Saturday, February 06, 2016

New Hampshire Day 2, a.m. – Class is in Session

(Andrew C. Bome's second report from New Hampshire in advance of the Primary.)

The plan this morning was to do some domestic things and then head to a nearby Bernie Sanders event.  It turned out the Bernie Sanders event was not across the street, but was across the state.  It took us an hour to get there, but we made it in time.

The event was at the main campus of Franklin Pierce University; the speech was at the field house.  Being a Bernie Sanders event at a University, there were lots of younger folks in the crowd, complete with the more interesting clothing choices of youth (the less said about the hipster in  the trilby, the better).  A few things of note were the dude in with a toque that had a skunk pattern around the base: “skunks on a toque” sound like the name of an unsuccessful Ottawa punk band.  There were a few pro-pot folks wearing T-shirts saying “Keep calm and Bern one”; the logo showed Bernie smoking a joint.
Bernie Sanders at Franklin Pierce University

There also appeared to be a number of Franklin Pierce University journalism students interviewing folks.  None interviewed me; the egotistical lawyer in me was offended.  I did see one of these j-school students interviewing one of the professional journalists in the crowd.  I detect a future Washington Post columnist in the making.

When Sanders was introduced everyone (myself included )raised their phones to get a picture.  It was if we were in church and the priest said the thing that got us to raise our phones and praise someone. 

Bernie’s speech was OK, but I have heard better.  I really felt like I was an undergraduate listening to a lecture by a really cool professor.  It was well organized and thought out, but it was a lecture in any event.  Maybe that is why Bernie Sanders is polling so well amongst university students and grads; he reminds them of their favourite professor.

He started his speech with the line “Are you ready to make a political revolution” and the obligatory bad suit and hair joke; his sweater vest looked like it came from the Rick Santorum collection..  His speech was organized along three connected themes: a corrupt campaign finance system; a rigged economic system; and, a broken criminal justice system.    He would set out the problem and set out how the first problem would connect to the second problem and the third problem.  For example, a corrupt campaign finance system allowed banks to lobby hard to deregulate the financial system.  That led to a broken economic system with banks that were too big to fail and required trillions in bailouts.  While a kid caught with a joint got a criminal record, no wall street bankers have gotten arrested over their activities in 2008; his line was that the banks were too big to fail and bankers were too big to jail. 

This was all really cool, but he really did not have much to say on how to solve any of the problems that he set out.   At best he said that if people come together, there is nothing that they can’t accomplish; that is nice rhetoric, but it don’t fix anything.

It is not like he did not have any policy suggestions.  He did; but it was a fairly standard progressive wish list (single payer health care; $15.00 per hour minimum wage; paid family & medical leave; lower tuition and better student loan terms), but it was unconnected to anything.

At least his speech had a nice end; he said that they would make a political revolution.  Nice parallel to his first line.

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