Both Bernie and NYC's new conservative Democratic mayor, Eric Adams were on State of the Union with Dana Bash yesterday. Bash brought up Biden's statement at his press conference a few days ago that he's not Bernie and he's not a socialist. Biden, to the press, "You guys have been trying to convince me that I am Bernie Sanders. I'm not. I like him, but I'm not Bernie Sanders. I'm not a socialist. I'm a mainstream Democrat, and I have been." So Bash asked Bernie for a reaction.
Bernie: "Well, I'm not Joe Biden. I like him, but I'm not Joe Biden. I'm a progressive who believes that the Democratic Party should make it clear that we are prepared to take on powerful special interests, like the drug companies, like the insurance companies, like the fossil fuel industry, that we have to demand that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes."
So, look, I think President Biden has done something quite unusual. He has taken a hard look at the problems facing the American people. He's brought forth legislation to try to address that. And I respect that.
But, obviously, we have our strong differences.
Bash: And what do you say to those who say that part of the reason why-- that you're stuck, as you just described, in process and policy is because Joe Biden is governing more like Bernie Sanders than Joe Biden, and that's not what the American people asked for?
Bernie: Well, I would turn that around and say, how does it happen that the policies we are now fighting for are enormously popular?
CNN did some polling out there, asked whether the American people think it's time to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, asked whether we should be dealing with the existential threat of climate, should we be building affordable housing, should we be dealing with child care crisis? And the American people say, yes, it's about time you did it.
We're seeing the very richest people in this country, Dana, becoming incredibly richer during this pandemic, while tens of millions of American workers are struggling to make ends meet. The American people want us to have the courage to stand up to powerful special interests. That's what they want. And that's what we have got to do.
Bernie voiced some complaints about the knee-jerk Republican obstructionism in the Senate and how conservatives Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have joined the the GOP to halt Biden's agenda in its tracks. Meanwhile, Bernie should count himself lucky the new mayor of his original hometown, who is just as bad, both ideologically and ethically, as the two senatorial DINOs, isn't in Congress. Eric Adams is the walking, breathing proof that conservatism and corruption are absolutely inseparable.
Writing for Politico yesterday, Joe Anuta and Sally Goldenberg reported that Adams' shady new pay-to-play PAC, Striving for a Better New York, "raised over $1 million from pro-Trump real estate players, a New Jersey nightclub owner eyeing expansion into New York, and a tech giant who got a meeting with the mayor a day after giving $50,000 to the group."
The goal of the PAC is to boost conservative candidates, of both parties, in upcoming state elections, candidates like Adams. "In its first public disclosure, the organization showed strong support from business owners-- as well as Republican boosters. They are interested in candidates who are pro-police, pro-business, pro-charter school and anti-progressive.
To that end, the organization’s advisory board includes attorney Richard St. Paul-- a GOP donor who supported former President Donald Trump-- and Scherie Murray, a Republican who ran against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019. Adams won the Democratic primary last year without the support of the high-profile Congress member, who endorsed third-place finisher Maya Wiley instead. And since being elected, he and the left wing have publicly aired their mutual discontent.
Eric Hadar, head of real estate firm Allied Partners Inc., topped the list of nearly 600 donors with two contributions totaling $100,000. Hadar has owned pieces of several major commercial and residential properties in New York and Miami, including the Brill Building and the Citigroup Center in Manhattan. The PAC also received more than $20,000 from Jon Oringer, founder of Shutterstock; Edwin Gomez, a New Jersey nightclub owner who had plans to expand into the city; and Zef Perlleshi, a White Plains restaurateur.
Since his election last year, Adams has become a prominent member of the city’s swanky night-life scene, frequenting private hot spots like Zero Bond and Casa Cipriani.
The PAC also received thousands of dollars in donations from top New York real estate moguls Steve Witkoff and several corporations tied to Richard LeFrak, both of whom supported Trump’s reelection.
...The ties between Adams and the PAC have been clear since the outset. Adams spoke at a keynote fundraiserin October. And one of his former staffers in the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, Brianna Suggs, was paid by Striving for a Better New York in October. After Adams’ clinched the primary in June and subsequently raised the maximum amount of money for the general election, some donors still eager to support the mayor were steered toward [Adams' crony Alfred] Cockfield’s PAC, according to multiple sources.
...An advisory board member, attorney and lobbyist, Brad Gerstman, said the organization’s main function is to push back against the left wing of the Democratic party, which he argued is too hostile to businesses. Taxes paid by companies and their owners, he noted, pay for much of the social services run by the city and state.
“If those people flee to Florida, we will no longer have that golden goose,” he said. “I think that’s what many elected officials, in the Democratic Socialists of America for example, either don’t comprehend or don’t care about.”
Cockfield himself has business with the Adams administration, including contracts for pre-K centers he owns. He dismissed the idea that raising money for a PAC connected to the mayor now in charge of the city’s nearly $100 billion budget was a conflict of interest, arguing his contracts were awarded under the prior administration.
“The work I’m doing is God's work,” he said. “It’s not a conflict.”