Hillary Clinton really cannot learn. The longer her campaign goes on, the more it seems like a re-run of 2008 against Barack Obama.
Example: In his rallies Sanders has been calling Hillary Clinton the “outsourcer in chief” because of her past support of trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP. She very recently changed her tune on TPP — her pollsters must have told her it’s not a popular position. (In one of the debates, Anderson Cooper accused her of “political expediency.”) And now she’s playing one of her classic victims games to say she’s being smeared. “Bernie Sanders stoops to desperate tactics” her surrogates shriek.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a blast from the past. Here is a moment from the 2008 campaign against Barack Obama.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, needing wins in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio to overtake Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, ramped up her criticism of Obama Saturday, accusing his team of negative campaign tactics “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”
Clinton addressed two mailings the Obama campaign distributed in Ohio – one that lambasts her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed into law, and another that criticizes her proposed health-care plan.
“I have to express my deep disappointment – he is continuing to send false and discredited mailings with information that is not true to the voters of Ohio,” she said, shaking the mailings to punctuate her remarks.
The NAFTA mailer accuses Clinton of switching her position on the trade agreement, saying the senator from New York was a “champion” for NAFTA while first lady, but now opposes it. …
The mailers are “blatantly false and yet he continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods. That is not the new politics that the speeches are about,” she said. “It is not hopeful; it is destructive.”
She added, “Shame on you, Barack Obama – it is time that you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That is what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”
Obama spokesman Bill Burton denied Clinton’s assertions that the mailers were false.
Her pattern is to just love those job-killing trade bills until she’s running for the presidency, and then she suddenly realizes they were a bad idea after all — until the next job-killing trade bill comes along later.
Here’s another one, from another 2008 news clip.
Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of stooping to “desperate” tactics, as polls put her on track for a solid, morale-boosting win in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania presidential primary. …
The New York senator argued in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite trailing Obama in nominating wins and elected delegates, she was still the most likely Democrat to beat Republican John McCain in November.
“He can be elected; I will be elected,” Clinton said, and accused Obama of resorting to sharply negative tactics in the final hours of the battle for Pennsylvania, which heralds the end-game of the contentious White House battle.
“I think he’s doing what candidates do when they get desperate at the end of an election,” Clinton said. “He is now undermining his message. He has spent all this time crossing Pennsylvania talking about how he runs a positive campaign, except when he gets pressed, and he starts throwing … the ‘kitchen sink’ at me.” …
… She argues that only she can capture big states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, by wooing socially conservative blue-collar voters that Democrats need to piece together a route back to the White House.
Clinton’s people also are pushing for Sanders to get out of the race, as she has a nearly (but not completely) insurmountable lead. This is rich, coming from someone who didn’t concede to Obama until June, and even then was spectacularly ungracious about it. Read this post by Chris Suellentrop from the New York Times, June 4, 2008:
Maybe it was her night after all: Hillary Clinton decided not to withdraw from the presidential campaign tonight, and the liberals in blogville are not happy about it, to put it mildly. Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic begins his blog post on Clinton’s speech by writing, “I probably shouldn’t write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I’ve found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different.” He continues, “I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who’ve been enabling her behavior, I’d say something deeply unwise. Suffice it to say, that for quite a while now all of John McCain’s most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton’s payroll.”
At The American Prospect’s Tapped blog, Dana Goldstein calls Clinton’s speech “troublesome.” “The more I think about it, the more it seems that Hillary’s entire speech was manufactured to rile up her supporters — instead of priming them to shift their allegiance to Obama,” Goldstein writes. “Yes, there’s a situation with Michigan and Florida. But is it really fair for Clinton to claim that her 18 million supporters nationwide have been made “invisible?” Who’s supposed to be the bad guy here, scary Howard Dean? Clinton is offering more fighting rhetoric. But the fight should be over. Hillary tonight was a woman standing down more than half her party’s supporters and practically the entire Democratic establishment.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait uses even tougher language. “I’d say that anybody on her staff who cares about their party hasÂ a moral obligation to publicly quit and endorse Obama,” he writes at The Plank, TNR’s staff blog. Chait also writes of the speech:
Incredible. She justifies her continuing the campaign by saying that she finished the campaign. She doesn’t concede that Obama has a majority of delegates, let alone that he’s won. She repeats her bogus popular vote argument. She congratulates Obama’s campaign on its “achievements,” but barely musters a single good word about him.
Chait’s colleagues at The New Republic are almost as exercised. Isaac Chotiner, also writing at The Plank, calls the speech “combative and petty” and headlines his post, “A Total Disgrace.” He concludes, “If Clinton wants people to believe that she cares more about the Democratic Party than her own career, she is failing badly.”
There’s a lot more to that. It’s not pretty. I guess a lot of people have forgotten this; I have not.