FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bernie Sanders’ Unconscionable Compensation to Consultants for Ad Buys

I’ve long admired Bernie Sanders and strongly supported and (modestly) donated to his 2016 presidential campaign. And (unlike most but not all Counterpunchers who have been extremely hard on him) I have given him credit where it is due: here  and here. In recent weeks and months (as the handwriting of Bernie’s runner-up status began appearing on the wall) I was also among those strenuously urging him NOT to endorse Hillary Clinton. And perhaps because I couldn’t bring myself to watch or listen to him abase himself by endorsing Hillary on Tuesday, I still love Bernie.

Call this critique “tough love” then: BUT it’s Disgraceful (with a capital D) that Sanders unjustly enriched traditional Democratic Party campaign consultants. This well-researched Slate article by Eli Clifton and Joshua Holland  found that “an eight-figure payday [was] shared by two firms: Old Towne Media and Devine Mulvey Longabaugh.” WTF?!? (Pardon my French.)

Following anti-establishment Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean’s similar meteoric rise and flameout in 2004 (albeit Bernie’s was more successful) I wrote about this strange compensation arrangement whereby such consultant firms are paid by a percentage of the cost of the media ads they purchase instead of on a salaried or hourly basis. (The LA Times declined to publish it but I later read that Joe Trippi did refund some of his outsize compensation, the total sum of which was “chickenfeed” compared to the larcenous sums made by Sanders’ consultants).

This is troubling when you reflect on the fact that Bernie had to have become familiar with his fellow Vermont pol Dean’s 2004 candidacy, knew of the way in which Dean and his donors had been ripped-off by consultants and yet allowed the exact same thing to happen but on a MUCH larger (“8-figure”!!) scale. (You do the math. Even at the low-end it’s unconscionable considering the context — an insurgent progressive presidential campaign the core message of which is that “the 1% can’t have it all!” Not exactly I guess, eh Bernie?)

When you look “under the hood” and see such unjust enrichment to a few opportunistic political consultants (whether they were and are cronies of the candidate or just glommed onto him early on and laughed all the way to the bank at his naivete in failing to negotiate an appropriate compensation arrangement I don’t know) it is hard to resist the conclusion that Bernie, as chief executive of his own campaign, was (at least) indifferent to crucial contractual details that caused him to get a lot less “bang” for his campaign donors’ “bucks” than he should have. Whether this means he similarly lacked “what it takes” to be the nation’s chief executive is a question worth asking.

Although I can think of plausible explanations for his poor judgment in this regard, it may be also be a case of “Bernie, we hardly knew ye” (at least in some important respects). History will have to judge all that as his 2016 campaign is now in the category of “water under the bridge” following his unmerited and premature concession of the Democratic nomination to his rival. For me, together with the manner in which he “got rolled” by slick soulless Democratic Party campaign consultant operatives, it’s starting to look all “of a piece”. In (brilliant humanist, fatalist and skeptic) Kurt Vonnegut famous phrase: “And so it goes…”

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail