Last week things finally started to get interesting in the process to nominate a Democratic presidential candidate. Mrs. Bill Clinton was beginning to look a bit forlorn and a tad bored as she puttered around the early primary states doing "listening" tours and trying not to step into anything controversial. Oh, the Republicans were hurling the occasional Benghazi bombs and trying to stir up a bit of a stink over the way the Clinton Foundation manages to fund itself - and names like Vince Foster and Monica Lewinsky were starting to be dropped into conversations on Fox News - but basically poor Hillary was circling in her shark tank all alone just watching the
Well, her wait is finally over. Senator Bernie Sanders, the irascible independent from the state of Vermont, has announced that he will challenge the coronation of Hillary Clinton and in so doing, bring a bit of democracy back into the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders isn't just a left-winger, he is a far left-winger who has described himself as being a socialist and who supports things like government-funded cradle-to-grave health coverage for every American, tighter controls on big business, a more fair tax system that would make the rich carry their share of the load, legalization of medical marijuana, same-sex marriage and full LGBTQ rights, tighter controls on firearms, unfettered reproductive rights, and . . . well, the list goes on and on. Bernie Sanders doesn't waffle, he says exactly what he thinks, and he votes his considerable conscience.
Sanders has been rated at 93% by the American Civil Liberties Union and 97% by the NAACP. His commitment to civil rights is obvious and strong.
However, I'm not completely delusional. I realize that no matter how much I would like to see Bernie Sanders - or Elizabeth Warren - as the eventual Democratic nominee, it is still highly likely that the nomination will eventually go to Hillary. But for the time being, at least, I have someone out there for whom I can be excited. The senator from Vermont raised a million-and-a-half dollars shortly after his announcement - ten of which was from me - and his name will no doubt appear on the Missouri March 15th presidential primary ballot giving me one last opportunity to signal my displeasure with the eventual Hillary nomination.
There are those who argue that Sanders being in the race will pull Hillary to the left, but I somehow doubt that will happen. On one level Hillary probably welcomes his entry into the race. The senator from Vermont can't possibly wrest the nomination from her - unless Bill has a "bimbo eruption" of epic proportions or Hillary is caught cannibalizing a reporter - and having a true leftie like Bernie Sanders snapping at her heels makes Hillary appear more the noble centrist. But Bernie also has the potential to become more than just a mere curiosity. If he manages to insert himself into a debate process with the presumed nominee, he could become truly troublesome.
And if Hillary overreacts and offends the wily senator from Vermont, he might even strike out on his own as an independent presidential candidate. Then she would be really and truly barbecued.
Keep circling Hillary, riding on your steady flow of endorsements and cash, but know this: Bernie Sanders is preparing to take a long and satisfying whiz in your shark tank. The days of the listening tours have probably come to an end.