This is what a mensch looks like.
Al Franken couldn’t do it. Elizabeth Warren couldn’t do it. Cory Booker didn’t even come close to doing it. Even Sarah Silverman, may her light ever shine, couldn’t quite do it. Only Bernie Sanders, a charisma-free 74-year-old Brooklyn-born Jewish socialist from Vermont, could have gotten the political revolution close enough to take off to change the national conversation, expand the boundaries of political possibility far over to the left, and demonstrate conclusively the immense power of Americans united against the gilt facade of Citizens United.
Only Bernie Sanders had the power, and the wisdom, not to walk out but instead to deal himself and his supporters in to negotiate the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.
And having gotten so close—heartbreakingly close. Close enough that many of his own supporters booed him just a few hours ago for daring to point out the F**king Obvious fact that the stakes for themselves, their children, and their country were simply too high to stay home and sulk—only Bernie Sanders could have landed that plane carefully, even delicately, on prime time, with both wings intact and more or less right on schedule.
Not without some turbulence, to be sure. Though the leaked DNC e-mails only confirmed what Sanders and his supporters had known all along, the timing of the leak ensured that feelings would be high in Philadelphia. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation helped a little. Her total banishing from the convention helped more (and if she comes back to gavel out the proceedings on Thursday night, I hope somebody throws a bucket of water on her).
So when Wellington Webb, the former mayor of Denver, stepped up to the podium to declare, “I’m with her,” he got a rough ride—and it looked like we were in for a bumpy night. The chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” rang out loud and clear and a little bit ugly. Diane Russell, the Maine state representative with impeccable Bernie bona fides—it was she who introduced the amendment to reduce the role of superdelegates—struggled to calm the crowd, finally calling Albus Dumbledore in aid: “It takes great courage to stand up to your enemies. It takes even greater courage to stand up to your friends.”