Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On Bernie's Theory of Change

I see that Slate also had a piece about Jerediah Purdy's Huffington Post piece where he claimed that Bernie's theory of change is the only one that has ever worked.

I had written about it last Saturday.

"Jedediah Purdy, a professor at Duke Law School and occasional contributor to the Huffington Post, takes issue with liberal economist Paul Krugman’s assessment of the Bernie Sanders campaign’s operating theory of change as unrealistic and naive. Krugman writes, “The question Sanders supporters should ask is, When has their theory of change ever worked?”

Purdy says it has: “To answer Krugman’s question: yes, it (Sanders’ theory of change) has worked. In fact, it may be the only theory of change that has ever made democracy real. It is politics for adults.”

"But while he insists that quixotic insurgent campaigns based on ideological purity work, it’s impossible to miss that he doesn’t say exactly when. He doesn’t cite any campaigns that back up his assertion. The reason why is simple. There are none. As much as Purdy and Sanders supporters wish it were true, this strategy has never worked and likely never will. Since the days of Ancient Greece, ideological purity in a democratic society has been the road to ruin of every political movement and every political party that has tried it."

Actually Purdy had mentioned a few antecedents and both of them show the opposite of what is claim. He cites Lincoln and FDR.

These examples are in fact all wrong on many dimensions. Both had a party to back them up unlike Bernie who is not a Democrat. If he were to win this nomination it would be a hostile takeover.

Lincoln had a new party-the GOP-behind him. Most important of all, both men ran as pragmatists.

1. Lincoln ran on not freeing any slaves-though not allowing slavery into new territories. He was certainly against slavery and shared his party's abhorrence of the practice but did not run on this. Had he done so he would never have been able to free them later, ironically.

2. Ditto FDR, who didn't run on the New Deal but on balancing the budget and cutting the size of government.
History shows that pragmatists are the ones who ultimately were able to get major changes done. 
Paul Waldman also pointed out that Bernie's theory of political revolution is faulty.

Political revolutions are the stuff of activists not a voting bloc that votes for President.

This is one problem with Bernie: he sounds like a political activist not a President.

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