Clinton campaigning gets (predictably) ugly


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.

Comments

  1. Holms says

    And the more mainstream the media outlet, the more likely they are to be willing perpetuators of her lies.

  2. says

    Predictable ugly and awkwardly incompetent. It’s a hallmark of Hillary’s.

    Whenever we see hack attacks and campaign incompetence we need to remind ourselves that those are the people who will get “paid” by being handed out posts in the presidency if they win.

  3. lorn says

    Ugly? … wow … If you think this is ugly you might want to hide under the covers for the next ten months.

    So a few elbows get thrown. You aren’t even sure who is throwing them. This is kid’s stuff.

    The the Koch brothers have commitments for almost $900,000,000. There are accounts of similar amounts from other groups backing the GOP. All of it is going to come at Bernie in a massive shit storm. If Bernie’s supporters are crying now, how the hell are you going to handle the actual champaign, or four years of investigation and vicious slander.

    If you are incensed at a vague accusation from an unnamed “Democrat”, who might be working for the GOP to cause discord, and so easily assign blame to Clinton without any proof (whatever happened to skepticism) I wonder how you will keep it together when things get real?

    Bernie did say that he wants to replace the ACA with universal healthcare (UH). Fine, I think UH would be ideal, but, as with so many other issues with Bernie, he has the rhetoric right but no actual plan to get there. And with an uncooperative congress he could easily end up destroying the ACA, which is the GOP goal, without getting to UH. Many a mechanic has destroyed the mechanism while seeking to improve it.

    Similarly Bernie speaks of breaking up the banks, but he lacks a plan for how it would happen.

  4. John Morales says

    lorn, you’re doing plenty of smearing yourself, with all your woe-mongering and nay-saying.

  5. Chiroptera says

    John Morales, #4:

    What lorn is saying is what Paul Krugman has been saying for at least the past week or so. Of all the pundits and op-ed writers, Krugman is the one for whom I have a lot of respect.

    I think Krugman may be right in this case, but I do think his criticisms of Sanders are missing the point — probably because Krugman really is pretty much an establishment liberal. But I would never dismiss what he says lightly.

    By the way, Katha Pollitt, another writer for whom I’ve always had a lot of respect, is also supporting Clinton. Although I’d prefer President Sanders over President Clinton, I wouldn’t be unhappy with Clinton.

    Back to the topic: I’d really hate to see the Democratic candidates start being vicious with one another. I’ve said this before: Trump, Cruz, or any of the other Republican possibilities have a definite chance of being elected President of the current United States. This country cannot afford to have the supporters of the Democratic candidate who loses the nomination being so disaffected and uninspired that they don’t bother voting in November.

  6. lanir says

    The tussle in the comments is a repetition of a classic tactic. It’s shifting the goalposts and it’s how things shift to the right. “Oh it could be so much worse!” is an absolutely meaningless type of statement when trying to decide whether an accusation is factually correct or not.

    It’s also not all that impressive that the Clinton folk casually shift from ISIS to Israel, as though the group were some massive impending threat that uniquely targets Israel. ISIS is primarily a civil war within Islam and sounds likely to remain so for some time yet. The main danger to Israel (and the US for that matter) is in handling it in such a hamfistedly idiotic manner that it causes their own people to become sympathetic to the ISIS cause and engage in domestic terrorism. Even many of the less informed voting blocks in the US have noticed that the refugee crisis from this conflict is an international world-spanning affair that can’t be ignored but it’s not even mentioned here.

  7. Holms says

    The the Koch brothers have commitments for almost $900,000,000. There are accounts of similar amounts from other groups backing the GOP. All of it is going to come at Bernie in a massive shit storm. If Bernie’s supporters are crying now, how the hell are you going to handle the actual champaign, or four years of investigation and vicious slander.

    MS noted that there has been a shift in Clinton rhetoric as Sanders continues to narrow the gap, and cited several authors. Who is crying? But of course throwing doubt is just part of your general cop-out approach to the presidential race.

  8. StevoR says

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton is a war monger.

    I don’t think she’d make a bad POTUS.

    If you look at the Republican alternatives, you can’t deny they’d be a hell of a lot worse.

  9. StevoR says

    Merely voting – along with most other Congresscritters for the Iraq war based on what they knew at the time does NOT a “warmonger” make.

    Hillary Clinton is flawed but aren’t we all? Isn’t Bernie Sanders? Isn’t he electorally flawed in terms of mainstream -not Democratic party base -but mainstream centre and USA wide – appeal? Ideological purity is a fool’s quest. Bets possible realistic results are not. Is Sanders realistically a more likely Presidential race winner vs Hillary?

    And those here who would throw Israel and another – this time eight million Jewish Israeli individual lives to the wolves – shame on you. Just shame on you. Go learn some history and appreciate Jewish culture and civilisation and all its gifts and don’t be anti-Semites ‘k? They have so little. Really so very little. One & only one land the Jews have, a tiny fraction of the land which they have always lived in and always loved and which has always been at the heart of who and what and where they are. Would you really deny the Jewish and Israeli people that? One tiny rightful democratic scientifically advanced and durn well deserved and earnt in sweat and blood and tears homeland in the place they’ve always been indigenous to? Arabs, OTOH, already have everywhere else from Jordan and Arabia to Iraq and Syria and aren’t those all such wonderful happy places under joyously blissful Arab rule!? (Do I really need a sarcasm tag?) Would a putative additional “Palestine” – yet another Arab state after TransJordan and the Gaza Strip and Syria – coz y’know they did used to call themselves “South Syrians” pre-1960’s or so – truly be any better? Would that really solve anything beyond giving the Islamists new terrorist bases from which to fire yet more rockets and serve the cause of anti-Jewish anti-Western hate? Especially given examples of Hams and Fatah rule? Would you mob really egg on another Shoah? Oh & don’t call me a liar when the likes of Marcus Ranum (who, okay, is often a smart and decent person & who, believe or not I do have some respect for) have previously written that Mongols and Babylonians have equal claim to Israel’s land. Israel has the right to live – in peace and security and without fear of homicide-suicide bombers or knife attacks or car attacks or rocket attacks or any other attacks. Agree or disagree? Yes or no?

  10. StevoR says

    Israel :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

    Would you look at who and what they are and listen to their side of the story ‘fore you condemn them all to death please?

    And if they choose not to just lie down and die – well good for them and shame on you for ever demanding otherwise and from afar. Israel gets to choose what Israel does and how it lives and its people are people too. Don’t you ever forget it.

  11. patrick2 says

    @StevoR

    Why the sudden rant about Israel? Israel was only mentioned tangentially here, and not a word was said about letting Jews die.

  12. Mano Singham says

    patrick2,

    What you are noticing is a manifestation of monomania, a topic I addressed here a couple of years ago that I think you will enjoy. Don’t forget to check out the comments to that post!

  13. Holms says

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton is a war monger.

    I do.

    Merely voting – along with most other Congresscritters for the Iraq war based on what they knew at the time does NOT a “warmonger” make.

    Being in favour of war at every opportunity presented to you is actually an amazingly good criterion for adjudging someone a warmonger.

    Also, a point which has been made to you in the past: it is well documented that the intel (alleging the presence of WMDs for example) was known to be flawed even at the time.

    I don’t think she’d make a bad POTUS.

    If you look at the Republican alternatives, you can’t deny they’d be a hell of a lot worse.

    And Bernie would be better.

    (It is telling, to my mind at least, that your argument in favour of her candidacy is simply that she is not the worst.)

    Hillary Clinton is flawed but aren’t we all? Isn’t Bernie Sanders?

    Standard “yeah but no one is perfect” style deflection of criticism. To be treated with the usual: contempt.

    Ideological purity is a fool’s quest. Bets possible realistic results are not. Is Sanders realistically a more likely Presidential race winner vs Hillary?

    The surest way to ruin this chance at a truly progressive candidate is to vote for someone else.

    And those here who would throw Israel and another – this time eight million Jewish Israeli individual lives to the wolves – shame on you. Just shame on you. …

    Standard StevoR rant, containing standard StevoR intentional misrepresentation of opposing views.

  14. lanir says

    I’d have to agree with what Holmes said @16 (except the last point – I hadn’t been paying attention so have no opinion either way) but here are a couple other points that I felt were worth making.

    If you look at the Republican alternatives, you can’t deny they’d be a hell of a lot worse.

    Uh… There are no Republican options in the Democratic primary. I can leave that be and everyone will understand and agree with me I hope? Even ex-Republicans like Lincoln Chafee were not running on Republican values, they were appealing to Democratic voters.

    Is Sanders realistically a more likely Presidential race winner vs Hillary?

    Actually the only available data (that I have seen) suggests Sanders would win by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton. I understand having enthusiasm for the electoral process and I also don’t expect this sort of comparison to play a leading role in ones choice of candidate. But I think it helps everyone if we make honest, informed decisions rather than try to influence each other with misrepresentations.
    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2307

    … Go learn some history and appreciate Jewish culture and civilisation and all its gifts and don’t be anti-Semites ‘k? …

    I only grabbed a small portion of the Israel statements but this is my response to all of it: If you were attempting to address my mention of ISIS and Israel then I think you missed the mark entirely. Your comments literally have nothing to do with anything else that was said here nor do I care to magically transform this into a debate about the merits of the Palestinian struggle. That is one of the classic signs of the erasure of that struggle, that it must be about everything and everything must be about it. It has it’s own place and it’s own logical talking points and I won’t further demean the truth of that matter by inserting it roughshod in here.

    On a side note before this also comes up, I will not think of the children either. Or question whether what I call blue is really orange to you. Or how many impossible things one can believe before breakfast. They don’t inform our decisions about the Democratic presidential candidates, which is the actual matter at hand.

  15. Nick Gotts says

    StevoR@ridiculous slanders-and-lies

    Yup, all us antisemites here are supporting the Jewish candidate, while you, the only non-antisemite, prefer his non-Jewish rival. That really ought to make you think about whether opposition to illegal Israeli annexation and settlement of lands conquered in war, along with long-term oppression and repeated collective punishment of its inhabitants, actually imply antisemitism – but I know from long experience that it won’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *