Behind the Candidates’ Smiling Faces - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Behind the Candidates’ Smiling Faces

All patriotic, civic-minded, Americans at this point in the electoral cycle have seen quite enough of our presidential aspirants on the debate stage. For a certitude, we have seen enough of the Democrats! One evening of them is enough for me.

Yet the question arises: What could possibly motivate them? Why do they call for more federal expenditures on infrastructure and healthcare and family leave, and weekends with pay or why not overtime pay? With 18 trillion in debt already amassed (at least half of it by the Prophet Obama), why do the Democratic candidates call for piling more debt on our children, the very same credulous gulls whose college tuition the Democratic candidates are promising to pay along with healthcare and personal debt reduction. When will these young dopes figure things out? It is they who are going to have to pay for the Democrats’ giveaways. What motivates these Democrats?

I have for years argued that they are motivated by a Liberal Death Wish. Their reckless foreign policy is motivated by a death wish. Their spending projects are motivated by a death wish. In foreign and in domestic policy we see the Liberals motivated by one colossal unconscious death wish. Yet perhaps that explains their psychiatric condition. What explains them at the personal level?

At the personal level they are motivated by a) the motivation of feeling good about themselves or b) the motivation of controlling others for their own enrichment.

Bernie Sanders is an example of the first type. He says he wants America to become a socialist state. He said the other night that America—a nation of 320 million souls—can be like Denmark—a cozy little nation of 5.5 million souls. By the way, Denmark is also a nation that is steadily becoming less and less socialist and more and more capitalist. Why is Denmark becoming like America? Well, I suspect the Danes, like so many people in the world today, recognize that socialism has failed. Socialism has been failing for decades. The decrepit state of Europe with all the bankrupt welfare states is the consequence of the failure of European socialism.

The Danes want out. With Greece they have seen socialism’s future and they know it fails. It is not a question of idealism. It is a question of the data. Nowhere on earth has socialism succeeded except as a totalitarianism, and even as a totalitarianism it can only last so long. Recall if you will the late great Soviet Union.

Yet Bernie is not motivated by the empirical data of socialism. He is motivated by a), the motivation of feeling good about himself. Two generations ago Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate in economics, explained what motivates Bernie. He, like all self-proclaimed socialists, wants to feel good about himself even as he leads an economy with no growth. Think about how much greener his America will be. Think about how much money the federal government will dole out. Think about where Bernie will be when the bills come in.

The other night as I listened to the Democrats sing on I thought of which one of the two frontrunners I would prefer to get the nomination. There was Hillary lamenting that she sprang from a mother whose childhood poverty was so grievous that she was forced to live in a garbage can, at least until she could afford to upgrade to a discarded fruit crate. And there was Bernie whose early years were very sad of course and who in middle age had to overcome a serious spitting disorder to allow him to run for high office. He became mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and carried around a cup just in case he suffered a relapse. It is a fact that for at least the last thirty years every Democratic candidate for president has had his or her very sad tale to tell. Remember Al Gore at the 2000 Democratic convention? Remember John Kerry?

So which would I prefer? Bernie the wooly-headed moral marvel or Hillary the girl who has had things so tough that she went to Wellesley and Yale and got cushy jobs in government knowing that at any moment her mom might return to that garbage can. Well, as I thought about it, my mind kept returning to motivation. What motivates Hillary? Obviously she feels good about herself but she has always felt good about herself. She is not motivated by a). She is motivated by b), the need to control others for her own enrichment.

She and Bill have enriched themselves prodigiously over the last 15 years with only limited access to government. With almost complete control of government there will be no limits on them. Moreover, with the Clintons’ demonstrated disregard for the rule of law, no one will be safe. That is why if I were a Democrat I would vote for Bernie. Even if he cannot add or subtract, a narcissist is preferable to a crook.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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