There are times when a man stares into the abyss, and the abyss stares right back at him. Fortunately, this is not one of those times.
Two weeks ago, as I was sitting in my dentist’s office, waiting to get my teeth cleaned until they shine brighter than Joe Biden’s dentures, I saw the Bernie Sanders news on my phone, and my heart began to palpitate. Apparently, the senior U.S. senator from Vermont was feeling a little under the weather, and, with his heart sending out an SOS, he had to be rushed to the hospital, where two stents were shoved into his thrombotic 78-year-old coronary arteries.
“Oh my God!” I said to myself frantically. “This is not good! This is not good at all! No wonder Bernie looked red-faced and not too healthy during the last debate! No wonder he was gasping for air more than usual!”
Indeed, it was not good. One stent implanted—OK, maybe it’s not that big a deal. I mean, yes, it is a big deal, because who wants to see a presidential candidate on death’s doorstep?
On the other hand, look at Joe Biden—he’s had two brain aneurysms, more brain surgeries than he can remember, there is almost no neural activity going on between his ears, and yet he still exhibits signs of life, popping up occasionally on the campaign trail, and raising all of $15 million in the last quarter. A fully functional cerebral cortex is clearly not a requirement for a Democrat running for president—and certainly not a requirement for fundraising.
But a heart? Are we on the verge of a medical breakthrough, where a Democrat doesn’t even need a functional heart to run for president?
Bernie had two stents implanted. Two! In his heart! Two stents mean there is nothing but blockages in Bernie’s coronary arteries. The blockage is called “plaque,” which in turn reduces blood flow and causes blood clots, or “thromboses”—or “thrombi,” if you can’t help yourself with those Latin endings. The plaque also causes emboluses—or emboli, if you like Latin more—which are traveling blood clots. And if you think a blood clot in a coronary artery in one spot (i.e., a thrombus) is bad—rest assured, emboli are even worse. (Oh, to hell with the Latin—let’s just stick with English here.)
But really, the only substantive question remaining is: When will Bernie’s entire campaign get canceled?
In Bernie’s case (and in the case of most humans who aren’t socialists), the coronary arteries supply the heart muscles themselves with oxygen. Insufficient blood flow due to the blockage means the heart muscles don’t get enough oxygen, and therefore can’t pump the blood properly. Two stents mean lots and lots of plaque in those coronary arteries, which in turn means big potential for many thrombuses and emboluses in Bernie’s faltering circulatory system. Hence, the confirmation from doctors—after several days of weaving and bobbing, even though it was fairly apparent before—that Bernie had a heart attack.
The upshot of all this is that implantation of two coronary stents strongly suggests that Bernie’s coronary arteries are barely functional, the muscle parts of the arteries (called “tunica media,” just to keep ourselves honest and erudite here) have probably atrophied, the inner open part of the arteries (called the “lumen”) has been filled up with hardened rock-solid plaque-y gunk (which a doctor will tell you is called “atherosclerosis,” another complicated multi-syllabic word), and the lumenal opening for the blood to go through has shrunk to near invisibility.
Two stents mean that the long-term prognosis for Bernie is almost certainly not encouraging. In fact, it might be downright discouraging—there is no telling where else the plaque will form, or where else the thrombuses and emboluses will show up. Raising $25 million in Q3 was nice, but all the money in the world isn’t going to help you, if you are not there to enjoy it.
Smile, Though Your Heart Is Breaking
It so happens, I know a lot about stents. Two decades ago, as a young, fresh-faced patent lawyer, I worked on a huge litigation involving stent patents. So when the lefty media breathlessly announced that “two coronary stents were implanted into Bernie”—I just knew this was gonna be bad news.
The news reports repeated the mantra that Bernie was “in good spirits,” and, apparently now plans to appear at Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate in Ohio. However, despite those good spirits, Bernie canceled campaign events “until further notice”—except for October’s debate, which will air on CNN.
Oddly enough, the big Bernie ad buy in Iowa (which doesn’t seem to depend on the functioning of Bernie’s circulatory organs and the presence, or absence, of plaque, thrombi, and emboli inside his coronary arteries) was also canceled until further notice—though Bernie’s campaign, flush with cash (if not with vigor) intends to re-start.
But really, the only substantive question remaining is: When will Bernie’s entire campaign get canceled?
Many of Bernie’s rivals rushed to wish him well. “Oh no. Stay strong Bernie,” implored Andrew Yang. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) seconded that sentiment: “Thinking of @BernieSanders today and wishing him a speedy recovery . . . I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail soon.” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was also on board: “Bernie’s fighting spirit will get him through anything and everything. Good to hear he is doing better and look forward to seeing him soon.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wasn’t far behind: “I’m looking forward to seeing my friend @BernieSanders strong and back on the campaign trail soon.”
And on and on it went, in a great display of bogus comity and phony socialist brotherly love.
Now, you and I and every Joe Sixpack out there knows—they are all lying, scheming hypocrites who don’t mean a word of it. Every single one of them is lying through his (or her) dental prostheses, except maybe Joe Biden, who desperately wishes Bernie a speedy recovery for his own reasons, that have nothing to do with any warm and fuzzy feelings he might have towards Sanders.
Don’t Get Well Soon
And so, sitting there in the dental office, I found myself admitting (to myself) that I am a bad person. Confession is good for the soul, so I will confess: I don’t wish Bernie a speedy recovery. Bernie is a dangerous, crazy old paleo-Stalinist fossil who goes around shouting and haranguing and brainwashing vulnerable people with his crackpot socialist idiocy. I don’t necessarily wish him dead, but am I really hoping to see Bernie back on his feet, bellowing his nutty socialist “ideas” at America? No way, José.
And, I will confess one more thing despite knowing certain readers will think poorly of me: if Bernie were to quit the campaign due to health reasons, I would not shed a single tear. (Not any more than Andrew Yang or Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren would shed a tear—I am just more honest about it. Though come to think of it, they might shed one or two—of the crocodile variety.)
I wish I could find it in me to pretend that I care about Bernie’s health. Having lived in the Soviet Union until I was 13, however, I find that I cannot summon even one ounce of sympathy for that hypocritical multimillionaire, three-mansioned, crypto-Marxist dinosaur.
What irritates me is that Bernie has chosen to be treated at an American hospital—despite having expressed boundless admiration for the Cuban and Venezuelan healthcare systems. I cannot understand why Bernie prefers to be treated in the capitalist United States, which he loathes, instead of in socialist Havana or Caracas, which he loves. Both Cuba and Venezuela have implemented their versions of Medicare for All, in all its socialist glory. Shouldn’t Bernie rush to Caracas or Havana for treatment?
The more I think about Bernie’s coronary arteries, the more I realize that I am probably a truly awful person. The phrase “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I’ve read some obituaries with great pleasure” is often misattributed to Mark Twain. (It was actually Clarence Darrow, who said similar phrases at various times in the 1920s.) That phrase pretty much describes my feelings about Bernie’s continued existence on Earth. Bernie’s quitting the presidential race, I am sorry to say, would not be a great loss.
Actually, I am sorry to say that I am not sorry.
So long as Sanders and Warren are splitting the hard-left vote, Biden has a chance. Without Bernie, Biden has no future.
But this is a political publication, so of particular relevance to us is the campaign angle: what if Bernie does get off the train in the next few weeks? The answer is obvious: Warren becomes the undisputed frontrunner, as Sanders voters gravitate toward her. They aren’t going to Biden—if they wanted to do that, they would have done it long ago. The roughly 15 percent (plus or minus) would be added to Warren’s roughly 25 percent—and, thanks to Bernie’s malfunctioning ticker, she suddenly becomes the top dog. Biden becomes an also-ran. Everyone else becomes an asterisk.
So, if you are telling me that Liz Warren is not fervently wishing for Bernie to experience a few more “episodes” over the next few weeks—just admit it: you’re lying to me. Or to yourself. Or to both of us.
The others? The ones filed under the “asterisk”? You know—if you struggle, you’ll remember some of their names: Beto, Booker, Castro, Joe Sestak (who?), Gabbard, Delaney (who?), Bullock (who?), Marianne Williamson, Wayne Messam (who?) . . . They don’t see a big direct pay off from Bernie’s campaign dying a long-overdue death, but they do see a big need to shake up the race—or they might as well go home. And nothing will shake things up like Bernie being hooked up to monitor—permanently.
So, yeah, they are all praying for Bernie to keep clutching at his chest on a regular basis—and unlike Warren’s, who at least is rising in the polls, their prayers for Bernie’s continued ill health have a whiff of desperation to them.
This is where we have to be honest and admit that Joe Biden, to his credit, is praying for just the opposite. He is the only one, out of all of the leftist freaks, who sincerely wishes Bernie well, because if he has to go mano a mano with Warren, he is toast. So Biden will send Bernie flowers—and he will mean it, too. He will personally defibrillate Bernie if it comes to it, to get Bernie back on his feet.
Bernie is Biden’s lifeline—so long as Bernie and Warren are splitting the hard-left vote, Biden has a chance. Without Bernie, Biden has no future.
Imagining an Open Field
But there is an even more interesting possibility: Bernie’s ticker isn’t up to the task of campaigning (let’s say he has another heart attack, or “cardiac episode” on Tuesday night, right in front of a TV audience of millions), and Biden finally craters, undone by the ever-growing scandals involving his influence peddling and the Biden crime family profiteering from Biden’s official duties.
So imagine this for a second: Bernie’s campaign bites the dust, Biden’s campaign bites the dust . . . and . . .
The field is wide open! Everything is scrambled! Hillary enters the race as the “moderate” candidate who would have won in 2016, were it not for the New York Times, the Macedonian hackers, the Russians, the Albanians, James Comey, white women, black men . . . Well, you get the picture.
Mike Bloomberg enters the race as the “other moderate” candidate, but without Hillary Clinton’s baggage. At age 77, Bloomberg is a spring chicken compared to 78-year-old Sanders. Howard Schultz re-enters the race as a moderate candidate, thinking, bizarrely, that there is a big market out there for a wooden-talking, non-socialist coffee billionaire aspiring to be president. Every Democrat who is already running suddenly feels the wind at his back. Fifty percent of the Democratic electorate is now up for grabs!
Now, are you seriously going to tell me that all those Democratic candidates feel differently from how you and I feel about Bernie? Are you seriously going to tell me they are all really hoping for Bernie’s speedy recovery, and wishing he was back on the campaign trail in full force? Naaahhh.