Bernie Sanders Joins Growing Chorus of Clinton Challengers Who Opposed …

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bernie Sanders Joins Growing Chorus of Clinton Challengers Who Opposed Her on Iraq.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the longest-serving independent in Congress, will take on Clinton (and any additional challengers who may appear before states hold their primary elections and caucuses early next year) in the name of an old backbone of Democratic politics—standing up for the worker against the corporation and the billionaire. Bernie Sanders immediately distanced himself from Hillary Clinton on trade, foreign policy and the environment as he announced a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination that represents her first serious challenge from the left. One supposes you can’t have a Clinton in a presidential race without revisiting the mythos of Bill Clinton and the “New Democrats,” who led the party out of the Reagan years and into an embrace of globalization that included compromises on welfare, trade, and, memorably, financial regulation.

Sanders, who served in the House throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency and the Senate for the last two years of Hillary’s term there, has usually been loathe to attack her. In a low-key press conference outside the US Capitol building, the Vermont senator acknowledged his run for the White House was a quixotic one, but insisted he was “in this race to win” and not just raise the profile of progressive causes. “I seriously wonder … whether in this day and age it is possible for any candidate, who is not a billionaire or who is not beholden to the billionaire class, to be able to run successful campaigns,” said the 73-year-old independent senator. “And if that is the case, I want you all to recognise what a sad state of affairs that is for American democracy.” But Sanders claimed his focus on tackling economic inequality and the political power of corporate America would resonate with the US public: “If you raise the issues that are on the hearts and minds of the American people, if you are trying to put together a movement which says we have got to stand together and say this beautiful Capitol, our country, belongs to all of us and not the billionaire class – that’s not raising an issue, that’s winning an election, that’s where the American people are.” Asked how he would differ from Clinton, Sanders claimed he would not run a negative campaign but highlighted three issues where the former secretary of state has been vague since announcing her frontrunner bid earlier this month – and more conservative since long before then. “I voted against the war in Iraq, and not only did I vote against it, I helped lead the effort,” he said. “I am helping right now to lead the effort about the trans-pacific partnership because I believe it continues a trend of horrendous trade policies which have cost us millions of decent paying jobs.” “I helped lead the effort against the Keystone pipeline, because I don’t think we should be transporting some of the dirtiest fuel in the world and have got to be really vigorous in terms of transforming our energy system,” he added. “Those are some of my views and we will see where secretary Clinton comes back.” With a bold program of economic populism and a fierce rejection of the corporate money now seemingly required by candidates, Sanders is considered a long-shot to secure the Democratic nomination.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington. (AP) At a press conference, the independent senator and self-described “democratic socialist” said he is “running to win,” though he faces long odds against Clinton’s juggernaut political operation — and several other potential Democratic candidates. Judging by the three points of contrast Sanders drew with Clinton at the end of his first press conference, these are the debates he seems most likely to return to over the course of the campaign: She voted for the Iraq war, I did not.

Barack Obama won his party’s nomination over Hillary Clinton in 2008 largely based on this model, and it’s still relevant today as Obama’s hopes to extricate the country from wars in the Middle East have proven more challenging than anticipated. Until a few weeks ago, close aides predicted Sanders would decline to the enter the race at all, deterred by the mountain of money that increases national exposure.

The brothers share the same populist philosophies and bear an uncanny resemblance, down to their wire-frame eyeglasses and slightly wild hair. (Though Larry’s is more gray and not white like Bernie’s.) Larry Sanders moved to Oxford in 1969 and has been involved in party politics for 15 years, according to the Oxfordshire Green Party website. But growing interest among activists who may provide enough small donations for a credible campaign have encouraged a rethink, aides said, especially as fellow senator Elizabeth Warren has so far resisted pressure to run against Clinton. Sanders is likely to be joined on the left by former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, although his still nascent campaign has been tarnished by criticism during this week’s riots in Baltimore of his policing record while mayor of the city.

Steve Dawe, a spokesman for the Green Party in Oxfordshire County, told National Journal that Sanders will probably get the largest vote for a Green candidate for his particular constituency or district. “Although obviously it’s very difficult and it’s not likely that he will actually win,” Dawe is quoted as saying. As he has for months in prospective campaign stops in the early voting states, and throughout his political career, the former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, assailed an economic system that he said has devolved over the past 40 years and eradicated the nation’s middle class. “What we have seen is that while the average person is working longer hours for lower wages, we have seen a huge increase in income and wealth inequality, which is now reaching obscene levels,” Sanders said. “This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful, and is not working for ordinary Americans. …

The planned pipeline between Canada and the US, which aims to introduce oil pulled from Alberta’s tar sands to US refineries, has been a touchpoint for environmentalists, even if its actual effect on the environment might be negligible. The critics of the war, demeaned and mocked as sufferers of “Bush derangement system,” or residents of “dream palaces,” watched the war prove them right. You know, this country just does not belong to a handful of billionaires.” The son of an immigrant from Poland who sold paint for a living in Brooklyn, Sanders, 73, has for decades championed working-class Americans. How does it happen that the top 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 99%.” “My conclusion is is that that type of economics is not only immoral is not only wrong it is unsustainable. Sanders is firmly against it, while Clinton hasn’t said where she stands—even as she raises money from the biggest environmental donor in the country.

While Sanders’ success in fundraising and in public-opinion polls is eclipsed by the Clinton juggernaut, he says that only plays into his critique of a US political system too focused on big donors to deal with big issues. On Thursday, MoveOn executive director Anna Galland sent around a short statement welcoming Sanders to the race, saying that “he’s stood up to the Wall Street banks and wealthy interests who have rigged the game in Washington and knee-capped our country’s middle-class and working families.” There was no mention of foreign policy whatsoever. (The e-mail ended with a new call for Warren to run.) Clinton’s 2002 explanation for her Iraq War vote remains excruciating for progressives.

Like he says, he worried that a war would destabilize the region and blow up the national debt. “An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorism campaign we have undertaken,” said Sanders, quoting Brent Scowcroft. Sanders said he would release “very specific proposals” to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, as well as offer tuition-free education at all public colleges and universities. Just this week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul reiterated in a conversation with New York Jewish leaders that “the removal of Saddam Hussein was a mistake.” That’s only a small piece of Paul’s case against Clinton.

He was coaxed into the 2006 race by progressives who had circulated his 2002 op-ed in the Washington Post, warning that “wars often have unintended consequences—ask the Germans, who in World War I were convinced that they would defeat the French in exactly 42 days.” Yet like Sanders and Chafee, he’s enjoyed only single-digit (if that) support from Democratic primary voters. He was speaking about the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. *Side note: Sanders, an independent, is remaining so while filing for Democratic primaries.

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