Just how “Independent” is Bernie?

by Robert Maynard 

Robert Maynard

Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has long projected himself as an “independent” who is free to represent the interests of the average Vermonter because he is not tied to either party.  While it is true that Bernie is not officially tied to either party, it is questionable at best the extent to which he  “is free to represent the interests of the average Vermonter”.  Bernie is far more beholden to out of state interests than he is to the average Vermonter.  While not well known, this has been true for quite a while.  One clear and objective way to test this assertion is to look at where his funds are coming from.  Such information is available at OpenSecrets.org Center for Resposnsive Politics.

First of all, Bernie is popular with certain PACs.  He received $183,078 in the 2012 election cycle alone from PACs, with $112,550 coming from unions and $49,528 ideological/single issue groups.  A bigger concern should be the fact that 81% of all his contributions during the same cycle came from out of sate.  In other words, only 19% of his political contributions came from within the state of Vermont.  The vast bulk of that 81% of out of state money comes from very specific locations, with the top one being LOS ANGELES-LONG BEACH, followed by Boston, then New York and San Francisco.  All are centers of far left activism and it is to this network that Bernie owes the bulk of his support.  His supporters are rarely disappointed, as he spends a lot of his time and effort trying to advance a national left wing agenda.

When far left groups had a planning session in Vermont on how to eradicate conservative values, Bernie is not only present, but leading the way: http://truenorthreports.com/video-rally-a-strategy-session-to-eradicate-conservative-values.  Notice that he did nothing to dissuade the notion suggested by one participant that conservatives should be placed in jails for “therapy”.  If such a notion is not an example of “extremism”, I do know what is.

I have already written here and here, about how the push to make Vermont the “Saskatchewan of the U.S.” is driven by a well funded astroturf movement from out of state.  Bernie is front and center in pushing this effort.  In addition to pushing for support for Vermont’s program in Washington D.C., he unsuccessfully tired to have a full blown, Vermont style single payer system bill passed in the U.S. Senate.  See here, here and here.  At a time when most Americans saw Obamacare as too extreme and intrusive, Bernie was trying to push through a plan that was even more extreme and intrusive.

When Vermont was being looked to as a laboratory to test a national smart grid system, Bernie was once again front and center.  The problem here is with the tight and cozy partnership that was made Sandia National Laboratories:

Sandia National Laboratories a government research and development lab, has locations in New Mexico and California. Their website explains: “Sandia is a government-owned/contractor operated (GOCO) facility. Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, manages Sandia for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.”

If such a project is to happen, it might be better if it was subjected to competitive bidding, but the far left wing types bankrolling Bernie are not interested in such quaint notions as open competition.

There are numerous examples of Bernie taking more of an interest in the agenda of this national left wing movement than the concerns of the average Vermonter.  One of the latest is his pontificating in an interview with a progressive talk radio host that Obama should have a primary opponent from the left to ensure that he does not stray too far from leftist ideological orthodoxy.  This interview followed speculation that Bernie himself was planning to challenge Obama from the left.  I find it hight unlikely that Bernie would take the plunge, but that has not stopped a draft Bernie for President movement.  Such speculation serves to keep his name circulating in national left wing circles and keeps the money from those circles flowing into his coffers.  It is time for Vermonters to as the question just how “independent” is Bernie?