For a while now, I've thought Bernie Sanders was suffering from a rock star complex. After all it's heady being out there on the stage -- intoxicating to look out over the waves of blue and red Bernie signs and U.S. flags, the super-sized crowds that come to his rallies. It's addicting to hear your name chanted, to hear the heart pounding music of people screaming for you as you enter an arena, as if you're a longhaired, leather wearing, skinny rock god.
Why would he want to give it all up, even when the writing is on the wall? Like the Rolling Stones, The Who and other rockers who continue to perform into their seventies, there's an unwillingness to shutter the show because, in part, it provides great ego gratification. There's no high like it. And there will always be a ready audience. After all that adulation, human beings can't help but think they're more important than they actually are.
After Tuesday night's primaries, I decided Bernie had graduated from rock star icon to something even higher up the power ladder. Bernie Sanders has a Jesus complex.
I think Bernie really believes that without him, the country is going to fall into a sinkhole. He's convinced himself that he's the only man who can save it. Therefore, for the salvation of the United States, and the good of the world, he can't walk away. The world needs him; politics and the will of the Democratic majority be damned.
And in some twisted version of reality, Bernie thinks he earned this nomination. Even after Clinton's New Jersey and California victories, he still believes the nomination belongs to him, would be his, if not for the rigged political system. How else to explain his bizarre speech Tuesday night? The fact that it took him 15 minutes to mention Hillary Clinton's name -- and that he never acknowledged the historical significance of the moment -- speaks of someone who doesn't think his opponent deserves her victory. It speaks of someone who has convinced himself that he would be so much better at the job of president, that he knows better than the voters, that he just can't support her yet, even though it's June and the convention is a month away. Somehow, he can't yet get behind the only person in this country who has the opportunity to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.
Maybe Bernie should go see the excellent documentary Weiner. Because he's really acting like one. And he's starting to act like the former NY congressman who refused to exit the stage well after his time in politics had passed. Anthony Weiner left politics disgraced. Bernie Sanders can leave the presidential race with great admiration and respect. But if he waits too long, he will lose it.
He's already losing his likability in the eyes of many who support Hillary, but appreciate Bernie. Because sometimes when people are in the spotlight past their prime, we begin to see their uglier side. Like some of our aging rock stars, it isn't so pretty when they take the stage.
I'd argue Bernie's become angry and resentful. Sour. Selfish. Even entitled.
Bernie, you are entitled to have a voice at the convention. You are entitled to respect for a long, hard-fought campaign. You're entitled now to revel in what you've accomplished, and reminisce about how exciting it was.
But Bernie, it's time to slip away from the stage. It's time to hand off the mic to Hillary. Last night would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. But since you failed to understand that, your DC primary speech can do the same thing. I know it's not easy to walk away from all the glory, but shelve your ego, scrape together a little graciousness, and do the right thing. Because guess what?
Hillary Clinton is the rock star now. She's done something no other woman has done before. Her entire life has led to this moment, and neither you nor anyone else can take it away from her.