Here We Go Again. Is It The Sanders Campaign Or The Slanders Campaign?

More agitated than usual, Bernie once again went after Hillary Clinton’s integrity during last night’s spirited debate in Flint, Michigan. Discussing the salvation of the auto industry in Michigan and elsewhere, including here in Missouri, Hillary said:

I think it was the right decision to heed what President-elect Obama asked us to do.

He sent a letter, an authorized letter, asking us to support that to save the auto industry. Yes, were there things in it that you and I would not have necessarily wanted? That’s true. But when it came down to it, you were either for saving the auto industry or you were against it. I voted to save the auto industry. And I am very glad that I did.

Now, Bernie had previously tried to explain why he voted the way he did on the infamous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) legislation—which contained money President Obama eventually used to save General Motors and Chrysler—saying last night, among other things, “I will be damned if it was the working people of this country who had to bail out the crooks on Wall Street.”

Fine. That was his right to use his very proper and popular disdain for Wall Street banksters as an excuse to ignore not only Mr. Obama’s recommendation, but ignore the pleas from Michigan’s two Democratic senators, who were trying to save the auto industry in their state. It was Bernie’s vote to cast and he cast it. He made a choice. But that choice, if he had prevailed, would have left the auto industry in the region for dead. Millions of jobs were at stake. And Mrs. Clinton has every right to point out that fact to Democratic voters in not only Michigan, but in “Ohio and Indiana and Illinois and Wisconsin and Missouri and other places in the Midwest.” 

So, after Hillary said she was “very glad” she voted to “save the auto industry,” Bernie-one-note came back with this:

Let me just say this, while we are on Wall Street, one of us has a super PAC. One of us has raised $15 million from Wall Street for that super PAC. One of us has given speeches on Wall Street for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, I kind of think if you get paid a couple hundred thousand dollars for a speech, it must be a great speech. I think we should release it and let the American people see what that transcript was.

That glaring non sequitur is revealing to me. Bernie’s response had nothing to do with Bernie’s vote against TARP and the associated auto bailout. It had nothing to do with President Obama’s controversial and bold move to use around $82 billion of TARP money to save millions of jobs, which would not have been possible if Bernie’s right and righteous anger at Wall Street had won the day. So, why does Bernie continue to go back, time and again, to the Hillary-took-money-from-Wall Street-therefore-she-must-be-corrupt strategy? I wish I could answer that, but his continuing to piggyback on the decades-old Republican slander machine is getting annoying.

Just listen to what Tad Devine, a top Sanders adviser, said during an interview this morning with CNN’s Chris Cuomo about last night’s tangle:

CUOtad devine.jpgMO: The question about the auto bailout seemed to give Bernie Sanders some pause. Do you think that that was a vulnerability for him last night with that audience?

TAD DEVINE: No, I don’t. I think it was a vulnerability for Hillary Clinton because what she did was so utterly disingenuous, so false. She said Bernie Sanders opposed the auto bailout. On December 11, 2008, he voted on the floor of the United States Senate to bail out the auto industry. She knew that. But nevertheless she wants to mislead people here in Michigan and elsewhere on the eve of an election. I mean Bernie supported the auto bailout; he voted for it in the Senate…

Cuomo reminded Mr. Devine that it was a second vote to which Hillary was referring, the TARP vote that would eventually include money to help stabilize the failing auto industry. And it is here that Mr. Devine, Bernie Sanders’ top spokesman, got GOP-style dirty:

DEVINE: Yeah, no, what she was talking about was the TARP, the bailout of Wall Street. And to take that money and to say, ha, ha, you’re against the auto industry because Bernie Sanders says the middle class of America should not bail out Wall Street is totally, utterly disingenuous. And it speaks to her great weakness as a candidate: that she cannot be believed.

There you have it. That attack on the integrity and honesty of Hillary Clinton is the exact same message that Republicans have been, are, and will continue sending to the American electorate in order to take control of the entire federal government. And it is damned sad that the Sanders campaign is helping them do it.



  1. King Beauregard

     /  March 7, 2016

    As far as I’m concerned, Bernie’s vote against TARP is evidence he is happy to harm the country if that’s what it takes to stick it to Wall Street.

    For those of you who want to claim that TARP was a bad idea, virtually every respected economist agrees that it kept the recession from getting infinitely worse, and not only have the funds been repaid but the nation has even turned a $11B profit. And organizations like GM were forced to restructure to make them more resilient. TARP was a resounding success; Hillary was right and Bernie was wrong.


    • TARP was one of those instances where anger over what happened had to be subdued in order to keep things from completely collapsing. People forget now that the economy had shrunk by something like 8 or 9 percent in that last quarter of 2008. And it is easy now, with less than 5% unemployment, to forget those 800,000 jobs we were losing every month when Obama came into office. But Bernie was there when all that was going on. And you are completely right. He allowed his justifiable anger over Wall Street to get in the way of doing what had to be done. If there is one personal thing that bothers me about Bernie, it is his temperament. I’m an Obama guy precisely because in 2007, during those Democratic debates, I saw his temperament on display. I became a supporter. It is the kind of temperament I want my candidate to possess. And there are times when Bernie just seems to be pissed off all the time and I’m afraid the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore” stuff just doesn’t look presidential.


  2. Honestly, I missed where there was any slander. The closest thing I can imagine to this is if Hoover had been succeeded by some pussy Democrat who continued doing everything Hoover did, then this successor’s implied successor gets slammed for voting to continue Hoover’s policies. There is no awareness at all on any level that anything might have been wrong with what Hoover (Bush) did.


    • I suppose if you can prove Hillary Clinton is a consummate liar then there is no slander. But it’s an odd argument to be having among Democrats, in my opinion. Just as it is odd that Republican candidates are calling each other liars and fools and other schoolyard names.

      And, again, I’m not sure I follow the rest of your reasoning. You will have to be more specific about who your examples, or analogies, apply to in the current field.


  3. King: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a respected economist.


  4. Ben Field

     /  March 7, 2016


    I do not understand bashing Bernie for insinuating Hillary is less than honest. She has been involved in politics far too long to be unable to produce evidence. The emails are a poor lack of judgement at the best case scenario. A $1k investment in cattle futures netting her $100k with the help of Tyson executives also comes to mind. All politicians have baggage. Despite Obama’s accomplishments and the TARP initiative, the fact remains that not one exectutive on Wall Street or any in the financial industry were indicted or prosecuted by his AG Eric Holder because of the Tea Party machinations. Yes, you still voted for him in 2012, because he was a Democrat.

    If you want to bash Bernie at least do it for a valid reason such as he has contributed nothing to the DNC. He is nothing like the GOP and you certainly know that for fact. To criticize him and the 40% of the electorate who supports him, only brings division to the party not unity.

    If Hillary loses the election, that is on Hillary, her record, and even Bill’s being demonized and villified by the GOP. You should not blame Sanders or his foolish supporters for such unless you want to further increase the number of his supporters that would as you and King B. suggested are voting Trump as opposed to Hillary. Personally, my friends or myself would not do such, but to continually bash our primary choice, invites retaliatory response.


  5. Dayan Edwards

     /  March 7, 2016

    It is annoying that so many people in the media consistently attach “untrustworthy” and “dishonest” to Clinton when talking about her and unfortunate that Sanders is doing it too. (I wish, for once, when a nonsupporter refers to her as untrustworthy or dishonest, the interviewer would ask for an example of what he/she means. I think most of the nonsupporters wouldn’t be able to answer that question since they’re just mindlessly repeating the meme.)

    Why is it that some people aren’t subjected to this? Reagan was referred to as the Teflon President because nothing negative stuck to him, and now Trump is the Super Teflon Candidate: I certainly don’t hear the media constantly referring to him as the low-information, flip-flopping, narcissistic, or vulgar candidate even though there are good reasons to do so.


    • Dayan,

      You raise an interesting point. I have wondered myself, during the debates for example, why Bernie doesn’t bring up a specific issue that he can tie to his insinuation of dishonesty on the part of Hillary Clinton. To date, I haven’t heard him present even one. If she is that dishonest, it should be rather easy.

      Sure, they both can point to past votes—her vulnerability is that stupid Iraq vote and his is that stupid vote on behalf of gun manufacturers and the TARP-auto bailout vote—as examples of bad judgment or whatever. But where are the examples of actual, demonstrable dishonesty? You are right about that. When the charge is brought up, it just gets glossed over because Republicans, over the years, have done such an effective job of branding her has a liar that I guess journalists don’t bother to question it anymore. Heck, I often hear journalists emphasize polls that show a high level of distrust for her.

      Finally, about Reagan. With the passing of Nancy, we have heard a lot of gushing praise for the Reagans, particularly for their amazing and commendable love for each other. That is all good. But there has also been sort of a nostalgic longing for those “great” days of the Reagan presidency. I will give you just one example. Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, broke in on the network’s regular programming on Sunday with the news of Mrs. Reagan’s passing. Here is part of what he said:

      We are very sad to report breaking news right now. Nancy Reagan, former First Lady of the United States, has passed away. Very sad moment for all of us, especially those of us who covered Nancy Reagan so many of those years, those wonderful years when her husband was President of the United States.

      “Wonderful years”? You can almost feel the longing for those days, can’t you? I suppose there are some who can say they were wonderful years. But there are those who look back and can say that a lot of what we see today was made possible by those Reagan years. From enormous deficits and debt to the popularity of Donald Trump, some of us think about those Reagan years a little bit differently from the way Mr. Blitzer apparently thinks about them.



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