Bernie Sanders was recently attacked by Correct the Record, a Super PAC formed to defend Hillary Clinton ostensibly from attacks from the right. However, Correct the Record abandoned its mission and instead fired leftward, squarely with the good senator from Vermont in its crosshairs. The attack ad alleged that Sanders had international ties with all kinds of crazy socialists, including Hugo Chavez, and the Sanders campaign responded in short order. As it happens, Sanders made a deal with Hugo Chavez to import oil in support of LIHEAP (Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program), long one of Sanders’s signature Vermont programs. You might not be aware, but it does get a little chilly there sometimes in the Green Mountain State.
Correct the Record is the brainchild of one David Brock, a known Clinton ally. But things weren’t always so chummy with Hillary Clinton. As detailed in his book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, Brock began his career as a right-wing hatchet man whose particular raison-d’etre was the destruction of all things Clinton. Among other accomplishments, he broke the Troopergate story, one of the first Clinton scandals that really stuck. He was also the first journalist to write about Paula Jones in connection with the Clintons.
But a funny thing happened. David Brock discovered that lo and behold— the right-wing moguls for whom he was carrying water just happened to be a tad on the homophobic side and as it turns out really, really, really hate LGBT people— people like David Brock. So David Brock came out of the closet and turned his back on the right, headed leftward politically, and founded Media Matters for America, which is nominally non-partisan, but has a habit of pointing out that reality mostly has a left-wing bias.
Since then, David Brock has been suffering from what I call Bob Woodward Syndrome. What is Bob Woodward Syndrome? When you bend over backwards trying to prove that you are not what you used to be, or at least used to be perceived to be, so much so that you become a caricature. Bob Woodward of course is the reporter who, with Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate scandal and brought down the Nixon administration. Because of this, Bob Woodward was accused of being some flaming sort of liberal with an agenda. Therefore, Bob Woodward spent the rest of his career proving that he’s not a liberal by churning out right-wing-flattering pap like The Commanders, which carries water for the warmongering George H. W. Bush administration and Bush at War, which carries water for the warmongering George W. Bush administration, not to mention this flat out denial of reality here which maintains that George W. Bush did not lie about WMDs to get us to go to war, except that, yeah, he kinda, sorta really did.
But enough about Woodward for whom the Syndrome is named. I submit that David Brock suffers from Bob Woodward Syndrome. He is so ashamed of what he did to the Clintons when he was a right-wing hatchet man that he will now do anything to make it up to the Clintons. Anything.
But once a hatchet-man, always a hatchet-man. So there David Brock goes, trying to gin up a connection between Senator Bernie Sanders and all the dangerous socialists around the world like Hugo Chavez, or this guy. Innuendo is now the rule of the day. If you thought that you had to wait for the Republicans to draw first blood with the red-baiting, all I can say is, you have the political savvy of a turnip. Don’t forget— psst, psst, psst— Bernie Sanders, unlike Hillary Clinton, is a Commun— er, I mean, heh heh, socialist.
The problem is that this will backfire on two fronts.
First, progressives really sort of like progressives like Jeremy Corbyn and don’t see him as some kind of communistic totalitarian threat at all. What does Jeremy Corbyn want for the United Kingdom? He wants to break up the big banks. He wants to enhance social programs. He wants to re-regulate big business and the media. He wants higher wages for workers. Sort of like one Senator Bernie Sanders. All Brock’s little attack does is underscore the degree to which Bernie Sanders is the true progressive in the race and Hillary Clinton is not. Primary season is always about shoring up the base first. David Brock is no political neophyte; how he fails to see this is really quite amazing to this writer.
Second, Hillary Clinton will lose points for going negative, especially when Sanders has explicitly said he is going to refrain from going negative on Hillary Clinton. She will claim that it was a Super PAC doing the dirty work, and she has no control over what any given Super PAC does, yadda yadda yadda. But once it’s known who is behind the Super PAC— staunch Clinton ally David Brock— that argument will go out the window. It is not insignificant that you will not find a single name as to who belongs to Correct the Record on their web-site. This does not bode well for a candidate who proclaims that she wants a much more transparent government.
As for David Brock, I think the dude needs a good therapist. In order to pay Hillary Clinton back for his earlier transgressions, he is willing to step back into right-wing mode and smear the good senator from Vermont with baseless innuendo that Sanders is a Communist? Really? That’s a line of attack we would expect from Ted Cruz or Bobby Jindal, but should be out of bounds for an alleged progressive. Is there nothing David Brock won’t do to help make it all up to the Clintons?
Of course, if Bernie Sanders had his way, there would be no Super PACs in government, and David Brock would be out of a job. So perhaps it’s not just Hillary Clinton’s ass he’s covering for. He’s got his own in mind as well.