Bernie Sanders For Gadfly

bernie-sandersWonkette said it best today, “Bernie Sanders has approximately zero percent chance of being elected president.” And yet I’m excited about him entering the race for the Democratic nomination for president, probably tomorrow.

Bernie will fractionally do to Hillary what the right wing of the Republican Party did to Mitt Romney… in the opposite direction.

Even though Sanders isn’t particularly well known outside Vermont (where he won his last Senatorial election with 71% of the vote, even against candidates from the Republicans, Marijuana Party and a guy named named Pete Moss!) his ideas are. He speaks to labor and the forgotten middle class. He rails against the moneyed and powerful (actually the powerfully moneyed).

Without Sanders in the race, Hillary Clinton could stake out her territory by being a centrist or even right-of-centrist candidate.

Mitt Romney was a reasonably middle-of-the-road governor in Massachusetts. He was for a lot of things there that he was forced to run against as the Republican candidate for president.

“What we have seen is that while the average person is working longer hours for lower wages, we have seen a huge increase in income and wealth inequality, which is now reaching obscene levels,” Sanders told the AP.

“This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful, and is not working for ordinary Americans. … You know, this country just does not belong to a handful of billionaires.” – AP

Now things get interesting.

If The Democrats No Longer Need Lieberman

So, what happens if the Democrats sweep the House, Senate and elect a president? It’s certainly not out of the question. I think the loser is Lieberman and by proxy, Connecticut.

I suspect we’re about to face an interesting political dilemma in Connecticut.

Right now, the Democrats control both branches of Congress. The majority in the Senate is razor thin. Democrats control by two, but only if you include Senate independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Though he ran against, and beat, the endorsed Democratic candidate in the last election, Lieberman enjoys the benefits of the Democratic majority. From his own website:

In 2006, Senator Lieberman was elected to a fourth term as an Independent, because of the strength of his record and his accomplishments for the state. He won the general election by more than 100,000 votes. He remains committed to caucusing with Senate Democrats, but will be identified as an Independent Democrat (ID-CT).

That last sentence was written before Senator Lieberman endorsed Republican Senator John McCain’s Republican bid for president. That followed two years where Lieberman sided with the president (and against the Democrats) on many issues, including Iraq and National intelligence.

So, what happens if the Democrats sweep the House, Senate and elect a president? It’s certainly not out of the question. I think the loser is Lieberman and by proxy, Connecticut.

Why would the Democrats keep Lieberman in a position of power while their own loyal members wait? I don’t think they will.

  • Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Member of the Armed Services Committee
  • Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Member of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee

This is really all academic. Whatever happens will play out behind closed doors and without consulting the people of Connecticut. We’ll only feel its effect in Lieberman’s reduced power… though it’s tough to quantify that power right now.

This is one of those unintended consequences no one anticipates.