“Lizzie, we hardly knew ya.”

“Lizzie, we hardly knew ya”

What a sad refrain.

She splits the difference and is better than either Bernie or Joe in the ways that matter. And she can’t get more than a passing mention.

Joe will probably get this because the fear of Bernie and his suicidal intransigence has found its resting place, and Bernie’s folks will cry “foul” and “fix” and stomp around the room, threatening to stay home or even to vote for Trump, while the woman who knee-capped Bloomberg and his Scrooge McDuck candidacy, has thoughtful plans and a legislative record, and is probably the smartest person in the room, can’t get a fair hearing.

Sadly, she made a terrible misstep by embracing “Medicare for all.” It made her into “Bernie lite” and she never could get out of his shadow. She should have championed “Universal coverage,” which is what people mean when they shout “Medicare for all,” and made it aspirational.

That, in the larger sense, is why we are where we are. The Democrats did not make Bernie’s vision of equity and fairness aspirational, but allowed him to pound a stake in the ground and say, “You’re either with me or against me.” And the media took the bait, making this into a battle of competing camps — the moderates versus the radicals.

All Elizabeth had to do is say, “Bernie represents who we want to be, but we need to recognize where we are. We need a plan to get us to the dream, and sometimes plans take time. But we’ll get there, and I can help us do it in a graceful and embracing fashion.”

Gradualism is not a dirty word if the goal is clear. In fact, it is praiseworthy. It could have been Elizabeth’s route to relevance. The coalescence around Joe is a coalescence of fear, and Bernie’s intransigence is a self-defeating act of prideful arrogance.

But in the end we are going to have to choose. Otherwise the man who has torn up the lawn of democracy and is now defecating all over it will continue to do so. And that cannot be allowed to happen.

I’m just sad that a funny, thoughtful, visionary woman who could actually bring about the change we need has been ground into grist between an intransigent ideologue and a man who despite his protestations is more wedded to a fantasy of a halcyon past than a viable dream for a visionary future.

I didn’t know I would feel this way. I didn’t realize how much she represented both the dreams and the means that I embrace. But now that she appears to be leaving, I’m feeling a little bit homeless.

I’ll stay the course, as I hope we all will. But it’s going to hurt.

Thanks, Elizabeth, it has been a good run. We won’t forget you, but we’ll miss you. It’s a sad refrain, but all too true: “Lizzie, we hardly knew ya.”

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