Wednesday, February 10, 2016

With Friends Like These

Bernie Sanders' victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary yesterday was stunning. Ms. Clinton lost every demographic to the Vermont senator except senior citizens:
[Senator Sanders] carried majorities of both men and women. He won among those with and without college degrees. He won among gun owners and non-gun owners. He beat Mrs. Clinton among previous primary voters and those participating for the first time. And he ran ahead among both moderates and liberals.

Even so, there were a few silver linings for Mrs. Clinton. While Mr. Sanders bested her among all age groups younger than 45, the two candidates polled evenly among voters aged 45 to 64. And Mrs. Clinton won the support of voters 65 and older. And, though Mrs. Clinton lost nearly every income group, she did carry voters in families earning over $200,000 per year.
Meanwhile, Ms. Clinton's sort-of husband didn't help her when in a speech before the primary vote was taken he observed that her opponent, Senator Sanders, was being "hypocritical" in complaining about the exorbitant fees Ms. Clinton extracted from Wall Street fat cats for giving speeches. Sanders, Bill Clinton, informed us, gave speeches that he was paid for, too, so it's hypocritical of Bernie to criticize Hillary for doing the same thing. As Dick Morris notes, however, there's a big difference between Hillary's speeches and Bernie's speeches:
The aging and raging ex-president, meanwhile, speaking to a half-filled gym in a New Hampshire school, ranted about Sanders’s “hypocrisy” in condemning his wife’s paid speeches. Sanders, too, has given paid speeches, Bill Clinton claimed.

He’s got a point. In 2013, for example, Sanders made all of $1,500, which he donated to charity as required by federal law. In 2014, he raked in $1,850 for paid speeches. By contrast, Clinton made, and kept, over $21 million during the same time period. Sanders was only reimbursed for coach class airfare, while Clinton demanded private jets. Sanders’s hosts were the TV show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Avalon Publishing and a machinists union. Clinton’s were Goldman Sachs, the big banks and the pharmaceutical and energy industries.
When people pay you $21 million for a bunch of hour long speeches they're not doing it because they think you're Demosthenes. They're doing it because they're expecting that you'll eventually be in a position of power and they're buying influence. In other words, should Ms. Clinton gain the White House everyone who paid her big bucks, including foreign governments who contributed to her foundation, will be expecting to benefit from their investment. When she declares in her campaign speeches that she'll rein in Wall Street, the guys in the penthouse offices must be rolling on the floor in laughter.

Nor has Ms. Clinton been particularly well-served by some of her celebrity supporters. Gloria Steinem, the octogenarian feminist warhorse, insulted millions of young women by blurting out recently that the only reason these silly things are supporting Sanders and not Hillary is that the Sanders campaign is where the boys are. Yes, according to Ms Steinem, of all people, the very person who famously proclaimed that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, girls don't really care about politics, they just want to get boyfriends.

Then there was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, another octogenarian, who gave us another glimpse of how some of the older female supporters of Ms. Clinton think when she insisted that there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women. She apparently believes that women shouldn't think for themselves and support candidates they believe would be best for the country. Rather they should vote simply on the basis of their gender. It's a kind of tribalism Ms. Albright is endorsing.

I wonder if the estimable Madame Secretary thinks there's a special place in hell for Jews, or men, or senior citizens who don't vote for Bernie Sanders. Probably not.