When Bernie Sanders famously told Hillary Clinton that Americans were sick of hearing about her “damn emails,’ the statement was widely seen as a defense of the Democratic front-runner. Another interpretation, though, is that it was a gaffe which Ms. Clinton eagerly fell upon and twisted for her own purposes. In any event, Sanders is trying to recover from that perhaps unintentional defense of his main obstacle to the Democratic nomination by laying on her with a will at an Iowa Democratic Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines Saturday night, according to Politico.
As is typical, Sanders, an avowed socialist, slammed Clinton for being insufficiently leftist.
“In his 25-minute speech — backed up by the thundering chants of supporters chanting ‘Feel the Bern!’ — he attacked Clinton’s slowness to take a position on the Keystone pipeline: ‘This was not a complicated issue,’ he said. He lambasted her for now opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she once called the ‘gold standard’ of trade deals.
“’It is not now, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements,’ Sanders said. And he reached back to Clinton’s 2002 vote to support the war in Iraq, an issue that plagued her eight years ago when she took the stage here. ‘When I came to that fork in the road I took the right road, even though it was not the popular road at the time,’ he said.”
Sanders is not only attacking Clinton for being insufficiently leftist but for being inauthentic. Clinton has taken quite a few centrist positions on the economy, foreign policy, and trade that she is not dropping like a live hand grenade. Sanders is cleverly pointing this out, giving the impression that his rival is having quite a few election campaign conversions that she cannot be trusted to adhere to once she gets the nomination.
Sanders also directly his fire at Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, still popular among the Democratic base. Clinton had won two terms as president by “triangulating’ which was charting a middle course between left and right. Sanders was having none of it.
“Target No. 1 Saturday night: Clinton’s support of the anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act. ‘In 1996, I faced another fork in the road — another very difficult political decision,’ Sanders intoned. ‘It was called the Defense of Marriage Act, brought forth by a Republican-led Congress. Its purpose was to write discrimination against gays and lesbians into law.
“’Let us remember, that support for gay rights back in 1996 was not what it is today,’ he added — a pointed reminder of the Clintons’ recent-vintage support of gay marriage.”
Sanders did not mention that Hillary Clinton’s and President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage is of recent vintage as well. They too, at one time, declared that marriage was between “one man and one woman.” But what seemed mainstream in 2008 is not considered extremist in 2015. Sanders is trying to take advantage of that in his effort to knock Hillary Clinton off.