Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Last Refuge Of A Democratic Scoundrel

Wednesday evening in the debate in Las Vegas, Nevada we heard

Senator Warren, I have a question for you. On Sunday, on "Meet the Press," Vice President Biden accused Senator Sanders' supporters of bullying union leaders here with, quote, "vicious, malicious, misogynistic things." You said Democrats cannot build an inclusive party on a foundation of hate. Are Senator Sanders and his supporters making it harder for Democrats to unify in November?

Senator Warren replied "Look, I have said many times before, we are all responsible for our supporters. And we need to step up. That's what leadership is all about."

Warren then pivoted to blasting Bloomberg. Perhaps as someone who has largely avoided criticizing the front-runner during the campaign, she may be rooting for a Sanders nomination. In contrast, Steve M. argues "her specific line of attack, a critique of Bloomberg's sexism and use of wealth to avoid consequences, seemed heartfelt. (Where's the word 'authentic' when you need it?)"

The pivot allowed Sanders then to wail "if there are a few people who make ugly remarks, who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people," as if there is any question as to "if." He also played the race card because Democrats can play it as well as Republicans (in a different manner), remarking "talk to some of the African-American women on my campaign. Talk to Senator Nina Turner. Talk to others and find the vicious, racist, sexist attacks that are coming their way, as well."

Now that Senator Sanders has invoked race for political advantage, we will take note of the obvious, that his press spokesman is a black woman, Brianha Joy Gray. And Ms. Gray pulled out the race card herself when she

doubled down in a CNN interview on Wednesday, insisting that the onus is on Sanders only to be as forthcoming as the rest of the 2020 Democratic field.

“I think the American people deserve to know exactly as much as every other candidate has released in this race currently and historically,” said Gray.

“What you’re seeing right now is really reminiscent of some of the kind of smear, kind of skepticism campaigns that have been run against a lot of different candidates in the past, questioning where they’re from, aspects of their lineage,” continued Gray, in an apparent reference to “birther” conspiracy theories that said Obama was born outside the United States.

The similarities between criticism of Bernard Sanders and criticism of Barack Obama are a) they're both Democrats; and b) nothing else

It always was obviously untrue that Barack Obama was born in Africa. However, it is true that Bernard Sanders suffered a heart attack in recent months.  Birtherism directed toward Obama was prompted in part by racial bias. Demanding that Sanders release full medical records has been prompted by an actual event, a heart attack, and not by racial, religious, gender, or any other bias.

Whether through lack of self-respect or of courage, Mr. Obama remains silent as a request for a candidate to release his medical records is compared to the birther attacks upon himself. This failure is even more glaring in light of the apparent hostility between Obama and Senator Sanders.

However, Elizabeth Warren inadvertently opened the door a crack. Responding to a question in last night's debate about climate change, Warren asserted "Look, I'm going to say something that is really controversial in Washington, but I think I'm safe to say this here in Nevada. I believe in science."

That was not humblebrag. It is controversial. If it weren't, she and other Democratic candidates would demand that the medical records of each contender be released.  And Bernard Sanders should be the first to be transparent for two reasons. He has released less information than has Warren or Joe Biden. Additionally, it isn't every four years that a 78-year old man with a recent coronary event, the severity of which is unknown to the public, is the front-runner for his party's presidential nomination.

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This  is a reasonable question. If going to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to harass and intimidate Jewish people at a synagogue is no...