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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Bernie Sanders vs. Rand Paul

Uploaded: Jan 22, 2016
If I drew a line showing the political spectrum from extreme left to extreme right, those two names would be on the opposite ends.

Rand Paul was recently elected as a first term Senator from Kentucky. He calls himself a "Libertarian," but ran as a Republican. Paul is a "Constitutionalist." He believes in the Bill of Rights and all of the guarantees in the Constitution.

Paul believes, and has been outspoken about it, that the Government should not infringe on the rights of citizens. He is for less government intrusion into our lives.This includes spying on phone conversations or other personal communications between citizens.

Because of his opposition to a recent bill that would tap into citizens' phone calls, Paul been criticized for not doing enough to keep citizens safe from terrorists. He believes government spying on citizens is more dangerous in the long run than a possible terrorist attack.

Paul has also been criticized, even by me, for voting to defund Planned Parenthood. He opposes abortion, especially late term abortions, which are hardly ever performed.

Rand is not a professional politician. His father, Ron Paul, has been a Representative from Texas for many years, but both Pauls are physicians. Ron is an OB/GYN. Rand is an Eye Doctor, and even after being elected as Senator from Kentucky, he still operates on patients to help them see.

On the other hand Bernie is a professional politician. He was elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. Then he went on to serve in Congress as the single Congressperson from Vermont. Vermont is one of eight states that have more Senators, which are always two, than Congressmen.

Bernie is now a Senator from Vermont. He usually votes with the Democrats, but is a self-proclaimed Socialist. He is running for President as an Independent.

One thing Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders have in common, which I found a little surprising at first but shouldn't have, is they are the highest ranked Senators for "User Approval." Sanders and Paul each have 75% Approval ratings, which is the highest of all 100 Senators. The next closest is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, with 70% and Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, at 61%.

I chalk up the high approval ratings for Sanders and Paul to their openness and straight talk from both Bernie and Rand. They are who they are and don't make excuses about it, and that's why I like them. I probably won't vote for either one for President, but I have no doubt that if either one was elected; he would not be the typical President.
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Posted by Sean R, a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:51 am

Calling Rand Paul "extreme right" is, at best, the byproduct of an outdated an ineffective way of characterizing political thought. At worst, it's disingenuous. Dr. Paul is anti-war, anti-crony business, anti-drug criminalization, opposes torture -- even in Gitmo, is against the warrant-less gathering of digital or phone records, etc. On any number of positions, Paul could be described as "not far right" at all. (interestingly enough, Ted Cruz pays lip service to most of these positions as well.)

Long ago, political scientists realized the "left-right" spectrum is wrong. The more proper spectrum has four directions (at least): economic freedom, personal freedom, state control of the economy, state control of personal affairs.

On these issues, Rand is a relatively moderate libertarian -- much further away from economic and personal freedom as is father, Ron, but still farther away than the rest of the field (on either side).

Bernie has much more in common with the likes of Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Chris Cristie, etc. in the areas of state control. While I agree both are unique voices, the characterization of "extreme right" and "extreme left" leave a lot left to be desired.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Excellent comment, Sean R.,

I'm repeating cliches from an old fashioned point of view. What I was trying to say is that these are guys who don't pander to a particular group for support. I like both candidates for different reasons, but the fact that they are both rated highest in user approval says a lot more about them than their positions on the so-called political spectrum.


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Todays story has Trump trying to bully Megan Kelly off of the panel for the next debate.

I like it that Fox informed Trump if he does not want to participate, no problem. If he wants to participate, Megan Kelly will be on the panel.

Trump and his ego will probably show up for the debate. I would like for Kelly to rip him up. She probably won't.

Posted by, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm is a registered user.


I don't understand how so many Republicans, at least those interviewed on polls, can support Donald Trump. He's a narcissistic baby who needs constant attention. He is not someone who could negotiate with foreign leaders with any level of respect or dignity.

He also doesn't understand our system of government. The President doesn't tell Congress how to vote. Congress votes mostly according to party lines and Trump isn't a real Republican. It's just easier for him to be nominated in the Republican Party than to run as an Independent. He'd be up against Bernie Sanders, and Sanders would shred him.

There are good candidates running in the Republican Primary. Even JEB! is better than Trump, but I'd like to see someone intelligent and experienced be the Republican nominee or else we'll have President Hillary.


Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 2, 2016 at 8:45 am

BobB is a registered user.

"I don't understand how so many Republicans, at least those interviewed on polls, can support Donald Trump. "

Considering last night's results in Iowa, not all that many really do support him.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:23 am

DKHSK is a registered user.


He came in second. About 1/4 of the votes of the 10 Republicans in the race.

As an outsider, I'd say Trump DID get a lot of votes.

I think what's significant is the % of votes that went to "anti-establishment" candidates, namely Cruz, Trump and Carson. This is, I believe, a good indication that the voters are not too happy with establishment candidates like Bush, Kasich, and Rubio. Though in fairness, Rubio does seem to have the support of establishment types swinging his way.

I don't think there is any doubt that if - and that is a big IF - Trump were to bow out of the race at some time, most of those votes will swing to Cruz and vice-versa. I can't see the Trumpeters swinging their support to Amnesty loving Rubio.

Carson supporters are hard to judge, but I suspect they'll split Cruz/Rubio. Though Carson lost my respect today by claiming Cruz cheated. Bad form and almost Trumpian in nature.

Anyway, it was an exciting election and I can't wait for the next couple of primaries to see how things shake out.

Disclaimer 1: I am not a Trump fan, though I don't hate him either.
Disclaimer 2: I can't stand Rubio. Wolf in sheep's clothing and phony through and through. Reminds me of Obama, actually, but with a different political bent.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


It is reported in the media that Hillary won six Iowa precincts with the flip of a coin.

Will the next president win the white house with the flip of a coin?

America has a history of anyone can be president in America. The coin flip indicates history is on path.

DKHSK, so what is Cruz apologizing to Carson all about?

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 2, 2016 at 9:40 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


I'm assuming you already know the answer, but it was reported in the media that Carson was taking a break before hitting up NH and SC. Immediately after the Cruz campaign reported on this, Carson' campaign said it wasn't true.
When Cruz found out that his campaign did not follow-up he immediately called and apologized directly to Carson.

This is called INTEGRITY, Michael.

This hardly rises to the level of "cheating", more like jumping the gun.

This is a big nothing, and you can tell because nobody is talking about it anymore.

Hey, I do like the fact that the fist Hispanic in US history won a caucus but NOBODY has reported on it.

Its like the media is racist or something!

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Feb 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


So, you are retracting your comment that "Cruz cheated?

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 3, 2016 at 6:49 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


I didn't say that "Cruz cheated". I said that he was accused of cheating.

He apologized because one of his underlings tweeted something that originated with...CNN (but of course), but was later denied by Carson.

Hardly cheating.

BTW, Rubio did the same as Cruz but notice how nobody says anything about that?

There is no there, there.


Posted by, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm is a registered user.

Right now I'm leaning towards Rubio. Although I agree with some of the critics that he's trying to jump up from his current job as Senator from Florida without working for his constituents in his state.

Jeb Bush, who was Rubio's mentor, criticized Rubio for not doing the job he was elected to do. Rubio pretty much agreed by saying he's not working in the Senate because he's running for President. He's as arrogant as Donald Trump (but much better looking).

But he's smart and energetic and respects the First Amendment Freedom of Religion. Here's a link to his answer to a question about his "Religious Values" which impressed me a lot. Web Link


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Feb 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


Rubio has a history of using Government credit cards for personal purchases. Rubio also has a history of extravagant purchases for himself and family. He obviously is not a good budgeter with his personal finances.

But, he is puzzling because, he is a conservative with poor management of his personal finances. Is he really conservative? Something fishy with Rubio makes me uncomfortable.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 7, 2016 at 9:22 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Rubio is the Republican version of Obama.

He's slick and will repeat the same 25 or so talking points with little detail or change in style. Last nights debate was a classic example of Rubio' "one mile wide, one inch deep" philosophies.

What blew it for me was he ran for senate on a Tea Party platform, then promptly fell in with the Democrats on Amnesty - which he was against, then for, then against - and, with John McCain/GPOe on Foreign (Let's invade!) policy.

Rubio has no principles and is not trustworthy.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 12, 2016 at 1:30 am

rosalindr is a registered user.

I've dropped Rubio, like almost everyone else. He turned out to be a cardboard cutout. He looked good from the front but there was nothing behind it. His repeating the same canned speech after Chris Christie accused him of repeating the same canned speech was almost like a sketch by Jon Stewart. Rubio did himself in.

Now I'm back to undecided. I liked Christie, but he just dropped out too. It looks like the Republicans will be left with Trump or Cruz or maybe Kaisch. I read something negative about Kaisch, but I can't remember what it was. Still if it's between those three, I'll probably go with Kaisch.

With all of the candidates that started out it looks like the choice in November will be between bad or worse.


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