Thursday, April 7, 2016

Berned out? NRA support, sexist comment and bank interview hurt Sanders with NY looming

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge ambition.jpg

victory aside, it hasn't been a stellar week for Bernie Sanders, in part because his camp hasn't responded well to  counter-punching by the Clinton campaign.

To summarize:

* Sanders is still pimping for the NRA, including with a thoughtless remark on the dead of Sandy Hook. Equating Clinton's  vote on a trade agreement with a mass gun slaughter and voting with the NRA? Really, Bernie? Mother Jones explains Sanders' important role in expanding immunity for gun manufacturers from liability.

* After campaigning ceaselessly on the evil  banks, he did poorly on a New York Daily News interview on how he would accomplish breaking them up. This technical question is apart from the political reality that a socialist president isn't likely to persuade a Republican Congress to bust up financial institutions. Also: How big is too big? $1 billion. $10 billion. $100 billion? Clinton supporter Barney Frank pummeled Sanders supporter Robert Reich on this question on Chris Matthews last night.

* Sanders' campaign manager described Hillary Clinton too ambitious. To her credit, she laughed out loud when asked about this in a TV interview. Liza Plank wrote for Vox on Jeff Weaver's suggestion that Clinton was willing to "destroy" the Democratic Party "to satisfy her ambitions" to be president:

Weaver's comments don't exist in a vacuum. They reflect the classic gendered critiques made of powerful women. While leadership and likability go hand in hand for men, the opposite is true for women. Study after study shows that women are often punished for seeking positions of power and are less likely to be promoted for those roles despite having equal or better skills than their male counterparts.

In fact, Weaver's description of Clinton fits so neatly into the stale sexist stereotype about powerful women that there's an actual Onion article from 2006 called "Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious to Be President." Ten years later, it seems like instead of progressing on female leadership, we're even farther away from reckoning with it.
When have you heard a man described as too ambitious?

* The heat is getting to Bern and his people. He listed reasons that Hillary Clinton is "unqualified" to be president. He said this was in response to her calling him "unqualified." Problem is, she didn't. That was a word used by a TV cable talk show host. She did observe, fairly, that for someone who's made banks such a centerpiece of his campaign he didn't handle questioning about it well. He's now rolled in the Panama Papers in his litany of Clinton ills.

Increasingly, the Democratic race is looking all about New York April 19. A tougher Clinton took to the subway in New York today with reporters in tow. It's going to be a fierce 10 days. It's a closed primary in New York, too. Real Democrats vote. Not just those who adopted the label out of expediency. If you know who I mean.

PS: Despite his assertions to the contrary, Sanders has been the least accountable candidate when it comes to releasing personal tax records.

UPDATE: Joan Walsh writes on this in The Nation. I guess she's in the tank, too. Also Rebecca Traister in New York.

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