Sunday, June 09, 2024

The Open Minds Which Are Not So Open-Minded

Left-leaning and libertarian- leaning libertine Bill Maher and right-wing libertarian Matt Walsh agree that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are singularly open-minded people. Beginning at 3:18 of the Overtime segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, the host remarks

But going to San Francisco- not exactly what you think should be his best hunting ground and sent to the Bronx, the South Bronx, and I don't think even Obama went there, maybe he did once. I think the last Democrat was Clinton or Carter or something. I mean, he goes- that's what the Republicans do- go where you wouldn't expect them to go. They come here, you know, they're not afraid, they're not afraid to take their message to the people who don't agree with them right off the bat.

Trump cares so much for his supporters that, prior to the Iowa primary, he urged them to vote even if "sick as a dog" and it would kill them. However, he did go to the South Bronx, heavily black and especially Latino, though news reports do not indicate that he brought them the "laziness is a trait in blacks" and immigrants "are poisoning the blood of our country" message. A mere oversight, I'm sure. Walsh concurs, commenting

I mean, it's one of the things that's always puzzled me about those who claim to be defending democracy all the time and I know they often are, think that they are. Actual democracy is going out everywhere and trying to get peoples' votes. And populists, left or right, tend to be very good at that. Bernie Sanders is going everywhere, too. He's a left-wing populist but he will go on Fox News or whatever and Trump will do that, too.

Walsh cleverly implies that Donald Trump, who as recently as 18 months ago called called for the "termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution," believes in democracy because he campaigns broadly for votes. 

Also, for what seems to be the 3,712th time, Donald Trump is referred to as a "populist." The guy asks individual donors for checks of $25 million or $50 million, totaling a billion dollars, while promising them tax cuts and termination of environmental regulations is to populism as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Islam.

As even a stopped clock is right twice a day, even Matt Walsh can say something valid, and Senator Sanders did in fact appear at least twice on Fox News, most notably for town hall events in the 2020 election cycle. Credit is due him for recognizing what most Democratic candidates did not, that there may have been no presidential candidate (or president) since George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992 to show his or her stuff at a town hall event and not come out shining.

Yet, the same interest Sanders demonstrated by appearing on a right-wing cable news network appears to be lacking when he has the opportunity to do what a Senator should be doing. Owen Lavine of The Daily Beast reports reports

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) slammed Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the group of bipartisan congressional leaders who invited the embattled leader to address a joint-session of Congress, in a statement released by the senator on Saturday.

“It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited—by leaders of both parties—to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress,” Sanders opened the letter. “I certainly will not attend.”

Sanders lambasted the decision, referring to Netanyahu as a “war criminal” responsible for “clear and outrageous violations of international law.” Sanders similarly supported the International Criminal Court's arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other top Israeli and Hamas officials.

The senator qualified that he supported Israel’s right to defend itself following the October 7 attack, but not Israeli violations of international law.

“Israel does not have the right to kill more than 34,000 civilians and wound over 80,000,” Sanders added.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to address Congress within the coming weeks or after the August recess.

Bernie Sanders could boycott a nation's leader he abhors. Or he could do what an open-minded United States Senator would do: sit through a speech given by an individual representing a loyal ally and demonstrate his disagreement with the message and: sit on his hands. Sanders chooses to call Netanyahu a "war criminal," which makes the Prime Minister's words particularly controversial, and significant.

He doesn't have to boo, though he's free to do so. Remaining seated while others around you are applauding would mean one less member of Congress showing support for Netanyahu. 

Of course, Sanders is free to sit at home or use the occasion in any way he wishes. But his refusal to listen to a leader who has traveled halfway across the world to make his argument undermines Matt Walsh's adoration for a leftist Democrat who would appear on Fox News. So, too, is Donald Trump's willingness to go to the South Bronx an empty gesture for a guy never appears on MSNBC or CNN- and was too scared to join on stage in  debate his rivals for the Republican nomination for President. Walsh and Maher should curb their enthusiasm.


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