Bernie Sanders looks like an unmade bed. He appears to buy his suits in thrift stores and then sleep in them for three or four days.
His voice is somewhere between a rasp and a growl. On the stump, he gives the appearance of an angry bear who has missed his hibernation for the past 35 years or so.
If some corporate vice president ever tried to hand him a $335,000 check to give a speech, Bernie would probably bite his arm off.
Bernie is sometimes compared to the fictional Howard Beale, a network anchor in the movie “Network.” Beale announces one day that he is going to start telling people the truth because, “I just ran out of b——-.”
Beale urges people to go to their windows and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
In the end, the corporation that owns his network assassinates him.
I don’t envision this happening to Sanders. For one thing, he has Secret Service protection. For another, his opponents are usually political operatives, and they tend to come at you with words, not firearms.
On Saturday, for example, Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, took a stage in Concord, New Hampshire, with Hillary Clinton to promote her presidential campaign.
Of all the qualities that Albright could have emphasized — Hillary’s experience, intelligence and courage — Albright emphasized the one quality that Sanders couldn’t compete with: Hillary is a woman.
What’s more, women who don’t vote for Clinton because she is a woman will be consigned to the eternal fires of Hades, Albright said.
“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” Albright told the crowd.
According to The New York Times, Clinton appeared to agree. “Mrs. Clinton, 68, laughed, slowly clapped and took a large sip of her beverage,” the paper reported.
We don’t know what she was drinking, but it probably wasn’t brimstone.
You would think the Clinton campaign would not have to worry about women voting for Hillary, but the signs have been very bad so far. In Iowa, though Clinton won the women’s vote overall, she lost women age 30-44 to Sanders by a hefty 21 percentage points and women age 17-29 by a stunning 70 percentage points.
A 70 percentage point gap is the kind of result you’d expect to see in an election in Russia or a Chicago ward, not an Iowa caucus.
Clearly, the Clinton campaign must now do something. So in order to win over women aged 17-29, it has brought out Albright, age 78, and Gloria Steinem, age 81, as surrogates.
And you can see why campaign consultants get the big bucks.
The strategy? Shame women into voting for Clinton.
Clinton has real qualities and real accomplishments. But Albright says the reason to vote for Clinton is God will send you to a special place in hell if you don’t. (As far as I know, God has not yet publicly endorsed a candidate, but maybe He did so by email and it got lost on Clinton’s private server.)
Asked to explain why some women flock to Sanders, Albright said, “The bottom line is: I don’t know.”
Gloria Steinem does know. When asked by TV host Bill Maher why young women are going with Sanders, Steinem said that it was a good way for them to meet boys.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,'” Steinem said.
To which Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi responded, “If that’s the best a feminist icon can offer — ugh.”
Clinton supporters should not worry, however. Clinton’s campaign is dependent not just on the deep thinking of Albright and Steinem but also on deep data analysis and number crunching.
And you can bet women voters have been targeted with tightly focused messages for the New Hampshire primary.
Women might have gotten leaflets slipped under their doors saying: “Would you like to be burned by red-hot irons for all eternity? How about being torn to pieces by dogs or having burning pitch poured over your head every day? If you don’t vote for a woman, this will happen to you in the darkest reaches of hell.
“Don’t vote for a cantankerous socialist who doesn’t have enough sense to take super PAC money or even comb his hair. Vote for a progressive who can get things done and never get caught. Vote Hillary Clinton — she knows how to get away with it.”
Yes, that’s a little extreme. And here’s the leaflet that didn’t make the cut:
“Hillary Clinton is a person of intellect and accomplishment. She has spent almost her entire life helping people around the globe. As president, she will restore economic growth at home, stand up to our enemies abroad and safeguard our allies. She will break the glass ceiling and we will all feel proud.
“Or just wait a few years for Elizabeth Warren.”
Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist. His new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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Photo: Hillary Clinton takes a photo with a supporter at a campaign event in Decorah, Iowa, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking