Clinton Escalates Her Smear Campaign; Sanders Takes Off The Gloves

Sanders Aggressive vs. Clinton

Hillary Clinton has already been widely criticized for her dishonest attacks on Bernie Sanders with false claims of sexism, which were reminiscent of how she used racism in her dirty, and unsuccessful, campaign against Barack Obama eight years ago. Now she has turned to racism to extend her smear campaign against Sanders. William Saletan wrote, Hillary Clinton Is Stepping Up Her Smear Campaign Against Bernie: First she suggested the Vermont senator was sexist. Now she’s reaching for the race card.

After summarizing how Clinton falsely accused Sanders of sexism, he described how she is using the race card by twisting another line from Sanders which in no way suggested racism. He noted, “She’s taking Sanders’ remarks out of context and twisting them to breed resentment. You’ve got to twist the facts pretty hard to portray Sanders as a racist or sexist.”

Salon went even further in an article entitled Hillary Clinton’s anti-Sanders smears are completely out of control: Why her latest Bernie broadside is utterly hypocritical. The article also points out that her “her willingness to smear a left-wing opponent is cynical and particularly remarkable coming from a candidate who has supported some of the most anti-black political initiatives of the past three decades.” It summarizes many of policies Clinton backed when Bill was president which ultimately were devastating for black communities, along with Clinton’s position in more recent years:

As late 2008, Clinton staffers pointed to Obama’s criticism of mandatory minimum sentences to suggest that he was too liberal. And Clinton still supports the death penalty, something she quietly clarified in October after what Politifact describes as 15 years of obfuscatory silence. Someone may have advised her that it would be one too many issues to “evolve” on all of a sudden. There is, after all, so much to evolve about.

We can only hope that, as in 2008, we reach a point where Clinton’s smear campaign results in many Democrats reconsidering whether she is fit to be president.

Bernie Sanders has been more willing to directly confront Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal ran an interview with Sanders entitled, Bernie Sanders Takes Gloves Off Against Hillary Clinton in Interview.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is drawing sharper distinctions with front-runner Hillary Clinton, casting her policy reversals over the years as a character issue that voters should take into account when they evaluate the Democratic field.

Sen. Sanders of Vermont, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, also said the federal investigation of the security surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s private email account is appropriate.

In the Democratic debate last month, Mr. Sanders said voters were “sick and tired” of the focus on Mrs. Clinton’s “damn emails.” Afterward, many Democrats and political analysts said that he had appeared to dismiss her use of a private email account and server in her four years as secretary of state.

Mr. Sanders rejected that assessment on Wednesday. If her email practices foiled public-records requests or compromised classified information, those are “valid questions,” Mr. Sanders said…

In an interview on Capitol Hill, Mr. Sanders said he wasn’t daunted, given his starting point as a little-known independent senator from Vermont. And he took time in the interview to cite polls in which he fares better than Mrs. Clinton in a general election showdown against various Republican candidates.

Since he joined the race, he has attracted the largest crowds, with tens of thousands of people coming out to hear his fiery speeches about income inequality and the untrammeled power of the “billionaire class.”

“We had to fight very hard in the last six months to get my name out there, to get my ideas out there,” Mr. Sanders said. “We still have a long way to go with the African-American community, with the Latino community.…But we’re working hard, and I think at the end of the day we are going to pull off one of the major political upsets in American history.”

On the issue of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, Mr. Sanders didn’t say he regretted his debate remarks. “You get 12 seconds to say these things,” he said of the debate setting. “There’s an investigation going on right now. I did not say, ‘End the investigation.’ That’s silly.…Let the investigation proceed unimpeded.”

Mr. Sanders said he has long-held positions on issues that weren’t always popular. Asked about Mrs. Clinton’s recent announcement that she opposed a Pacific trade deal she had once backed, among other changes in position, he said that consistency on such issues “does speak to the character of a person.”

He also said that in 2002 he voted against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a measure that Mrs. Clinton supported as a New York senator.

“It is important to see which candidates have the courage to cast tough votes, to take on very, very powerful interests,” he said.

When voters assess whether he or Mrs. Clinton would be tougher on Wall Street financial firms, Mr. Sanders said the choice is clear. Mrs. Clinton has laid out a plan that would levy a risk fee on large banks and says that regulators should use their authority to break up banks that have grown too large. She is against reinstating Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking. That measure was repealed in President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Mr. Sanders supports the re-imposition of Glass-Steagall and has called for breaking up the largest banks.

“I have been walking the walk, not just talking the talk,” he said. He said he took a tough stance against efforts in the 1990s to deregulate the financial sector and suggested that Mrs. Clinton is compromised when it comes to Wall Street regulation, because of donations she has received.

A Wall Street Journal analysis last year showed that financial services were among the largest sources of money Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have taken in since they arrived on the national stage in the 1992 presidential campaign.

“People should be suspect of candidates who receive large sums of money from Wall Street and then go out and say, ‘Trust me, I’m going to really regulate Wall Street,’ ” Mr. Sanders said.

The title is a bit misleading in making it sound like Sanders is just now taking off the gloves, as these are all things he has said before. This includes his clarification that when he did not want to talk about the email during the debate, he did not mean that this is not a subject which should be investigated.

It is a difficult question as to how much Sanders should say about the email during a presidential primary. While independents are concerned, and the issue could very well cost Clinton the election should she be the Democratic nominee, the majority of Democratic voters are oblivious as to how serious the scandal really is. Many Democratic voters attribute the scandal to more false claims from Fox, failing to realize that it has been liberals concerned with government transparency and fighting corruption who have been raising the current charges.

Sanders could have challenged the lies Clinton told about the email scandal during the first Democratic debate which had already been debunked in the past by fact checkers. Her lies were again debunked by fact checking sites such as Factcheck.org after the debate:

When asked about her unusual email arrangement as secretary of state, Clinton said, “What I did was allowed by the State Department.” That’s not the full story.

Clinton conducted government business exclusively using a personal email account (hdr22@clintonemail.com), and those emails were stored on a private server.

As we have written before, the State Department and the Clinton campaign have cited a National Archives and Records Administration rule issued in 2009 that said federal agencies that allow the use of personal emails must preserve them “in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.” So personal emails were allowed.

But federal rules also required Clinton to preserve her work emails “at the end of the Secretary’s tenure or sooner if necessary.” She did not turn over copies of her emails to the State Department until Dec. 5, 2014 — nearly two years after she left office on Feb. 1, 2013.

Also, whether the State Department allowed it or not, Clinton’s decision “to conduct all e-mail correspondence through a private e-mail network, using a non-.gov address, is inconsistent with long-established policies and practices under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations governing all federal agencies,” according to congressional testimony of Jason R. Baron, a former director of litigation at the National Archives, who is now a lawyer at Drinker Biddle.

My bet is that Sanders, who would probably only talk about economic issues during the campaign if he could get away with it, is not fully aware of all the facts regarding the Clinton scandals which have already been established. We can be certain that if Clinton wins the nomination, the Republicans will repeat them endlessly, further hindering Clinton’s ability to win the general election. In the meantime, it is probably their differences on many other issues, including the economy, Social Security expansionforeign policy, civil liberties, the drug war, capital punishment, and social issues, which will give Sanders a shot at upsetting Clinton for the nomination.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    David Duff says:

    So if 'HillBilly' wins the nomination who will you vote for?

    Jest askin'!

  2. 2
    Ken says:

    Its true that while the specific issues being howled about by the right wing in regard to the Clintons are rarely, if ever, of any real concern to the nation, they do seem to indicate a general sleaziness about the couple.  The  details regarding Clinton scandals are always copious and specific, and of mundane, sordid, and legalistic character.   In contrast, Obama's GOP problems have tended to be of a more fanciful nature (Kenyan birth; 100,000 guillotines stocked in Montana;…), while there appear to be no scandals regarding Bernie Sanders whatsoever.

    If smoke is even a moderately good indicator of the existence of fire, then voters should feel correspondingly uneasy about another President Clinton.  

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    David, fortunately I don’t live in a battle ground state so I don’t necessarily have to hold my nose and vote for Clinton to try to keep the Republicans from winning. As this leaves me free to cast a protest vote if I desire, I’ll decide after I see who the Republican nominee is and how the campaign goes.

  4. 4
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Hi, David.

    I'll vote for Hill if she's the nominee, even if she's indicted and we see a picture of her with a bloody dagger in her hand, the body of Uncle Sam dead at her feet.

    So long as it's life or death, and it pretty much is for me and anyone else crucially dependent on Social Security and Medicare, I'm never going to vote for Republicans so long as they are the party that wants to repeal a century of progressivism, most especially including the Great Society and the New Deal.

    Suicidal? Not me, pal.

  5. 5
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Ron, I really don't get it. 

    Hillary's views and agenda in the past and even now are notably worse for American blacks than those of Bernie, and yet the southern tier of states on Super Tuesday are Hillary's "firewall" because of the high proportion of black voters, nearly all of whom favor Hill over Bern.

    What the hell?

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is largely because of people not being aware of how bad Clinton's record is and are unaware of Sanders' record. The nomination might come down to whether Sanders can get the information out in time for the primaries in these states.

  7. 7
    bob moran says:

    Just like 8 years ago , the truth is : The Democratic primary IS the next Presidential election !

  8. 8
    Peter Bugbee says:

    Bernies' success hinges on whether enough people know who he is.  I don't think it's anymore complicated than that.  How anyone can listen to him and not be drawn in by his intelligence and honesty baffles me.  Bernie had me at 'good morning'  FEEL THE BERN!!                                          

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