Monday, March 14, 2016

Sandernistas, the "Burning Britches" You Smell Are Your Own

Screenshot of People for Sanders video

Another day, another overheated accusation from the Bernie Sanders campaign and/or the DC operatives loosely affiliated with it that Hillary Clinton is LYING AGAIN.  This time, she supposedly LIED about whether Bernie was an active contributor to the 1993-94 health care reform battle.
To hit the point home, “The People for Bernie Sanders” disseminated a little video, essentially accusing Hillary of being a “liar, liar, pants on fire.” They present all of ten seconds of video of Sanders standing in the background on a stage at a Hillary health care reform event, as if that proves their point. (Sanders campaign staff had earlier tweeted out a still from the same CSPAN footage.)

Hillary Clinton forgets where Bernie Sanders was
Hillary Clinton should really see this video
Posted by The People For Bernie Sanders 2016 on Saturday, March 12, 2016
Not trying to be snarky, but Bernie showing up at Hillary's rally at a college next door to his Congressional district wasn't exactly heavy lifting.  In the clip, she thanks those who are leaders in the effort, but she doesn’t identify Sanders as one of them. She then says that she was “grateful that Congressman Sanders would join us today from Vermont,” at which point the clip is abruptly cut off. 

So he went to a rally.  What other, more persuasive evidence does the Sanders campaign have of his significant involvement in the '93-94 health care reform battle? 
This CNN article has evidence that is a bit weightier, but still not dispositive.  Bernie's introduction of his own single payer plan in March 1993 - which I don't think went anywhere - doesn't speak to whether he was significantly involved in the work of moving live reform legislation. The "thank you note" Hillary wrote in signing a photo of the two of them together at some unknown point in 1993 is even less compelling.
She wrote: “To Bernie Sanders with thanks for your commitment to real health care access for all Americans and best wishes.”  I received similar plaudits for my commitment to the struggle from Bobby Seale when he signed my University of Redlands convocation poster twenty-some years ago – that isn’t proof that I was a Black Panther.  Hillary could have just been praising his commitment to reform in hopes of winning his active support in her own efforts, rather than thanking him for actual involvement in her own efforts.  Or she may have just been giving him a heartfelt compliment, with no ulterior motive whatsoever.

This is the best evidence the Sanders campaign could come up with to make their guy’s case?!  Color me unimpressed.
I don't know the details of his involvement, or lack thereof, in the healthcare reform effort. (And yes, I'll try to take a moment to look it up when I can.)  Given that three examples discussed here were the best evidence his campaign could muster on his behalf, there’s good reason to be skeptical of his role.  But in any case, this “Pants are Burning” video is anything but the conclusive evidence of Hillary “LYING AGAIN” that Sanders supporters seem to think it is.

And while I’m on the topic … I find the Sanders campaign's strategy of turning every minor Clinton misstatement (e.g. the Nancy Reagan thing) into "proof" that Clinton is a LIAR to be the EPITOME of "politics as usual."   Distorting any and all statements an opponent
makes so that they fit into an overarching narrative that she is a lying liar cannot be described as anything other than practicing those very same politics of deception that Bernieland pretends their candidate transcends. 

I'm not saying that Hillary's campaign doesn't engage in its own spin of dubious merit, as well.  I freely admit that it has and does.  What I am saying is that Bernieland needs to cut the crap - their campaign and their candidate are no more saintly or wholly devoted to absolute, objective truth than is any other competitive Presidential campaign. 

Just like all of the other campaigns do, the Sanders campaign routinely distorts their opponent's record, statements, and positions beyond all reasonable recognition for political gain. They seem to particularly enjoy hitting Clinton for supporting things that Sanders himself voted for.  And Sanders and his campaign have, on more than a few occasions, misrepresented his own record.  If that is LYING, then the Sanders campaign and Bernie himself LIE with great frequency.  

So rather than hysterically carrying on about LYING and injecting character assassination into the equation, perhaps Bernieland could consider simply, but passionately, rebutting Hillaryland statements which they believe to be mischaracterizations or otherwise not accurate.

Frankly, the Sanders campaign ads falsely stating or heavily implying that certain newspapers endorsed him when they hadn't (and doing this in both New Hampshire AND Iowa) seem a much more egregious and relevant pattern of actual deception. The Annenberg Center’s said of the incidents, “The Sanders campaign is repeating a pattern — first misappropriating the credibility of the Des Moines Register in Iowa and now the Nashua Telegraph and the Valley News in New Hampshire.”  

The editor of the Nashua Telegraph, highly unamused, was more blunt in his appraisal:

Someone needs to meme-ify stills of those campaign ads and co-opt the "Smells Like Burning Pants In Here ..." tag-line.  Or maybe we just need to start cataloguing all of the Sanders campaign’s LIES and their many, many instances of engaging in some of the finest “politics as usual” that you’ve ever seen.  Or maybe we need to do both.

No comments:

Post a Comment