Hillary may want to pull out some of the hot sauce from her bag to add some flavor to her unseasoned critiques of Bernie Sanders.
The year is 2016 and—oh wait no! It’s 2020 and Hillary Clinton is still subjecting me (yes I feel personally attacked) to her lukewarm takes and what I suppose she thinks is hard-hitting political analysis. Her latest tirade against Bernie Sanders confirms to me two things that I—and others—have always known to be true. She believes she is completely beyond reproach for her historical choices, her policies, her badly run campaign, and her eventual loss. She also believes she was owed the nomination. Bernie threatening that was something she could never forgive.
Let me remind you of just a few of those choices and policies in case her pivoting and deflection made you forget.
While Bernie was talking about holding Wall Street accountable, Hillary was giving paid speeches to them. Taking over $500k from Goldman Sachs is already reprehensible, but the leaked content of those speeches is somehow worse. In the speeches, she admitted to being “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class. That might explain why she also told them she dreamed of open trade policies—deals that harm the climate, exploit Black and brown workers abroad, and line the pockets of multinational corporations.
Though she echoed Bernie’s ideas about Wall Street during debates and stump speeches, her speeches to Goldman Sachs illuminated a different idea. In fact, she believed that the 2008 financial crisis being blamed on the U.S. banks was an “oversimplification,” chiding those who tried to politicize the situation. Imagine having the privilege not to politicize a crisis that ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands and set up the country for years of recession and pain. The most telling part of the leak, though, was where she discussed the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on politically contentious issues.
That’s certainly evident when you look at her public/private positions on feminism. During her campaign, Clinton tweeted, “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.” What about the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment or assault? What about her campaign adviser who was accused of sexual harassment? She seems to only think that feminism and standing up for women and survivors matters when people are sexist or misogynistic towards her or when it’s politically expedient.
It’s imperative to mention that this is the same woman who spent her husband’s entire presidency shouting from the rooftops about the existence of young, Black “superpredators.” She supported and campaigned for the devastating 1994 federal crime bill, which both she and Bill Clinton did not adequately address on the campaign trail when she was running.
Don’t worry, though! It’s not just Black and brown people at home that her policies harmed. She also supported the Iraq War when she was a senator, just one military intervention of many that she supported throughout her career. Despite the devastation that followed—and continues to this day—she doesn’t regret supporting the Libya intervention while she was secretary of state. She also stays riding for Israel in their quest to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. You hate to see it.
In Hillary Clinton’s mind—though I am surprised she had the time to think about this when she clearly spent so much brain power flip-flopping—she was the nominee the moment she announced her campaign. When Bernie Sanders announced, promising free healthcare and college for all, no one—including Clinton—expected him to gain much traction. Within months, he was speaking to crowds of 20,000. His message was clearly resonating, especially with a demographic that wasn’t enamored with Hillary Clinton in the first place: young people. I believe she resented him for that.
The DNC made clear that Hillary Clinton was their preferred candidate and she ended up being the nominee. Despite the fact that she swears up and down that Bernie and his supporters cost her the presidency, her version of history is just not what happened. Though it was later than she would have liked, Bernie did endorse her for president which she publicly thanked him for. Not only that, but he campaigned for her—arguably harder than she campaigned for herself (especially when you look at the key states she failed to mobilize in). He took heat from his supporters who called him a sell-out for urging them to vote for her in the general election. Still, she says she won’t commit to supporting him if he wins the primary, citing him, his leadership team, and his prominent supporters. I wonder if the prominent supporters she’s bothered by are the many women of color in Congress who have endorsed Bernie?
Her most recent comments about him just show me she is still salty that anyone dared to run against her and that she was a deeply unpopular nominee. Saying that no one likes Bernie and he’s gotten nothing done is also just patently false. In November 2019, his campaign announced that Sanders had received four million individual donations from people all over the country. FOUR MILLION. These aren’t the numbers of someone who is unpopular. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sanders successfully mobilized one million different people to donate to his campaign back in September 2019 and the numbers just keep growing. It should also be noted that #ILikeBernie is trending.
It’s hard to imagine someone called the “amendment king” gets nothing done. In fact, he passed more amendments in a Republican congress than any other member. He also (miraculously) gets things done even when he is working alongside Republican lawmakers—helping to audit the Federal Reserve for the first time in 2010 and reforming the VA in 2014. Back in 2005, Rolling Stone published a piece detailing how Bernie took on Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse, the Export-Import Bank, and the Bush administration. He beat them all. But that doesn’t fit Hillary’s narrative, so she ignores it.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point out how nauseated it makes me that this discourse comes from the fact that there is a new documentary about Hillary Clinton that The Hollywood Reporter calls “a largely flattering portrayal.” Her book was apparently not enough of a redemption tour; she needed video footage excusing herself from blame for Donald Trump’s presidency. And now she wants to assassinate the character of Democrats’ most (for better or worse) progressive candidate still in the race. It’s clear she doesn’t care about who is best suited to beat Trump or reduce the harm marginalized people are subjected to in this country—she just wants the world to know that she is thee Hillary Rodham Clinton and she was/is/will always be right (at least in her imagination).
I certainly do not want your “authentic, unvarnished views!” But if you insist, I will continue to call bullshit on them.
And next time, Hillary, you might want to pull out some of the hot sauce from your bag to add some flavor to your unseasoned critiques of Bernie and his supporters.
Reina Sultan (she/her) is a Lebanese-American Muslim woman working on gender and conflict issues at her nine to five. A California native, she enjoys the beach, the sun, and complaining about the weather in D.C., where she now lives. Reina is passionate about smashing the patriarchy and eating the rich. Her work can also be found in Huffington Post, Rewire.News, and Rantt. Following @SultanReina on Twitter will provide you with endless hot takes and photos of Reina’s extremely cute cats.