Sanders’ criticism of Obama (and Clinton) will haunt him

I wrote the other day about how Sanders’ supporters routinely denigrate the integrity and record of Hillary Clinton, including trying to tar her with her husband’s record as president, which has two problems.

First, President Clinton did an amazing job in office (as a friend remarked on Twitter, it’s a wonder we all survived the eight years of peace and prosperity).

Second, it’s more than a bit problematic to criticize a woman’s fitness for employment based on her husband’s resume.

As for Sanders’ ongoing criticism of Obama, it’s encapsulated in the second half of this troubling new quote from Bernie Sander’s official campaign pollster, Ben Tulchin, in the latest New Yorker:

Sanders has long embraced the socialist label, and it seems not to hurt him among younger voters. Ben Tulchin, Sanders’s pollster, told me that millennials support Sanders “because their generation is so f*cked, for lack of a better word, unless they see dramatic change. What’s their experience been with capitalism? They have had two recessions, one really bad one. They have a mountain of student-loan debt. They’ve got really high health-care costs, and their job prospects are mediocre at best. So that’s capitalism for you.”

Tulchin, who is forty-two, joined the Sanders campaign for the same reason that many disaffected Democratic voters joined: the candidate’s populist message, which he wasn’t hearing from the President. “Obama is the guy who hangs out on the North Side of Chicago with wealthy people and he raises money from them,” Tulchin said. “Not to denigrate him, but, I mean, if you’re from the kind of moderate business wing of the Party—which he isn’t exclusively, but he is partly—you don’t speak that language.”

Oh, no offense taken!

Obama was born a rich white child

President Obama hails from, and lives in, the poor-and-black south side of Chicago, not the rich-and-white north side. Suggesting that the President is an economic elitist, who hangs out with too many white people, is odd to say the least.

There’s a condescending disrespect (and racial tone deafness) in this form of argument, and it’s a form of debate that’s grown popular of late in certain segments of the American left. It intentionally disregards a person’s entire history, entire life’s work, in order to smear them based on an extrapolation of evil based on one or two examples that, by themselves, don’t really prove the point being made. To suggest that Barack Obama — an African-American who grew up in the 1960s, and then moved to the poor, black south side of Chicago to work as a community organizer — is a sell-out, is really beyond the pale.

What’s particularly dangerous for Sanders here is that this is the same argument he’s been using to go after Hillary Clinton — she takes money from rich people, and thus must be beholden to big business! In attacking Obama, Sanders just validated Clinton’s retort, that if Sanders thinks she’s a sell-out for taking donations, he must think President Obama is a sell-out too. And apparently, Team Sanders does.

But the reason Sanders, and his supporters, think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are sell-outs isn’t only because they take donations from rich people. (Team Sanders doesn’t bother mentioning that without those donations, the Republicans would win every race). It’s because neither Obama nor Clinton — nor any other politician in the history of the world — has been able to accomplish everything they promised.

The problem isn’t donations, it’s effectiveness

Hillary was once a far-lefty who tried to get Congress to pass the most liberal health care reform in American history — and she failed. And since then, she’s been forced to moderate — learned to moderate, one might say — in order to accomplish her progressive goals.

And the same can be said of Barack Obama. The man had lofty goals in 2008. He was going to “change” things in Washington. You could even say he promised a “revolution.” But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Bastille. Barack Obama actually caught the tiger by the tail (if you’ll permit the mixed metaphor), and wasn’t entirely sure how to tame the beast after all. The President didn’t achieve all of his goals, to be sure. And with many of the ones he did accomplish — the stimulus and health care reform come to mind — he was forced to accept half a loaf, rather than what he originally promised.

It’s fine to rail against “the establishment” (whatever that actually means), and rail against Washington. But in the end, “Washington” is where you’re going to have to go if you plan on becoming president, and the establishment is who you’re going to have to work with if you want to get anything done. And while it’s all well and good to have contempt for both, it’s slow-going — no-going, in fact — when you negotiate with someone you treat as contemptible.  Contempt is about as effective a tactic as asking them nicely to pass your reforms.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both riding a wave of voter dissatisfaction, based in part on raw anger over unkept promises, which have led to an overall sense that “Washington doesn’t work.” But what do you think is going to happen if Sanders or Trump win in November? Does anyone honestly believe that the Congress and special interests are going to be more amenable to doing the bidding of someone who hates them and treats with contempt?

President Obama learned early on in his presidency that you really need to understand how Washington works — the art of the presidential deal, as it were — if you’re going to make good on your promises. And I’d argue that, as successful a presidency that Obama has now had, he wasn’t fully prepared for the legislative challenge that awaited him in January of 2009.

And Bernie Sanders is even less prepared to wage a battle against “capitalism,” as his pollster is now promising.

In a recent survey from Georgetown, Sanders ranked last (just after Ted Cruz) in terms of his willingness to work across the aisle. The survey found that Sanders was the most partisan of any US Senator. And while his acolytes might rejoice in the news that Sanders is unbending — “we don’t want Sanders compromising with evil corporate sell-outs” — a foolish consistency is a recipe for political inaction. You simply can’t get anything done in Washington if you’re not willing to negotiate, and if you don’t know how to win legislatively.

Bernie Sanders fails the Bernie Standard

And that’s the last point I wanted to raise. Sometimes you have to negotiate; and sometimes you need to beat your political opponent to a metaphorical pulp, in order to force them to the negotiating table. Sanders isn’t willing to do the former, and has shown no ability to do the latter. Sanders simply does not have a record of either reaching, or artfully pummeling, across the aisle in order to get things accomplished. And without that record, he’s going to end up either not accomplishing what he promises, or compromising on those promises in order to get at least half a loaf.

Ether way, under the Bernie Standard, Sanders will be deemed a sell-out. And the popular anger at Washington will only grow.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis  — Win a pony! (not really)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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98 Responses to “Sanders’ criticism of Obama (and Clinton) will haunt him”

  1. MadamX2016 says:

    Will Bernie go after these New York politicians for not being pure, as he went after Rahm Emanuel?

    Chuck Schumer
    Kirsten Gillibrand
    Joseph Crowley
    Brian Higgins
    Steve Israel
    Grace Meng
    Kathleen Rice
    Louise Slaughter
    Paul Tonko

    “While Bernie Sanders is officially running as a Democrat, he is truly doing so in name only. He has none of the well-tuned party mechanisms in place that could register millions of new voters and doesn’t have any of the local politicians who would typically get behind such a thing on his side. They are all stumping for Hillary.”

    February 26, 2016 – http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/dem-voter-registration-leading-turnout-article-1.2545420

    How does Bernie perform in closed primaries?

    “Upcoming states are going to be dominated by closed primaries. New York, Maryland, NJ, and many other east-coast liberal leaning states are going to be effected in the same ways Illinois (Clinton), NC (Clinton), MO (50/50) and OH (Clinton) were because of Voter ID and Registration laws.”

    https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/4ao2z4/upcoming_primaries_are_mostly_closed_huge_problem/

    Reddit comment excerpt (3/16/16/):

    (1) “Also, I think Weaver is doing an awful job. I’m not saying I could do even close to as good, but where are the registration drives? Where is the organization? What are you doing with the millions we’ve given you other than ads and a few staffers being placed a week before the primary? If we want to beat the Clinton machine, it will take months of ground game, not days.”

    (2) “The senator’s coziness with wall Street makes him a prime target. Especially since he’ll probably be majority leader. The deadline to file is April 14th. Is anyone running against this corporate dem?” (Schumer)

    (3) “I would be astonished if he were to lose a primary. Next go around, maybe, but we are not at a stage in New York that could dethrone him just yet. Getting rid of Gillibrand with a true progressive is likely the first step to dethroning Schumer.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/263784-dem-rivalry-take-nasty-turn

    Who else is on the Sander’s campaign hit list?

    #anarchy2016

  2. nsecchi says:

    Considering that Hillary Clinton is certain to be nominated by the Democratic party, the degree of hatred toward the only hope progressives have against their total decimation is astounding. What do progressives fear from Clinton? If she gets elected she starts with a clean slate and we have at least as much influence on her as we’ve had on Obama. We should maintain the passion to make her do the right thing. And, more importantly, we should force the opposition to do the right thing. We start with a big opportunity. That is filling the SC vacancy and stop it’s rightward drift.

  3. kladinvt says:

    Hmm….and back in 2008, who created the lies about Obama, possibly being a Muslim and not a U.S. born citizen or that his pastor, Rev Wright, was not the correct type of christian? Oh yea, that was Hillary’s campaign, which fed right into the right-wing media machine.

  4. Silver_Witch says:

    I too was surprised.

  5. BrianG says:

    Me too, but he’s still at DownWithTyranny, Hullabaloo, Naked Capitalism, on Twitter, and he still has his Tumblr archive.

  6. Butch1 says:

    Right . . .

  7. Jeff Ryan says:

    Anytime, BSer.

  8. Jeff Ryan says:

    No one knows anything about him. They know what he says, not who he is. Which is a nice guy who has not really accomplished anything in politics, because he doesn’t play well with others. Read what those who have served with him have to say. Which is just about that. “Nice guy. But ineffective.”

  9. Jeff Ryan says:

    I am quite familiar with Hitchens. He was indeed brilliant. He was also an absolute crank and, ultimately, wrong on just about everything.

    Otherwise, don’t assume, and don’t patronize.

  10. 2karmanot says:

    xxxxoooo :-)

  11. Houndentenor says:

    I’m just commenting on what I’m seeing. Not from everyone but from far too many.

  12. Butch1 says:

    It was already predicted that Clinton would win the Southern States because of her and her husband’s ties with the older blacks and the party. Sanders is predicted to do much better in the Western polling. (says Alan Grayson on the Ed Schultz Show last night) We shall see. I know my state of Washington has been going all out for him.

  13. 2karmanot says:

    Who in the hell could take pride in winning FL, the final resting place of cracker snow-birds and swamp bubbas.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    Thank you MOD. Bennington sends its greetings…..

  15. Butch1 says:

    I think out of the bunch of candidates running, He’s the only one who can truthfully say he’s not lying.

  16. Butch1 says:

    As will I.

  17. 2karmanot says:

    Sander’s is hardly a cipher on the national scene. The polls and thousands at his rallies beg to differ.

  18. 2karmanot says:

    Oh please Hound, your script-taunt-insult of ‘childishness’ puts you in troll land, and quite frankly surprises me after reading you for so many years.

  19. Silver_Witch says:

    Thanks Karmanot. Have missed !

  20. Quilla says:

    T’is.

    But…none of us want the Bully to win.

  21. 2karmanot says:

    We knew Bernie in Vermont. He is the real New Deal and his creds are perfection.

  22. 2karmanot says:

    I miss Gaius

  23. 2karmanot says:

    With this I totally agree

  24. 2karmanot says:

    Bernie needs to stop talking trash. Is that what truth is called these days of late empire?

  25. 2karmanot says:

    Democrats stayed home because Obama became the Obozo and even a naif realized he was a typical lying quisling politician.

  26. 2karmanot says:

    Thank you Hill-bot

  27. 2karmanot says:

    “—batshit crazy stuff coming from the left in the last month?” WTH? where, who? Black Lives Matter? Bernie? Bernie’s platform is virtually identical to Kennedy and Johnson’s mainstream Democratic Party. I think you have conflated this so-called left with the Dtrumtpenfurhrer’s neo-Nazi clarion call. How’s that for honesty!

  28. 2karmanot says:

    Bingo!

  29. 2karmanot says:

    “he had to do things he didn’t want to do”—–the last bastion of incrementalism and mediocrity and the death-knell of the New Deal. No way Hound, no way. If you think fighting for liberal democracy is a childish temper tantrum I suggest you go back and read Thomas Paine.

  30. 2karmanot says:

    pppppffffftttttt

  31. 2karmanot says:

    BINGO!

  32. 2karmanot says:

    How dare you call Vermont a little pool! Size Queen….

  33. 2karmanot says:

    Bernie’s so-called idealism used to be called the FDR New Deal.The country has shifted so far right that Hillary’s neo-con positions are considered populism.

  34. Silver_Witch says:

    I am supporting him till the bitter end.

  35. 2karmanot says:

    “it’s a wonder we all survived the eight years of peace and prosperity” You can’t be serious! DOMA, DADE, Welfare reform that stigmatized and made life hell for single low income mothers, NAFTA, Bosnia, and other neo-liberal goodies. Clearly, we live in different universes. GO BERNIE!

  36. 2karmanot says:

    GO Bernie

  37. Phil in FLL says:

    The arguments that you make in your post, John, and the counterarguments on from commenters on this thread are interesting from an academic point of view, and they are certainly worth discussing. In terms of the 2016 election, Bernie and his supporters have every right to continue their fight against the influence of Wall Street over the American economy and to bring their delegates and ideas to the convention in July. However, I do know the totals for pledged delegates (not superdelegates who can change sides, and did in 2008 from Hillary to Obama). It’s not simply the fact that Hillary has more delegates. More to the point is the list of states that Obama won in the 2008 primaries that Bernie has not won:

    Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana… and probably Missouri (although it’s close)

    Keep in mind that the 2008 Democratic primary was one of the closest in history. The conclusion for the 2016 Democratic primaries is obvious. Bernie’s campaign will champion issues of economic fairness, and I wish his campaign well, but a simple comparison with the 2008 Democratic primaries reveals that there is very likely no path for Bernie to be the nominee.

    Speaking of economic fairness, one of the worst legacies of the Republican-nominated justices on the Supreme Court is the infamous “Citizens United,” which poisoned American elections with vast amounts of corporate money. I’m sure that Hillary has railed against this Supreme Court decision many times and emphasized the need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it. Overturning Citizens United—and hopefully it will happen—will be a big step forward in the interest of economic fairness in elections, which will in turn affect the American economic system in general.

  38. Silver_Witch says:

    The lesson the DNC is having a hard time learning.

  39. Silver_Witch says:

    Do you really think anyone one on this blog did not vote in the mid-terms?? Really? You are paintting the wrong crowd with you very broad brush. The reality is that the DNC ran candidates that were very right leaning and did not promote Obama’s ACA.

    Pandering to conservatives will not bring out voters. Hell my senator support the patriot act and stopping Syrian immigrants unless there is sever screening and thinks Apple should unlock that phone and SHE is a woman Democrat. How are we supposed to vote for people like that over and over???

  40. Butch1 says:

    I can see this conversation has gone too far; actually longer than I had intended it to go. When it starts to approach the point where the next step become ad hominem, I would rather not go there. As I said before, some people are not prepared to accept the truth no matter how bazaar it may be.

    No matter, I just mentioned the two authors and a few other very good and respected investigative reporters that you chose to laugh off not knowing anything about the truth in their stories; your mistake. No worries.

    Continue enjoying the Kool-aid. ;-)

  41. Silver_Witch says:

    Obama is not a disappointment to me at all. Politics are politics. I did not t support Clinton last cycle and I will not support her that s time. Period.

  42. Butch1 says:

    The only reason I’m responding to you is because you have probably never read a single book of Christopher Hitchens or you would know how through he is at checking and rechecking his resources before ever commenting about who, what, where, why or anything they have ever done.

    Perhaps, instead of just deriding and blathering about a man who has passed on who cannot defend himself, you should actually try reading a book of his first, if that is one of your many skills you have in your arsenal besides ad hominem and not adding to a comment. I could care less what you think and say about me.

  43. Silver_Witch says:

    Oh wait Job says you can’t use her husband’s time in the White House as part of her resume!! This is exactly why we can!!

  44. Silver_Witch says:

    Welcome back John. You are a Clinton supporter and that is fine. However, honestly it is Clinton who is using her husband as paertt of her team. She frequently use WE when talking about the good President Clinton did. Frank!y you can’t have it both ways. Either Candidate Clinton stands as the Clinton Duo or she stands on her own record.

  45. DGT says:

    It’s good to have you back, John, but you are way off the mark on this one.

    First, Obama is certainly and definitively part of the economic elite. His advisors and cabinet are entrenched in the Wall Street plutocracy, and his campaign garnered record donations from the big banks. (Of course, the Clintons are even more entrenched.)

    Second, you are giving Obama entirely too much credit for interpreting his pivot to the right once elected as some sort of awakening of pragmatism, rather than the more obvious alternative that he was a center-right corporatist all along, merely saying progressive things to win the nomination. Hillary Clinton is even more transparent in her pseudo-progressivism; there is absolutely zero doubt that, once she no longer views Sanders as a threat, the co-opting of his ideas will vanish.

    Finally, you fault Sanders for being “partisan.” Fair enough, although the methodology of the study you cite mainly just measures the number of co-sponsored bills. It isn’t surprising that a Democratic socialist and far-right Republicans don’t have much common ground. But many of us see Obama and Hillary’s “pragmatic” approach as starting negotiations at the halfway point and then negotiating to the right. I see nothing wrong with a failure to pre-emptively compromise.

    Sanders’ so-called idealism may not seem practical from a political horse-race perspective. But a President who starts negotiations with the statement that healthcare is a human right is much more powerful agent for improvement than the one who says “let’s negotiate in the middle to improve things slightly.” And a President who says “Public university educations are a public good, and tuition should be free” is more powerful than “I want to make college more affordable for people in some income brackets.”

    Seriously, the conservative ideology that has dominated politics since 1980 wasn’t sparked by a “pragmatic” Reagan saying “We should trim government spending slightly.” It was “Government is the problem.” Did Reagan accomplish everything on his list? Of course not, but his odious anti-government, pro-Wall Street philosophy has saturated even the Democratic Party. We need someone to change the conversation again, not a “pragmatic” center-right Wall Street shill.

  46. heimaey says:

    What is it Maureen Dowd said? Hillary is the curious feminist getting where she is because of a man.

  47. heimaey says:

    Hillary was never a far lefty – we haven’t had a far lefty run for office in 40+ years (other than Bernie). Hillary is basically a Republican as we’ve moved so far right over the past 40 years. She’s still that Goldwater girl.

  48. heimaey says:

    This isn’t one of John’s stronger pieces. He also has a short memory as this is Very similar stuff he said about Hillary in 08 as he spent months slamming her like he’s doing to Sanders now. I’m not sure what changed in 8 years about Hillary other than she’s the preferred nominee by the Dem party and status quo.

  49. Max_1 says:

    Remember nicho… It’s Hillary.
    So, it’s never tying a woman to her husband when she’s seen as her husband’s First Lady…

    Anyway, if she doesn’t want to be tied to her husband’s terms, then she shouldn’t have campaigned for him on many White House issues. i.e. Health Care, Prison System, etc.

  50. Max_1 says:

    What Jon is saying is…
    It’s Hillary so it’s never racist when Hillary does it and anyone telling you otherwise is criticizing her unjustly.

  51. Max_1 says:

    Again Jon,
    What is redeeming about taking pharmaceutical money ONLY to change positions re: Single Payer Health Care?

    And, since when is pointing out the HYPOCRISY an evil act?

    See Jon, I was raised to believe that the people who say one thing and do another are the types of people you should NOT trust… Am I wrong?

  52. Houndentenor says:

    Could have?

    Yes, I suppose all that could be true. that doesn’t mean that it is true. Maybe the tabloids were right in the 90s and Hillary really did have an alien baby! It COULD have happened, right?

    You don’t fall for conspiracy theories? Sounds like you just did. Oh there are books! *eyeroll*

  53. Butch1 says:

    I haven’t, all I’m saying is what two people have written about him. It may sound incredible, though that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Columbia could have been a cover for him whilst he was doing other things. Why was he in Pakistan, for instance when he was supposed to be studying at Columbia and it is noted that his student passport claims he was there as well. One can find Clinton’s thesis and his wives’, but not his and everyone thinks it’s ordinary and he doesn’t save it? These are things you do not misplace or lose, sorry. I’m sure I could did up my old papers if I looked.

    I usually do not fall for conspiracy theories and “wasn’t born last night,” but one of the books was very thorough and made a lot of sense.

    I mentioned Hitchen’s book for a reason and I could add Jeremy Skahill’s, “Dirty Wars” to it, which would give you a well rounded view connecting the CIA, their history, Kissinger, Bush, and Obama et al. Perhaps all of this would start making some sense to you when you start connecting the dots.

  54. Jeff Ryan says:

    You really need to return to Planet Earth. It’s nice that Christopher Hitchens sobered up enough to write a book. Or maybe he didn’t, because if you think he ran the CIA, he must have been raving.

  55. Jeff Ryan says:

    When the wind blows, do you hear flutes?

  56. Jeff Ryan says:

    Bernie is leading the Children’s Crusade. Can’t get much more childish than that.

  57. Jeff Ryan says:

    On your way to the workers’ paradise, you might want to remember that politics is the art of the possible. And if you do, you will be one up on Bernie. There’s a reason he’s accomplished fuck-all. He doesn’t play well with others. Even Democrats, of which he is most decidedly not one.

  58. Jeff Ryan says:

    He won them in Vermont. Have you ever been to Vermont? “Big fish in a little pool” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  59. Jeff Ryan says:

    The polls mean little since he is a cipher on the national scene. Should he become the candidate in the general, his numbers will drop like a stone, because the opposition will start attacking and sowing doubt. Hell, most of Hillary’s tainted reputation is due to 20+ years of Republicans lying about her, not for anything she actually did.

    So “matchup pols” really mean squat. He is an abstraction now. Shen he actually gets put under the microscope, and attacked viciously, he’ll be a mere mortal like everyone else.

  60. Jeff Ryan says:

    And yet, strangely, she received high marks from Republicans when she was a senator. High marks for learning the issues and the mechanics, and high marks for being able to work with the opposition to actually accomplish things.

    You know, that stuff Bernie has never done.

  61. Houndentenor says:

    I quite agree about Kissinger but that has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

    Your claim that Obama was working for the CIA though not yet out of college. How or why you don’t say. It’s a rather fantastic claim and one that would (names changed) make quite a movie plot. But such a claim would require proof and something as simple as “we can’t find a paper he wrote in college” is not really enough. I doubt you could find any of the papers I wrote in college. So what of it? It doesn’t prove anything. The fact that a few bits of information fit some outlandish theory are not proof. This is however, how conspiracy nuts operate. Look…there’s something we can’t explain…that must mean bigfoot/aliens/Illuminati/whatever! It’s more likely that in the last 30 years it’s gotten lost because who would have cared until he ran for the Senate in 2004?

    All you’ve done is built an elaborate “theory” around something as simple as a misplaced old paper. I mean really.

  62. hiker_sf says:

    You’re running out of hairs to split, sir.

  63. Finn says:

    wow, someone really wants their white house xmas party invite this year…

  64. NikolaiG says:

    Obama is a moderate conservative and Hillary is a hardcore conservative. The only liberal in the race is Bernie Sanders. The Democratic party (except on two issues that are exceptions, abortion and gay marriage) has become what the Republican party once was, and the Republican party has gone over the edge of the abyss of madness.

  65. NikolaiG says:

    Why will it haunt him? It certainly hasn’t haunted Hillary that she not only criticized Obama 4 years ago but that she did it through racist accusations!

  66. Butch1 says:

    A technicality; it’s against the law to release his records without his permission.

    He says he wrote a thesis whilst there, but cannot find it. ” Obama did write a paper on nuclear disarmament for an honors course in American foreign policy during his senior year, but it wasn’t the sort of “thesis” that some colleges require for graduation and keep on file in their libraries, like those that Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama released. During the 2008 campaign, reporters were told that Columbia had not retained a copy of Obama’s 1983 paper, and that Obama didn’t have a copy, either. NBC News contacted his former professor, Michael Baron, who said he looked for his copy but couldn’t find it, and thought he probably tossed it out eight years earlier in a move.”

    Amazing how no one can find his “papers.” By the way he was in Pakistan, “as a student” in 1981 when he was supposed to be going to school at Columbia and he was in his senior year sharing an apartment in 1982-83, they made sure that was documented as well. In my opinion, if he was working for the CIA during this time, it’s very possible all of these things could have been all made up and people paid off to lie for him as well. Both you and I know it’s possible. Why would he be in Pakistan? Sight seeing? I doubt it. Both of his parents worked for the CIA as well so, this would be perfect. You have no idea how devious our own government can be. Read: “The Trial of Henry Kissinger” ~ Christopher Hitchens. If any person should be tried for war crimes it’s that man. At one time he headed the CIA under the Nixon administration AND was Sec of State at the same time. He’s the only person to have done that.

  67. Houndentenor says:

    They aren’t sealed.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2010/02/obama-at-columbia-university/

    this is just conspiracy theory nuttery.

  68. Houndentenor says:

    I’m pleased that you know better quality Bernie supporters than I do.

    And of course I think everyone should feel free to protest or promote their ideas. I never said anything that would contradict that.

  69. Phil in FLL says:

    “…a disastrous stint as an incompetent and dangerous SoS.”

    Thank you, Benghazi committee (GOP portion).

  70. Butch1 says:

    Another way of asking this question since you are ignoring me, Houndentenor, is why (I assume) are his other record available, yet the one’s at Columbia are sealed? Aren’t you the least be curious? You can dismiss and deny those people who do a lot of research to compile the data for these books as “nuts” or whatever you like, and perhaps that’s best for most people in this country who cannot handle the information. Sometimes knowing the truth about their leaders IS not in their better interests. Perhaps you are one of them, a denier, no matter how much proof is placed in front of you. I will quit trying and I will not trouble you any further for an answer.

  71. Skye Winspur says:

    “I’m not saying they are exactly the same.” Good. And no, I haven’t heard anybody I talk to (I’ve been volunteering for Bernie about a month) express desire to see Trump or Cruz elected, not once. Maybe I don’t hang out with the kind of bring-down-the-whole-system people you do.

    Peaceful protest, no matter how much anger is shown in it, is not “childishness.”

  72. Butch1 says:

    Why are Obama’s records at Columbia sealed? You continue to ignore my question.

  73. Houndentenor says:

    I’m not saying they are exactly the same. But are you telling me you haven’t heard batshit crazy stuff coming from the left in the last month? You haven’t heard people claim they’d rather have Trump or Cruz for president so that would bring down the whole system? I have. There’s a lot of childishness in our politics this year. A lot of tantrums and unwillingness to compromise on anything. it’s disturbing and if you aren’t willing to admit that you have seen some bullshit from people you mostly agree with this year, then you aren’t being honest.

  74. stupidicus says:

    let’s see — BC’s record can’t be pinned on HC, but a comment by a spokesperson can be pinned on Bernie?

    ANd who in the hell are you to speak for that fine man regarding his attitudes and the thoughts behind them regarding the 3rdway/DLC sellouts BHO and HC? And why aren’t you bragging up BHO’s tossing chained CPI on the negotiation table before anything else hit it? WHatta “pummeling” no?

    And most pathetic is the lack of bipartisanship smear, based on this

    The Bipartisan Index measures the frequency with which a Member
    co-sponsors a bill introduced by the opposite party and the frequency
    with which a Member’s own bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite
    party

    Gee, are we supposed to shocked that the bluedog/DLC/3rdway types likely lead that particular pack, and why is not getting rightwing/rightwing-lite BS passed a bad thing? ANd of course, leave it to others to paint the whole picture, no? http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-gets-it-done-sanders-record-pushing-through-major-reforms-will-surprise-you

  75. nicho says:

    Second, it’s more than a bit problematic to criticize a woman’s fitness for employment based on her husband’s resume.

    Then it’s really odd that when you ask Hillary’s followers what her qualfications are, two main pillars are “First lady of Arkansas” and “First lady of the US.”

    So her own followers tie her accomplishments to her husband’s resume. Very 1950s pre-feminist — a woman’s status is determined by her husband’s prestige.

    If anyone on Team Hillary doesn’t want to include Bill’s resume, the need to stop using it. But then, Hillary’s accomplishments sink to her parachuting into NY for an undistinguished senate career and a disastrous stint as an incompetent and dangerous SoS.

  76. stupidicus says:

    there really is no “far left” in this country, just some that look that way to rightwingnuts

  77. Skye Winspur says:

    I agree on the importance of voting no matter what. I call bullshit on “the right and the left” BOTH having “childish temper tantrums.” This is false equivalence in the US context and you should know better.

  78. Skye Winspur says:

    You present an interesting argument, John, but facts are getting in the way. 1) Barack Obama has not lived in Hyde Park, Chicago for seven years. Do you have inside information that he’s planning to go back as soon as he leaves office? 2) Bernie’s pollster / advisor is not Bernie. Attacking Tulchin for being smug and racist is OK, but to say that his words are emblematic of the Sanders campaign is a big stretch. Shall I characterize the Clinton campaign only by words that Dick Morris has used?

  79. Houndentenor says:

    Conspiracy theory nuttery. Anyone can write a book about anything. There are also books claiming the earth is flat. Several of them, actually. The fact that something got published is not convincing. I’m going to need something from a more reliable source.

  80. Houndentenor says:

    Oy. Yes, Sanders has won many elections is super-liberal Vermont. Could he win a general election in Ohio? Florida? I’m not talking about winning the blue states.

  81. andyou says:

    Yeah, many Democrats stayed home in 2010, but it didn’t help that Obama’s Chief of Staff Rham Emanual was openly contemptuous of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. You don’t win elections by alienating large segments of your base.

  82. Butch1 says:

    I expected this when I printed it; people who do not want to believe it. That’s okay.

  83. trinu says:

    Sanders is more electable. He’s more popular with moderate independents than Clinton is. That’s counterintuitive given that he’s also farther to the left, but the data from matchup polls supports that notion.

  84. Butch1 says:

    Let me ask you this, one person claims they can “remember” him and everyone believes it and that disproves two books from people who have researched him? What makes you think that “person” wasn’t planted as disinformation by the CIA? They are also great for planting disinformation as well. I think you may want to believe one person’s remembering “seeing him” against two people who have written a lot about him. I will go with those who have done the research. One can even substantiate that Obama was in Pakistan and Russia during this time he claims to have been at Columbia. Even they cannot deny he was in Russia. Do check it out.

  85. andyou says:

    Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 92% of Republicans. A Republican might possibly risk political suicide if he or she was seen to be compromising with Hillary. Also, Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 65% of independent voters. Democrats might find it difficult to win the election without a healthy share of the independent vote.

  86. andyou says:

    Sanders has won 14 elections, often having to take on both parties. Hillary has won two senatorial races in New York with the entire establishment backing her. There is little reason to believe she’s a better campaigner. Also, your statement that Hillary’s unfavorables won’t go up is belied by the polls. In the beginning of 2009, her unfavorable rating was 33.4%. Her current rating is 53.6% No candidate has ever won the presidency with an unfavorable rating that high. True, Trump is more unfavorable, but there’s no guarantee he will survive a brokered convention. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/hillary-clinton-favorable-rating

  87. Gindy51 says:

    Most people do not understand that a candidate does not know what he or she can do once they become president. Mr. Obama learned that a lot of what he said on the campaign trail was not doable given the circumstances he found himself in after the election and esp after his own party voters deserted him in the midterms because he wasn’t the guy they thought they voted for. Bernie Sanders will learn the same lesson if he is elected and his voters will turn on him like Mr. Obama’s did.
    The only candidate who knows what to expect is Hillary Clinton because she’s already DONE this dance once as a partner to the one elected. This may be why her message is not pie-in-the-sky but more practical. No one I have seen or read has mentioned this very important fact. Even Mr. Trump will find, should we be so unlucky he is elected, that most of the stuff he promises will never see the light of day. His cult followers will tar this country apart when that happens.

  88. Gindy51 says:

    No you are seeing what every candidate goes through once they become president. Reality and what you can do hit you in the face with a 2×4.

  89. Houndentenor says:

    In 2010 many Democrats stayed home on election day and the GOP took back the House and the Senate. That meant that Obama had to compromise to keep the government running. Yes, he had to do things he didn’t want to do and that we didn’t want him to do like extend the Bush tax cuts. Would you have him hold out for everything he wants as the government is shut down for months, even years? The Tea Parties held America hostage. If you want a liberal agenda enacted then you have to get off your lazy asses and vote and get others to do so as well. In the meantime we have to compromise to keep things going. That’s how adults govern. It ain’t pretty but it’s better than the childish temper tantrums both the right and left in our country seem to think will get them something.

  90. Houndentenor says:

    America’s far left is as delusional as its far right. The slate of candidates this year is an embarrassment. Hillary is our best option of those running. Sanders is a nice guy who talks about a lot of things I care about but none of them is going to get through Congress. Not one. Most of Hillary’s aren’t either. Yes, some polls show Bernie doing better in the general but that’s only because the attacks on Sanders have not begun. All the dirt on Hillary is already out there. Her negatives aren’t going to go up. But once that right wing noise machine turns it’s focus on Sanders he’ll be toast and he has no ability to go up against that. I like the guy. I wish some of his ideas could become law. Maybe one way they can. But nothing happens if we don’t get the white house.

    Saying that you’d just as soon have Trump or Cruz as Hillary is the same mentality of the Republicans who’d rather the US default on debt obligations that compromise on a budget deal. I don’t understand the mentality of people who’d rather burn the country to the ground than compromise. Nothing gets done without compromise. But then I’m not shocked at the Obama administration. He’s just what I thought he was when I voted for him. Not perfect, but good. If you can’t accept that the people you admire and respect are flawed then you are a child. Grow up and join the adult world where people are flawed, make mistakes and somehow manage to do good things anyway.

  91. andyou says:

    Obama campaigned as a transformative president but then governed as a neo-liberal. The TPP is a total sell out! As was extending the Bush tax cuts for the mega rich. Obama’s 2013 budget even proposed massive cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Basically, Obama bought into the Republican’s demand for austerity which led to the job-killing sequestration. He continuined Bush’s wars for years. His record on civil liberties is worse than Bush’s and Obama’s extensive use of drones (with their high rate of civilian deaths) are a blackmark on the country’s reputation. Obama’s advisers were drawn from Wall Street and proposed policies that favored bankers over the poor and middle class. And it’s worth noting no major Wall Street players were prosecuted.

    Obama has done a number of good things and deserves credit for them but overall he remains a neo-liberal.

    The problem with this article’s analysis is that it fails to view the Democratic Party in historical terms. Bill Clinton changed the nature of the Democratic party, shifting it to the right. For the past thirty plus years, the majority of Democrats have embraced neo-liberalism. Bill Clinton famously said the era of big government is over. Those words could have easily been uttered by Ronald Reagan. FDR would never have say that. Democrats used to believe that the country could be vastly improved by major initiatives such as the New Deal and Great Society. Now most Democrats are enrapt by the Republican view of limited government.

    Sanders rejects neo-liberalism, so he is criticizing its proponents such as Bill Clinton, Obama, Hillary and the many Democrats of the neo-liberal establishment. This isn’t a purity test, it’s a clash of ideologies. Sanders says there is another way. He wants a new New Deal. Hillary has started her presidency would continue Obama’s legacy. (Although her past record suggests that she would be more hawkish than Obama.)

    This election is a battle for the soul of the Democratic party. Unless one understands these dynamics and understands that Sanders wants to return the party back to the time before it embraced corporate-friendly neo-liberalism at the expense of their base, one can blindly make assessments based on criteria that is secondary.

  92. Quilla says:

    Bernie needs to stop talking trash.

    Hillary needs to stop “mis-speaking” (good grief, woman, trip-ups with AIDS and Benghazi…?).

    Supporters of each need to stop making noises about voting for Drumpf.

    This election’s important. Don’t blow it.

    /mild caution

  93. Butch1 says:

    Barack Obama was born in 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. . . . There are many years where he grew up in Indonesia, not the south side of Chicago. He enrolled at the, very pricey, Occidental College in Los Angeles, California in 1979 where the CIA recruited him in 1980 (“The manufacturing of a President”~Wayne Madsen) It continues, “In 1981 Obama allegedly transferred from Occidental to Columbia University to major in Political Science with a specialization in international relations. A search of Columbia’s records yield no evidence that Barak Obama or Barry Soetoro was ever there. No students at Columbia at that time remember Barak Obama. In fact, his records at Columbia are sealed.” . . . This book was a resource in yet another that I’ve been reading entitled: “CIA: Crime Incorporated of America” ~ Herbert G Dorsey III, a fascinating read and an eyeopener.

    This president came back to the south side of Chicago to do more than just “organize” by what is said in this book as he was still employed by the CIA. ;-)

    I’m just dispensing what has been already said in these two books which I thought was interesting to share. We already know that Obama did not turn out to be the “hope and change” we had wanted and was certainly not nearly as liberal as he pretended to be when he ran for office. Perhaps I was seeing more in him than was truly there.

  94. BrianG says:

    Really John? I hate to bust the chops of a fellow Daily Illini alum, but you know better. Hyde Park is not a south side neighborhood full of urban blight and his kids didn’t go to public schools. They went to the U of Chicago lab school so please don’t play that card. Obama is a member of the economic elite of Chicago and they helped jump start his career. Maybe you should check out http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/exclusive-how-obamas-early-career-succes-was-built-on-fronting-for-chicago-real-estate-and-finance.html

    As for Obama promising “change” I suggest you check out http://aravosis.wpengine.com/2012/05/obama-2006-too-many-of-us-have-been-interested-in-defending-programs-as-written-in-1938.html I believe Gaius Publius called the speech his “Neoliberal Manifesto.”

  95. ParadeOfFools says:

    The Republicans probably hate Hillary more than Obama and we’re supposed to believe that they will be willing to work with her moreso than Bernie? The Tea Party hijacked our entire government and will not cooperate with anything vaguely liberal and your suggested response is to meet them in the middle (a middle that is moving ever to the right)? The reason Bill’s legacy is mentioned so frequently is because A, she lobbied for half of this stuff on his behalf and B, she claims his legacy where it benefits her to do so. Also, you’re saying that Democrats must accept corporate money to compete with Republicans, so I guess if you can’t beat them join them? That’s a little nihilistic, what’s the point in even participating in a government where voters must spurn their conscience to vote tactically? Seems like a failing on the part of the parties that the people should not have to absorb in order to try to get the system to work for them.

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