Attacking Bernie

Huffington Post says it was someone from Correct The Record, David Brock’s superPAC that has the stated purpose of defending Clinton, but they don’t identify the person. In this interview, Brock doesn’t deny it:

The Democratic candidates have refrained from criticizing each other directly. Sanders has obliquely knocked Clinton for not stating her position on the Keystone XL pipeline, and hasn’t made an issue of her use of a private email server and account while at the State Department. Clinton, in turn, almost never mentions Sanders’ name and has focused on her Republican rivals.

Monday’s Correct the Record email strays from that pattern. The email, sent to a Huffington Post reporter in response to an article about Corbyn and Sanders without any agreement that it would be off the record, was meant to flag Corbyn’s “most extreme comments.” Among those was the suggestion that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy,” since there was no attempt to arrest the former al Qaeda leader and put him on trial. The email also cites Corbyn’s comment that he’d invite his “friends” from Hezbollah to come to the U.K. to discuss peace in the Middle East and an editorial in which he said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “attempt to encircle Russia is one of the big threats of our time.”

The email uses those comments to pivot to “similarities” between Corbyn and Sanders, who have engaged in a mild cross-Atlantic love-fest of late, given that they are both insurgent populists challenging their political parties’ establishments. Corbyn has said he is following Sanders’ campaign “with great interest,” and Sanders said he was “delighted” that the Labour Party elected Corbyn as its leader.

The “similarities” between the two, according to the email, include Sanders’ introduction of legislation to terminate the United States’ nuclear weapons program, comments that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet states is dangerous because it could provoke Russia, opposition to more U.S. funds for NATO, and saying he “was concerned” that proposed new NATO members had shipped arms to Iran and North Korea.

The more serious stretch comes as the email highlights how Sanders helped negotiate a program with Venezuela’s national oil company in 2006 that provided discounted heating oil assistance to low-income Vermonters. The senator said it was “not a partisan issue,” in the state, which was the sixth to make the deal. His support for the program was apparently enough to merit a mention, since Corbyn has written that the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s “electoral democratic credentials are beyond reproach.”

I don’t believe this came from the Clinton campaign; I just don’t think they’re this stupid. (Everyone knows how popular the home heating oil assistance program was, for one thing.) David Brock is an idiot if he thought this would be effective.

If it turns out the Clinton people approved this really stupid, awful, untrue and idiotic attack in a Democratic primary, they deserve every criticism they get.

2 thoughts on “Attacking Bernie

  1. 1. This indicates that the Hillary campaign isn’t actually co-ordinating things with the PAC, unlike the possibly illegal hand-in-glove relationship that GOP candidates have with their PACs.

    2. It looks like a lot of the dreadful political operatives and opportunists that have always been associated with her campaign let their enthusiasm get the best of them and think they know best how to deal with Sanders. I get the feeling she’s keeping her powder dry and waiting for a moment when she can strike a sharp contrast that resonates with voters.

    3. Atrios noted that the Hillary campaign has a lot of leakers and that job #1 should be to find and fire them. Maybe the operation is too big.

  2. I pretty much agree. I just don’t think HRC is that stupid. Perhaps she needs to get her supporters in the game.

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