“Politics ain’t day camp.”
As every hard-boiled hack knows, politics is a serious pursuit for serious people, a point the more grizzled, or literate, sometimes emphasize by quoting Mr. Dooley’s remark that “Politics ain’t bean-bag.” Dooley was a fictional sage, the mouthpiece for Finley Peter Dunne, a newspaper columnist at the turn of the last century. A Chicagoan, and therefore a cynic, Dooley said a lot of quotable things, including “Trust everybody, but cut the cards” (an obvious influence on Ronald Reagan—or his speechwriters). But his insight needs updating, mainly because the original—“Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ’Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ’d do well to keep out iv it”—is unfit for our enlightened age, and not just on account of the Irish stage accent. Besides, nobody really knows what “bean-bag” means.
“Day camp,” on the other hand, is not obscure: arts and crafts, color war, buddying up for swimming, and singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire. Which brings me to the latest outbreak of “When Is Bernie Going to Endorse Hillary?”
Some Clinton supporters have been wondering aloud when Bernie Sanders would give up his hopeless campaign and go home before a single vote was counted. Since the California primary, though, the outcry has spread far beyond the usual suspects. In the past few days, some usually intelligent people have been trying to push Sanders into joining Elizabeth Warren aboard the Clinton Express, including two writers I admire, our own Joan Walsh and Esquire’s Charles Pierce.
Walsh quoted, with approval, an exasperated “pro-Clinton Democrat” who complained, “It would be great if he would just take yes for an answer.” Pierce, who unlike Walsh actually voted for Sanders, recently worried that “Sanders and his campaign are inherently unable to take their considerable winnings off the table,” warning: “He is flirting at the edges of crankdom at this point, and he’s being egged on by people who apparently confronted the complications of partisan democratic self-government for the first time last Thursday.”