Republican candidates and campaigns, take note. Team Sanders is putting on a school on how to deal with bogus victimhood claims on the campaign trail. After Hillary Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of sexism for accusing her of “shouting” about gun control, Sanders’ team has turned up the sneering condescension up to a Spinal Tap 11. Campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Bloomberg’s John Heileman that Sanders has much more regard for Hillary than Barack Obama did. In fact, they’d consider her for a running mate … depending on her audition:
Now, at the DoubleTree, three members of the Sanders high command—campaign manager Jeff Weaver, communications director Michael Briggs, and field director Phil Fiermonte—were reflecting on what Clinton’s record might say about her character. All agreed that Sanders and his staff believed that Clinton had moved to the left on numerous issues, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Keystone pipeline, for purely political reasons: to foreclose daylight between her and Sanders. I asked Weaver if he thought that made her, as some longtime Clinton critics argue, a craven hypocrite and opportunist?
“A craven hypocrite?” Weaver replied, grinning slyly. “That’s a little bit harsh, don’t you think?” Then he added, with a chuckle, “Look, she’d make a great vice president. We’re willing to give her more credit than Obama did. We’re willing to consider her for vice president. We’ll give her serious consideration. We’ll even interview her.”
Weaver was at least half-joking, or so it seemed to me. But even in jest, his comments were telling: about both the darkening assessment of Clinton among Sanders’s people and their heady confidence that they can beat her. Though Sanders’s top advisers concede that the past two weeks—from the first debate to Joe Biden’s decision not to run to the Benghazi hearing—have provided Clinton with a boost, they contend that the fundamentals of the race remain unchanged. That Clinton is still a markedly weak candidate, far less in tune with the Democratic nominating electorate than Sanders. That their operation is stronger financially and organizationally than the establishment grasps. And that if Sanders can prevail in Iowa (where he is currently trailing) and New Hampshire (where he leads), the nomination will be within their grasp.
That’s a pretty speculative way to look at the Democratic nomination. It would take a cascade of such ifs to propel Sanders ahead of Hillary. Barack Obama did it in 2008, but there were significant differences, too. Obama adopted a tone of moderation and post-partisanship rather than hoist the standard of a discredited ideology, projected a sense of cool rather than ranting from the stage, and out-organized Hillary rather than just drew big crowds.
Besides, Democrats will eventually stage an intervention to prevent that scenario from playing out. If Hillary is a poor candidate, running an avowed socialist at the top of the ticket would be an even bigger disaster for Democrats, especially in down-ticket races where Republican can expect to lob that rhetorical bomb at every Democratic opponent.
Still, the zinger cuts Hillary more than a little bit, especially because Obama endeavored to keep the Clintons as far away from the White House as politically possible after winning the nomination and the election. Obama appointed Hillary to State in part to assure their cooperation, and in part to give her an opportunity to develop a resumé that would allow her to run again in 2016 with a record of accomplishments. How did that work out? The Florida GOP put together this video to answer that question, which they released last night:
Being a lawyer is “super hard to achieve,” folks.