Independent Senator from Vermont Bernard Sanders took a principled stand against top-level tax breaks and the general hypocrisies of the current Congress on Friday. Dan Savage mentioned the speech ealier, in progress, but I wanted to give a clip to help illustrate Sanders' message once it wrapped.
Sanders spent eight whole hours filibustering the recent compromise between President Obama and the Republican leadership that extends the Bush-era tax breaks to the richest Americans for two years. Sanders' speech is a piece of pragmatic, honest, beauty:
Better yet, Sanders actually filibustered, rather than acting as a party threatening to use the tool. Senators' bluffs are not called enough, nor are they forced to prove their personal commitments and understandings of their oppositions when using the slippery procedural tool. As James Carville, the Ragin' Cajun, once suggested, when Republicans threaten to filibuster about something like tax-cuts for the rich or against health care, make them do it. Let them get up there and prattle on about why?. As you see when someone like Sanders, who is every bit as passionate as he is well-read, the filibuster is a useful, informative and powerful tool.
Compared to Oregon's own pair of Democratic senators, Sanders makes ours look like spineless company hacks. I don't care if they care about how they stand on the other issues—if the income gap in this country keeps widening, the rest means nothing. The rich will stamp us out like armies of ants—just like they are now.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!