Hulu is about to put out a documentary about the career of Hillary Clinton, and let me tell you, folks, I’d rather watch Dolittle on an airplane … that’s hurtling toward the ground. Bless her, but I have no interest whatsoever in relitigating 2016, oh what’s that? She said what about Bernie? Oh, so we are going to relitigate 2016 again? FML.
“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Oh shit. But Hillary will suck it up and begrudgingly endorse him if he gets the nomination, right?
I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it. And I don’t think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don’t know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you’re just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren]. I think that that’s a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.
OK, since you’re all just dying to know my take, here it is. Yesterday, my wife and son were listening to Bernie give an interview on NPR. At the end of the interview, my son — who is 12 — said, “Oh my god! Bernie is right about everything! He’s right on all the issues!” His eyes were all lit up and he was excited.
I didn’t expect it, but when he said that, I felt a pang rush over me. It wasn’t a good feeling, because my son is right, but also, Hillary is right. I think Bernie is right on most of the issues, but also, the culture surrounding Bernie is toxic and I do not want my son to be a part of that culture. When Hillary speaks to the “relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women” of his supporters, she is not wrong. Go to Twitter, right now, and you will see it. Type in “Bernie, Hillary” or “Bernie, Warren,” and those relentless, gendered attacks are inescapable. There is no way to deny its existence.
But again, Twitter is not real life. There is “Bernie,” and there is the “culture of Bernie,” and one is great, and one is not great, and how you feel about the former probably depends on how much of a role you believe that Bernie personally has in fostering or encouraging the latter.
I love “Vermont Bernie.” I went to Burlington for Thanksgiving, and that is the “Bernie culture” I crave: F**king commie hippies selling locally sourced fair trade everything and somehow also paying fair wages and maybe walking around barefoot in the middle of winter, I dunno. The whole goddamn place looks like a Rusted Root concert. Phenomenal city and I love that Bernie, and if every Bernie supporter was like our own Vermont native Tori Preston, I would be stoked about my kid jumping on the Bernie wagon. When you see Bernie at a rally, “Vermont Bernie” is who you see. People with thick Maine and New Hampshire accents who have chickens in their yard and wear overalls year-round and go to three-car parades through one-store downtowns love that Bernie.
However, when you see Bernie through the prism of social media and the f**king horse race the media is hellbent on manufacturing, you see the Bernie apparatus. The Bernie apparatus scares me because the Bernie apparatus has surrogates who put out big op-eds about how Joe Biden is corrupt, and MAGA Twitter gets #BidenIsCorrupt trending, and Bernie ends up apologizing on behalf of his surrogate.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Bernie is the quintessential example of “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
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