Littwin: Time and tide and politics wait for no man, not even Bernie

Bernie Sanders was always going to do the right thing. The question was how quickly and at what price.

Now we know.

Once, Sanders was running for president (that part is over, even if he is competing in the D.C. primary on Tuesday). Now he is having to run just to keep up.

For those wondering how the end game would play out, we have an answer: Very, very quickly. Shockingly quickly. In the town where it takes years for a judge to be confirmed or a budget proposed, Sanders was given a pat on the back and then a gentle shove out the door.

After Sanders met with the president and then with the press, saying he was all in when it came to defeating the danger that is Donald Trump, Obama left little time for Bernie’s supporters to grieve.

Minutes later, the Clinton campaign released Obama’s video endorsement of Hillary, in which Obama, contra Sanders, called Clinton maybe the most qualified person ever to run for the White House. He threw in an testament for Sanders, which is what everyone did on Thursday, just before they closed the door on his campaign.

The Obama announcement was expected. The Joe Biden endorsement couldn’t have been a surprise. But it was that night when Sanders knew, and we knew, the lineup had shifted, and someone else was batting third.

That someone is Elizabeth Warren, who, we’ll recall, was the front-person for the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party before most people knew who Sanders was.  After sitting out much of the race by remaining neutral — maddeningly so, for both sides — Warren is now back, with unmatched and unsullied credentials. Sanders addressed a rally Thursday night in which he never mentioned all the momentous politics of the day. Instead, he gave the typical Bernie speech that has given hope to millions, figuring that the bad news could wait a  while.

Unfortunately for Sanders, that’s not how the world works. Time and tide and politics wait for no man.

And on that same evening, Warren shook the Bernie side of the world by also endorsing Clinton. And more than that, she stole all the headlines with what the New York Times described as her taunt-for-taunt speech railing against Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and anyone supporting Trump.

If you missed it, and it’s all over the internet, Warren variously called Trump a thin-skinned bully, a thin-skinned fraud, a disgrace, a loser and, oh, a thin-skinned race-baiter. Meanwhile, Trump called her weak, nasty and Pocahontas.

Later, Warren endorsed Clinton on Rachel Maddow, making the case for Clinton before Maddow’s liberal audience. Today, Warren was meeting with Clinton, and all the news was whether she was being considered for a vice-presidential nod. I wouldn’t be surprised, but in many ways, it’s hardly necessary. Warren doesn’t need vice-presidential enticements to take on Trump. She’ll do it for free.

She could also be a partner alongside Sanders in keeping the causes of income inequality and big money in politics at the forefront of the election. Or she could do it without Sanders. That’s pretty much Sanders’ choice these days.

At some point, Bernie will endorse Clinton, too. He may or may not wait until the convention, but he’ll probably have to do it more quickly if he wants to have maximum impact. There is no political advantage in going it alone these days unless Sanders wants to go rogue — and he has already indicated he won’t.

No one knows what Bernie’s supporters will do, but here’s a guess: It’s what supporters of the losing candidate nearly always do. Look at Republicans who have said they will vote for Trump despite, you know, Trump being Trump. So we can assume most Sanders supporters will come over to Clinton, just as in 2008, most aggrieved Clinton voters moved over to Obama. Those who would switch to Trump were never going to vote for Clinton anyway. And those who say now they’ll vote Green or Libertarian, I’m guessing that will depend on how close the race is in November.

Friends of Sanders have said he’s well aware of what happened to Ralph Nader after 2000 and how Nader basically lost all influence in the Democratic Party. Warren, meanwhile, made her Clinton endorsement in terms that Sanders couldn’t miss.

“I take my cue on every part of this from Bernie himself and what he said right at the beginning … what this is about, what we’re doing here is about millions of people across this country, millions of people who work hard every day and just keep getting slammed,” she said.

“It is not about one candidate. It’s not even about one election. It’s about all of us coming together to help fight, to level the playing field to make sure that everybody gets a fighting chance.”

It was a Sanders speech. And that’s how it ends. Whether or not Sanders gives Bernie-style speeches in support of Clinton — and he almost certainly will — he knows that Warren, his close friend and ally, will be doing it anyway.

Tony Webster, Creative Commons, Flickr 


  1. As Senator Sanders stumbles off unsteadily into what is likely his last political sunset you might think Mr. Littwin would have the grace to admit how incredibly wrong he was in dismissing Sanders’ entire presidential bid as a “benign summer fling”.

    Of course, if that’s what you thought you’d be wrong because grace, like class and journalism, has eluded Mr. Littwin.

    As to how Senator “benign summer fling” Sanders was able to campaign so effectively against Mrs. Clinton, well, Mr. Littwin, true to form, doesn’t say.

    But here’s something Mr. Littwin did say in September, 2007:

    “I still have trouble believing that Hillary Clinton, the wife of a former president, is the front-runner to succeed George Bush, the son of a former president. It sounds all too banana republic-ish. It also suggests a woeful lack of imagination.”

    Yes, Mr. Littwin actually wrote those words and they stand in stark contrast to his oh-so-precious, kissy-face congratulatory column marking Mrs. Clinton’s so-called history making presidential candidacy. And when he wrote those words he seemed far less concerned about the historic aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy than he did about her candidacy sounding “banana republic-ish”.

    Of course, those words were written nine years ago when Mr. Littwin did not rely on the goodwill of readers to fund his salary.

    And nine years ago he did not have an employer who, unlike today, practices Pravda-style journalism/propaganda which allows Mr. Littwin to ignore inconvenient or embarrassing facts/stories (e.g. Laquan McDonald).

    Does Mr. Littwin still view “a woeful lack of imagination” as detrimental to a presidential campaign? Does he still believe her presidential run makes America sound “banana-republic-ish”? Mr. Littwin will, in typical milksop fashion, simply ignore that he ever wrote those words.

    But what is truly remarkable is Mr. Littwin’s description of Mrs. Clinton as not only a “victim” but a “victim of much”.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Is she also a “victim” of an FBI investigation? Well, Mr. Littwin doesn’t say and is unlikely to.

    And Mr. Littwin gives almost no credit to her husband, former-President Clinton, suggesting that Mrs. Clinton won the nomination “when Bill is no longer the force that he once was”

    Really? Is this the same Bill who Mr. Littwin described in October, 2014 as the “Big Dog (who) has a particular genius for cutting to the chase.” when he came to Colorado to campaign for Governor Hickenlooper, then-Senator Udall and Andrew Romanoff (who, surprisingly, doesn’t appear to be running for any office this year)?

    Does anyone actually believe that Hillary Rodham rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton would now be a presidential candidate? She has received quid pro quo payment in full for the very public humiliation her husband caused. What she is not is a “victim”.

    And why is Mr. Littwin devoting so much space to speculation about Mrs. Clinton’s vice-presidential choice when he has repeatedly maintained that voters don’t vote for the vice-president?


    Thousands of Americans participated in that most benign of civic rituals in San Jose, California, on Thursday night: seeing a presidential candidate speak. Of course, that candidate was Donald Trump, so as these engaged citizens streamed out of the arena, they were subjected to astonishing levels of violence. An angry mob pelted eggs, tomatoes, and bottles at the spectators—as well as the police, who tried (and failed) to maintain some semblance of order. Other Trump supporters were set upon and punched. One was left with blood streaming down his face. (See representative video below.)

    The mayor of San Jose, Democrat Sam Liccardo, reacted angrily to the events. Not that he was particularly upset at the violent mob that attacked innocent Americans, of course. No, his ire was directed at Mr. Trump. “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,” the mayor said. Apparently it was downright “irresponsible” of Trump to even set foot in California’s third largest city. – The Weekly Standard

    “Some Trump protesters (in San Jose)surrounded the car of a presumed Trump supporter as the vehicle was leaving the convention center’s garage. Protesters were shaking the car and smashed its taillight. Protesters also surrounded and banged on police cars.” –

    “Donald Trump supporters leaving the presumptive GOP nominee’s rally in San Jose on Thursday were pounced by protesters, some of whom threw punches and eggs.

    The protesters chased and taunted Trump’s supporters outside the San Jose Convention Center. They surrounded one woman and threw eggs and bottles at her.” –

    “Another young man was chased down like prey. He ran until finding some police officers who stopped his attackers.” –

    “Protesters waved Mexican flags and one could be seen burning an American flag, with another burning Trump’s “Make America Great Hat.” Some chanted “F— Donald Trump” and “Donald Trump has got to go” outside the San Jose Convention Center, where Trump held his rally.” – CNN

    “Hillary Clinton’s folks billed her San Diego speech Thursday as a big deal. And it certainly was a prime opportunity to lay out her views on foreign policy and America’s role in the world.

    But what she delivered was a 45-minute rant against Donald Trump — with nary a clue about her plans for leading America on the international stage.
    Worse, her string of dump-on-Trump quips might’ve worked better if she had substituted her name for his, starting with her attack on Trump’s “series of rants” — a perfect description of her own speech.

    Clinton called Trump “temperamentally unfit” to be commander-in-chief. But how would you describe an ex-top official who continually lies to the public and holds herself above the law? – NY Post

    On Friday, inventor of the Dean Scream and Hillary Clinton supporter Howard Dean said the Democratic ticket for president needs some youth to prevent it from being too old.

    The former Vermont governor made the comments when asked about who should be the party’s vice presidential nominee.

    “I strongly believe that we ought to have someone under 50 on the ticket. I think the baby boomers have run this country for too long,” Dean told MSNBC. “We stepped away from that with Barack Obama. We don’t normally go back a generation.” . – The Weekly Standard

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Veterans Day – November 11, 2016

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