August 2, 2015

BERNIE, WE HARDLY KNEW YE:

A Former Ally Says Bernie Sanders Has Changed (MARK DAVIS, July 29, 2015, 7 Days)

Sanders quit the Liberty Union Party and, while remaining a "democratic socialist," went on to support Democratic Party candidates. He rose to become a respected leader in Vermont and is now a presidential contender.

Meanwhile, Diamondstone hasn't budged an inch politically. He has entered every Vermont state election since the early 1970s and never won more than 7 percent of the vote. He is known as much for his antics and unconventional appearance -- bushy beard and thick, curly hair -- as for his socialist views.

As Sanders has been jetting around the country this summer, speaking to adoring crowds, Diamondstone has been recuperating from complications from heart and liver failure. He's been confined to his Dummerston home since Medicare stopped paying for his stay in a respite facility. Clad in compression socks, he uses a walker to get around.

When he looks at his old friend, does Diamondstone ever think, "That could have been me?"

Sitting in his living room, the 80-year-old Socialist paused but couldn't summon a direct answer. He noted that it has been decades since he and Sanders have exchanged a friendly word.

"There's no 'friends' there for me," said Diamondstone. "There's nothing, from my point of view. He went in a certain direction, and that was the opposite of mine. Sanders and I suffered a hostile divorce. He was moving to the right, and I was moving to the left."

Diamondstone did admit feeling annoyance that Sanders gets credit, in Vermont and nationally, for an unwavering dedication to his beliefs -- as the guy who has been saying the same thing for years, no matter how unpopular.

If that were true, Diamondstone said, Sanders' career would look an awful lot like ... Diamondstone's. He views Sanders as just another sellout who moderated his image and compromised his beliefs to win elections.

Posted by at August 2, 2015 10:46 AM
  

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