In my view, we do need to boldly address our deficit crisis, but we need to do it in a way that is fair – that is not on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the children and the poor. In other words, we need shared sacrifice. The wealthiest people in this country, who are now doing phenomenally well, are also going to have to help us with deficit reduction. That is why I introduced legislation which would place a 5.4 percent emergency surtax on income over $1 million. The revenue would go into an Emergency Deficit Reduction Fund. Just doing that – asking millionaires to pay a little bit more in taxes after all the huge tax breaks they have received – will bring in up to $50 billion a year.
— Sen. Bernie Sanders, March 14
We won’t get fooled again.
— The Who, 1971
He’s old and doesn’t dress like a model, and he speaks too plainly, and only for people who can’t afford to make large campaign contributions. But he doesn’t associate with the likes of William Daley and Tim Geithner. He hasn’t welshed on promises to end Bush’s wars, close the Guantanamo Bay prison, make jobs creation the main goal of his stimulus program and walk with workers whose rights are being trampled. I could go on.
Bernie is the Obama most progressives voted for, as opposed to the Obama who turned out to be Bush Lite. And that assessment is too generous — Obama’s favorable treatment of corrupt Wall Street bankers and his continuation of the war on citizens’ rights in the name of anti-terrorism make him almost as heavy (oppressive) as Dubya.
You say wait a minute, Bernie Sanders is an independent — a goddamn socialist, in fact. He wants to increase taxes on the rich to help balance the budget. He wants to end corporate outsourcing of jobs, safeguard Social Security, put a stop to Republican efforts to cut aid to the poor and middle class. He really believes in this shit!
As do most progressives. If we can pretend Obama was a progressive rather than a mouthpiece for big business, then why can’t we pretend Bernie Sanders — the man who filibustered for eight hours against extended tax cuts for the rich — is the real Obama, the progressive we voted for?
I’m not saying we should join Robert Reich’s “People’s Party” or push for Bernie to run for president. There are potential opponents to Obama who are younger, more polished and just as progressive. What we should do is stop waiting for Obama to start acting like a real Democrat, especially now that he’s focused on re-election.
We should look to Bernie Sanders, at least for the time being, to articulate our determination to stop the Republicans from turning the entire country into Mississippi. This would make more sense than looking for leadership from the empty suit who currently occupies the White House.
Besides, it’s a lot harder to get fooled by someone when you know you’re only pretending.