Following Hillary Clinton’s epic takedown of Donald Trump during a foreign policy address, Bernie Sanders responded in the most aggressively unhelpful and useless way possible: Hitting Hillary for her Iraq vote.
From Bernie’s website:
That’s it. That’s the entire thing. “Sanders Statement on Foreign Policy,” which would be more aptly titled, “Sanders Continues to Run Against the Democrats; Says Something Ridiculous; Still Isn’t Doing a Thing to Defeat Donald Trump.”
I honestly don’t know if I could conceive of something that more pointedly exemplifies why I have lost so much regard for Bernie—the announcement of whose candidacy I greeted with heart emojis. No really.
Bernie has said, repeatedly, that he’s not going to help a rightwing Republican get elected; that he will “do everything [he] can” to prevent a Donald Trump presidency.
But in response to Hillary unleashing a fierce and fiery and important attack on Donald’s reckless foreign policy proposals, unapologetic bigotry, and wretched temperament, Bernie doesn’t back her up. He doesn’t unleash his own equally devastating assault on the reckless and contemptible Trump. No. He goes after Hillary.
He accuses her of not “thinking through the consequences” of the intervention in Libya. Now, I had a number of foreign policy disagreements with Team Obama-Clinton over their shared tenure, but never once would I have suggested that they hadn’t thought long and hard about the decisions they made. That is the primary reason I support both of them as strongly as I do: I trust that they came to their decisions in good faith, prioritizing diplomacy and regarding military intervention as a last resort, and, most crucially, after careful and sensitive deliberations.
The suggestion that Hillary doesn’t consider consequences of her decisions is one of the most absurd—and, frankly, nasty—accusations I have heard in a long time.
And he again brings up her Iraq vote, which—setting aside the not insignificant detail that it was not a direct vote for war—she has herself said she got wrong: “As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake [became] more painful. I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”
It’s one thing to bring up a mistake someone’s made when they refuse to acknowledge the mistake. When someone has said they got something wrong, and speaks publicly about how painful it was to reckon with getting it wrong, beating them over the head with it doesn’t actually serve any decent or meaningful purpose.
Especially not when there’s no reason, none, to invoke that error except to hurt that person. Bernie has lost the primary. The only worthwhile thing he can do at this point is parlay his new-found (though waning) influence into defeating Donald Trump.
But instead, he’s still attacking Hillary, in the most cynical and vain way. And squandering serious opportunities to make a case against a dangerous rightwing extremist, in favor of undercutting the woman who has the best—the only—chance at stopping him.
And that is unforgivable.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)