Welcome to the Machine, President Sanders
A Commentary By Ted Rall
Rising in the polls, Bernie Sanders is already posing a credible threat to Hillary in the key primary state of New Hampshire. Having gone in one month from left-wing curiosity to serious contender, his confidence is soaring. He has gone from promoting himself as a mere symbolic tool to push Clinton to the left to predicting that he will win the Democratic nomination for president, and ultimately the presidency itself.
Jan. 20, 2017.
"Welcome to the White House, Mr. President-Elec ... I'm sorry -- Mr. President. Hard habit to break. This way, sir -- this is the Oval Office. If there's anything you need, just let me know, sir."
"I can't believe I'm here."
"You've made history, President Sanders. First socialist president! Very exciting."
"Thank you, Henry."
"Might I add also, sir, that was a very inspiring speech."
"Thank you. So -- what's in store for day one of the Sanders administration?"
"On your desk is a note from outgoing President Obama, as well as a stack of congratulatory messages from world leaders. You'll want to get back to Putin, Pope Francis and Hollande right away, what with the situation in the Baltics and all."
"Any meetings? Briefings?"
"Inauguration Day is traditionally a light schedule, so that you and the first lady have time to prepare for tonight's balls. So here's what we've got scheduled for you for today:
"3:00: Meeting with a dozen CEOs of major corporations. You'll have to reassure them that you're a reasonable, mainstream Democrat, not the crazy-eyed barracuda-toothed left-winger you campaigned as. Make 'em comfy, or else the markets'll tank when they open Monday morning.
"4:00: National security briefing. Baltics, Seychelles, Golan Heights at the top of the agenda. You already met the Joint Chiefs during the transition, but they're going to want to hear that you're not rocking the boat with any major changes in foreign policy. Our allies need to know that U.S. policy is consistent, that we'll honor our treaty obligations and ongoing security arrangements. Iraq and Afghanistan assume that 'total withdrawal' stuff was just campaign rhetoric; you're going to have to confirm that.
"4:40: Treasury Secretary Krugman wants to bend your ear about that minimum wage increase you promised."
"What does Yellen think?"
"The Fed won't sign on to any raise higher than $15 per hour, scaled up no sooner than 2023."
"But that's below the inflation rate. People need relief; the economy needs stimulus."
"That's true, Mr. President, but the bond market--"
"I know, I know, I read Clinton. He wasn't president of the United States; he was the president of the bond market. Fine. Reschedule my 4:40 with Paul ... add a few supply-siders into the mix. For balance."
"The daily 5 o'clock in the situation room, sir. CIA is 70 percent sure they have Abu Ghanar in their sites. They're going to want a UAV termination authorization tonight. We could move that up to 4:40 to let you and the first lady relax before dinner, or you could meet Mr. and Mrs. Springsteen before their performance."
"The new No. 2 of the Islamic State of Iraq, Syria and Jordan (ISISJ)."
"(Sigh) okay. Oh, look at the time."
"This way, sir."
"Gentlemen! Thank you for coming today. It's nice to finally meet you. Mr. Schmidt, an honor to meet you. Google is doing great things. Mr. McMillon -- I appreciate the recent moves you've made to help workers. ... I won't hold Wal-Mart's backing of Senator Clinton against you. Now, if you don't mind, let's get right to it. As I said during my campaign, the economy is broken. It's harder than ever for hard-working people to make ends meet, let alone get ahead. The top 1 percent are earning 99 percent of new wealth. Income inequality and long-term unemployment are soaring. It's not just wrong -- it's bad for the overall economy because it reduces spending and contributes to the imbalance of trade. So it will come as little surprise to you that I'm going to take steps to increase fairness. Yes, Mr. Cook?"
"First, I'd like to offer you my congratulations. Your victory is inspiring. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to urge you to support the proposed Trans-Global Trade Agreement. TGTA is absolutely essential to the continued health of the tech sector. Second..."
Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the upcoming book "Snowden," the first biography of NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden. It is in graphic novel form. You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.
COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL
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