Books by Arthur

Social Networks
Article Index [A-Z]

Bernie's Bashers

A strange thing is happening over here on the left end of the political spectrum. The supporters of the most progressive candidate to run for the presidency since Henry Wallace are trashing those who back the second most progressive candidate to ever run for the same office.

And it’s getting really weird, very aggressive and oddly partisan. It’s so bad that a friend who backs that “second most progressive” candidate told me that she’s uncomfortable making public statements supporting Hillary because she get attacks and insults from friends for not being wholly behind Bernie and supporting that “untrustworthy, pro-military woman” who is “in bed with Wall Street.”

I notice that it is not Sanders himself, nor is it the Sanders’ campaign or his peeps. There an admirable and consistent decency rules. Bernie respects and admires Hillary. He thinks his more revolutionary positions are the right ones but acknowledges that her more pragmatic perspective is workable. It’s his “fans” who are ramping up the rhetoric, raising the level of invective and innuendo and doing the trash-talking.

I’m a grizzled pragmatist, an aging feminist, erstwhile scientist and unpaid blogger who thinks this is a crock of shit, a poorly thought-through gambit by a bunch of idealists who are missing, from my perspective, a really serious point:

The more you pummel Clinton the more likely it becomes that a Republican wins the election.

That’s it; that’s the core of today’s message. Each and every assault on Hillary is fodder for the GOP. Each and every column, YouTube, blog entry, letter to an editor, comment on an Op-Ed will end up in some ad crafted by a SuperPAC with a bulging wallet that will hurt Hill’s chances in November should she end up the nominee.

It’s worth noting that Hillary’s supporters have not gone after Bernie (though, admittedly, Bubba took a serious swipe at him recently). Their public positions are in line with Clinton’s campaign message: distinguish between the points of view of the candidates on the (surprisingly few it turns out) issues where they differ and argue that hers are better and that she’s better equipped to lead the country.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Clinton just before the New Hampshire primary and asked her about this issue. Clinton gave what we cognitive psychologists can immediately spot as the right answer. It began, she said, back in the early days of Bill’s presidency when she began being targeted for a host of issues from the reasonable (how did she deal with Bill’s profligacy) to the measured (why was she, the unelected First Lady, trying to craft major legislation like a health care bill) to the truly bizarre (did she kill Vince Foster).

Hillary noted that the first assaults on her integrity made people begin to wonder. If some issue was raised then, perhaps, just perhaps, there may be something to it. When nothing was found that was even remotely incriminating  the issue died — but the damage had been done. Trust was weakened; questions that had been raised would linger. When the next accusation popped up the immediate, unbeckoned reaction was “hmm…, could this really be true?”

And it snowballed and became unstoppable. Any effort to deflect each new accusation was just another brick on a wall of suspicion and distrust built on little more than a wink and a nod, a measured head nod, all without a shred of evidence. To this day none of the accusations have proven out but the feelings that something isn’t right have lingered.

So, my friends on the left, my progressive comrades, my pro-union, pro-choice, pro-LBGT rights compatriots stop bashing Hillary. Just stop it.

Okay? Okay!

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>