WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2016 – Bernie Sanders has become Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. Whatever the deficiencies of his experience in foreign policy, and however idealistic and/or unrealistic some of his domestic proposals may be, he is something Hillary will never be: authentic. And he, together with Donald Trump, has identified an important problem in our political life, the influence of large contributors and special interests.
Hillary says that the millions she receives from Wall Street, pharmaceutical companies and others do not influence her policy decisions. To this, Sanders replied in the recent debate in Milwaukee, “Let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people. Why in God’s name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it. They want to throw money around.”
In the Iowa caucuses, Hillary eagerly proclaimed “victory,” although the results were, in reality, a tie. In New Hampshire, she was defeated by a 70-30 margin. Her efforts to intimidate women into voting for her backfired. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told women that “the hottest place in hell” is reserved for women who don’t support other women.
Gloria Steinem, a feminist icon, said young women were supporting Bernie because that’s what “the boys” were doing. The “identity” politics—-women must support women even if they disagree with their political views—makes no sense at all to the new generation.
Hillary Clinton’s form of feminism is self-serving. Where, asked Monica Lewinsky in a 2014 Vanity Fair article, “were the feminists back then?” Hillary Clinton did her best to destroy the reputations of all of the women with whom her husband was involved. Today, writes the feminist iconoclast Camille Paglia, the Internet has given voice to a range of women’s views that were excluded from the media in the past.
One of Bill Clinton’s old accusers, Kathleen Willey, launched a website last year, “A Scandal A Day,” designed to sound “the alarm about the potential danger of Hillary Clinton becoming president.”
New controversy has emerged from the archived papers of Hillary’s close friend Diane Blair, a political scientist who kept extensive notes about their phone calls and interactions during the Clinton White House years.
After Blair’s death in 2000, her husband donated the collection to the University of Arkansas. From those papers, reported the Washington Free Beacon in 2014, come Blair’s recollections that Hillary called Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony tune.”
Clinton said she was tired of all these “whiny women” complaining about Bill Clinton’s behavior.
According to New Hampshire primary exit polling reported by CBS, Sanders beat Clinton by nearly 60 points among women ages 18 to 29. Most women reject Hillary Clinton’s brand of feminist identity politics.
A recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found just 38 per cent of women said getting more women elected to office is a top priority for improving women’s lives, ranking far lower than other issues such as access to child care and equal pay.
Now, with the candidates focusing on South Carolina, with its large number of African-American voters, Hillary Clinton has embarked upon a racial version of her feminist identity approach. In doing so, she seems prepared to embrace complete fabrications about Bernie Sanders’ record when it comes to civil rights. Again, the assault on Sanders tells us far more about Hillary than it does about the senator from Vermont, a state constantly referred to, as by Al Sharpton after his meeting with Sanders, as “lily white.”
On Feb. 11, the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Hillary Clinton. This, however, wasn’t enough. They felt the need to demonize Bernie Sanders, despite his impressive and lifelong commitment to civil rights and racial equality. As a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, Sanders was involved in civil rights activism, including participation in a sit-in against the university’s segregated housing. He was active in both the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
In 1962, he was arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago public schools. He was part of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963.
None of this mattered to the Congressional Black Caucus. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to many a hero of the civil rights movement, did his best to denigrate Bernie Sanders. He said of Sanders, “I never saw him…I was involved with the sit-ins and the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the March from Selma to Montgomery and directed the voter registration project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President (Bill) Clinton.”
Is Rep. Lewis’s memory failing him, or was he simply not telling the truth? He contributed a section to a 2001 book called “Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton from Hope To Harlem,” which offers an African-American perspective on President Clinton. In the book, Lewis writes, “The first time I heard of Bill Clinton was in the early 70s. I was living in Georgia, working for the Southern Poverty Law Center, when someone told me about this young, emerging leader in Arkansas who served as attorney general, then later became governor.”
According to the Daily Kos, “This was the first time that Lewis HEARD of Bill Clinton. When did he first ‘meet’ him?” In his essay Lewis recalls, “I think I paid more attention to him at the 1988 Democratic convention, when he was asked to introduce the presidential candidate and took up more time than was allotted to him. After he became involved with the Democratic Leadership Council, I would run into him from time to time. But it was one of his aides, Rodney Slater, who actually introduced us in 1991 and asked me if I would support his candidacy.”
So, according to Lewis himself, he first met Bill Clinton in 1991. At the Congressional Black Caucus press conference, Lewis insinuated that he met the Clintons in the 1960s civil rights era, but here he says he ran into Clinton from time to time “after he became involved with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).
“The DLC was founded in 1985,” notes the Daily Kos, “So it appears that the earliest that Lewis could have ‘met’ or ‘run into’ Bill Clinton would have been 1985. If Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton had been significantly involved in the early years of the civil rights era, you’d think that John Lewis would have mentioned it in his contribution to the book.”
It is sad to see John Lewis besmirch his reputation in this way. He and other Black Caucus members seem to forget that during the 2008 primary in South Carolina, Bill Clinton, in what was widely viewed as a racial remark, attempted to portray Barack Obama as nothing more than a racial candidate appealing to black voters.
He compared Obama’s primary victory over Hillary to the failed presidential bid of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Ironically, it was Bernie Sanders who supported Jackson.
Whether Hillary Clinton will succeed with black voters by fabricating Bernie Sanders’ civil rights record is impossible to predict.
Already prominent black voices are embracing Sanders, among them the best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the singer Harry Belafonte, a number of rap stars and at least five South Carolina state legislators.
One of them, Justin Bamberg, said: “Bernie Sanders is killing the game when it comes to young voters. They’re not just saying, ‘I’m going to vote for him.’ They’re working and using social media. You’d think they’re on his campaign team, but they’re not.”
Hillary Clinton seems to think that profiling people by gender and race will bring her victory. It is preferable, she seems to think, to an honest debate about the future of the country. Whether her analysis of our politics is correct will eventually be clear. For now, we know a lot more about Hillary than many Americans did before. It is not for no reason that when it comes to trustworthiness, her numbers could hardly be lower.