Dave Begley: Live from Council Bluffs

Yesterday socialist Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential campaign to Council Bluffs. We had Dave Begley on hand to cover the festivities. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. He is also our occasional presidential campaign correspondent. Dave has filed this report on Sanders in Council Bluffs (thumbnail photo and photo below courtesy of Matt Johnson):

For the first time in all of the political rallies I have attended on behalf of Power Line, the National Anthem was played and sung before the speeches. Our fellow citizens all stood, removed their hats and placed their hands over their hearts. Democrats may love our country but they are misguided and – to a great extent – miseducated and uninformed.

One of President Trump’s talents is giving nicknames to his opponents. The nickname “Crooked Hillary” perfectly captured the corruption of the Clintons. Senator Bernie Sanders has been dubbed “Crazy Bernie.” When I see Senator Sanders, I picture him as some guy on a New York City street corner haranguing pedestrians with nutty ideas. But his ideas don’t strike many as nutty now. They’ve mostly been adopted by the Democrat field. Bernie’s pitch to the crowd was that he was there first. The others are all copycats. His theme is to stick with him because he’s been at it for years.

Bernie’s speech clocked in at just under an hour, but his big issue was “Medicare for all.” That routinely got the biggest cheers from the crowd. The rest of his ideas leaned on wealth redistribution to transform this country. It is a whole lot of class warfare aimed at the 1 percent, but really aimed at the middle class.

Here in Omaha, we’ve had one of our coldest and snowiest winters in years. Bernie, however, informed us that global warming is real and not a hoax. According to Bernie, we have to move away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. This will magically create well-paying jobs.

Solar and wind, however, are expensive and impractical forms of energy. We are now the largest producer of oil and natural gas. The European experience in green energy has been an expensive and massive failure. People won’t be happy paying more to heat their homes and depend on unreliable wind and solar if the Green Leap Forward becomes law. Bernie’s rationale for this foolishness is that it is our moral duty to abandon our fossil fuel wealth because we must save the planet for the kids.

Until now I have never figured out Crazy Bernie’s appeal, but I now think I have the answer. The people who like Bernie never took high school physics and are innumerate. At Omaha Creighton Prep I was blessed to have Mr. Ron Bruno as my physics teacher. While teaching Newtonian physics, he told us that there is no free lunch in the universe. This applies in physics, government and in life. The people who vote for Bernie don’t understand that fundamental fact. Sanders asserted several times that we are the wealthiest nation in human history. And how did we get there? Free enterprise. Bernie’s solution is to take private wealth and give out free stuff. Socialism never ends well because, as Lady Thatcher noted, “You eventually run out of other people’s money.”

I spoke with one Bernie volunteer. I cited Venezuela as an example of how socialism fails. He wasn’t familiar with what is happening there and was of the opinion that Bernie will give us the “socialist system” of Germany.

I’d say at least 80 percent of the crowd was 30 and younger. In the last election, that was his strongest demographic. Sanders is counting on them again. The crowd was large and enthusiastic.

Sanders didn’t take too many shots at Trump but he bizarrely asserted that he will unite us. He also used Obama’s “no red states, no blue states” line. He does not claim credit for being first with this line, but it may be new to his younger supporters.

Bernie’s quest to transform our country is obviously not going to unite us at all. To give two examples, Bernie is all in favor of gun control and abortion. People on the opposite sides of the issues are going to be unhappy if Bernie wins. His campaign slogan is “Not me, us.” When the crowd chanted it, it sounded like “knock me up.”

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