?)

    Yep. I got told off by an America on the GOP’s Holy War thread, when I tongue in cheek suggested that because America has such a huge effect on the rest of the world, that the rest of us should have a Veto power, should the aircraft vapour trails cause the American voters to choose someone like Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Bush III, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Gilmore, Kasich, Paul, Santorum, … Oops. That’s all of the Republicans.

    Don’t tell Neodarwinian.



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  • I think Bernie is about the only honest person in American politics at the moment. As Pinball says he’s clearly atheist but trying to leave a little wiggle room for the religious nutters who otherwise wouldn’t vote for him by talking the “spiritual” thing rather than the practicing religious thing. I watched the Democratic debate a few days ago and have a lot of time for Bernie. Sadly he’s just a tad old now to have much chance of election. He’s about as close to what we’d call “normal” over here in the UK or Europe as you can get in American politics.

    I just can’t bring myself to like Hillary much and never really have done although I’m sure she’ll win the nomination in the end. Of course any of the Democrats would be infinitely preferable to any of the Republican loonies.

    American politics is such an utter farce and has been for a few decades and religion sits right at the core of it tainting everything with its dirty little fingers. Even Barney Frank who could be openly gay in office couldn’t reveal himself to be an atheist until he retired. So sad.



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  • May I say, with a glass-half-full perspective from the US, that I am so pleased that Sanders has had even this much success with American voters. I never would have predicted it. I also never would have predicted the election of Barak Obama so what do I know? Votes and support for Sanders proves to us that there are a great number of people here who are sick of the predatory economic system and that they see his ideas as a correction to the status quo.

    We have a progressive candidate in full view here who “admits” honestly that he has no use for religion. Astounding development! At the very least, this will serve as permission for other like minded candidates to kick their own religious statements to the curb. This is a direct goal of the entire secular movement!

    Word on the street here amongst progressives is that they may vote for Sanders in the primaries to make a statement to the Democratic political party that they have the mandate to lean strongly left. Hillary Clinton will probably be our candidate in the general election but she will have a strong statement from the voters in her party on the direction that they want her to take.



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  • That is Yank for I am an atheist but I am in the middle of an election
    so I need to a little bit fuzzy on that point

    Exactly right. And I like how the word ‘progressive’ has largely taken place of its synonym, liberal. Here in the States synonym use is akin to the invention of a whole new word [sarcasm]!

    By the way, is it just me or did I miss the memo from the Mods alerting us to the removal of the ‘reply’ and ‘report’ buttons? I’ve never used ‘report’ (on purpose, ha) but often used reply as most of us have.



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  • Yes, that too. We can only applaud Sanders for this ‘revelation’ and as the hopeful beginning for others to come out of the closet. It’s long overdue. The closest a republican candidate has come, to my memory, is when Jon Huntsman, to my mind the only truly rational republican candidate in the last few POTUS election cycles said the following:

    In an interview with Time he stated that he is more spiritual than religious and that his membership in the LDS Church is “tough to define” –

    Which I also take as code for secular/agnostic, whatever. This was compounded when he further alienated himself from his fellow republicans by tweeting, in 2011, in response to a statement by suspected lunatic Rick Perry that global warming was unproven and that evolution remains only a theory, he tweeted, “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” He said, “The minute that the Republican Party becomes… the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.”

    So in essence he’s a prophet. Yes, on its face the LDS Church seems far loonier than mainstream Christianity to most but I think that’s largely because the inanities of that religion are less ingrained. There’s as much eye rolling to be found in the bible as in the golden plates.



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  • Steven

    “tough to define”

    haha. Yes, that was definitely code. I’ll be happy when no code is needed.

    Yes, I remember all that business with Huntsman. He was an interesting blip on the radar.



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  • @LaurieB

    Hillary Clinton will probably be our candidate in the general election but she will have a strong statement from the voters in her party on the direction that they want her to take.

    Exactly right or rather…left.

    Sanders strong performance is utterly heartwarming. Posting on Patheos atheist channels, those posts with Bernie Sanders policy statements get no comments. There is nothing to disagree with it seems. I have learned that contention generates an order of magnitude more traffic.



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  • Exactly why the American public won’t vote for him

    If he becomes the nominee, I will definitely vote for him. (I might even vote for him even if he doesn’t.)

    Unfortunately, America, on the whole, is still too far away from being ready for this.



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  • Reply to Doug and Steven007 re missing Reply/Report buttons:

    There will be several changes to the way the site works over the coming weeks, including what we hope users will agree are really powerful enhancements to functionality that will intensify the community aspects of the site and improve the ability to have more effective, in-depth discussions. We believe there will be a proper introduction to all the changes in due course, but we mods don’t know in advance when each new feature is being rolled out, so there are some surprises for us too.

    The in-built Reply function on the underlying site software automatically indents replies, which means there is a maximum number of replies-to-replies before they become illegible on the screen. After this maximum has been reached, further Replies are added at the end of the thread. Perfectly justifiably, users have been complaining about this for a very long time, since you have never known where your reply will appear, and there has also been no way of checking for further replies to comments earlier in the thread without skimming through the entire thread again on each new visit – not a great problem on one-page threads, but a serious bore and impediment to deeper discussion on threads where comments spread over multiple pages. This has been the single most complained-about feature of the site for a very long time, and the removal of the Reply feature addresses it.

    Now all comments appear chronologically, whether they are new comments in their own right or replies to someone else’s. The site developer is looking into possible ways of making it easier to identify which comment you are replying to, but in the meantime we suggest you simply copy the user name and date/time stamp into your reply. And obviously you can also still copy and paste specific sections of the original comment into your reply too. You will always know where your reply will appear – i.e. at the end of the thread – and you will no longer have to scroll back through the entire thread to see new comments that have been posted since your last visit.

    As for the Report facility, in the underlying software it is connected to the (nested) Reply function. It is not possible to have one without the other. In practice, the Report button has never done very much, so the lack of it will not greatly affect the moderation of the site.

    The mods



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  • @Moderator 196671

    I am very happy with this new (old!) arrangement. Sequenced comments give a much clearer sense of how thoughts and ideas are evolving to the lurker. Running out of indent became very tedious and a specific dependency of a comment would disappear anyway. Requiring us to always indicate the dependency is a good discipline we too often lacked.

    We once had the comment numbers visible which is a very clear and compact way of creating link identities. That would be nice to see again.



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  • Glad you like the change, Phil. Couldn’t agree with you more about the beneficial impact on the quality of the discussion.

    Comment numbering is one of the possibilities the site developer is looking into. The trick will be to have static numbering so that comment numbers remain the same even if another comment in the thread is subsequently removed for any reason. He’s on the case!

    The mods



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  • @Moderator 196680

    Just a manual tryout of what might be done.

    Copy the address of the comment to link to, paste in my reply and insert the @Moderator and the comment number text now visible at the bottom in the a link address. It could be easily automated I should think.

    FWIW I subsequently edited the post to include its own comment number, but I see that has now gone.

    Clearly subsequent comment deletion will need “Deleted comment” place holders for this to work.



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  • I’ve just finished watching the latest Town Hall debate between Bernie and Hillary on 3rd Feb and I think Bernie knocked it out of the park. Humorous, passionate, somewhat self deprecating and absolutely committed to not engaging in negative campaigning. Even when asked to comment on Hillary’s positions with respect to his own he made every effort to not be deprecating.

    Hillary just doesn’t do it for me. I think the timbre of female voices is generally less appealing in serious debate which is something of a disadvantage from the get go but trying to ignore that I still can’t really bring myself to like or trust her. As for her own take on religion she says it’s a vital part of her life and she starts every day with a scripture lesson. I doubt she believes a word of it. She’s too cynical and intelligent to believe in invisible sky pixies. Which either makes her a liar if she really doesn’t believe or a nutter if she does.

    I won’t live to see it but I hold out for the day when people who believe in invisible sky pixies and talking snakes are allowed to do so because of freedom of thought, speech and expression but barred from holding important public office because they aren’t completely sane.



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  • Given that the changes to the way comments are being shown is being discussed above I’ll add my tuppence worth. I agree that it was extremely annoying and confusing when new replies got buried in the middle of long threads because they were replies to someone else’s comment and I’m glad to see that go.

    Another bugbear is not being able to see the latest replies on the home page. You have to go into one of the news items first. So please put latest replies on the home page, also more of them because often you don’t even see all the replies since you last popped in and perhaps the ability to scroll down through more of them too. Oh and date and time stamps on them would be handy so you can scroll back to when you know you were last online.



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  • Another bugbear is not being able to see the latest replies on the home page.

    I agree with this. I would also like it to scroll back at least a day, to allow you to catch up.

    Humorous, passionate, somewhat self deprecating and absolutely committed to not engaging in negative campaigning.

    What’s not to like about, Bernie? I am thrilled the young particularly appreciate this. You would have though it the older folks who would be all Huckstered out.



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  • @Arkrid Sandwich
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I agree with your assessment of the debate. Bernie was in top form. Loved his dealing with some tough subjects. How did you like his answer to the guy who makes 41K per year and worried about higher taxes to support universal health care?

    Interesting that my 23 year old nephew was watching with us and he got a shock to hear about higher taxes but when his uncle and I told him what we are paying for monthly health insurance premiums and then what we would pay in taxes under Bernie’s plan, the nephew was relieved. We told him that it would be a bargain for us to pay the higher taxes and get a superior health plan with much better coverage. Our monthly premium is either $600 or $800 (forgot exact amount) and that is for me, my husband and our youngest daughter who will turn 26 in July and get kicked off our plan by the insurance co. I told him that not only are higher taxes a bargain for us but that in the larger picture, this is the ethically superior thing to do for the whole country.

    Bernie needs to put a model family budget together and show it on national TV so that people get it about the monthly savings. The higher taxes proposal will scare Americans and especially those who are ignorant of the fact that our taxes are presently low when compared with other countries.

    He also scored big points with his answer on the heroin epidemic here in the States. New Hampshire (location of last night’s debate) has a crisis with heroin overdoses and due to their minimal social services budget, they have few treatment clinics for addicts there. Now they’re not so proud of their tea party bullshit. What Bernie said was a great relief; that it’s not a criminal justice problem – It’s a public health problem. Perfect.

    As you said, his tone and positive campaigning and his engagement with the audience was excellent.

    My nephew, at the end of it, with a look of astonishment said, “Is this guy too good to be true?”



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  • LaurieB
    Feb 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Interesting that my 23 year old nephew was watching with us and he got a shock to hear about higher taxes but when his uncle and I told him what we are paying for monthly health insurance premiums and then what we would pay in taxes under Bernie’s plan, the nephew was relieved.

    I’ve posted this before, but all Americans should see it!

    https://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/04/26/cost-of-health-care-by-country-national-geographic/



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  • 30
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @Doug 196648

    Unfortunately, America, on the whole, is still too far away from being ready for this (iow electing Bernie Sanders).

    I disagree. Bernie has come a long way in the polls from when he announced his candidacy to where he is now. This is no accident. The american people are fed up of being screwed by big banks, corrupt politicians and lobbyists. There is a huge grassroots movement and it’s moving and gaining momentum by the day.

    Clinton’s campaign is either not gaining momentum or declining in some states. Her discourse has moved to the left and she’s now even trying to sound more like Bernie in her speeches. To me, that says a lot.

    I think that quite to the contrary, America is more than ready for Bernie. America badly needs Bernie to win.



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  • @arkrid-sandwich

    Another bugbear is not being able to see the latest replies on the
    home page. You have to go into one of the news items first. So please
    put latest replies on the home page, also more of them because often
    you don’t even see all the replies since you last popped in and
    perhaps the ability to scroll down through more of them too. Oh and
    date and time stamps on them would be handy so you can scroll back to
    when you know you were last online.

    This is something we have requested. Also that threads remain accessible from the home page for longer. Actually, it probably won’t be the home page as the plan is for that to work differently on the new site; but a new Community page that will combine all the new user features and be accessible via a single click from the home page.

    The mods



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  • LaurieB Feb 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm: Hillary Clinton will probably be our candidate in the general election but she will have a strong statement from the voters in her party on the direction that they want her to take.

    If Hillary Clinton is the nominee she will need to walk a fine line.

    40% of people who vote will vote Democrat, no matter what, and 40% will vote Republican. The remaining 20% can change and it’s important not to scare them away by going too far to the left. I realize that “left” in American politics maps to small ‘c’ conservative in most other countries, but let’s ignore this for the moment. Currently a large minority of conservatives think that the way back to the White house is to move to the right. This group sincerely believes that Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama because he wasn’t conservative enough. Hard to believe but true, so they are pushing their anointed heir to the Reagan throne – Ted Cruz. That’s great news for the rest of us who are scared as hell of a GOP trifecta governing the country.

    In a perfect world Bernie Sanders would be the man. But we on the left need to be cognizant of what is desirable and what is achievable and the difference between the two.



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  • 33
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @john.wb

    In a perfect world Bernie Sanders would be the man. But we on the left need to be cognizant of what is desirable and what is achievable and the difference between the two.

    That’s Clinton’s argument. That we have to be realistic, and not rock the boat…etc. And this is exactly how nothing ever changes. News flash: the world will never be perfect so that’s no excuse. What is achievable is only limited by the amount of time, work and talent we put into it.

    So it makes much better sense to elect someone who will sincerely and relentlessly try to change things for the better than elect a candidate who won’t even bother trying on the basis that those changes are “way too unrealistic to be achievable”.



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  • @LaurieB
    Feb 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Bernie answered the question about taxes much better than he did in the previous debate where he didn’t really clarify that although taxes would have to go up a bit, healthcare premiums which are much larger would disappear. Clinton’s answer, that she’d retain Obamacare but try and get it to cover everyone, was very unsatisfactory IMO. The insurance company driven healthcare system in the USA is not just a joke, it’s a disgrace. An affront to a supposedly civilised society.

    It is utterly beyond this Brit at least how anyone can want to retain a system that costs twice the amount per capita compared to most other western nations and delivers worse results unless you’re very well off and very comprehensively covered.

    I lost count of how many times the Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare once that hit the mid 40s and the number given in the debate yesterday was considerably higher still. What a staggering waste of legislative time and money. Yet nearly half the country will still vote for a party that has done nothing in the last 8 years other than try and bring Congress grinding to a halt. Wankers.



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  • @Arkrid Sandwich

    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    It is utterly beyond this Brit at least how anyone can want to retain a system that costs twice the amount per capita compared to most other western nations and delivers worse results unless you’re very well off and very comprehensively covered.

    Well, as a Brit you may be surprised to hear that the British national health program is held up here as the example of disastrous health care that our predatory private insurance companies are helping us to avoid. Before Obama care went through, we were inundated with propaganda giving examples of how Brits and Canadians must wait long amounts of time for medical care. Of course they had some Brits and Canadians in advertisements that were willing to complain about their medical care.

    These scare tactics were absolutely effective given the fact that ignorant Americans have no idea how European systems work and have never accessed one and know no Europeans that they could talk to and ask them honestly, “is your system ok? Is it working?” They are completely insulated in a bubble and don’t make any effort to find out what goes on beyond their own small borders.

    Apparently, it never occurs to them that the wealthy predatory insurance companies would be more than happy to pay for advertisements that keep their ignorant clients fearful enough to keep on cutting them big checks and staying on a conveyor belt straight to death. What a massive long con job this is. The song Sheep by Pink Floyd comes to mind here. If only Roger Waters would write a song about killer insurance companies. I’d buy it.



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  • LaurieB
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    giving examples of how Brits and Canadians must wait long amounts of time for medical care. Of course they had some Brits and Canadians in advertisements that were willing to complain about their medical care.

    Our Tory government is busy giving the health service “improvement targets” – while cutting their budgets and staffing – in preparation for finding excuses for privatising sections of them!

    Medical issues are dealt with on a basis of urgency, so if you have some trivial non-urgent condition you may well have to wait if emergencies or urgent treatment is needed by someone else! – I am sure propagandists can easily find selfish people who would complain that “me me me”, is not automatically at the front of the queue, when the doctors are treating road accident victims, while those who wandered in drunk with a few scrapes, are kept waiting!

    Of course it is possible in the UK, to have additional private health insurance for those who want priority treatment.



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  • @Alan4discussion

    Medical issues are dealt with on a basis of urgency, so if you have some trivial non-urgent condition you may well have to wait if emergencies or urgent treatment is needed by someone else! –

    Americans may need reminding that our Emergency services are overcrowded 24/7, with many of the patients in that waiting room being there for illnesses that could have been prevented and dealt with by basic care with their family doctor – but for one problem – people don’t have medical insurance and can’t afford to access a general practitioner so they go straight to the emergency room at the hospital because by law they can’t be turned away.

    So why on earth would anyone complain about the Brits having to wait some weeks or months for an elective surgery? Only ignorance and a complete lack of skepticism could produce this. Like I said, sheep.



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  • @LaurieB
    Feb 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Well, as a Brit you may be surprised to hear that the British national health program is held up >here as the example of disastrous health care that our predatory private insurance companies are
    helping us to avoid.

    Not in the slightest given that I follow American politics avidly and have seen such scare tactics many times on Real Time, The Daily Show etc. As I said in a post a few days ago, American politicians only have the ability to exist to reflect the views of the populace they represent and when that populace is one of the most insular and least well informed on the planet it’s very easy to bamboozle them.

    This ability to misrepresent the truth to and manipulate the electorate is magnified by the insidious rise of a complete disregard for the truth in American politics, particularly, in fact almost exclusively by Republicans. The sheer disregard for the truth has reached proportions I would never have believed 20 or 30 years ago. For a while those who got called out fell back on “I misspoke” to excuse themselves knowing full well that enough people would see the lie but not the retraction to have the desired effect and now it seems they no longer even bother to retract it. I watched Romney and Ryan come out with a steady stream of blatant lies about Obama in the last election and the “fact checking” industry over there is big business. Over here it barely exists. The British politicians might disagree with each other but are still held to reasonable standards on truthfullness.

    The Death Panels scaremongering about Obamacare was one of the most blatant misrepresentation issues in recent years but when you have an electorate who actually think people like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are intellectual role models then you don’t have to be desperately sophisticated with your lying. As with small fish in big shoals pretty much any bait will do. Very few get wise enough, fast enough, to avoid the bait and grow large.

    Apparently the mean IQ doesn’t vary by that much from country to country but nonetheless politicans like Trump, Carson, Bush, Cruz would be little more than objects of ridicule over here with zero chance of getting mainstream support. The right wing religious mindset is so specifically American it utterly baffles us. Even the Democrats are a tad to the right of our own right wing views but the Republicans are from another planet altogether.



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  • LaurieB
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Apparently, it never occurs to them that the wealthy predatory insurance companies would be more than happy to pay for advertisements that keep their ignorant clients fearful enough to keep on cutting them big checks and staying on a conveyor belt straight to death.

    It seems that the US commercial hospitals and insurance companies, also have buckets of money to spend on litigation and negligence claims, – so my daughter told me when she was working for a Wall Street Law Firm doing doctor defence cases!



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  • 40
    Ted Foureagles says:

    As a Native American I’m heartened by the strength of the Sanders campaign. Since South Carolina has an early primary I expect to be able to vote for him then. I’d also vote for him in the general election should he attain the party’s nomination, but I would be concerned about that vote. I’m not worried about having a president with Bernie’s views (most of which I share), but with the valid points that Clinton raises about electability and effectiveness.

    My first presidential vote was for George McGovern in 1972. I really thought then that if this country had any moral legitimacy then it was obvious that he was the right choice. Nixon won in a landslide of historic proportions, and the Vietnam war went on. I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and he actually won. Perhaps he was naïve or maybe our idea of presidential power is naïve, but his term was a failure by most measures. I voted for him again in 1980 and we got Ronald Reagan.

    Those things weigh on my decision to back Bernie Sanders. I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton’s agenda, especially as relates to foreign policy, but she may be correct in her implication of Sanders’ electability and her assertions that his proposed policies are unrealistic in light of the nation’s current political climate. I know, we don’t make profound changes without taking chances, and that’s what I’ve always done with my vote and probably will always do. We’re getting down to a quatrain of Hillary, Marco, Bernie and Ted (the Trump card is almost unthinkable), and one of them will be the next U.S. president, save some big, unexpected disruption.

    Three of those four candidates represent a move to the right from an Obama administration that has been disappointingly centrist. So, the question is whether to go with an almost sure thing shift a little right or take a chance on idealism and risk falling over the right edge. I’ll risk it, but my nephew will be registering for the military draft in 6 years, and so I’ll also be risking him.

    }}}}



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  • https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/02/why-bernie-sanders-doesnt-participate-in-organized-religion/#li-comment-196718
    @NearlyNakedApe

    I think that quite to the contrary, America is more than ready for Bernie. America badly needs Bernie to win.

    I disagree but I do hope you’re right – I’m certainly ready and I know many others who are as well. Having such a President can only do so much, however (as exemplified by Obama’s presidency). The tougher part will be changing the makeup of Congress and state Governors. They will continue to serve the “moneyed class” which still holds great power. It’s hard to see how that will be changed, and it’s hard to see how it will not involve some sort of violence.



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  • @Doug
    Feb 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm
    Having such a President can only do so much, however (as exemplified by Obama’s presidency).

    Obama’s initial problem was his political naivety and idealism. I don’t think he realised just how obstructive, bloody minded and frankly treasonous (and I use the word advisedly) the Republicans would be and that they would do anything to hold him to a single term even if it meant bringing the government to a standstill, blocking every bit of legislation he proposed regardless of whether it was in the country’s best interests and putting their party first and the country they had sworn to represent a very distant second.

    So he squandered the majority he had in the House and Senate for the first two years to a large extent while he still thought he could work with these people and that they would be responsive to logic, common sense and the needs of the people. By the time he realised they had no interest in anything other than their own agenda it was too late.

    Sanders will not be so naive and he has a much longer history of garnering bipartisan agreement. I think the crucial choice he has to make if he wins the nomination is in his running mate. Given his age he really needs a VP who would be equally acceptable to the electorate as president should the need arise. Although Joe Biden decided not to run directly I wonder if he’d be up for VP again because I think he’d dovetail with Sanders perfectly. You’d have a ticket there with two people who, almost alone in American politics, have a an envious reputation for truth, honesty, straight talking and reliability.



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  • 44
    bonnie says:

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?404114-1/2016-national-prayer-breakfast

    @phil 12:53 pm > his team strong-armed

    Makes me wonder how much is done by a president’s personal convictions, versus a team of advisors. I can’t speculate if Mr. Sanders would continue the tradition dating back to Eisenhower; but the day of saying “no” to ‘prayer breakfast’ can’t come soon enough.

    Demolish prayer breakfast and national day of prayer, the sun will still rise in the East!



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  • I’ve just finished watching the head to head and once again Bernie knocked it out of the park whereas Clinton shot herself in the foot bigtime. 26 minutes into the debate she launched a tirade against Bernie for attacking her with insuation, innuendo and then in what I think was a terrible misjudgement she accused him of an “artful smear” campaign. It drew resounding boos from the audience and she came across as paranoid, bitchy and shrill.

    Bernie remained calm, statesmanlike and mature. When given the opportunity to attack Clinton in return on her email situation he simply declined to lower himself to do so or politicize the issue.

    Some years ago I watched Bill Clinton on an extended edition of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart talking almost continuously for 30 minutes on every topic Jon threw at him. His command of facts and figures was encyclopedic. He blew me away, and Jon as well. In last night’s debate I saw a glimmer of the same mental accuity from Bernie. He was incisive and comprehensive on just about everything asked of him. Hillary stumbled a couple of times and she’s still haunted by the email issue and her vote for the war in Iraq.

    Hillary is reasonably strong on her foreign policy experience and general political career but was weak on why she would make a better presidential candidate than Bernie who by contrast was very strong on why he would make a better one than her.

    As before, Bernie came across as mature, humorous and self deprecating and drew applause for almost every point he made. Hillary came across as somewhat mean, arrogant and more of a political animal than an honest champion of the people.

    Big win for Bernie and a terrible misjudgement by Hillary. If she loses New Hampshire it will very likely be because of that performance.



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  • @ Arkrid Sandwich – 196821

    An element of a Hillary presidency that’s not oft discussed is the presence of the First Man (First Gentleman?) It seems clear to me that if she were president her spouse would be the most influential First Spouse in history. Who thinks Bill Clinton wouldn’t be intimately involved in decision making (furthermore, who wouldn’t want him to be)? For fans of BC’s presidency this might essentially be seen as a 3rd term.

    I like Bernie but I have strong concerns about his ultimate electability as succinctly laid out by Ted Foureagles above. Unlike Hillary, who if male and registered as a republican would easily be their leading candidate, Sanders will likely get very few, if any republican votes (I believe the word ‘socialism’ eats at their brain like syphilis). So he would have to get nearly every Dem vote. And for some of the more conservative Dems he’s still seen as problematic. So yes, electability. But he has some time to gain greater support, which will definitely be needed.



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  • I forced myself to watch Saturday’s Republican debate for the sake of fairness and that’s two and a bit hours of my life I’ll never get back. I came away little wiser on almost every topic other than concluding that compared to the generally mature and substantive Democrat debate between Hillary and Bernie it was like watching a bunch of kids squabbling in a playground.

    Rubio was a disaster. He got lambasted by Christie for just repeating 25 second sound bites that his advisors had written for him and proceeded to prove that by saying the same thing 4 times over until eventually even the audience booed him.

    I mentioned recently how much barefaced lying is now a part of Republican politics. Cruz exemplified this by lying about Carson dropping out of the race to steal Carson’s Iowa votes and then he lied some more in the debate by blaming it on CNN’s reporting despite them never having reported any such thing.

    A few take outs from the debate.

    Rubio: On immigration he said that the current laws are not being enforced and leadership is not about continuing to do the same thing over and over if it has no chance of succeeding. Rather ironic given that the Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare over 50 times despite it having no chance of succeeding.

    Cruz: Socialised medicine is a disaster because it rations everything. Newsflash Mr Cruz, every type of healthcare system rations everything because there is never an infinite pot of money to perform every single test and procedure you can think of.

    Trump: To Jeb Bush “Let me talk, be quiet”. Again ironic because Trump makes a lot of noise but as far as I can tell he never actually says anything. Every answer is just “I’ll do it bigger, better quicker” but there are never any details.

    Trump: “I’ll bring back waterboarding…and much worse.”

    Rubio: “Democrats are the extremists on abortion” In your delusional world view maybe.

    Carson seemed to be asleep from when he missed his cue to come in at the start and apparently never actually woke up much further at any time during the debate so not much to report on his performance. Kasich I know little about and he has zero chance of being elected so again I’ll pass.

    If you could call anybody winners in this sorry debacle I’d have to pick Christie and much as it pains me, Jeb Bush, who actually does seem to be by a slim margin the smarter Bush. It’s a very low bar though so not that hard to climb over.

    There was lots of hot air about how the Democrats have gutted the military and some whining about Obama’s Executive Orders despite him having issued fewer of those per annum than almost any other recent president. In terms of substantive answers to important questions I saw three fifths of bugger all in the whole 2 and a 1/4 hours.

    The least worst of this sorry bunch must be Christie. Carson is a joke with zero executive experience and mad as a box of frogs to boot. He’ll drop out soon. Rubio seems like a small kid amongst grown ups reading from pre-prepared crib sheets that adults have written for him. I doubt if even an electorate as stupid as Americans could stomach a third Bush. Trump is little more than a blowhard windbag with no actual answers to anything. His success to date is simply because he keeps throwing liberal chunks of raw liver to a slavering audience thirsty for blood but there is no substance behind anything he says. Cruz will probably win the nomination once Trump runs out of empty rhetoric.



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