When you have difficulty explaining your hallmark policy pieces…
On April 1, Bernie Sanders sat down for an interview with the NY Daily News editorial board. It was terrible. So terrible, The Washington Post said it was, “pretty close to a disaster.”
Sanders was unable to answer basic questions about several of his campaign policy centerpieces. Most notably, Sanders struggled to explain how he would break up banks.
Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing [breaking up the banks]?
Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.
Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?
Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.
Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”
Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.
Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?
Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.
Then Sanders was asked about the Palestinian pursuit to prosecute war crimes in the ICC.
Daily News: Do you support the Palestinian leadership’s attempt to use the International Criminal Court to litigate some of these issues to establish that, in their view, Israel had committed essentially war crimes?
Daily News: Why not?
Sanders: Why not?
Daily News: Why not, why it…
Sanders: Look, why don’t I support a million things in the world? I’m just telling you that I happen to believe.
And Sanders doesn’t quite understand how subways work these days either:
Daily News: I know you’ve got to go in a second. When was the last time you rode the subway? Are you gonna a campaign in the subway?
Sanders: Actually we rode the subway, Mike, when we were here? About a year ago? But I know how to ride the subways. I’ve been on them once or twice.
Daily News: Do you really? Do you really? How do you ride the subway today?
Sanders: What do you mean, “How do you ride the subway?”
Daily News: How do you get on the subway today?
Sanders: You get a token and you get in.
Daily News: Wrong.
Sanders: You jump over the turnstile.
Clinton seized the opportunity, saying, “I think the [Sanders] interview raised a lot of really serious questions.”
She added, “I’d think he hadn’t done his homework and he has been talking for more than a year about … things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood and that does raise a lot of questions and really what it does is for voters to ask themselves, can he deliver what he is talking about, can he really help people.”
The transcript of the full interview is here.
For Sanders’ hardcore supporters, this probably won’t matter. Like his Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, Sanders seems to be able to do and say anything without losing political capital. For those on the fence out which Democratic candidate to support though, Sanders’ shallow knowledge-base might be a wee bit problematic. At least there’s still the candidate who might soon be indicted by the FBI?
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