“Dick Morris is…well… Bill Clinton, coming out of the 1992 election, behaved like a Democrat.”
Very true, which is why I wonder whether Morris, who has never been known as a consistently honest political actor, maybe overstated Perot’s impact. At the same time, Morris did have the president’s ear for a long time, so he would know better than most if Perot’s campaign had any real influence on Clinton’s thought process. My guess is the truth is somewhere in the middle — that Perot’s success did have an impact on how Clinton governed, but probably not as much of an impact as the drubbing the Democrats took in ’94.
“ There is a difference in my mind between the consistency you give Bernie credit for, and stubbornness — or worse, superficial stubbornness — but he hasn’t really been consistent, so much as good at erasing his tracks.”
Fair point. Those two things do often get easily mixed up. I must admit that I didn’t know about the Lockheed deal until you pointed it out. As far as the gun issue goes, Vermont has always been more conservative on gun rights than a lot of other liberal/progressive territories, so I’m not sure I agree that it’s hypocritical for him to be more moderate or even right-leaning on that one. What bothers me is when he’s duplicitous about it, which usually happens in front of progressive audiences and he’s obviously nervous about alienating potential supporters. In those moments, you’re reminded that, at the end of the day, he is still just a politician. But on civil rights, health care and education, IIRC, he has been pretty much saying the same things for years. He’s also never been shy about his socialism, which is really quite surprising considering how dirty of a word that is in American politics.
“I struggle to find it, but in a recent survey, 52% of Democrats were satisfied with their party. Only 11% said it was not liberal enough. Bernie’s following was overwhelmingly college kids, those new to politics and not committed to any party.”
I don’t doubt your numbers at all, but I do have a sincere question for you. Bernie got about 13 million votes out of 30 million votes in the Democratic primaries. That’s pretty substantial, IMHO. However, as you pointed out, Democrats on the whole don’t appear to be wildly in love with Bernie (numerous polls, including the one you cited, have shown that). At the same time, the most dedicated and loyal members of both parties are typically the ones who actually show up to vote in primaries, and they’re the ones who delivered those 13 million votes to Bernie. So could it perhaps be the case that the divide I cited does indeed exist, but that it’s exclusive to that small, loyal and passionate group of voters? And if that is the case, isn’t that divide made a little more serious by the fact that we’re talking about highly motivated voters here and not just some small group of casual Democrats who may not even show up to the polls in primaries and midterms?
“He exploited the caucus system, where a small group of committed zealots could flood a system that required taking a whole day off and haggling over votes to gain an unrepresentative outcome.”
As an Indie, I have no vested interest in changing the way that Dems or Reps conduct their primaries. But I have to admit that the caucus system has always struck me as too prone to being hijacked, so I agree with your point here. If I were a Democrat, I think I’d just toss caucuses out altogether, but that’s just me.
“Thanks for your time and reason and thoughts.”
Anytime, and same to you! Even when we disagree, I quite enjoy our conversations and appreciate hearing your perspective. :)