Thursday, February 13, 2020


Now that Sanders is surging, NeverTrumpers are freaking out. Max Boot:
Jennifer Rubin:
Still better and worse, as Ophelia said, is Megan McArdle. Months ago she declared she would support any Democrat, even Sanders, which was very clever of her -- she probably figures if he's nominated he'll be trounced, so she won't have to either do a last-minute "Save Our Oligarchy" column or pretend the day after he's inaugurated that she suddenly realized what a disastrous mistake America had made.

I'll say this for her: unlike Boot and Rubin, McArdle manages to keep the panic out of her voice. Her method is very close to that of the conservative shero whose manner she has come to adopt, Peggy Noonan: A touch toffee-nosed, civility-insistent, passive-aggressive. Here's the headline:
For good or ill (probably ill), at least Bernie Sanders is sincere
People always say it's unfair to blame columnists for the headlines their editors foist on them, and I agree: McArdle probably would have left off the parenthetical, and allowed her reader to infer it. Maybe her editor is a greenhorn who made the mistake of portraying what she read.
Look, I know that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a socialist. I’m aware that the engine of his campaign is breathtaking hubris well-lubricated with monetary snake oil, and that the ideas it spits out would, if enacted, catapult the United States into a fiscal crisis.
I mean, everybody knows that, right? If someone asks for proof just yell "Venezuela" and start throwing rocks.
And while I doubt it was politically savvy for Hillary Clinton to say so out loud in a new documentary, I understand that Sanders has trouble cooperating with his senatorial colleagues, which means he’s doomed to disappoint even his ardent supporters, should he get elected.
Not sure what "politically savvy" means in reference to someone who will never again hold public office (thank God). The rest of it sounds like some Northeastern office lady imitating bless-your-heartisms she saw in Steel Magnolias: unfortunately, in translation that means sewing organdy to a basic "your friends are stupid to like you" formulation.

But then McArdle decides to pull a fast one!
But darn it, I just like the guy.
Ha ha ha ha, no really, imagine Megan McArdle liking Bernie Sanders. He's everything she hates! He cares about poor people! He's popular despite being messy! If Suderman tried to interest him in his cocktail recipes he would probably not be able to pretend interest! He's the anti-McArdle.

So no one who knows what she's really about believes this shtick. But let's play along a while.
I don’t mean that I like Sanders the way Democrats “liked” Donald Trump in 2016, in the misguided belief that his nomination would allow Hillary Clinton to stroll unhindered into the White House. For one thing, I want the Democrat to win — only, please, let it be a less radical candidate.
Bernie's radical not "rad," people!
Yet even as I wish failure on his campaign, I still like Sanders himself. I’m a sucker for sincerity.
[Not gonna touch that]
And so are a whole lot of New Hampshire voters I’ve talked to, including quite a few who were planning to vote for someone else.
Over and over, nearly word for word, they basically said, “I like him because he’s been saying the same thing for 40 years.” They may disagree with this or that part of Sanders’s agenda, but at least they know he means it.
I wasn't there but I'm willing to bet New Hampshire Bernie Sanders voters were not telling Megan McArdle they liked her candidate because he hadn't changed his patter since the Reagan Administration. Perhaps they said they agreed with what he'd been saying for 40 years? But no, that'd be too much to bear.
Which may explain the strange “Freaky Friday” demographic inversion among supporters of the septuagenarian Sanders and the precocious Pete Buttigieg.
McArdle says the youngs don't like Mayo Pete even though he's young too, whereas they love old Bernie, and the reason is they think Pete is fake while Bernie
appeals to the sincerity caucus, with his undeniably authentic Brooklyn accent, his utterly unpolished speaking style and an unshakable commitment to socialism that could never, even in 1968, have seemed like a good career move.
So, see, it's all personality -- nothing really to do with principles or policies (because who really could want universal health care and a wealth tax? LOL get real, kids!).  Plus which sincerity has a downside, says McArdle:
I suspect that the sincerity appeal may also explain how Trump secured his nomination in 2016.
And you don't want to be like Trump supporters, do you, hipsters?  But wait, how exactly is Trump like Sanders?
The things Trump says are often untrue, sometimes awful and occasionally incoherent. But by that very token, you know his speeches haven’t been carefully focus-grouped...
And Bernie says stuff like "Not me, us!" Which is just as wacky! Not convinced yet? McArdle unsleeves her ace:
Mao Zedong’s Red Guards no doubt were plenty sincere, but I’d still rather be ruled by a used-car salesman from the seediest lot in town. 
[Photoshop of Kate McKinnon as Hillary's last-minute pitch: HE WILL CADRE US ALL.]
Then again, look back over the past two decades of politicians who promised that everything would be different, then delivered more of the same, only somehow worse.
The bottom line: Don't believe in anything, be cynical -- not like those awful hippies who were cynical about the Iraq War, ugh, but like everyone on the Fox Business Network is: Believing in nothing but money, comfortable with anyone who has lots of it, and contemptuous of anyone who has little. That's cynicism you can believe in -- and that wins Pulitzers!

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