Thursday, July 02, 2015

Remind Me: Who Was It With The Big Crowds in 2008?

Salon's Matthew Pulver wonders if  the attack upon Bernie Sanders by Claire McCaskill, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President, was approved by the Clinton campaign. Appearing on Morning Joe, the second term Missouri senator stated “Well, you know, Rand Paul’s father got massive crowds, Ron Paul,” she said. “He got the same size crowds. Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”

Acknowledging it's difficult to determine at this stage whether the criticism was isolated or the start of a pattern, Pulyer notes

It compounds the already problematic dynastic dimension of Clinton’s campaign. The Clintons, preparing for the coronation, also get to police what is acceptable in the party, with Hillary the enforcer of the law Bill laid down? Continuing to call Sanders an “extremist” might only convince many Democrats that the Clintons consider the party theirs.

It shouldn't be necessary to explain the vast differences in political ideology among Paul, Buchanan, and Sanders (especially between Paul/Buchanan and Sanders) but Pulyer does it, nonetheless. Political principle may be alien for a Democrat who prides herself on being only the 50th most liberal member of the 100- person chamber. Pulyer links to one (below) of her campaign videos, in which McConnell brags that she has cast "votes to cap federal spending (and) against more regulation" and includes the tagline "right in the middle is right for Missouri."

Pulyer pegs the Clintons as "the political family most responsible for making Sanders’ fairly standard postwar liberalism an extreme position." He notes McCaskill endorsed Mrs. Clinton in June, 2013, which was long before we knew who would challenge the latter for the presidential nomination; if anyone at all would challenge her; and even whether she herself would run.  Yet, Claire McCaskill just knew she was "ready for Hillary."

In a way, McCaskill's absurdly early endorsement and her ridiculous jab at Senator Sanders should be of little surprise.  She endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, similarly offering no reason that spoke of principle.  She did, however, observe "a lot of people talk about his ability to give a great speech. And there's no question that he is truly gifted by God with an ability to speak to people in a way that touches him."  She went on to praise his soul and intelligence, though she neglected to mention that, like Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and Bernard Sanders, he drew large crowds- even larger.  You might remember "yes, we can" (do what?).

However, the United States Senator did not apply her own judgement to the 2008 endorsement. Rather, "at the fierce urging of my 18-year-old daughter, I could not sit in the bleachers any longer."   She wasted no time in this cycle, not taking her cue from her daughter but evidently enthralled by the "incredible Secretary of State."  No mention of any particular accomplishment at State followed.

Whether Mrs. Clinton is "incredible" remains to be seen, though "incredible"- not credible- applies well to Claire McCaskill. The Senator should be asked at least two questions: whether Mrs. Clinton is now "truly gifted by God" as Barack Obama was in 2008; and whether the large crowds Senator Obama drew in 2008 should have forewarned us of the perils of an Obama presidency. The responses would be entertaining.

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