Courage: Vermont Edition

When it comes to challenging the tenets of Political Correctness, Vermont is a fountainhead of political courage.

First, Howard Dean drops out of DNC-head contention because he ain’t all that interested in (inevitably) being called an old, racist, white man, should he oppose Keith Ellison for the position.

Now we have Bernie Sanders dipping his toe, ever so gently, into the waters of meek, tepid criticism of the Political Correctness that currently dominates the Democratic Party. In an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes (the real-life Pajama Boy!), Sanders seemed to commend Trump’s fearless challenges to Political Correctness (“Bernie Sanders: Trump Won Because People Are ‘Tired’ of ‘Politically Correct Rhetoric’”):

“I think he said he will not be politically correct,” Sanders replied. “I think he said some outrageous and painful things, but I think people are tired of the same old politically correct rhetoric, and they believe that he was speaking from his heart and willing to take on everybody.”

Sanders’ definition of political correctness was someone different than its usual meaning. “It means you have a set of talking points which have been poll-tested and focus-group-tested and that’s what you say rather than what’s really going on. And often, what you are not allowed to say are things which offend very powerful people,” he said.

Hayes pushed back, pointing out that most people take “political correctness” to mean the rules policing speech and sensitivity towards minorities, not speaking out against the U.S. trade policy. “When we talk about political correctness, they’re basically just rules about not being a jerk,” he insisted.

“I’ll tell you what else he was doing… he was talking about the media,” Sanders shot back. “Do people here think the media reflects the reality of American society?” The audience jeered in response.

Mind you, Bernie’s ready to pull his toe out of that water faster than you can say ‘courage’, should any Hispanic liberal question him. Hispanic liberals are ‘civil rights’ champions of illegal aliens, while Bernie is… well… white (relatively speaking). You aren’t against civil rights, are you Bernie?

Back in 2007 (not that long ago), Sanders opposed the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, primarily because it would lower the wages for blue collar Americans. From a 2015 Politico piece titled “Sanders and immigration? It’s complicated”:

But in 2007, Sanders was part of the charge from the left to kill an immigration overhaul bill.

Back then, the Vermont independent warned that the immigration bill — a product from then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — would drive down wages for lower-income workers, an argument that’s been used by hard-liner reform opponents. He paired with conservative Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on a restrictive immigration amendment. And Sanders backed provisions characterized as poison pills to unravel the bill, while voting to block the final measure in June 2007…

“Sanders was basically one of our only allies … especially for low-skilled workers” in 2007, said Ana Avendano, a former top immigration official at the AFL-CIO. “He adamantly put his foot down and said these kinds of programs [allow] employers to bring in more and more vulnerable workers.”…

[In] 2007, Sanders was far from a reliable vote for immigration reform in the Senate.

The problem for Sanders was a guest-worker program that some immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers begrudgingly accepted as part of a comprehensive deal — but was abhorred by labor unions and their allies on Capitol Hill.

“What concerns me are provisions in the bill that would bring low-wage workers into this country in order to depress the already declining wages of American workers,” Sanders said in May 2007. “With poverty increasing and the middle-class shrinking, we must not force American workers into even more economic distress.”

So, why did Bernie seem to ‘flip’ on the issue of immigration in the 2016 primaries? Hillary, of course, pandered and basically gave a thumb’s up to Open Borders, which put Bernie in a bind. In the battle among Democrats to be the Most Sanctimonious, Bernie was boxed into a corner. Soon, the inevitable began to happen: Bernie started getting challenged on the issue by brown-skinned Democrats, who are by definition virtuous Saints on the issue of immigration, impervious to criticism:

Sanders, more comfortable speaking in the language of income inequality and economic populism, has largely skipped over immigration while campaigning — a silence that prompted Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) to muse in a television interview last week: “I don’t know if he likes immigrants because he doesn’t seem to talk about immigrants.”

“He’s running for the nomination of my party, and my party has made pretty clear that immigration is a top-tier issue,” Gutierrez said, explaining why he pushed Sanders on the topic. Still, Gutierrez added: “I have no reason to doubt his authenticity and sincerity.”


(See the Jan 2016 Time article “Why Conservatives Praise Bernie Sanders on Immigration” for more.)

Bernie then had to backpedal… and fast!

I vividly remember the CNN/Univision (sigh) primary debate between Hillary and Bernie, when the subject came up and a 2007 video clip of Bernie being played by the pro-amnesty Univision moderators:

SALINAS: Now, Senator Sanders, in 2007, you voted against immigration reform. You now say that it was because the bill had guestworker provisions which seemed semi-slavery. But back then, this is what you said to CNN’s Lou Dobbs. Let’s listen.


SANDERS (IN CLIP): Poverty is increasing. And if wages are going down, I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guestworkers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are right now.


SALINAS: So, Senator, were you concerned with working conditions for guestworkers, or really because you think immigrants drive down wages and take jobs from Americans?

Bernie, having had time to practice his fancy rhetorical footwork on the matter (such as in this 2015 exchange with Jorge Ramos, where he asserts “Open borders is not a good thing” but then puts in a million caveats and platitudes to provide himself with some P.C. Protection) pivots to the P.C. ‘moral high ground’, now a prerequisite for Democratic politicians:

SANDERS: Well, you have guestworker programs that have been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the important institutions in this country who studies these issues, as guestworkers programs akin to slavery, where people came in. They were cheated. They were abused. They were humiliated. And if they stood up for their rights, they would be thrown out of the country.

Of course, that type of (inaudible) leads to a race to the bottom for all of our people. And I worked very hard on that issue. And of course, I supported the 2013 immigration reform bill. And what I believe right now is not only that we need comprehensive immigration reform, if the Congress does not do its job, as president of the United States I will use the executive powers of that office to do what has to be done, to do what President Obama did, and expand on that.

Lest you think Bernie’s position is being misconstrued, here is what Hillary said in the debate, to Bernie’s above abovementioned rhetorical contortions:

CLINTON: If I could… You know, I think it’s very hard to make the case that Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, me, La Raza, United Farmworkers, Dolores Huerta, leaders of the Latino community, would have supported a bill that actually promoted modern slavery. That was one of the many excuses used not to vote for the 2007 bill.

And I will go back to what I said. If we had been able to get that passed, we would be so much further along now. I’m committed to defending DAPA and DACA. I’m committed to going even further to get more people deferred action, to go as far as I can under the law. And I am committed to introducing comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship in the first 100 days of my presidency.

In other words, because Bernie opposed an immigration bill promoted by Saint Ted Kennedy, The One, La Raza, etc… we can only logically conclude that Bernie is… a racist.

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