Bush v. Clinton — or Bernie v. Ted? How Much of a Choice Do You Want?

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Imagine a substantive presidential contest: a general election pitting two people with major differences in their views and their visions for the future. Imagine the stimulation, the fireworks.

Now consider what the establishment seems to prefer: a rematch of competing “moderate” dynasties. That is what appears to be in store. In an echo of 1992, another Bush versus another Clinton. And, if history is any guide, with Wall Street and the Military-Industrial Complex standing to benefit either way.

To be certain, the Bushes and the Clintons differ in myriad substantive ways. But the clans also have demonstrated agreement on so much — when it comes to things like pro-corporate trade agreements and wars sold to the public based on the most dubious claims.

If American elections are to mean something, the public needs a real choice, between widely divergent views of the country and its role in the world. That’s why it is in the interest of democracy to see a race between diametrically opposed candidates.

It is in the interest of democracy to see a race between diametrically opposed candidates.

For example, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.

The two men seem to agree on precious little, from domestic to foreign policy. Sanders, from green Vermont, believes Climate Change is a crisis, and supports strong measures. Cruz, from fossil-fuel ground zero in Texas, opposes most environmental regulations and mandates for renewable fuel.

Cruz supports eliminating the inheritance tax and abolishing the Internal Revenue Service. Sanders calls for raising taxes on dividends and capital gains, and supports a progressive tax system based on ability to pay.

Sanders opposed using US military force against Saddam Hussein. Cruz has called for installing anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine situation.

On almost every issue and approach, the candidates are miles apart.

Consider how exciting debates between the two could be.

Of course, if they were to win their respective parties’ nominations, they’d both be pedaling toward the center as fast as they could. But reporters would then ask them about their extensively detailed positions as articulated during the primaries, and they would feel compelled to defend those stances.

And that is exactly what our faltering democracy needs: a spirited discussion, and meaningful differences.

Agree? Disagree? Please weigh in with comments, below.

Related front page panorama photo credits: Background (Michael Vadon / Flickr)

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13 responses to “Bush v. Clinton — or Bernie v. Ted? How Much of a Choice Do You Want?”

  1. spry says:

    Why do you think there are so many redumblicans running for president? Trump is being used and will be dumped like perdue pierot was. Who “raised” a disproportionate amount of money compared to the other candidates? There are an overabundance of redumblicans so Jeb Bush the 3rd can quietly sit in the crowded field and avoid conflict. All the other also rans had to promise to pledge their support to their nominee, at the chosen few debate. Then on the demoncrats they needed someone to help take the heat off of hillary so here comes Bernie. In the end bush the 3rd has already been selected. I hope I am wrong but I fear I’m correct.

  2. clyyde says:

    Agreed. Bushes & Clintons have had their turns.

    Hate to disappoint William any further, but Sanders would do the same things B or C would do. And with pressure applied, so would Cruz.

    Comrade Vetter has a wonderful idea! In double-underlined, UPPER-CASE ITALICS—BANG, ZOOM, WONDERFUL!

    • You obviously haven’t a clue who Bernie Sanders is. It’s simple. Whomever the ‘media’ seems to be ignoring or putting down as a loser, is the one that all Americans should vote for. Unless your going to sit back and watch the country be taken over by billionaire corporations and fossil fuel idiots who don’t mind killing the earth. Your call. Don’t keep being a loser. Be a winner and vote for Sanders and then you can stop bleating.

    • clyyde says:

      There’s truth in your comment. But the larger truth is that the big money will not allow Sanders to get anywhere. He will be destroyed, as will any other candidate with a shred of decency and/or good ideas. Doubt that? That’s how Ron Paul was treated. Just watch.

      And there’s election fraud. Electronic voting is more easily manipulated than are paper ballots. In the last general election the votes were counted in Spain. Does the integrity of machine politicians make you feel warm and fuzzy?

  3. Conrade Vetter says:

    Good idea, as far as it goes, but what good is any debate in a country which allows its intelligence agency to murder a president (JFK) and not be brought to justice?

  4. (Comment from reader @ITSDP3) then why bash Trump?

  5. (Comment from reader @FogBelter in response to the question “Why does the establishment prefer a rematch of competing ‘moderate” dynasties?'”) Likely because agreements have already been made. Outcomes, understood.

  6. Deception says:

    “Presidents are selected, not elected” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Wake up

  7. If BERNIE SANDERS isn’t the next President of the ‘United States’, than you can kiss America good bye and say hello to the new ‘Orwellian States’, brought to you by…..ta ta taaaa ta daaaa….BUSH or CLINTON. Either one. It doesn’t matter. They’re both have the same smell. And the leftovers from either party is a joke.

    • thetruth says:

      Jill Stein. Look her up. Bernie should be her VP maybe.

    • Conrade Vetter says:

      Sad but true. The public is helpless and the rulers know this so well. We need ONE trick to galvanize the people. Have a TV smashing party, preferably in a public place. Call all your friends. It’s best to do this on a tarp,
      near a trash dumpster so the debris can be safely disposed of. Have a ten minute speech prepared that describes why this needs to be done. Read it out loud and with flourish, then take a large sledge hammer and smash a TV to bits. Make videos of the production and put them on YouTube. Within a few short weeks the practice will spread across the country and the world. This act alone will scare the elite controllers of your life to their very bones. They will know you finally mean business. This will be the consummate peaceful act of revolution that will tell the warmongers who murder people by the millions with your tax dollars that you are“mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore.”

  8. N. Furthermore says:

    As Russell Baker knows better than most, neither Sanders nor Cruz could win their respective primaries, so this is a purely hypothetical match-up. His point is valid though – namely, that the puppet show of a presidential contest that’s presented to the public will feature no real choice. In the end, there will be two neocons who essentially hold the same positions on foreign policy and trade policy. Voters will be forced to choose on the basis of social issues (because social issues do not threaten the agenda or profits of the people who own the politicians (the military-industrial complex, Wall St., the Israel lobby, etc.).

    • Are you referring to Russ Baker from WWW? I don’t recall Russ saying any
      time that Sanders had no chance at all. There was an article on WWW
      that referred to that , but it was by another ‘Journalist’ , not Mr
      Baker. And you should have seen the comment page full of people saying
      they were going to quit WWW because of said article. Please get your
      facts straight, as this election is one of the most important , perhaps,
      in the history of America. If Sanders/Warren win, (which they will
      unless there’s corruption), then America is saved. If it doesn’t happen
      like that, good bye America, hello Orwellian Govt!

  9. Matthew Matt Shenko Shenko says:

    “Competing moderates” sounds like a nasty idea, but picture Cruz v. Sanders: regardless of which side took the election we’d still have 1/2 the country more than a little frustrated. How would you feel with Cruz as president? With Sanders as president? Imagine the disquiet.
    The real problem here is the Superbowl’d 2-party system and the slow adoption of instant-runoff voting.

    • russbaker says:

      It’s true that a part of the electorate will be unhappy. But that’s true in all elections, irrespective of how far apart the candidates are in their views.

    • Out of all the ‘runners’ on either side, which one appeals to you? Please, for your own sake, don’t mention Bush or Clinton. So what if Sanders wins the Presidency. If you think that 1/2 the country would be “a little frustrated”, I really think that’s better then 90% of the country feeling that same way, as I feel they do right now. (my opinion). Imagine the ruination of the country if B or C get in. Catastrophic would be the word of the day through-out the world.

    • clyyde says:

      That’s no surprise. More than half the producers are frustrated now.

      With big money exporting factories to China and elsewhere and importing illegals as voters and cheap labor, producers are out of work and outvoted, folks. Read it and weep!

      And as Disapointed (sic) William says just below “Catastrophic would be the word.”

      We’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop.