Tr🍩ll Smear #6: “ Bernie ran a negative campaign and attacked Hillary unfairly”
This accusation actually makes me angry. Again, this accusation takes many forms, so I will deal with these one by one as well.
- Bernie’s retreated from his “damned emails” comment and went on to attack Hillary about her emails.
This is nonsense. Yes, in the first debate, when pressed by the moderators to comment on the growing email scandal, Bernie said:
“I think the American people are sick and tired about hearing about your damned emails.”
However, it is true that Bernie was not downplaying the importance of the email issue, He just did not want to make it a major point of debate in the campaign. When pressed about the matter by the media (and of course he was constantly pressed about it) he answered, as he did to Jake Tapper, that his debate comment did not mean that he thought the email scandal was a “nothingburger.” Indeed, Bernie stated:
“That is, I think, a very serious issue,” Sanders said. “There is a legal process taking place, I do not want to politicize that issue. It is not my style.”
This comment is depicted by Delfino and others as a reversal, a backing away from the “position” they thought he took in the debate.
But that is not the case. In the minutes following the debate that night, Sanders was interviewed by CNN and asked to explain his “damn emails” remark. He replied:
“Well, what motivated that is that I think the American people want substantive discussions on substantive issues,” Sanders said. “There is a process in placefor the email situation that Hillary Clinton is dealing with. Let it play itself out. As a nation, let us start focusing on why it is that so few have so much and so many have so little.”
So Bernie’s position on the email scandal was always consistent.
And yes, the email scandal was indeed a serious issue.
We know from Comey’s statements and other leaked information that the FBI conducted a CRIMINAL investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Moreover, we now know that this criminal investigation was launched in July 2015 — a full year before the DNCC. This means that:
During the entire Democratic Primary, one of the candidates was the target of an active FBI criminal investigation — a situation unprecedented in US history.
Unfortunately, Loretta Lynch used her position as Attorney General to force the FBI and other spokespeople to avoid using the word “criminal” and “investigation” when describing the email investigation. Rather, Comey said, they were ordered to use the word “matter” when referring to the Clinton emails. This in turn allowed the Clinton campaign, its surrogates and even Hillary herself to spin all sorts of yarns during the ensuing year, calling the the FBI investigation a “security inquiry” and basically obfuscating the true nature of the investigation.
Many Hillary supporters were tricked by the smokescreen and really did believe it was non-issue, and that the FBI was conducting a security review rather than a criminal investigation. This despite Comey having gone on national television to say, “We’re conducting an investigation. … That’s what we do.” Indeed, he said he had no idea what a “security inquiry” even was.
Bernie has been attacked by Clinton supporters for implying that the American people would need to make a judgment about Clinton’s emails. But think of this:
What would have happened if every Democratic Primary voter knew that Hillary Clinton was the target of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation that had started in July 2015?
Only a blatant and blinded partisan would insist that such knowledge would not have had an effect on the Primary election.
When one considers the true nature of the investigation that Hillary was under for an entire year, and the fact that criminal charges could have easily resulted therefrom, the actions of Comey related to that investigation seem almost inevitable — and one might well make the case that had the Democratic Primary voters — including the superdelegates — known of the true gravity and danger of the situation, they might have acted differently.
Indeed, Bernie’s mentions of the email “matter” were extremely bland and almost benign in light of the actual nature of the situation.
- Bernie attacked Hillary for her Wall Street speeches and implied she was corrupt for taking money from corporations and wealthy donors.
Here we revert to the old “holier-than-thou” attack line. By asking to see Hillary’s transcripts, by contrasting his views on money in politics with those of Hillary Clinton, Bernie was somehow making the case that Clinton was corrupt.
The Bernie attackers maintain that by pointing out the fact that Hillary had SuperPACs and he didn’t, he was attacking her. This is simply not the case. He is simply stating what every sentient person knows to be true.
Does the money from Wall Street influence the people who accept it? Of course it does. This is not news, and it is not a personal attack — it is a plain and simple fact.
And if you don’t believe me, then believe that paragon of Congressional virtue, Barney Frank.
As Laurence Koltikoff of Boston University described in an article in Forbes called “Financial Reform R.I.P.”:
“Dodd-Frank is not just a prescription for regulatory sclerosis. It is a bonanza for Wall Street lobbyists and lawyers, who will help determine what this law’s 283,985 words actually mean.
“In 1990–2009 Wall Street and its friends in the insurance and real estate industries spent an average of $2,973 (in 2010 dollars) per congressman and senator per day on campaign contributions and lobbying. All this spending kept full financial disclosure off the table and helped today’s top 10 financial giants to dominate the industry.”
Yes, Barney, your point is well taken, and good luck in your new career on Wall Street. Don’t let the revolving door hit you.