Election 2012: Will Sanders Challenge Obama?
By Gilbert Mercier
NEWS JUNKIE POSTDec 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm
Senator Bernie Sanders is suddenly emerging as the new “lion” of the Senate for the left, carrying the mantel for late Senator Ted Kennedy. The Senator from Vermont held the Senate floor for nine hours today to filibuster an attempt to renew the Bush tax cuts for the rich which President Obama, contrary from his previous stands is championing under pressure from the newly elected Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
America’s left has expressed vigorous opposition to what they view as President Obama caving in to GOP pressures on the tax cuts. Strong oppositions were expressed in the House this week, and now, the only socialist in the Senate, Bernie Sanders, is taking the lead in opposing what President Obama called a pragmatic compromise. The left doesn’t buy the argument for the compromise, and most progressives and liberals view the deal made by President Obama as a betrayal of a key policy element for real Democrats.
While Senator Sanders was holding the Senate floor in the hope to filibuster the bill, President Obama was hosting former President Clinton at the White House in an effort to show the media, and of course the country, that Clinton was fully supportive of President Obama’s controversial initiative. This, however, will have absolutely no impact to impress the left, but it is likely to have the opposite effect. President Clinton is view by the left as a center-right corporate Democrat, which is exactly what President Obama has become despite his electoral promises.
Senator Edward Kennedy once said that “The Republicans are looking after the financial interests of the wealthiest individual in this country”. Republicans still defend the interests of rich Americans, and they are getting a substantial help from corporate Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Ted Kennedy also said, after Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980:“If the Democrats run for cover, if we become pale carbon copies of the opposition, we will lose and deserve to lose.The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.”
The words expressed by Kennedy in 1980 apply well in our current context. Renewing Bush tax cuts for the rich does not make sense for President Obama either pragmatically, to control the looming budget deficit, or even strategically, if President Obama plans to be re-elected in 2012.
Tax cuts for the wealthy will make the budget deficit crisis more acute, and it will not stimulate the economy as it is currently sold to the American public by the Obama administration. If nothing else, and just to be pragmatic, the only fiscally responsible way to deal with the budget deficit is a dual approach: Cut spending and increase taxes or face a situation of complete federal insolvency in less than 20 years.
Strategically, for his re-election bid of 2012, President Obama has de facto lost whatever little support he had remaining on the left. Senator Sanders, despite his age, might just be the right candidate to challenge President Obama in a Democratic primary in 2012. It could be in the context of a third party where Sanders could find some natural allies from real Libertarians such as Representative Ron Paul. Considering the “fluidity” and unpredictability of American politics at the moment a Bernie Sanders/ Ron Paul ticket in 2012 should not be ruled out.
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