Bernie Sanders and The West Wing / by Simmon Li

Now, I am not exactly sure of the similarity in parliamentary procedure, but the recent Bernie Sanders rant ((http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/12/bernie-sanders-filibuster)) reminded me of an episode of The West Wing. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stackhouse_Filibuster)) Amusing, and I think very symbolic. It's interesting that no other Senate Democrats were there to assist him. Talk about symbolism of party unity. In any case, a few points he brings up are interesting, and worth taking a look at. I'm not sure where the tax compromise puts the American people, I'm not sold that it's a second stimulus, but I'm also not sold that it's the end of the world. Does it signal that the deficit is a problem which the US wants to put off? Yes, and I think that's a very dangerous game. The problem is that elections are on the minds of the big players, and not so much the health of the American people. It seems to me that the Republicans have a fairly solid game plan of dividing the Democrats up. In terms of political strategy that's proven to work countless times, they're taking the strength of the Democratic party (big-tent politics), and using it to cleave the party. While I am, in essence, a progressive, I feel that at times like this, there needs to be a sense of pragmatism in the decisions taken. The cuts are Obama's bet on the economic recovery, which hopefully for him by 2012 will start producing jobs. Either way, the Republicans have more or less guaranteed a bit of election inflow for 2012 (I hope they have sense enough to put someone credible as a front runner).

In any case, Bernie Sanders did a very good thing by bringing these questions to the forefront, and I can only hope that people take to asking some of the questions that he's brought up.