February 10, 2016

Scapegoating as the New Black

Good post-NH analysis from National Review columnist Jim Geraghty:

Take a good look at the supporters of the man who won the most votes in New Hampshire, socialist Bernie Sanders, who had more than 138,000 votes as of this hour:
At a Feb. 7 rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sanders made it clear that unlike Obama, he would channel, rather than deflect, anti–Wall Street anger if elected president. To a throng of 1,500 voters packed into a community college gymnasium, Sanders vowed to crack down on Wall Street bankers. As he spoke, Sanders was continually interrupted by shouts from the audience of “Break ‘em up!” and “They should go to jail!” . . .

Mathew Pitman, 34, of Portsmouth, said a combination of higher taxes and smaller banks was the only thing that could bring Wall Street to heel. “Subject them to the same level of taxation as people like me,” he said, “and break up the big banks.”

John Joyal, 59, of Sommersworth, New Hampshire, was pushing an all-of-the-above plan. “Taxes, fines, jail, manacles--I’m for all of it,” he said. “Citizens United needs to be overturned, too.”

Others took their cue from how bankers have been treated abroad. “We should do what they did in Iceland,” said Keiran Brennan, who had driven up from Wellesley, Massachusetts. “Put them in jail.” Added Nora Hussey, also from Wellesley, gesturing toward a giant “Bernie Sanders 2016” posted, “Or just elect him.”
Notice these folks aren’t brimming with specific charges, or a sense that anybody they dislike must be proven guilty before a jury of their peers. They just want to see rich people go to jail. From a separate article:

Mauza, 71, said his condominium’s value is still down a third from before the financial crisis, that his property taxes have nevertheless gone up, and that “people are mad at Wall Street because of what happened to their retirement savings.”

“All those banks got bailed out, after they all went overboard,” he said. “Not as many people went to jail as probably should have.”

Either no one remembers, or no one cares to admit, the banks paid back the money. (The American people lost $11.2 billion on the General Motors bailout, making sure the car company could continue to sell cars that would kill you if your key chain was too heavy.)

From Sanders’s victory speech:
Listen to this, when the top three drug companies in this country made $45 billion dollars in profit last year, that is an obscenity, and let me tell you something. When we make it to the White House, the pharmaceutical industry will not continue to rip-off the American people.
That $45 billion seems like a lot . . . until you realize country spends about $375 billion on medicine each year. That’s a profit rate of 12 percent. Still seem so outrageous?

How many lifesaving drugs has Bernie Sanders developed?

In an earlier appearance, Sanders said, “We’re going to have to make the decision to say, I’m sorry, we can’t make money out of health care.” Never mind that doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, drug researchers, and specialists of all kinds spend years and small fortunes learning their skills and developing their treatments. Bernie Sanders has decided they’re charging too much because they’re greedy!

(As a senator, Bernie Sanders makes $174,000 per year. According to Payscale.com, the average general practice doctor makes $143,000.)

The Payback Election
Continuing the theme, John Podhoretz offers a look at the ugly future a Sanders and Trump-dominated general election will bring:

Sanders says he’s going to throw bankers in jail, raise everybody’s taxes -- and provide universal health care.

Trump says he’ll deport every illegal immigrant, keep Muslims out of the country until “we can find out what the hell is going on,” force Mexico to build a wall, levy a 45 percent tariff on China -- and provide universal health care.

Simple, straightforward and catchy -- that’s the key. And none of it is your fault. Everything bad that’s happening, everything that makes you nervous and worried and uncertain about the future, is the result of a great wrong that is being done to you.

Sanders says it’s being done by malefactors of great wealth. Trump says it’s being done by morons and idiots who run Washington and are getting their hats handed to them by canny malefactors in Beijing and Mexico City.

Will this message carry beyond New Hampshire? Of course it will, whatever happens to the candidacies of these two men. Don’t look for uplift. Don’t seek vision. This is probably going to be the payback election -- America at its worst.


William Luse said...

TS, I think Geraghty's first name is Jim.

TS said...

Oops, yes it is.