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Count out Bernie Sanders at your own peril
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By Andrea Peyser
October 12, 2015

Count out Bernie Sanders at your own peril

Bernie Sanders is leading a geezer revolution.

His head lodged firmly ­between his shoulders like Richard Nixon, his arms waving around spastically and speaking with an accent heavy on the dropped Rs of his native Brooklyn (as in “black lives matt-uh’’).

Bernie, 74, played the crotchety old man on the porch screaming at kids, “Get off my lawn!’’

His spirited showing Tuesday night in the first 2016 Democratic candidates’ presidential debate in Las Vegas was almost (well, not quite) wacky enough to make me forget missing my beloved New York Mets’ loss to the despised Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

But I disagree with some pundits who declared front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton the debate’s winner. I think that the independent US senator from Vermont, born Bernard Sanders, wiped the floor with Hillary, 67, and three other guys whose names I can’t remember. Bernie played progressive class warfare, identifying four distinct enemies of this country: Wall Street fat cats. Billionaires. Republicans. ­Climate change.

And ISIS? Please. On Planet Bernie, Islamic State terrorists don’t hold a candle in the threat department to the debunked claim that American females get paid less than dudes. Bernie could be the reason Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t jumped into the race.

Republican prez hopefuls Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson have tapped into a rich vein of anger on the right, while Bernie is ginning up progressive crankiness. This country needs “a political revolution when millions of people come ­togeth-uh and say our government is going to work for us and not for a handful of billionaires!’’ the career politician declared. Off with their heads!

Here are five reasons I’m refraining from mocking (much) the leftist jester, and you should, too. He’s been creeping up on Hillary in Democratic voter polls, and is even topping her in first-primary state New Hampshire. He’s not going anywhere.

1. He makes Hillary look like an amateur.
In the debate, Hill played the grandma card — “I’m the granddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of a wonderful ­1-year-old child.’’ And the chick card — “I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had until this point, including President Obama.’’ But she never explained why an entitled multimillionairess outshines a male self-described “democratic socialist’’ determined to redistribute the wealth.

2. He must have driven her nuts.
Bernie patronizingly jumped to Hillary’s defense about her use of a private e-mail server to send, store and receive classified documents while secretary of state.
“But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails,’’ he bellowed.

“Thank you, Bernie,’’ Hillary said, shaking his hand. But her face was frozen in a tight smile that seemed to scream, “Damn you, Bernie! I can do this myself!’’

3. He sort of likes America, loves Scandinavia.
“We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway and learn from them what they have accomplished for their working people,” he said. (Hillary yelped weakly, “I love Denmark! We are the United States of America . . .”)

Sure, the Danish government provides its citizens goodies including free health care and a generous safety net, but the nation’s taxes are crushingly high, Denmark was ranked as the world’s third-most atheistic country in 2005 and the nation’s rate of adult and teen alcohol-consumption is off the charts. Given a choice, I’ll skip drunken, overtaxed Godlessness.

4. He’s not a complete leftist. He appreciates firearms.
Among other things that would delight gun lovers, Bernie voted against the Brady Act, which mandates federal background checks for gun buyers and restricts felons’ access to guns — five times as a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Is Bernie a closet gun nut?

“I come from a rural state,’’ he said cynically, “and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.’’ I don’t like it. But I don’t pander for votes in Vermont, or the entire county.

5. I can’t avoid this: Feel the Bern.
Asked by debate moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN to name the greatest crisis facing America, Bernie went off not on terrorism, but on global warming. If people don’t switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy “the planet that we’ll be leaving our children and grandchildren may well not be habitable.’’

According to Bernie, life in America is financially unfair and we’re probably doomed anyway. He’s a pessimist’s savior and a liberal’s dream man (except for the gun thing).
Count him out at your own peril.

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