Throwback Thursday: Young Hillary Clinton Video Mocked Clinton’s Dirty Campaign Tactics In 2008

We have already seen signs of Hillary Clinton getting dirty in this year’s campaign against Bernie Sanders, but so far this has been rather tame compared to her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama. During the early primaries there was already criticism of Clinton  in the liberal blogs for her dirty campaign tactics, with matters getting worse as the campaign progressed. Her campaign played fast and loose with primary laws while her allies, such as Sidney Blumenthal, waged a vicious smear campaign against Obama.

Clinton’s corruption as Secretary of State subsequent to this campaign is likely to be a major campaign issue next fall. The Wall Street Journal has foreshadowed what to expect in an article this week on how “more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.” Clinton also failed to abide by an agreement to release information on all donors to the Foundation when Secretary of State.

The above video, Young Hillary Clinton, which I posted in May 2008, captures the type of dishonesty seen by Clinton throughout the 2008 campaign, humorously speculating on  how such behavior might have stemmed from her childhood.

Related Posts:

Throwback Thursday, January 1, 2008: Barack Obama: Hillary Clinton ‘is just like Bush’
Throwback Thursday: Hillary 1984

Obama and Clinton Again Top Gallup’s List Of Most Admired

Gallup has released their annual lists of the most admired women and men for 2015. These are basically measures of name recognition, with The New York Times discussing the methodology:

The poll tends to reflect names of people who have recently appeared in news headlines, said Frank M. Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. Rather than choose from a list of names, poll respondents offer whichever comes to mind.

“It very much reflects who has been in the news, and who people can recall at a short period of time when an interviewer asks them,” Mr. Newport said.

The sitting president is generally the most admired man, and with all the publicity surrounding her Hillary Clinton has dominated the list for most admired woman in recent years. Here is this year’s list:

Gallup Most Admired 2015

This is hardly meaningful other than as a test of who is in the news. While Hillary Clinton is well ahead, she was still only mentioned by thirteen percent of those responding. As usual, the sitting president is on top of the men’s list, with seventeen percent mentioning him. Pope Francis was next after Obama at five percent, and then we see the effects of this year’s presidential race. Donald Trump edged Bernie Sanders, which is inconsistent with the polls showing that Sanders would beat Trump by a landslide margin.

The list of women is less dominated by political leaders for obvious reasons, with Malala Yousafzai coming in second after Clinton. Sarah Palin is still in the minds of some conservatives, with her being mentioned by one percent. Elizabeth Warren was also in a group of five mentioned by one percent. I imagine that, considering how much Palin has been worshiped on the right, Warren is doing well to tie her in this type of poll which rewards name recognition over other attributes.

Outrageous Statements From Donald Trump Distract From Serious Flaws In Other Conservative Candidates (Including Clinton)

Trumps and Clintons

One of the many problems with Donald Trump’s outrageous statements (undoubtedly made more to attract attention and support from a certain segment of the Republican Party than out of conviction) is that it might be making people fail to realize that many other candidates running also have positions which in a normal year might disqualify them from serious consideration. This is most clearly true within the Republican Party, but Hillary Clinton also benefits from the non-stop vulgar and sexist attacks on her from Trump. Donald Trump’s views make the flaws in the other candidates look far less significant in comparison, but there remains reasons why other candidates would be unacceptable as president.

Politico looked at The Wild Ideas You Missed While Donald Trump Was Talking, finding that many people are not noticing extreme views from other Republican candidates when Trump gets most of the attention:

The good news for Republicans, arguably, is that their rhetoric has been so consistently over-the-top that it has started to sound routine; academics call this “shifting the Overton window,” the range of what’s considered politically acceptable. I’ve watched all the debates as well as the undercards live, but when I reviewed the transcripts, I was amazed how many radical statements had slipped under my radar. Ted Cruz called for putting the United States back on the gold standard. Marco Rubio accused President Barack Obama of destroying the U.S. military. Huckabee said Bernie Madoff’s rip-offs weren’t as bad as what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare. Lindsey Graham said his administration would monitor all “Islamic websites,” not just jihadist ones. I had even forgotten Trump’s claim that vaccines caused autism in a 2-year-old girl he knew.

Vaccines do not cause autism. Goldbuggery is crackpot economics. The U.S. military is still by far the strongest in the world. And what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare is give them pensions and health care. But none of those statements drew any pushback from the other Republican candidates, or, for that matter, the media moderators. Neither did Ben Carson’s assertion that if the United States had set a goal of oil independence within a decade, moderate Arab states would have “turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks,” which is wackadoodle on multiple levels.

On the other hand, the Republican debates do present an extremely distorted view of Obama’s record, with nobody present to present the facts:

These are presumably winning messages in a Republican primary. It’s not clear whether they would be in a general election. The reality of the Obama era, for all its warts, is that unemployment has dropped to 5 percent, the deficit has shrunk by two thirds, illegal immigration has plateaued, far fewer U.S. soldiers are dying abroad and Americans are more likely to be killed by lightning than by terrorists at home. The question is whether the run-for-your-lives talking points will crash into statistical reality, or whether they will gradually help create a new political reality.

The Republicans do deserve some credit for being willing to display their views in public. The article does chastise the Democrats here in concluding that the Republicans are “acting like a confident party—perhaps an overconfident party—while the Democrats are acting like they’ve lost their feck.”

In reality, it is the Clinton campaign (which only wanted four debates) and the DNC, which expanded the number to six but hid most of them on nights when few would be watching, which are acting cowardly. Both Sanders and O’Malley have been pushing for more debates. I also think that Clinton has benefited from the exaggerated coverage paid to Trump. If not for his unexpected success in the Republican race, the big story of the year might be Sanders’ challenge to Clinton. After all, Sanders does beat Trump in head to head contests–and often by a larger margin than Clinton does.

Clinton benefits in other ways from Trump being in the race. The large number of lies from Trump dominated the year-end report from Factcheck.org. This led to a fairly long list of lies from Clinton being less obvious, posted further down in the story after Trump’s lies.

The concentration by the media on outrageous comments from Trump distracts from talk about the unethical conduct from Clinton, as well has the poor judgment she has shown throughout her career. Most importantly, it distracts from a more thorough look at Clinton’s views, including her neoconservative views on foreign policy, her conservative views on social/cultural issues, and her turn to the right on economic issues and health care. It also might be kept in mind that, with all his unacceptable statements and views, Donald Trump did oppose the Iraq war which Clinton pushed so hard for, and which turned out to be a disaster.

Throwback Thursday, January 1, 2008: Barack Obama: Hillary Clinton ‘is just like Bush’

Telegraph Obama

Barack Obama: Hillary Clinton ‘is just like Bush’

Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Iowa, where he launched blistering attacks on his rival, Hillary Clinton
by Toby Harnden, in Perry, Iowa

Barack Obama unleashed a blistering attack on his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton yesterday, branding her “just like George W Bush”.

The cutting comparison came as he launched a last-ditch push to win over Democrats in Iowa, who vote on Thursday in their caucuses, the first stage of the presidential nomination process.

Now, his lofty rhetoric about hope and change is laced with sharp, sarcastic jabs at Mrs Clinton and her husband Bill, who have sought to paint him as a naïve lightweight who doesn’t have the stomach for a fight.

At a Des Moines rally that drew in more than 1,000 people despite freezing weather, Mr Obama abandoned his previous timidity and, while not mentioning her by name, aimed barbs straight at the former First Lady. “We can’t afford a politics that’s all about terrorism and ripping people down rather than lifting a country up,” he said. “We can’t afford a politics based on fear that leaves politicians to think the only way they can look tough on national security is to vote and act and talk just like George W Bush.”

Mr Obama is locked in a three-way struggle with Mrs Clinton and John Edwards in Iowa. Polls, which are notoriously unreliable in the Midwestern state, indicate Mrs Clinton might have edged just ahead in the past week.

Bill Clinton, now campaigning in Iowa for his wife every day, has raised the spectre of another September 11 style attack and stated that only Mrs Clinton had the experience to deal with a terrorist atrocity.

Mr Obama blasted back by suggesting that this was reminiscent of the tactics of Mr Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in 2004 and amounted to “using 9/11 as a way to scare up votes”.

The slap at Mrs Clinton — who voted to authorise the Iraq war — was no accident. Yesterday, at a smaller rally in rural Perry attended by about 250 people, Mr Obama used almost exactly the same words.

When asked by The Daily Telegraph about the increasing sharpness of Mr Obama’s words, David Axelrod, his chief strategist, said: “I don’t think they were sharp. I think they were well chosen.”

He added that Mrs Clinton was “100 per cent known” but “70 cent or more of voters in this state have consistently chosen other alternatives so there’s obviously a market for something different out there.

The Obama campaign has been angered by the negative attacks from Clinton operatives, most notably the suggestion — widely seen as a racial smear — that he had been a cocaine dealer. Clinton supporters have also circulated emails suggesting Mr Obama is a radical Islamist.

The Illinois senator took on Mr Clinton directly, disputing the former president’s contention that a vote for Mr Obama would be to “roll the dice” on America’s future. “The real gamble,” he thundered, “is to keep on doing the same things with the same folks over and over again and expecting something different.” A central argument of the Obama campaign is that electing the former First Lady would mean a Bush or a Clinton running the country for 24 years without interruption. The Clintons, the Illinois senator said, were Establishment creatures who resented someone new to Washington.

He lampooned their view of him as: “We need him in Washington longer to stew him and season him a bit and boil all the hope out of him so he smells just like every other politician.” Mrs Clinton’s repeated use recently of the word “change” — the theme of the Obama campaign since the start — was also mocked.

“This change thing must be catching on because I notice now suddenly everybody’s talking about change. ‘I’m for change, me too, I want to change things, I’m a change person’. “That’s good. We want everybody to be for change. But you have to ask yourself now with basically four days left is who can best deliver change.”

Any prospect of a Clinton-Obama ticket for the presidency and vice-presidency has evaporated but the Illinois senator’s supporters are convinced he can do better than the second slot.

“We have to get rid of the dynasties in this country,” said Carol Hofmann, celebrating her 64th birthday by going to the Obama rally in Des Moines. “We’ve had the Bushes, we’ve had the Clintons.

“The candidate people see as the front runner is very, very divisive and I think she’s dangerous. I voted for Bill Clinton. She wouldn’t have been elected a senator without him. She sure wouldn’t be running for president if she wasn’t married to him.” She added: “She probably has a list a mile long of people she would like to stick the knife into.” Few would doubt that Mr Obama is now on that list.

Related Post Throwback Thursday: Hillary 1984

Donald Trump Beats Hillary Clinton As Top Liar Of The Year

Trump Clinton

Both PolitiFact and Factcheck.org agree that Donald Trump was the biggest liar of the year. PoltiFact awarded Trump the Top Lie of the Year Award. Factcheck.org listed misstatements from multiple candidates. Trump was out in front, beating Hillary Clinton who also had a quite long list of lies.

PolitiFact couldn’t decide on a single lie of the year, with Trump telling so many, so they proclaimed the 2015 Lie of the Year: the campaign misstatements of Donald Trump. From their introduction:

Trump has “perfected the outrageous untruth as a campaign tool,” said Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor at Florida A&M University who studies theories of knowledge. “He makes a clearly false or even absurdly false claim, which draws the attention of the media. He then rides that wave until it comes time to call up another one.”

PolitiFact has been documenting Trump’s statements on our Truth-O-Meter, where we’ve rated 76 percent of them Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, out of 77 statements checked. No other politician has as many statements rated so far down on the dial.

In considering our annual Lie of the Year, we found our only real contenders were Trump’s — his various statements also led our Readers’ Poll. But it was hard to single one out from the others. So we have rolled them into one big trophy.

To the candidate who says he’s all about winning, PolitiFact designates the many campaign misstatements of Donald Trump as our 2015 Lie of the Year.

Multiple examples of Trump’s lies were subsequently listed.

Fatcheck.org presented false statements from multiple candidates, although some of those listed were questioned on far weaker grounds than the outrageously false statements from Donald Trump, who they called King of the Whopper. From their introduction:

It’s been a banner year for political whoppers — and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump.

In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match.

He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.

He is by no means the only one telling whoppers, of course. Once again this year there are plenty of politicians, in both parties, who hope voters will swallow their deceptive claims. Hillary Clinton, for one, said she was “transparent” about her use of a private email server, when in fact she wasn’t. That was one of the bogus claims she made about her unusual email arrangement while secretary of state.

But Trump topped them all when he claimed to have seen nonexistent television coverage of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 — and then topped himself by demanding that fact-checkers apologize for exposing his claim as fantasy. And that’s only one example.

Here we’ve assembled, as we do every year at this time, a generous sampling of the most far-fetched, distorted or downright fallacious claims made during 2015.

In past years, we’ve not singled out a single claim or a single person, and have left it to readers to judge which whoppers they consider most egregious.

But this year the evidence is overwhelming and, in our judgment, conclusive. So, for the first time, we confer the title “King of Whoppers.”

In a normal campaign year, without  a character such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton probably would have been far out in front with the most lies, with Factcheck.org listing several of them. It would be awful if these two win their party’s nominations. Ironically, the most recent highly publicized lie from Clinton was a lie about Donald Trump, after she falsely said that ISIS was using his statements in recruiting videos. Once again I question the judgment of Hillary Clinton here. There are so many things to honestly attack Trump over. Why lie about Trump and leave herself open to counter attack from Trump and other Republicans?

Besides legitimately complaining about Clinton lying about him, Trump has brought the campaign to new lows this week, between saying how Clinton “got schlonged” in her primary race against Obama last year, and in expressing disgust because Hillary Clinton went to the bathroom during a break in Saturday’s debate. Apparently such disgust is a characteristic of conservatives according to this analysis at The Washington Post.

I also hope that the networks learned something from this and in the future make sure that Clinton has convenient facilities and an adequate amount of time. With all the substantial differences over the issues which were discussed during the third debate, it is a shame that this caused a distraction which the mainstream media has wasted too much time on.

Related Post: Politico Looks At The Different Types Of Dishonesty From Clinton, Trump, & Carson

Quote of the Day: Conan On How Fox Covers The Obamas

Conan  Monologue

For Christmas, The First Lady Michelle Obama said both her daughters asked for money. Or, as Fox News reported it, “Obama Gives More Handouts to the Unemployed.”  –Conan O’Brien

Bernie Sanders Receives Two Major Endorsements

Democracy For America Endorses Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has picked up two major endorsements today from the Communications Workers of America union and Democracy for America. MSNBC reports on the first endorsement of the day:

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is set to pick up one of his biggest endorsements yet Thursday from the powerful Communications Workers of America union, sources told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

The group represents some 700,000 workers nationally, making it by far the largest union to back Sanders yet.

Politico reports on the second endorsement:

Bernie Sanders picked up his second significant progressive endorsement of the day on Thursday afternoon, and this one might sting for Hillary Clinton.

Democracy For America, the 1 million-member liberal group that helped stoke much of the pro-Elizabeth Warren movement early in the 2016 election cycle, is backing the independent Vermont senator after he earned 88 percent of the over 270,000 votes cast in the group’s online membership poll, compared with 10 percent for Clinton and 1 percent for both Martin O’Malley and the option not to endorse at all.

 The move is significant given DFA’s high threshold for endorsing. The group has existed since 2004, and no candidate had ever previously made it past the two-thirds mark necessary for the nod — which will come with fundraising help and an on-the-ground organization in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain wrote in an email due to go to supporters on Thursday.

As the strong establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton remains far ahead of Sanders in terms of endorsements, but it is likely that many union members will vote for Sanders regardless of the position of their union leadership. I am not surprised that the DFA’s threshold to endorse a presidential candidate was met for the first time this year. With Hillary Clinton’s move to the right during this campaign, in addition to her overall conservative record and political philosophy, this represents  a clear choice between a liberal and conservative candidate for the Democratic nomination. Clinton’s positions are generally contrary to the views which led many liberals to get involved in politics and groups such as Democracy for America.

The Sanders campaign achieve another goal this week in receiving two million campaign contributions:

Aides to Bernie Sanders said Wednesday night that his campaign has now collected more than 2 million contributions and that they expect to outpace President Obama’s 2012 reelection effort on that count by the end of the year.

The number reflects an operation that has focused on raising money in small increments from an exceptionally wide range of donors — with the vast majority of contributions coming over the Internet…

Sanders has already taken in more individual contributions than Obama did at this point in his 2008 campaign for president. Aides to Sanders said they are confident by the end of the year, Sanders will have more than the 2.2 million donations that Obama did during the equivalent stretch in the 2012 race.

Many Young Women Not Necessarily Ready For Hillary, And Will Consider Sanders

Young Voters For Sanders

Support for Hillary Clinton has been characterized by a tremendous gender gap in many polls as women voters, along with some men, are so eager to have a female president that they are willing to overlook Clinton’s rather serious flaws, both on policy matters and character. It is encouraging to see a report in The New York Times  which found that many younger women are looking more at the candidate than their gender. The article begins:

Barbara Schierenbeck, a 59-year-old nurse in Brooklyn, is swept up in the excitement of potentially electing Hillary Clinton the first female president. She cannot understand why her 19-year-old daughter, Anna, does not feel the same way.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, no one would even think about a woman being president,” Mrs. Schierenbeck said. “Certainly, when I was 20 years old in the 1970s, I don’t think I would even have thought about it.”

But for her daughter, electing a woman, while a nice idea, is not a motivating factor. “I want to see someone who, like, has the fervor to fight for me,” Anna Schierenbeck said. A woman will be elected president “pretty soon” anyway, she said, regardless of what happens in 2016. Why does that woman have to be Mrs. Clinton?

The problem is with Mrs. Clinton, which is exacerbated by how much she has moved to the right this fall, along with her life-long record of undermining liberal causes. While her supporters often claim that opposition to her is based upon sexism, in reality it is based upon principle, as many of the left do not want to see what would amount to a third term for George Bush on far too many policy matters, with the ethics of Richard Nixon.

If Elizabeth Warren was the nominee there would be no objection from the left. Should Clinton win the nomination, many on the left, especially those of us who do not live in battleground states, are now talking about happily voting for a woman candidate. Except she would be Jill Stein of the Green Party, not Hillary Clinton.

The objection is not to a woman president. The objection is to Hillary Clinton.

Getting back to the article:

The mother-daughter debate unfolding in the Schierenbeck household reflects a debate taking place across the country, as women of varying ages and backgrounds confront the potential milestone implicit in Mrs. Clinton’s bid very differently. As her chances of becoming the first woman to be nominated by a major political party improve, many women are considering how much gender should play into their decisions to embrace Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy — or not.

The generational divide in how they answer that question has added urgency to Mrs. Clinton’s efforts to focus on how she appeals to younger women, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic but who might sit out an election if they are not excited by a candidate. After beginning her candidacy in April with hopes of inspiring women that this was their moment, she is now more intent on trying to forge common cause on specific issues, and less on merely shattering the glass ceiling.

Unlike in her 2008 campaign, Mrs. Clinton has this year leaned heavily on her gender, often ending speeches by invoking an America “where a father can tell his daughter, ‘Yes, you can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States.’ ”

It is a powerful line for Mrs. Clinton’s most avid supporters: college-educated women in their 50s and 60s. “For baby boomer women, in particular, it’s ‘I fought this whole war, and now we’re running out of time, and if not Hillary, then who would it be?’ ” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who is herself a baby boomer.

But younger women are less impressed.

Meghan Speed, a 20-year-old college junior from Concord, N.C., said she expected a woman to be elected president in the next 20 years, but planned to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary because of his record on issues like income inequality.

“For me it was very difficult to wrap my mind around not fully supporting Hillary, because she is a woman,” she said. “But I came to the realization that if I am supporting her because she is a woman, that’s equally as bad as not supporting her because of her gender.”

Yes, supporting Clinton because of her gender, ignoring her conservative views and history of unethical behavior, would be the wrong decision. So is it for Democrats who would oppose the same policies or behavior coming from Clinton if they came from a Republican, but ignore them because of her gender or party affiliation. Candidates should be judged by the same standards, regardless of party.

The generational gap, with the young supporting Sanders over Clinton regardless of gender, is reminiscent of the generational gap between those who supported Obama over Clinton eight years ago:

The generational gap haunted Mrs. Clinton in the 2008 primary: In Iowa, Mr. Obama took 51 percent, John Edwards 19 percent and Mrs. Clinton just 11 percent of the caucus vote among women younger than 24. The only demographic cohort that Mrs. Clinton won, exit polls showed, was women older than 65…

Mrs. Clinton’s standing among white women has declined in some recent polls, but women remain the backbone of her support. More than half of all women said they had a favorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton, compared with 36 percent of men, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this month.

But just 38 percent of women aged 18 to 29 said they supported Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary, compared with 40 percent for Mr. Sanders, according to a poll of 2,011 young people released Thursday by Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

A major question in this campaign will be how young voters, former Obama voters, and voters who have not typically participated in the nominating system turn out in Iowa and New Hampshire. Polling does not give a reliable indicator of such caucus and primary states, as I have discussed many times before, as most voters do not decide until the last minute, and pollsters cannot reliably determine who will turn out to vote. It is always dangerous to count on young voters, who vote in smaller percentages than older voters. I am hopeful that having the Iowa caucus take place this year after students are back at school, as opposed to over the holiday break eight years ago, will lead to an improvement in their participation.

Sanders’ views are far more in tune with those of the young, and hopefully his support will increase as more people become aware of the vast differences in his views compared to Clinton’s. Those who are concerned about the state of the economy and getting good jobs, are likely to join Sanders’ coalition as opposed to supporting the policies from Clinton to benefit her Wall Street cronies. While fear of terrorism is once again affecting the electorate, overall Sanders’ views should be preferable to the militaristic, neoconservative views of Hillary Clinton. Younger voters who tend to be more secular and socially liberal should prefer Sanders over Clinton’s socially conservative and more theocratic views. Younger voters who tend to be more libertarian on civil liberties issues should prefer Sanders over Clinton.

The important thing is that voters look at the actual candidates, and not vote simply based upon gender. It is a hopeful sign that young women are not making the same mistake which many older women are with their knee jerk support of Hillary Clinton.

Avoiding Past Mistakes And Another American War Against Evil

Einstein Insanity

The fear of terror, exacerbated by recent episodes in both France and the United States, is leading politicians of both parties to repeat the mistakes of the past. Ira Chernus warns of, Oh, no! Not another American war against evil! His post begins:

This time, it’s the Islamic State (IS). After the attacks in Paris, Barack Obama, spokesman-in-chief for the United States of America, called that crew “the face of evil.” Shades of George W. Bush. The “evildoers” are back. And from every mountaintop, it seems, America now rings with calls to ramp up its war machine.

By the way, George W., how did that last war against the “evildoers” work out for you? Not quite the way you expected, right? I bet you didn’t imagine that your Global War on Terror would plant the seeds of an Islamic State and turn significant stretches of Iraq (and Syria) into fertile soil in which IS would grow into a brand new, even more frightening enemy.

But that’s the way wars against evil always seem to work.

Pardon me if I vent my exasperation with all the Washington policymakers, past and present, surrounded by their so-called experts and those war-drum-beating pundits in the media. I know I shouldn’t be shocked anymore. I’ve seen it often enough as a historian studying wars against evil in the past — ever since biblical times, in fact — and as a citizen watching wars in my own lifetime, ever since the one that tore Vietnam (and, incidentally, America) apart.

Still, it drives me crazy to watch policymakers and experts making the same dumb mistakes time after time, several mistakes, actually, which synergistically add up to one self-defeating blunder after another.

What’s worse, the dominant trend in public opinion is so often on the side of just those mistakes. You’d think someone would learn something. And in that someone I include “we, the people,” the nation as a whole.

Yet now, facing the Islamic State, you guessed it: we’re doing it all over again.

He then described six mistakes being made. All are worth reading, but this is most important:

Mistake Number Three: Call it blotting out history. We lose the ability to really understand the enemy because we ignore the actual history of how that enemy came to be, of how a network of relationships grew up in which we played, and continue to play, a central role.

The historical record is clear for all who care to look: The U.S. (the CIA in particular) was a key to the creation, funding, and arming of the mujahidin, the rebel fighters in Afghanistan who took on the Soviet army there in the 1980s, the men (often extreme Islamists) whom President Ronald Reagan compared to our founding fathers. From that situation came al-Qaeda.

George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq cracked the region open and paved the way for the Islamic State. The Bush administration tore Iraq to shreds and then demobilized Saddam Hussein’s army and dispatched its members to the unemployment lines of a wrecked country.

One of those shreds, al-Qaeda in Iraq, populated by disaffected officers from that disbanded army, would later transform itself into the nucleus of the new Islamic State movement. Indeed the U.S. nurtured the present leadership of that movement in American military prisons in Iraq, where we introduced them to each other, so to speak. The process was at least hastened, and perhaps ultimately caused, by the vehement anti-Sunni bias of the Shi’ite Iraqi government, which the U.S. installed in power and also nurtured.

To sustain our image of ourselves as innocents in the whole affair, we have to blot out this empirical history and replace it with a myth (not so surprising, given that any war against evil is a mythic enterprise). That’s not to say that we deny all the facts. We just pick and choose the ones that fit our myth best.

Hillary Clinton along with the Republican candidates with a chance of winning all look like they will repeat the same mistakes if elected. Only Bernie Sanders looks at the situation any differently, and he would rather not change the focus of his campaign from the economy to foreign policy. Time will tell whether this is a mistake politically or part of a brilliant political strategy in focusing on the economy.

Bernie Sanders Is Working To Build A New Winning Coalition

Bernie Sanders Workers

Chris Cillizza believes that Bernie Sanders’ one-dimensional campaign is hurting him badly.

Sanders is — sorry Sanders people! — surprisingly one-dimensional as a candidate. When he is talking about the differences between the haves and the have nots, about the need for more economic fairness, why we need to reform the campaign finance system or work to address global warming, he is terrific. When he is talking about anything else, he is, um, not.

Sanders built a movement in the early days of the race on the passion he exudes from every pore when talking about economic inequality. The contrast between Sanders’s “people powered” campaign and the top heavy, corporate feel of Hillary Clinton’s effort was striking.  And, Sanders is, without question, closer to the true heart of the Democratic party than Clinton on the vast majority of domestic issues.

The problem for Sanders is that external events changed the conversation in the race and he has been unwilling or unable to change with it. Talking about economic inequality in the midst of a national debate about gun control and national security won’t lose Sanders the ardent supporters he already has. But, it will badly hamstring his ability to grow beyond the supporters he already has in what is, essentially, a one-on-one race with Clinton at the moment. (Sorry Martin O’Malley!)

I can see where Cillizza could see the campaign as being too one-dimensional. At times I do wish that Sanders would devote more time other issues I’m more concerned about, but Cillizza also misses the point of Sanders’ strategy, along with exaggerating the degree to which the campaign is one-dimensional. While it is true that Sanders concentrates on economic fairness, he has spoken on other major issues during the campaign, even if not as often.

Bernie Sanders is running on his own version of “it’s the economy stupid.” Whether this is a brilliant strategy which will get him nominated and elected president, or whether it is hurting his campaign, won’t be apparent until we see how the voting goes. There is evidence suggesting that just maybe the strategy will work.

David Weigel showed where it might work in areas where the Obama coalition was weak, such as in West Virginia:

Sanders, who has won elections only in a white, rural state, thinks his brand of bold democratic socialism can sell. He has never campaigned here, yet at Friday’s rally in Morgantown, miner after miner said they basically agreed with the former mayor of Burlington more than they agreed with Clinton. Several were aware that Sanders had walked picket lines, something that resonated as they packed a hotel ballroom to demand that Washington fully fund UMWA pensions.

After looking at criticisms of this approach, Weigel continued:

But Sanders believes that such naysayers are missing the weight of his cardinal argument — for greater economic fairness — and voters’ willingness to look past the other issues where they disagree.

He has won elections in Vermont, a white, rural, gun-owning state, as a socialist. The social-issue “distractions” bemoaned by red-state Democrats have seemed to bounce right off his armor. (He has taken mixed positions on gun control, supporting a ban on assault rifles, for instance, but opposing the Brady Bill.) In the end, is the white guy who voted for him in Vermont any different than the white guy in West Virginia or Kentucky or Ohio who was told to blame liberals for his problems?

“What I’ve found in Vermont and around the country is that we go to people and say, ‘Look, we do have differences,’ ” Sanders said. “ ‘I believe in gay marriage. I’m not going to change your view if you don’t. I believe climate change is absolutely real, and some of you do not. But how many of you think we should give hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the richest 1 percent?’ ”

Booman sees a plausible way that Sanders could capitalize on the rage which Donald Trump is using to propel his campaign, which he compared to the George Wallace campaign of 1972.  He sees Sanders expanding the Democratic coalition in 2016 like George McGovern did when he brought together the hard hats, the “peace freaks,” urban blacks, and others to win the Democratic nomination. Plus he points out how demographics have changed since 1972 to allow such a coalition to also win the general election:

…it’s a socialist running for the nomination of the other party who is working on the theory that a lot of Wallace rage is soft and not particularly partisan or ideological. It is only loosely attached to Trump who is, anyway, basically a clown act [with this written before the latest outrageous statement from Trump].

The problem for McGovern was that the coalition of freaks and hardhats was big enough to win him the nomination but too small and fragile to even compete in the general. Sanders’ theory of the case is that the overmatched McGovern coalition is really about the same thing (sans most of the hardhats) as the twice victorious Obama coalition. Demographic changes have flipped the odds. If Sanders can bring back in some of the disaffected hardhats, he could create a progressive revolution in this country based less on identity politics than on class consciousness.

Sanders is concentrating on building a coalition around economic issues because he believes that this is what has a chance of both beating Hillary Clinton and winning a general election. While I might like to hear more from Sanders on foreign policy, civil liberties, and social issues, these might be a distraction to this goal. Besides the other choices with a reasonable chance to win are DLC Democrat (i.e. Republican-lite) candidate Hillary Clinton, and the even more conservative Republican candidates. This leaves Sanders as the only real option for those who oppose neoconservative militarism, the surveillance state, the drug war, government corruption, and conservative outlooks on civil liberties and social issues.

We know Sanders is on our side from his past record regardless of how much he concentrates on these issues during the campaign. Unlike Clinton, we know that the positions he has held throughout his career mean something. Sanders is already doing well with many of the well-educated, affluent Democrats who voted for Obama and are outside the obvious target audience for his economic pitch. Now the question is whether he can expand the Obama coalition based upon economic issues and win.