Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Hillary the Pragmatist vs. Bernie the Dreamer" Is "Big Lie" Propaganda

By Rob Hager, Truthout | Op-Ed
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, salute supporters at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, February 1, 2016. The Sanders "revolution" - that is, his ongoing call to act against the plutocracy - may continue to be downplayed in the dominant media, despite his surge of support in Iowa. (Photo: Todd Heisler / The New York Times)
Bernie Sanders' "revolution" will not be televised, and it is not going to be reported in the rest of the mass media either. Sanders' self-described revolution is against plutocracy, and the plutocracy owns the mass media. Anyone still getting their information from the mass media is missing out on the history being made in a historic political year that rivals any election of the past two generations. The 2016 election could rank, for better or worse, with those critical elections of 1800, 1860, 1912, 1932 and 1980.
Yet patriots must answer the plutocratic propaganda that pollutes the information environment. First, they ignored Sanders' statement that he would not run for president if he "cannot run to win." During the summer, they pretended he was just a gadfly that could be ignored. In December, the mass media propaganda designed to suppress morale communicated that Bernie Sanders was losing and unelectable. Upon closer analysis of the facts, it was found that he was more electable than Clinton, already ahead with the people, if not yet with partisan Democrats, and was likely to widen his lead as he became better known. That has proven true.
The latest propaganda designed to encounter the enthusiasm behind his winning campaign is that Hillary Clinton is experienced and pragmatic whereas Bernie Sanders is an inexperienced dreamer who by reaching for impossibly poetic ideals will sacrifice the achievable prosaic reform.
It must be said very clearly that this is a lie that deploys "the big lie" technique of propagandists. It must be called out as such. "Very Serious Columnists" who purvey this lie have been attacked for their partisan motives. A Madame Defarge might find employment sorting out the hacks for plutocracy from the advocates of democracy on this issue. But it is important to resist propaganda not just by rejecting its partisan messengers but also by clearly marshaling the contrary facts.

In a democracy, it is not an impractical dream to think that the majority could enact the policies it favors.

The most consistent message from Sanders is what he said when he first explored a presidential bid. He would be "runningagainst Citizens United," and its "undermining of American democracy" by an "oligarchy." In the presidential debates, he carefully defined the central issue of the 2016 campaign: "Very little is going to be done to transform our economy and to create the kind of middle class we need unless we end a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy." Sanders concluded his Iowa campaign by making clear that no president can address the many problems for which Americans demand solutions except by first waging a revolution against "a handful of billionaires" who "are able to buy elections.... That is not democracy, that is oligarchy, and together we are going to change that."
If Sanders does not succeed in overthrowing the plutocracy and restoring US democracy, he is quite clear that "very little" is going to get done for the people by him or anyone else. That is not the talk of an unrealistic dreamer. It is the honest, clear-eyed, practical assessment of a politician who has been around long enough to know exactly what the score is. Money in politics is a civil rights issue; it's a climate change issue; it's a jobs issue; it's a war issue.
The difference between Sanders and Clinton is that Clinton and her supporters assume that under her presidency, the plutocracy will be in good hands, just as it has been under President Obama's. Therefore, as she suggests, what little gets done will be by way of "pragmatic" reform based on her "common ground" with Republicans. This is code for those reforms that the plutocracy authorizes at the point at which the much-vaunted boogeyman of partisan polarization suddenly and miraculously, it seems, gives way to bipartisan service to plutocracy. It is Clinton who is inducing dreams in her followers by suggesting that she can, without either overthrowing or getting permission from the plutocracy, accomplish even piecemeal "pragmatic" reform of any real significance to them. Her job, as was Obama's, would be to maintain the status quo by preserving and more deeply entrenching the current corrupt system.

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