I’ve been exploring the Internet this morning to track down the story I heard as a kid, about the senator from one of our more backward states who wowed and shocked the rubes in a stump speech declaring, “It is a known fact that my opponenent’s own sister is an admitted thespian. Not only that, but he himself was seen blatantly masticating in front of innocent children during a visit to one of our local schools cafeterias. In broad daylight!”
The best source I can come up places the blame not on a rural demagogue, but a slick Boston politician and former Boston Mayor, who also declared, no doubt in a tone of utter shock, that his opponent “practices nepotism with a maiden aunt.”
In all, it has been a delightful romp through Google, done to demonstrate a point. Politicians are champions at the sport of defaming their political opponents by leveling meaningless but ominous-sounding accusations at them.
The latest offender is Senator Claire McCaskill, a Hillary Clinton supporter. McCaskill is trying to horrify us out of voting for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party primaries by declaring that he is —oh, horrors! — a Socialist. That's a label Sanders would hardly deny.
“Socialist” is a dirty word in American politics, although only God knows why. Social Security? That’s a socialist idea. Medicare? Another socialist concept. Overtime pay for overtime work? Pure socialism. Taxing people according to their ability to pay rather than supporting a tax structure that afflicts the poor but comforts the comfortable? Also socialism.
I don’t fault McCaskill for supporting Hillary Clinton. I assume that Clinton will beat Sanders for the nomination, in which case I, too, will support her. But let’s not belittle the Sanders candidacy. The better Sanders does in the primaries — even though he’s ultimately likely to lose to Hillary — the greater the pressure on Hillary to commit less to her corporate backers and more to ideas that will benefit the vast majority of Americans.
That’s why I support Sanders’ candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination even if he doesn't have a prayer of getting it. I think you ought to, too.
As for Senator McCaskill’s pathetic defamation of Sanders, I’d blame that on her shocking habit of prognosticating in public, and her scandalous oral perorations. Yes, she actually perorates orally! In full public view!