Clinton Campaign Attacks Sanders for Being the First Candidate to “Go Negative”
“We were very surprised today to see that Bernie Sanders had launched a negative television advertisement against Hillary,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, in a conference call with reporters Thursday. “We were particularly surprised because he had personally pledged and his campaign had pledged to never run a negative advertisement.”
The ad in question does not name Hillary personally, and talks in generalities about choices in approaching Wall Street.
On another conference call with press, Clinton strategist Joel Benenson said that in discussing his view toward Wall Street and how it differs from other view within the Democratic Party, Bernie had “decided to do something that he had said so proudly he would never do.” This is first of all total BS, but the fact that Benenson is the one to rebut the ad is deliciously ironic. Because when he is not “advising” the Clinton campaign, Benenson advises JPMorgan and Bank of America.
The Rovian Strategy Explained
Hillary is using the classic Karl Rove technique of attacking an opponent on their biggest strengths.
A prime example of the “Rovian” strategy was the Bush campaign’s attacking the much decorated war hero John Kerry as a dishonorable vet whom other vets disdained. Bush himself avoided service in Vietnam with his cushy Air National Guard gig in the so-called “Champagne Squadron” for rich Texas kids, and even then he was AWOL for a year. Kerry was also a child of privilege but went to Vietnam anyway. That should have been a big difference between the two candidates, but by mounting that successful “swift boat” attack, Rove managed to take that whole subject of military service off the table.
Now Hillary is trying to take on the thing that most differentiates the two candidates: INTEGRITY.
If she can take the whole discussion of integrity, honesty and fair play off the table, then she will have greatly hurt Bernie.
Of course, this is not the first Rovian broadside that Hillary has delivered. It started almost immediately, right after the first debate, when Hillary attacked Bernie for, of all things, being RACIST. Bernie, who literally marched with MLK, who was arrested for protesting segregation, who supported and helped Jesse Jackson win Vermont in his Presidential bid, was now just a run-of-the-mill racist:
‘There are some who say that it is an urban problem,’ Clinton stated. ‘Sometimes what they mean by that is: It’s a black problem. But it’s not. It’s not black. It’s not urban. It’s a deep profound challenge to who we are.’
Ridiculous on its face. But that was not the only Rovian smear that the Clinton campaign was able to create out of whole cloth from the first debate:
“You know, I’ve been told to stop, and I quote, ‘shouting’ about gun violence. Well, first of all, I’m not shouting. It’s just [that] when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.”
Again — message clear: Bernie, who has stood for women’s rights, abortion rights, ERA, equal pay for decades, is really nothing more than an old-fashioned sexist who cannot stand or even understand strong women.
This week saw another Karl Rove masterpiece: Hilary is attacking Bernie on one of his core principles and one of his most passionate aims: single payer health care as a right. Hillary wants to keep allowing private insurance companies to make a profit on sick Americans. Bernie wants to make it an entitlement. And that basic philosophical difference is resonating with voters — so, taking another page out of Karl Rove’s playbook, Hillary is literally trying to scare voters about Bernie’s plan:
“His plan would take Medicare and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act health care insurance and private employer health insurance and he would take that all together and send health insurance to the states, turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” Clinton said. “We had enough of a fight to get to the Affordable Care Act. So I don’t want to rip it up and start over.”
This is really starting to get bizarre. But apparently the Clinton camp will adhere to the Rove strategy to the bitter end.
The latest barrage, namely attacking Bernie’s integrity, is the final straw. Bernie has always maintained that he has never run a negative ad, and that has been a hallmark of his campaign and a cornerstone of his reputation among the voters. To attack Bernie’s integrity and his honesty (“he is not levelling with the American people”) is to attack the very foundation of the Bernie Brand.
Hillary, the stench of desperation hangs thick in the air around you. You are running against the most popular US Senator in the county, the man with the most positive “net favorable” ratings of all the candidates, the man who calls out Pope Francis as his fellow traveller, and you think you can win by portraying him as a sexist, a racist and a liar. Good luck with that.