The left’s troubling embrace of GOP anti-Clinton talking points

The fact that many on the left are now embracing GOP talking points in order to attack Hillary and Bill Clinton is troubling. To wit: A new story in Salon about Bill Clinton’s “odious” presidency, which echoes a lot of what I’m hearing from a number of supporters of Bernie Sanders of late.

Don’t be mistaken, Sanders didn’t start this. Over the past several years, there’s been a growing movement by some on the left — who have become more vocal and more powerful of late — to eat our own. They regularly question the loyalty of progressive colleagues who’s political purity was proven decades ago.

They way these folks win an argument isn’t by proving you wrong, rather they prove you bad and evil. They don’t question your ideas, they question your integrity. And if the facts don’t back them up, they rewrite history.

by default 2016-03-13 at 5.08.34 PM

If you were gay or lesbian, the 1990s freaking rocked.

Which takes us back to this notion that the 1990s were a terrible time, and that Bill Clinton’s presidency was just awful.*

I came out in 1991, and started working as a fellow for Senator Kennedy, on gay rights issues, in early 1993. I worked on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ENDA, HIV/AIDS and more. And on gay rights and HIV, Bill Clinton was a god-send. No, he wasn’t perfect — he gave us DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and I was supremely ticked about both. (Though it’s important to remember that we got DADT because Clinton tried to repeal the policy altogether — something unheard of before he got to office — and did so inartfully.) But President Clinton also gave us openly gay and openly HIV+ senior administration officials, and an openly HIV+ speaker during prime time at the Democratic convention. Keep in mind, we’re talking 1992 and 1993, nearly 25 years ago. These pro-gay moves were unheard of at the presidential level.

Bill Clinton appointed openly-lesbian Roberta Achtenberg(Jesse Helm’s “damn lesbian”) to HHS, even though the GOP opposition was fierce. He appointed the first openly-gay US ambassador, Jim Hormel. He also finally protected gay federal employees. Up until Bill Clinton came around, for example, you couldn’t be openly gay at the State Department. That rule was why I turned down a commission in the US Foreign Service in 1989. I passed both versions of the Foreign Service exam and was offered a position, and I said no because I’m gay. So, just on gay rights and AIDS, what Bill Clinton did was beyond historic.

Here’s a list of some of the gay and HIV accomplishments — again keep in mind, this was over 20 years ago, following the Reagan and Bush presidencies, when being gay was not acceptable:

  • 1997, Clinton endorsed adding sexual orientation to the Hate Crimes bill.
  • Appointed first-ever openly-gay US ambassador.
  • Had an openly-gay person with AIDS speak during prime time at the Democratic Convention in 1992. This was a multiple “first.”
  • Tried to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
  • Ended discrimination against gays in the federal workforce.
  • Ended discrimination against gays in getting security clearances to work for the feds.
  • Endorsed ENDA.
  • Blocked Republican efforts to pass legislation prohibiting unmarried couples from jointly adopting children in the District of Columbia, and legislation which would have denied certain federal funds to localities with domestic partnership laws.
  • Issued first-ever presidential gay Pride Month proclamation.
  • Dramatically increased funding for HIV/AIDS.
  • Worked to stop discrimination against people with AIDS.
  • Opposed anti-gay ballot initiatives in Colorado and Oregon.
  • Fought discrimination against people with AIDS in the military.
  • Directed the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to vigorously prosecute those who discriminate against people with AIDS, leading to actions against health care providers and facilities that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • First administration to help asylum-seekers based on sexual orientation.
  • First president to grant asylum for gays and lesbians facing persecution in other countries.
  • Fought harassment of students based on sexual orientation.
  • Fought for and signed the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which bans insurance discrimination against people with pre-existing medical conditions including HIV/AIDS. In addition, President Clinton issued a directive that ensures that all providers of Federal health insurance abide by non-discrimination rules including sexual orientation.
  • Under President Clinton’s leadership, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commissioned scientific panels to study lesbian health issues and to suggest research methods for scientists who want to study specific lesbian health issues. This is the first time a U.S. Government agency has commissioned an examination into this subject.
  • Appointed more than 150 openly-gay appointees to his administration. Again, this simply wasn’t done before Clinton’s presidency.
  • Appointed first-ever White House gay liaison.
  • Appointed the first-ever White House AIDS Czar.
  • Convened the first-ever White House conference on HIV/AIDS.
  • First president to speak before a gay organization.

And on HIV/AIDS, the list is just as long. You can read it here.

I can appreciate that some people like Bernie more than Hillary. And that’s fine. But rewriting history, and eating our own, is wrong. Such an approach does a disservice to the truth; which as usual, is far grayer than some advocates would like you to know.

Disagree with Hillary on trade or the Wall Street bailout if you will. (Though personally, I believe we’d have gone into a depression without the bailout.) But let’s stop pretending Bernie is a saint and Hillary the devil. They’re both politicians. They both have a spotty record, depending on the issue.  Both will have a difficult time getting things done with a GOP congress. And both are better than Trump.


* Attacking a woman because you don’t like the job her husband did 20 years ago is also a right-wing talking point. And a little bit sexist, too :)

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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141 Responses to “The left’s troubling embrace of GOP anti-Clinton talking points”

  1. aakalan says:

    Eating your own is one thing. Rewriting history is another.

    I was very active at the time in question. With the same ham-fisted approach his wife took to universal healthcare, Clinton blew the biggest promises he made to the LGBT people who helped elect him.

    One of Clinton’s close personal friends, the man Clinton hired to be his LGBT liason in the White House, a respected advocate in his own right, David Mixner, quit CClinton’s administration in disgust.

    Clinton’s cowardly stand on DADT and DOMA were exercises in political prostitution. Both resulted in decades of prosecution and pain for LGBT people and their families. Couples were split apart when one of the partners were not allowed to emigrate or even get visas, soldiers with long, illustrious records defending America were dishonorably discharged and lost their pensions because of whom they loved, children were removed from the only parents they ever knew by courts, such as the Alabama Supreme Court did just a few years ago. Bill and hist laws made America hell for LGBT people and then both Clintons lied about it until this very day. They still claim he promoted and signed DOMA to prevent the Republicans from passing a Constitutional Amendment against LGBT families. However, anyone involved in politics at that time will verify tha there were never enough votes for them to do so.

    Always the politicians, Bill and Hillary used DOMA as part of their re-election campaign, patting themselves on the back to show how “conservative” they were.

    They were lying self-dealers then, and they still are today. What you wrote is akin to Hillary lauding Nancy Reagan for being an AIDS activist.

    Shame on you.

  2. drumchik says:

    Really? There’s nothing more sexist than being called a ‘bro’ and ‘not supportive of women’? I would say there are actually A LOT of things that are more sexist than that, and that perhaps you don’t understand sexism.

    It strikes me that your logic there is very akin to that used by people who say that when someone calls out racism, ‘they’re actually the ones being racist.’

    Hillary may be part of ‘the privileged class’ in many ways, but hierarchies are relative and the fact that one may stand a little higher in the hierarchy than some others does not mean that one is not being oppressed in very real ways by those even further up in the hierarchy. For women who’ve gained even a modicum of privilege, it can actually make the sexism one faces more invisible to a lot of people, who can only see the ‘privilege’ part. In the context of politics and the good ‘ol boys club that politics has always been, constantly being held to a different standard than her male counterparts – on everything from looks and manner to actual policy, and by everyone from the media to voters to her opposition – is sexism. And there are myriad examples of that happening on a constant basis.

  3. Thomas Schreiber says:

    My sentiments exactly, although I think it somewhat unfair to presume Hillary is ‘corporate-establishment-owned’. Remember two of our most progressive presidents – Theodore & Franklin Roosevelt – were from the moneyed American aristocracy.

  4. Thomas Schreiber says:

    The bill Sanders voted against WAS NOT for the auto bailout. After the funding was approved, Hillary was able to arrange for a portion of the money to be dedicated to the auto companies — it could be arguable that her pragmatism obtained the funding, but to suggest (frame her statements) that Sanders voted against the bailout was misleading at best, and dishonest at worst. Similarly, Sanders ‘screaming’ that Clinton is not qualified for the presidency is also dishonest. With regard to Congressional records, Sanders has managed to add a large number of amendments (similar to Clintons dedication of money to the auto industry) to legislation, and has a substantial record of achievment. They need to quit sniping at each other and contrast their different approaches. Sanders is preaching revolution which is, without a radical change in the Congress & Senate, probably not achievable. Clinton is preaching gradualism, which is, probably, more achievable.

  5. ABCDesi ?? says:

    LOL you lost me at moron. Insulting someone instead of arguing your albeit ignorant position is such a fantastic way to go! Bravo! Not everyone who supports Hillary is a shill, believe it or not! You can’t even come up with a decent insult or argument with proper grammar. And somehow I’M the moron? Me thinks not.

  6. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Loser in what way? Delegates or votes? Both? Oh! She’s winning. Lmaoooo so bitter. y’all can’t handle losing omg god bless ?

  7. Moderator3 says:


  8. joe ho says:


    if mods can’t adjudicate fairly, then they shouldn’t be mods.

    just like in a court, mods should be able to tell who threw the first punch.

  9. Moderator3 says:

    You really don’t want one of the mods to hurl the last remark.

  10. Moderator3 says:

    I think I’ll remove you. Mod 4 obviously believed you were more of an adult. Bye.

  11. joe ho says:


    Canvassing for a loser. Please feel free to waste your time.

  12. girlcousin says:

    So remove the remarks.

  13. girlcousin says:

    Got to go canvas for Bernie. Please feel free to stew in your own bitter juices….

  14. joe ho says:

    Typical bernie-bot-boi/gurl.

  15. joe ho says:

    Did you notice who hurled the first insult?

  16. Moderator4 says:

    Joe ho, I will tell you the same thing I told girlcousin. Tone it down and stop the insults.

  17. Moderator4 says:

    Girlcousin, you and joe ho need to tone it down and stop with the insults.

  18. girlcousin says:

    You have your head in the sand. The Clintons are as toxic as the Bush dynasty.

  19. girlcousin says:

    Typical hillbot

  20. girlcousin says:

    then why doesn’t she release them?

  21. joe ho says:


    no need to fling feces at you. you’re covered with it already.

  22. girlcousin says:

    and you just keep flinging your feces to see if it sticks.

  23. girlcousin says:

    And why all the FOIA requests came back no records, moron. It’s against the law to circumvent the government e-mail because it has to be archived. Please picture me facepalming over your ignorance of the law. But then you are a shill for hill

  24. joe ho says:


    and you would have been a nader-ite.

    why develop political acumen at this stage of the game?

  25. girlcousin says:

    I would say it’s sad to see you backing a loser, but why change the habits of a lifetime?

  26. girlcousin says:

    Problem with being all butt hurt because you picked a loser?

  27. Cynthia Williams says:

    That is quite a presumption. Would you care to elucidate?

  28. Cynthia Williams says:

    Hillary was quite clear in that Sanders supported the auto ballot UNTIL if became a part of the Wall Street bail out bill which she voted for and Sanders voted against. Sanders has a LONG history of no-compromise which make account for the fact that only three or four bills he wrote or co-sponsored in his 24 years in Congress ever became law. One must wonder why Sanders’ supporters do not take the time to actually check his Congressional voting records. They are public records and easily obtainable.

  29. ronbo says:

    Blind allegiance leads to dark places.

    Do you have those links or logic behind that broad attack against Social Security?

  30. ABCDesi ?? says:

    LOL, those policies weren’t even hers is what I said. Good grief! Google isn’t too far away.

  31. ronbo says:

    You think that Blacks support being imprisoned for minor drug charges? I wrote that she strongly “supported” three strikes… which she did enthusiastically.

    Oh my, the kool aide has muddled your thinking.

  32. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Yes, I AM aware but you’re unaware that there was huge support from the Black community for the bills because they were seen as improvements. Nuance is difficult and asserting that somehow this was cut and dry and not in fact the repercussions of the Nixon and Reagan presidencies is ignorant and telling. Three strikes was initiated by Reagan, BTW. You have no grasp of history whatsoever. I gave THREE links in one of my comments. Struggle a little and scroll down to find it. Here’s an extra link:

    Also, wtf are you talking about? Stay on topic.

  33. ronbo says:

    So… now that we understand there are two people who can be convinced into non-sense, are we to celebrate? Are you even aware of the increase of documented black imprisonment resulting from Bill and Hillary’s support of the for-profit prison industry, three-strikes, harsh drug policies, etc…?.

    Please link to or explain why or how the New Deal is so “embedded” with racism. Or do you just fall for slogans and repetition? “Just say No”.

  34. ABCDesi ?? says:

    FYI: Caucasians are not just white. A decent percentage of Caucasians are Asians so a) your statement is redundant and ignorant and b) you don’t know history. Here are some great reads: <– an actual reporter soundly backing what I said.

  35. Rick B says:

    I don’t think that that any poll that measures negative views of Hillary have any meaning at all in the votes to be cast. She has been demonized by the GOP for a quarter of a century, and the great regret of the GOP, she keeps getting reelected. The GOP will treat President Clinton exactly as the do President Obama, and for the same reason. She opposes them and she can win.

    If Bernie could attract new voters things might be different, but nothing indicates that he can bring them in to any great extent.

  36. ronbo says:

    Mocking you because your comment was just non-sense victimization. Blacks AND Hispanics AND Asians and Caucasians … everyone is part of Social Security and Medicare.

  37. ABCDesi ?? says:

    And she’s earning them. She’s leading vote-wise and delegate-wise. LOL, EVERYTHING is about race, pal. A non dem-voter in the GE is basically telling POC, pardon my French, screw you. There was no racism in my comment, either. White people do not experience racism because none of their issues derive from systematic oppression based on the color of their skin.

  38. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Awww, mocking me in an effort to appear quirky instead of giving an actual argument!

  39. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Right…because that’s the same thing…how? You being a gay man does not mean you face the same struggles a woman does, lol. Also, fyi: I’m a gay woman. LOL, and Sen. Sanders isn’t? HAHAHA, when did I say that? Comparing apples and oranges in an effort to bolster your argument that what he said was not, in fact, sexist. I dislike Carly Fiorina for a whole host of reasons but we’re not talking about her and you deflecting is just proving my point.

  40. ronbo says:

    PCP is a bad drug kids. Seriously, it warps minds.

  41. leliorisen says:

    I am a gay man, so stop playing the victim card. Many of us know what it is like to be oppressed in America and Hillary Clinton is part of the privileged class. Many women support Bernie and have to deal with being constantly told they are ‘bros’ and are not supportive of women. Nothing more sexist than that. I suppose if Carly Fiorina was the only female candidate, we’d be sexist if we didn’t want her, either.

  42. leliorisen says:

    Votes have to be earned. Maybe she should try earning them. And stop with the racism.

  43. leliorisen says:

    Interesting. Bernie portrayed as a commie and socialist by media from the get go, but he has far fewer negatives. He also performs stronger than Hillary against GOP in virtually every poll. HRC has an awful time with Independents, as opposed to Sanders. Finally, Clinton is the most reviled opponent in the eyes of the GOP. Do you really think they will not pull out all the barrels against her, or play nice with her if she is president? This more ‘electible’ talking point is not only offensive, but illogical. She is the only one with negative ratings close to Trump. Do you really think those numbers go up?

  44. leliorisen says:

    The fact that there has been a massive effort, ever since HRC chose to endorse Clinton against Sanders (who had a 100% record from them), rather than support the eventual nominee, is what is really disgusting. But, then again, HRC also has endorsed Republican Senator Kirk (78% voting record) over Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth (100% rating), so they have officially revealed their true colors.

    I can produce countless articles on how Bernie has defended the lgbt community going back to his time as mayor, but I will be damned if I sit by silently while Washington lgbt insiders trash him to elevate Hillary, which many…most notably Jonathan Capehart, have done. Every attack on his lgbt creds make it less likely for any of us to rally behind her, if she wins. They are repugnant.

    I will say this about Hillary. She could have supported same-sex marriage while she was Secretary of State, but chose not to, because she did not want to offend nations that were homophobic. That would include nations that killed and criminalized gays. That’s not leadership.

  45. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Problem with simple internet lingo, girlcousin? :(

  46. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Lol, right? It’s an investigation into the SERVER. *facepalm*

  47. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Yay!! A guy telling me what is and isn’t sexist. Just what I needed because I’m too dumb to figure out what is oppressive and what isn’t. It IS sexism. And your white male privileged mind may not understand that but unfortunately, I face the brunt of it.

  48. ABCDesi ?? says:

    Ahhhhhh, the Nader supporters coming out of the hole to purposely fuck us POC over. Thanks a lot, white people! Y’all really are the greatest :))

  49. ABCDesi ?? says:

    And then he appointes her as SOS so obviously he doesn’t care anymore so why exactly do you? He also engaged in sexist smear tactics, fyi and has since said he regretted it. So don’t BS people.

  50. ABCDesi ?? says:

    The New Deal? The same deal that PURPOSELY excluded Blacks from receiving any assistance? That same deal? Revolutionary, my @$$!

  51. NoWarPigs says:

    Hillary did not support marriage equality until 2013, that is disgusting, as is she.
    She is a lying, sellout who only serves the rich and has done nothing, nothing to help out ordinary Americans. Those are the facts, deal with them any way you want.
    This woman will never become president because she is despicable and rightfully hated by 70% of America.

  52. ronbo says:


  53. ronbo says:

    Reagan Democrats, like the Clintons are a threat to New Deal Democratic policy. How long before Hillary demands that we privatize Social Security to save it?

  54. lemuria says:

    Why is it that everyone assumes that, so long as someone has a D next to their names, we should all just blindly rally around them? I probably won’t vote at all this election, but if I do, it will be for someone who hasn’t been rammed down my throat as inevitable since square one. Oh, and also, hopefully, someone whose followers haven’t incessantly implied that I’m sexist for not by default supporting her.

  55. joe ho says:

    lol. you don’t seem to understand what the fbi is doing with the emails. not a criminal investigation of hillary. sad to see bernie supporters spreading gop lies.

  56. girlcousin says:

    Problem with big words, Mark?

  57. girlcousin says:

    My state hasn’t even had it’s primary, and the FBI hasn’t gotten through with the e-mails.

  58. girlcousin says:

    Then why have elections? As you have stated, Clinton is the establishment candidate. End of story. No discussion, no imput from voters. Take it or leave it. Yes, that’s very appealing.

  59. girlcousin says:

    Right. Every time someone points out the myriad reasons Clinton is totally unsuitable to be anything BUT an establishment, i.e., more of the same candidate we’re called haters. Ok. I hate permanent war. I hate the high cost of education. I hate the increase in poverty and homelessness. I hate the school to prison pipeline. I hate for profit prisons. I hate harsh drug laws. I hate the shredding of the social safety net that already had a lot of holes in it before her husband got ahold of it. I hate the TPP, I hate NAFTA, I hate the current minimum wage. I hate people having to work two full time jobs just to pay the rent. I hate the handling of the housing crisis (even though Ms Clinton told Wall Street to ‘cut it out’) that bailed out the banks, preserved their obscene bonuses while letting homeowners drown in underwater mortgages. Yup. I’m just a hater.

  60. girlcousin says:

    I’m with you–alwaysthink should be neverthinks.

  61. girlcousin says:

    You ought to be asking yourselves if a toxic candidate like Clinton can win nationally, because if she IS the candidate, say hello to President Trump.

  62. girlcousin says:

    Yeah, that’s what they keep telling us in Indiana–it’s just ‘naive’ to run a real democrat. So we’re all supposed to get in line behind Donnelly and Gregg who are republican lite. Must be why the Dems keep winning all those elections here….

  63. girlcousin says:

    Because they are establishment democrats who crap on their base.

  64. girlcousin says:

    The Clintons have personally destroyed the Democratic party with their ‘third way’ and ‘triangulating.’ It started with Gary Hart, but it really took off with the Clintons who moved the party so far to the right that there is no daylight between the two establishment parties. But we’re not eating our own–we are exorcising the demons…..

  65. BigGuy says:

    Thomas Frank isn’t helping Democrats. He’s as bad as Ruth Marcus, but not as bad as Maureen Dowd.
    Those three are all categorized as liberals by their employers, but have done far more harm to Democrats than most any Republican opposition.

  66. NikolaiG says:

    Wrong. She worked with her husband. She was in charge of the failed healthcare effort. She pushed his crime bill.

  67. NikolaiG says:

    If the facts were laid out and known, I can’t imagine any Democrat would vote for Hillary. The most incurable thing of all is how she gets the black vote after the Clintons together – she worked on these issues with her husband – decimated black America.

  68. NikolaiG says:

    I’ll do the right thing all right. Too bad you don’t know what the right thing is.

  69. NikolaiG says:

    Indeed! Thank you! Defending progressivism somehow being spun as a conservative plot. The irony would be funny if these issues were not so serious.

  70. NikolaiG says:

    She told easily a dozen lies about Bernie Sanders. What are you even talking about? Just go to the fact checking sites.

  71. NikolaiG says:

    Are you kidding????? She said he voted against the auto bailout. He voted for it.
    She said he was not involved in working on healthcare for all in 1993; he worked with her as video and her thank you note to him prove.

    She said he’s for immunity for gun sellers, which is a lie. He even voted for the assault weapon ban.

    She said he is working with the Koch brothers and favors immigrant hunters on the border.

    She said he plans to dismantle Obamacare and leave people with no healthcare coverage.

    Each and every one of these things is a lie and this is just a partial list.

  72. NikolaiG says:

    You said it. After her sleaze in the last debate and her stupid lie about his involvement in healthcare in 1993, I will never vote for her. For Jill Stein maybe. For Hillary, never.

  73. NikolaiG says:

    Hillary is the right.

  74. NikolaiG says:

    Hillary adopted the Republican party’s talking points against Obama when she ran against him.

  75. Amy Fried says:

    Regarding Bill and Hillary Clinton, politics is always the art of the possible. Given where this country was when Bill was elected, a lot was done within the parameters of the possible.

    I recently read Barney Frank’s memoir. He voted against DADT but was very clear that this was seen as a step forward at the time. I went back and read some of the NY Times coverage from the time and that’s how it was presented.

    Moreover, if Bill Clinton has run as a full-throated progressive, he wouldn’t have gotten elected in 1992 and we would have lost several Supreme Court slots.

  76. Fay Brewer says:

    Daughter here. I have not. I prefer Bernie and I see Hillary’s weaknesses. Yes, I might have bought one or two propaganda points about Hillary but I never had it against her. I’ll gladly vote for her when the time comes, so I’m hardly one of those libs that pictures her with horns.

  77. granfalloon says:

    This is well-written, but seems to suggest that the only thing “odious” suggested about Clinton’s presidency is LGBT issues, such that once that’s cleared up, it’s all good? I mean, I disagree with the “odious’ premise completely, so I don’t need convincing, but I’m not sure this gets us there.

  78. Webster says:

    I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee, but reluctantly and with little enthusiasm. This looking back at Bill Clinton’s presidency with warm, rosy-glow nostalgia is somewhat nauseating, though. President Obama has managed to move the massive and unwieldy Ship of State somewhat in the right direction (a miracle, considering the almost overwhelming tides of opposition), but I can’t see the mostly corporate- establishment-owned Hillary making much of an effort to steer toward any real or meaningful change. I’ll continue to root and vote for and contribute to Bernie’s campaign as long as it seems viable–because the body politic is in need of life-saving surgery, not a kiss on the boo-boo and a band-aid.

  79. Rick B says:

    Thank you for this article. My transgender daughter has been using the “Eat our Own” rewritten history to bolster her support for Bernie, largely because I don’ think Bernie is ready to deal with the GOP attack dogs on day one of his possible Presidency. You remind me why I really liked Bill Clinton .

  80. alwaysthink says:

    It seems to me that Karl Rove’s band of Dirty Tricksters have successfully inserted themselves into Bernie’s campaign. They do everything they can to turn the conversation away from policy and issues and towards emotional reactions to “framed” events.

    The call for the “transcripts” are a classic Rat F&(k by Rove. “There must be something she’s hiding”. Be afraid she’s made a “compact” with Goldman Sachs because she got a normal speaking fee like others before her. It’s pure nonsense.

    But Rove is spending a lot of money and effort to take her down so R’s can run against Bernie in November.

  81. alwaysthink says:

    Since the media has failed to vet Bernie, someone has to do it. Hillary has only pointed out real hypocrisy in Bernie’s story.

    Clinton has not told untruths but points out things that Bernie would rather not have known. His history with Sierra Blanca nuke dump and shipping nuclear waster half way across the country should be vetted. As his votes on gun issues like voting agianst the Brady Bill 5 times! Or voting to give gun manufactures a special shield from liability.

    Voters have a right to understand why Bernie is Ron Paul’s favorite candidate in 2016.

  82. Don Chandler says:

    At the time, I remember the military saying things like “how dare Clinton just come in and change things in the military.” Ofc, he was commander and Chief of the Armed Services. But somehow Nunn carried the day.

  83. heimaey says:

    I mean to be fair you did this to Hillary in 08 John. You wanted Obama to win – same thing with Sanders supporters now.

  84. Thomas Schreiber says:

    Bravo keirmeister, let’s do all we can to eliminate the ‘purity test’ for candidates Sanders & Clinton. IMO, they share the same goals, but support different tactics.

  85. Thomas Schreiber says:

    @Cynthia Williams – first, let’s be clear I am not anti-Hillary … however, as an example, Hillary’s statements regarding Bernie’s failure to support the auto industry were very, very misleading, out of context, and intentionally reminiscent (with regard to the auto bailout) of the “Willie Horton” ad. We have the GOP debates for these kinds of shenanigans. Yes, IMO, Peggy James’s,
    comment is too strident, but there are reasons to question some of Hillary’s tactics. Finally, it is my hope that we will not see some kind of purity test/standard applied to politicians supporting progressive goals, similar to the kind of purity test/standard being applied to those supporting the right wing agenda.

  86. Cynthia Williams says:

    Well said! Bottom line to BOTH Clinton and Sanders supporters, remember, your vote means the difference between a Democrat or a Republican taking the Oath on Inauguration Day Do the right thing.

  87. Cynthia Williams says:

    Kindly enumerate the lies you claim with reliable citations.

  88. Peggy James says:

    Hillary Clinton has told one lie after another about Bernie Sanders and it is not appreciated. No one deserves to automatically think they are entitled to the highest office when the path to get there includes dishonest tactics used against his or her opponent. Senator Sanders is appreciated and respected by our youth because he has all the genuine qualities of a true leader including honesty and authenticity.

  89. Grant Saw says:

    Salon might be needing the money. Once Joan Walsh left I noticed Salon doesn’t stick to its principles very well anymore.

  90. Grant Saw says:

    There is a lot of haters out there being fed a lot of hate. They are feeding the wrong part of their souls. If you have the choice to feed yourself love or hate, always choose love, or wait until it shows up. Feeding hate to yourself is no way to live a life.

  91. Mark says:

    Too bad there’s no “love” response button, because I LOVE that comeback, joe ho.

  92. Mark says:

    Your memories of the actual hearings are sharper than mine, but, yes, it was a circus act, and horrifying.

  93. emjayay says:

    For some reason I watched some of Nunn’s the gays in the military hearings on TV.

    I still remember some Mormon woman in uniform testifying about how terrible it would be to have gays living next door to her and her kids (probably lots of them too) in her base housing. I thought “you wouldn’t get to have that choice out in the real world where housing is in a free market not a closed socialist military one”. They showed Nunn touring a submarine with crew aboard and talking about how close the quarters were and showing the tight showers and talking about how horrifying gay guys taking showers there would be and asking young guys things like “you wouldn’t want some gay guys sleeping right next to you, would you?” I thought guess what, it’s the Navy. Ever hear that Village People song? We’re already there.

    I just remember those two bits. The whole thing was horrifying.

  94. Mark says:

    Just to flush-out the Realpolitik of DADT and DOMA that Clinton-revisionists so conveniently overlook: (1) conservative senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga) broke ranks with his party’s newly elected president and tried to sabotage candidate Clinton’s promise to allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. Nunn unilaterally announced hearings in January 1993, placing the issue front and center on the legislative calendar for the incoming president. Nunn’s efforts, coupled with push-back from Colin Powell, forced Clinton to embrace DADT as a compromise intended to forestall a complete legislative ban on gay service members and the inevitable court cases that would follow (BTW, presidents don’t like to roll the dice with their authority as Commander-in-Chief, and prefer to avoid court challenges that could set bad precedent); and (2) DOMA was passed by veto-proof majorities in both chambers during an election year; Clinton signed it in the middle of the night without the usual White House signing ceremony. A hypothetical veto would have been a short-lived feel good moment, as the veto would have been overridden and DOMA would still have been passed.

    This is the real world, a place increasingly uninhabited by Bernie supporters.

  95. Ron Chusid says:

    Plus, in addition to DOMA and DADT, if we are to look at Hillary’s record on AIDS, don’t forget her opposition to needle exchange programs, which was an issue back in the 2008 election.

  96. Ron Chusid says:

    It is rather disturbing how criticism of Clinton (either Hillary or Bill) on the issues is labeled a right wing attack when we disagree with them based upon liberal principles. The dismissal of criticism as sexism is similarly disturbing.

    Their McCarthyist tactics of tying all critics to the right wing are something I’d expect from the Trump camp, not supporters of a Democratic candidate.

  97. Ron Chusid says:

    Why is it fair game? Certainly you are aware of the Clinton double standard by which Clintons never are to be held accountable for their views or record? I believe DWS has made acceptance of this mandatory for Democrats.

  98. joe ho says:


    Hysterical Bernibot drinks more Commie Kool-Aid.

  99. 2karmanot says:

    Hilarious Hill-bot hyperventilates

  100. joe ho says:

    USA Today poll shows that millennials would flock to Clinton against Trump

    Too bad for the Bernie-or-else extremists.

  101. Don Chandler says:

    This is an effective humor that hits the mark.

  102. Phil in FLL says:

    It’s probably ill-advised for any commenter to outright insult Bernie Sanders when he doesn’t agree the agenda of the commenter, which may or may not include getting the Republicans into the White House. I know that readers want a specific example of what I’m talking about, so I’ll provide one with a well-known Bernie Sanders quote, spoken from the heart, which he stated in his closing remarks during a debate with Hillary:

    “Even on our worst day, I think it is fair to say, we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate,”

    Now read the first sentence of this comment again.

  103. 2karmanot says:

    Why yes Sally Bern nation!

  104. brel1 says:

    Thank you for this refreshing article. I was as puzzled as anyone by Hillary’s HIV remarks. Over all I ignore any criticism of her because of all the Right Wing false accusations. I also have to add that I have slowly dropped reading most of the progressive blogs as I noticed they bash Democrats so much. I’ve started to wonder if the sites are trolled or infiltrated. At least this election cycle has given President Obama a break from some of the negative the Progressives have thrown at him. Whether its Sanders or Clinton who is elected they will be criticized by the so called Progressive blogs for the next four years.

  105. 2karmanot says:

    This paean has left me speechless…almost………….. couldn’t get past DOMA or DADT . May I suggest another view:

  106. Don Chandler says:

    Unfortunately, Hillary doesn’t look like Trump, Cruz, Rubio or any of the other republican candidates that have dropped out of the race. Now, Bernie has effectively moved Hillary to the left…so much so that they seem to agree on many matters. On the matters that distinguish them, it’s reasonable to say that Bernie isn’t going to succeed in … breaking up the banks. He will be less likely to engage in foreign wars. The issues concerning LGBT are totally irrelevant. Hillary will not be bad for the LGBT community. That is a given. I happen to like Bernie more than Hillary and will vote for Bernie. But the two are identical on LGBT issues.

  107. Sand Paul says:

    Sanders is to the left of Clinton on foreign policy, the economy, and criminal justice (death penalty). There may not be a far left candidate, but there’s certainly a candidate left of Clinton.

    What I’m saying is this: to accuse leftists of “adopting right wing talking points” is to criticize them for sounding or being like right wingers. They’re guilty by association with a purportedly “right wing” tactic. This much seems fairly obvious to me. But the tactic being condemned as “right wing,” in this case, is comparing hillary to republicans. So the logic of the headline here is “comparing fellow democrats to republicans makes them just like republicans.” There’s a fairly glaring contradiction in that argument.

  108. BeccaM says:

    I personally am voting for Bernie in the primary. However, if he does not get the nomination I will vote for Hillary in the general election. Not because I think that she is his equivalent, but because I think that she can be influenced in a more liberal direction. That and we can’t afford to have any of the Republican candidates in the Oval Office.

    ^ This, x1000.

  109. Don Chandler says:

    Can’t really parse that comment. You said John was using the Dems = Republicans meme. He isn’t. I found the article pragmatic. Hillary is going to be much better for the LGBT group than any Republican. And since there are no far left candidates out there, your arguments are immaterial.

  110. Rational says:

    The point is that Ms. Clinton felt it was more important to cosy up to the rethuglican elite by lying about the toxic waste that nancy spewed in her lifetime because she was worried about offending rather then speaking the truth of inhumane policies that cost many people their lives and prolonged a health crisis.
    Sorry I do not accept that white washing a dead persons foul and abhorrent behavior by mangling the truth is to buy into a reactionary fever dream is reasonable behavior.
    sounds a bit like she is more worried about being invited to their dinner parties ( and drumpf’s weddings) then standing up for the american people.

  111. Sand Paul says:

    Again, I could really only agree with that statement if the tactic in question involves aggressive critique of Hillary Clinton. Isn’t it somewhat contradictory to say that labeling democrats as republicans is something that republicans do? Since you’re comparing far left to far right, doesn’t that mean you’re also doing what apparently only republicans do?

  112. Don Chandler says:

    The rhetoric of the extreme is similar. The ideals are not. But sometimes the rhetoric is destructive. To say that Hillary is the same as Cruz is wrong. To say that some elements of the far left like to use the same tactics as the far right is accurate. That doesn’t mean they are the same. It’s just that they can be … troubling.

  113. Sand Paul says:

    It’s in the title of the article, guy

  114. Don Chandler says:

    Can you point out how it’s being used by John so we can talk about it? If you want to be taken seriously, you have to make constructive arguments.

  115. Don Chandler says:

    And 8 years later, under Bush, the Supreme Court ruled that criminalization of homosexuality was unconstitutional because it violated the principle of equal protection under the law…this in turn lead to the thunderous rejection of Doma in 2014 by the Supremes after many many lower court rulings supporting marriage equality. It all started with Clinton. No president ever talked about gay rights until Bill Clinton. We all know he didn’t have the unanimous support of the public either.

  116. keirmeister says:

    It still amazes me that people on our side behave this childishly when it comes to idealism and party purity; and yes, this concept of using Republican talking points to demonize our own is disappointing and ironic.

    But, like many problems, the solution can be found by reducing things to their simplest elements. As I said in the comments of another blog (sorry, I sleep around):

    If you’re for Hillary and Bernie wins the nomination, vote for Bernie and shut up.
    If you’re for Bernie and Hillary wins the nomination, vote for Hillary and shut up.

    Anything less will give the office to a lunatic who can fill Supreme Court vacancies – and that will have far more long-term problems than you getting your feelings hurt.

  117. Sand Paul says:

    I don’t have to do anything as a prerequisite to criticizing Hillary. And the meme you say is dead is currently being used by the author of this article.

  118. Don Chandler says:

    Sand, I’ve criticized Hillary before. It’s okay to do so. But only if you can show how your candidate is better than Hillary. You haven’t shown me how Bernie is better than Hillary. When you do that, you show me that you are not just indulging in internet manipulation. Not saying you are a conservative pretending to be a liberal but it helps if provide some useful comparison. The Dems == Republican meme is dead.

  119. bloodyheck says:

    I’m sorry, but why is it fair game for HRC and her supporters to attack something, Sanders did , or said, 40+ years ago, and to constantly try to smear his record? Why is it sexist to demand the same answers from a female as from a male? Why is it sexist to look at the record and see where ideology either evolved and changed over a long period or seemed to change with the start of a campaign?

  120. TiberiusB says:

    Somebody has a crush on Hillary.

    First, Hillary “misspoke”…for several minutes… about Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s “low key activism” on AIDS. Now we have the claim that Sanders supporters are engaging in “fact free” attacks on Clinton (another day, another swipe at the Sanders campaign). How do we know? Well, the Clinton’s were awesome on gay issues, that’s how. Except, there’s a problem with that stance.

    Nobody is saying they weren’t.

    Nowhere in the Salon article about the Clinton presidency does the author claim Clinton was bad for gays or the advancement of gay rights. NOWHERE. Notice that in this post you see no attempt to refute any of the issues regularly raised regarding Clinton’s presidency. No discussion of the Crime bill, NAFTA, Welfare Reform, the Commodities Modernization Act, the repeal of Glass-Stegall, and so on. None of that matters because, the Clinton’s were good for the gay community. Nor does this weak attempt at misdirection acknowledge that Hillary wasn’t just a quiet passenger along for the ride during Bill’s presidency. She openly and actively worked to sway opinions both in Congress and with the public. She continued to defend the crime bill and welfare reform for years after Bill left office. Until 2013, she openly opposed gay marriage. Her record since then has hardly been spectacular. She backed the Iraq war, the invasion of Libya, called for more aggressive intervention with Syria, and has openly been hostile to Iran. She also helped promote fracking as Secretary of State, pushed through the trade treaty with Columbia she previously opposed in public, was for the TPP before she was “against” it. The list goes on and on. All of this is documented to the nth degree all over the Internet. None of it is in dispute. It is not, in any way, “fact free”. Why can’t Hillary advocates make a case based on actual accomplishments rather than the “Trump is worse” or “everybody is mean to her” generalizations? How about some specifics? All I read, it seems, are stories along the lines of “Hillary misspoke” or “Hillary isn’t Bill” or “Here’s a list of Hillary’s job titles, so she MUST be awesome” posts and comments. List off her civil rights accomplishments, her peace initiatives, her advocacy for human rights, whatever, and stop with the thinly veiled swipes at Bernie Sanders.

    And don’t think I don’t appreciate the irony of arguing that Hillary shouldn’t be burdened with her husband’s baggage while simultaneously trying to give her credit for her husband’s initiatives involving the gay community.

    If you want to write about people popping up on left leaning message boards spouting right wing talking points (who may or may not be actual liberals), focus on the email nonsense or something I might actually be able to point to and say, “yeah, that seems like some seriously weak sauce for anyone on the left to get behind”. Devoting yet another post to proving just how awesome Hillary is for gays after the Nancy Reagan debacle seems a little desperate and unnecessary.

  121. Houndentenor says:

    Again, his 1996 campaign ran radio ads bragging about his signing of DOMA. I remember that time. Maybe you don’t. He was better than any previous president on gay issues but he also did a lot of harm. DADT was a huge mess. It’s not like he was the main instigator but he isn’t exactly innocent either. I realize that we had to make the best of what was possible in the 90s but it’s the 10s now and we ought be doing better than we are. Hillary’s Nancy Reagan AIDS comment showed just how out of touch Mrs Clinton is on our history and our issues. I will vote for her in November but I also know that like with Obama we are going to have to drag her kicking and screaming along with us to do anything at all for lbgt people. Anyone who thinks differently is beyond naive.

  122. Dan Sloan says:

    He did not proudly sign DOMA. It was the only bill he refused to sign in front of the media. He signed it at 12:50am at night.

  123. Sand Paul says:

    So you’re suggesting that leftists critical of Bill Clinton’s LGBT record are actually stealing critiques from conservatives pretending not to be conservatives on comment threads? Seems like a far stretch just to equate us with right wing republicans

  124. Don Chandler says:

    It’s a past that can only be revisited if Trump or Cruz is president.

  125. Don Chandler says:

    Oh, but they [right wing/or conservatives] do bring it up in internet postings. Sure, they wouldn’t in articles written in right wing publications but they will bring it up in posting at blogs and news organizations. They want to sow doubt among undecideds. They also want to impact the democratic primaries so they can get the candidate they want to run against. There is little doubt in my mind that the republican’s fear Hillary. I’m not sure they shouldn’t fear Bernie.

  126. Houndentenor says:

    I did vote for Hillary in the Texas primary. And I will vote for her in November. But that doesn’t mean I’m blind to her faults nor does it mean that I’m not more than a little annoyed at the way her supporters attack anyone who dares criticize her.

  127. Houndentenor says:

    The standard apologia for DADT and DOMA is that Congress had the votes to override his veto anyway. What I found most appalling about DOMA is that Clinton proudly signed that bill and even ran ads talking about it in his 1996 campaign. That doesn’t sound like he did it begrudgingly. I realize that was the past but it’s definitely a past I don’t want to return to.

  128. Houndentenor says:

    Agreed. She is not the monster that Berniebros want to make her out to be. Nor is she nearly as above reproach as many of her supporters seem to think. As someone disgusted by both camps, I find all of it ridiculous. She should be addressing serious concerns about her positions and record rather than having surrogates attack anyone who dares criticize her. There ARE legitimate criticisms of her record.

  129. Houndentenor says:

    That would be a valid argument if she didn’t take credit for her husband’s accomplishments when it suits her. She probably deserves that credit but she wants to have it both ways and that’s bullshit.

  130. Houndentenor says:

    Let’s not inflate Bill Clinton’s record. He was indeed the first president to appoint openly gay people to positions of power but he also gave us DADT and DOMA. I was around then. It was a slap in the face. My main objections to Hillary have been that she’s a hawk (see Iraq vote), she’s too cozy with Wall Street and that I’m not convinced that she won’t throw lbgt people under the bus. Nothing she has said or done in the campaign has made me feel any better about any of those concerns and being yelled at by her supporters that I either don’t know what I’m talking about or that my concerns don’t matter is infuriating. This is NOT how to build a coalition of voters to win an election. I do not understand what the fuck is wrong with Democrats this year. The Republicans have been so off the rails that the press mostly hasn’t noticed just how dysfunctional the Democratic party has become. It’s a huge turnoff and I will say again that if I had a third option, I would probably not have voted for Hillary Clinton on Super Tuesday.

  131. Sand Paul says:

    your definition of conservative here is apparently “criticism of the Clintons.” The talking point being cited here may very well be wrong or inaccurate, but it’s not an argument a conservative would ever make because LGBT progress is not a conservative goal.

  132. Don Chandler says:

    It’s a conservative talking point because as John pointed out, there was LGBT progress under the Clinton Presidency. Anyone that was around back in those days knows the bad things that happened under a Clinton Presidency were due to strong Republican opposition to change along with nascent public support for gays. How is it not a conservative talking point? It doesn’t benefit either democratic candidate?

  133. Sally says:

    Oh please. Hillary has the experience, knowledge, persona and ability to make a great President. She is not a republican in disguise. She is not Satan. Do you really think President Sanders will have more success in getting his dream bills passed (or even written?) than Senator Sanders has for the past 30 years?

  134. Sally says:

    Thank you for this. I was in argument after argument last night on C&L over this. It’s like they are writing the Koch’s post-primary ads for them.

  135. The_Fixer says:

    I’m sure that some conservative pundit has raised such a talking point before in a “gotcha” scenario, but I don’t remember it. I don’t think it was very widespread, however.

    I think the larger point is that when liberals go into attack mode over Hillary Clinton, it is much like eating our own – which is what you are seeing with the conservatives. Consider the ridiculous reaction to Tailgunner Ted Cruz and his condemnation of Drumpfo der Clown’s incitement of violence at his rallies. They went straight for the throat, claiming that he is now a flaming liberal for daring to challenge Drumpfo der Clown on what should be an obvious criticism to be made.

    I personally am voting for Bernie in the primary. However, if he does not get the nomination I will vote for Hillary in the general election. Not because I think that she is his equivalent, but because I think that she can be influenced in a more liberal direction. That and we can’t afford to have any of the Republican candidates in the Oval Office.

  136. stupidicus says:

    there are far too many erupting for ANY little dutchboy act to remedy, or comparisons/generalities like them both being pols that don’t do the diffs/distinctions justice. And there’s nothing “sexist” about pinning the tail on her donkey for policies she openly pursued and promoted for her husband.

    If as Saint Raygun said, our politics and morality are truly inseparable, then she’s not even close to the moral high ground Bernie holds pretty much across the issue spectrum. And efforts such as these (a single policy slice) do litttle to shrink the gulf between them, and particularly on FP matters where she’s all but identical to just about any rightwinger in congress.

    Most BS supporters will no doubt scoff at the notion that the thirdway infiltrators,d.eWE who’ve corrupted the New Deal party in an effort to push us which way, should be spared criticisms simply because the 3rdwayers rightwing cousins are making them as well.

    And LGBT issues is not one where BS supporters and righties have any common ground or share criticisms of the Clintons, given that the righties no doubt abhor BC for whatever positive steps he took on the issue

  137. The_Fixer says:

    It’s wrong to condemn or credit Hillary Clinton on any policy or accomplishment of her husband – they are different people. While she may have had some input on the decisions President Clinton made, he ultimately was the one who made those decisions.

    Hillary Clinton has enough of a record on which she can be judged. That’s the only litmus test anyone should be using when considering her fitness for the Presidency.

  138. Sand Paul says:

    I see this critique coming from Clinton supporters a lot, and most of the time it just assumes that any critique of Hillary must have been coopted from the right. The thing about being a centrist, which is a label that she has strived to deserve throughout her career, is that there’s room to attack you on both sides. Deliberately ignoring or minimizing the difference between those attacks amounts to a kind of smear of her leftist critics

  139. stevesteffens says:

    Is she better than any of the Republicans? Yes, but so is my cat. This is the primary and we are having a serious argument about the direction of the Democratic Party. Her direction is not the right one for the future of the party OR the country.

  140. Sand Paul says:

    how is “the Clinton presidency was bad for LGBT” a conservative talking point?

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