As one should have expected knowing her history, faced with the rising popularity of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has adopted rhetoric that could easily have emerged out of the mouths of the Republicans and Fox News, even to the extent of accusing him of being a communist sympathizer.
Attacks on Bernie Sanders by rival Democrats are likely to turn increasingly to his record on the economy and foreign affairs, according to a new dossier seen by the Guardian that accuses him of sympathising with communists and “not believing in capitalism”.
On Thursday, Sanders aides accused David Brock, a political operative who runs a Super Pac set up to defend Clinton, of “mudslinging” after he claimed Sanders was acting as if “black lives don’t matter” in a new campaign ad.
This follows a week of steadily mounting criticism from other campaign surrogates such as Chelsea Clinton, who accused the senator of wanting to “dismantle Obamacare”, and foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan who warned that Sanders’s proposals for tackling Isis would put Israel at risk.
The dossier, prepared by opponents of Sanders and passed on to the Guardian by a source who would only agree to be identified as “a Democrat”, alleges that Sanders “sympathized with the USSR during the Cold War” because he went on a trip there to visit a twinned city while he was mayor of Burlington.
Similar “associations with communism” in Cuba are catalogued alongside a list of quotes about countries ranging from China to Nicaragua in a way that supporters regard as bordering on the McCarthyite rather than fairly reflecting his views.
Dave Lindorff calls Clinton out on her red-baiting and wonders how much lower she can sink and says that this is just the kind of thing the Clintons do through their surrogates.
This attempted McCarthyite hatchet job on Sanders was launched in an article in the obligingly complicit New York Times, which on Wednesday ran a one-sided hit piece headlined::”Alarmed Clinton Supporters Begin Focusing on Sanders’s Socialist Edge.”
In that article, we read the likes of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, saying of Sanders, “Here in the heartland, we like our politicians in the mainstream, and he is not — he’s a socialist. He’s entitled to his positions, and it’s a big-tent party, but as far as having him at the top of the ticket, it would be a meltdown all the way down the ballot.”
Then there ‘s Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a neoliberal Clinton supporter, who tells the Times, “The Republicans won’t touch (Sanders) because they can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle.”
The Clintons’ fingers are all over this McCarthyite attack. It’s exactly the kind of thing Bill and Hillary pulled when they went after Barack Obama after he won the Iowa caucus in 2008, and sparked the epic collapse of Hillary Clinton’s first time out as the “inevitable” Democratic nominee for president that year. Now they’re trying the same smear tactic on Sanders, and for the same reason.
This time they will fail because Americans are no longer spooked about the idea of socialism. In fact, a poll taken a week ago in Iowa found that a plurality of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers, asked to identify themselves as either “capitalists” or as “socialists,” chose “socialist.” Meanwhile, asked the same question in the last debate, Hillary Clinton proudly declared herself to be a “capitalist.”
Phillip Weiss writes that her campaign is also pandering to hardline Israel supporters by suggesting that by seeking to normalize relations with Iran, Sanders is risking the existence of Israel, thus revealing once again her warmongering tendencies.
I remember being disgusted with Bill Clinton back in 1993 when he summarily abandoned Lani Guinier, a noted civil rights legal scholar who had been a good friend of his, when Republicans attacked her as a ‘quota queen’ after she was nominated by him for the position of assistant attorney general for civil rights. But this is how the Clintons operate. They will not hesitate to ditch their stated principles and even their friends and adopt the rhetoric and policies of the right wing as long as it serves their immediate power needs. So what we are seeing is typical Clinton politicking. When it comes to grabbing for power, there is nothing that she and her husband will not do.
Steve Hendricks provides more examples of the ways that her actions belie her words.