Hillary Clinton appeared on the Ellen show today and offered some subtle criticism of Bernie Sanders. Last month, Ed wrote about some remarks Hillary made in a new documentary about her life. The Hollywood Reporter published this quote pulled from the documentary of Hillary summing up Sanders’ career: “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Today, Ellen asked Hillary if she wanted to address those prior comments and Hillary was more diplomatic, saying you have to pick someone who can win: “I have a pretty clear perspective about what it’s going to take to win, and as I said earlier, that’s what I think the key calculation for any voter has to be.” But the bigger issue, according to Hillary, is choosing a candidate who can deliver on his or her promises:
“You’ve got to be responsible for what you say, and what you say you’re going to do,” Clinton added. “We need to rebuild trust in our fellow Americans and in our institutions, and if you promise the moon and you can’t deliver the moon, then that’s going to be one more indicator of how, you know, we just can’t trust each other.”
Hillary as the prophet of public trust is what I would call a stretch goal for her. Still, she’s right about promising what you can’t deliver.
“I want quality affordable health care for everybody. … But let’s remember what’s at stake. We have a current President who’s trying to take away fundamental health care rights,” Clinton said, referencing the Trump administration’s support for a lawsuit looking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, including protections for people with preexisting conditions.
“So we can have a big argument about ideally what kind of health care we should want for everybody, because I’m on the front lines on that battle, but let’s remember: If we don’t win, people will lose what they have right now,” she added. “So I just want everybody to understand how high the stakes are and to hold every candidate and every public office holder accountable for what they do or they don’t do.”
So I guess this is that rare issue where I’m basically in agreement with Hillary. Sanders is promising to turn America into a country slightly to the left of Sweden, doubling taxes and spending and creating more government than ever. But that’s not going to happen, even if the House and Senate are in Democratic control. There are simply too many moderate Democrats to pass most of his agenda. There are too many Americans who will balk once they get the cost associated with his agenda.
And needless to say if he wins the White House and doesn’t have the Senate, Bernie will get very little of anything done. In fact, with him at the top of the ticket it’s less likely Democrats will take the Senate and more likely they could lose seats in the House. Why? Because Sanders is a genuine socialist and too far left for a lot of people in the country.
I think that’s what Hillary is subtly saying when she says voters should first think about who can win. Sanders is America’s Jeremy Corbyn. He can potentially win the nomination for his adopted party but he’s likely setting up the party for a drubbing in the general election.
The Bernie Sanders bit comes about 15 minutes into this clip: