Bernie Sanders is old. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He voted for Eugene V. Debs. He had a blind date with Emma Goldman. On warm summer evenings he takes a Moxie from the ice box and sits out on the fire escape listening to the Victrola as the horseless carriages splutter and rumble across the muddy lane. But it is only in the land of shills and hacks... of Matthews and Ifill and McCaskill and Cillizza and Todd and the especially execrable Joan Walsh... that a man who has championed verifiable truths for over 40 years can be classified unserious.
Currently, Bernie is taking a quantity of abuse from Black Lives Matter activists for not responding "in the moment" to their entirely justified outrage. Yet Hillary Clinton's racial justice policy consists of calculated apologies by her husband for the shitty laws they championed. Sanders may not know the difference between a hashtag and a tic-tac-toe board but, regardless of her brave Facebook stance, wanna guess the outcome the first time President Hillary has to choose between Black Lives and Goldman Sachs?
The owners of this country want you to see Bernie Sanders as a hopeless, crotchety loon. As Donald Trump without the combover. And while it would be a "uuuuuuge" mistake to consider Bernie Sanders the answer to any prayer, in this world there are foxes, there are hedgehogs, and then there's David Brooks... who doesn't know anything. Bernie knows one big thing. And Bernie Sanders comes across as angry because demonstrably knowing a big thing in the face of unrepentant idiocy doesn't tend to make the knower giddy.
So if we were advising Bernie Sanders it would be as follows:
You don't have to be in one of those tedious lip sync battles with the earnestly vapid Jimmy Fallon to show you take the issues more seriously than yourself. Hopefully these suggestions will help. And since you're old, we'll try to keep most of the references in kind.
Always open with a joke. Even if it comes across as Ralph Kramden's 'Knights Of The Roundtable' story to the Raccoon Lodge.
We're not talking some zany, Charlie Callas style sound effects or even the Jerry Lewis big flame from the lighter bit. And yes, Lincoln Chafee has cornered the Professor Irwin Corey schtick, and the Koch Brothers use Scott Walker the way Edgar Bergen used Mortimer Snerd, and Red Buttons' "Never Had A Dinner" run was made for Jim Webb...but just tell a damn joke.
When you're ready to take the stage think to yourself Gregory-Cambridge-Sahl-Carlin-Hicks-Black.
Incorporate the facts of income inequality into Jack Burns' "Huh Yea" routine.
Have one of the younger campaign staff quote a Key & Peele sketch.
Just once, dress like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and recite a poem.
Quote Egbert Sousè.
At some point in the first Democratic debate, drop the mic. Then when you try to pick it up, kick it across the stage.
An occasional prop does not make you Gallagher. Invest in a pair of those Rick Perry style glasses with fake eyeballs at the end of long springs.
Just once, dress like The Amazing Ballantine and engage in snappy patter while pulling a rubber chicken from your fly.
At least think about a Bed-In.
If we had to choose, you'd probably make a better 'Chong.'
Just once, dress like Leonard Cohen and sing 'Bird On A Wire'.
During inane media Q&A, work in a spit-take.
Randomly begin punching other words the way you do "huge."
To paraphrase Senator John Blutarsky... being locked in a death struggle with corporate oligarchy could be the greatest nights of our lives, don't let them be humorless.
Note: Back in the day on our radio show, we'd always take suggestions for the most truthful campaign songs. Here's ours for Bernie Sanders... feel free to post yours in the comments.