Hillary Clinton refuses to commit to a debate against Bernie Sanders in New York according to what a top Hillary advisor told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. Hillary is allegedly concerned with the tone Sanders is using in his campaign ads.
“This is a man who said he’d never run a negative ad ever. He’s now running them. They’re planning to run more,” Joel Benenson, Clinton’s top aide, said. “Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions,” Benenson continued when asked if Hillary would agree to a debate in New York.
Benenson failed to specify what was mentioned in the Sanders ads that could be considered an attack, or why a veteran politician like Hillary wouldn’t have the ability to defend herself during a debate against her Democratic opponent. One would think a debate would be the perfect platform to repudiate claims made in a 30-second spot. Honest politicians, should love the opportunity to defend themselves in a public forum, right?
The truth is, Benenson has been whining about Bernie’s “negative” ads since January. Are the ads low-brow and Trump-esque in mocking the way Hillary looks?
Is Sanders putting out deceptive ads that lie to voters about Hillary’s voting record?
Not even close.
Back in January, The Atlantic covered one of the ads Benenson had been complaining about:
“All of this sturm und drang is about a single Sanders ad released on Thursday that takes aim—implicitly—at the six-figure speaking fees that Clinton accepted from top Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs after she left the State Department in 2013.”
Benenson sends the message that any ad that calls Hillary out for her own actions is an attack ad. But in reality, opponents are supposed to highlight the reasons why they would be better suited as a leader. Political ads should be about informing voters about the differences between candidates, and that’s exactly what Sanders does when he highlights the financial interests that play a role in Hillary’s decision making.
Was Hillary unfairly attacking Sanders when mentioning his voting record on guns? Not at all. His voting record and any information on how or why he voted the way he did is fair game. This is an election for the next President, not a friendly game of hopscotch.
But Hillary’s camp certainly was unfair in making it seem as though Sanders was some raging sexist for talking over her during a debate as she attempted to interrupt him. Hillary supporters have been unfair in pushing the ludicrous narrative that Sanders supporters are woman-hating “Bernie bros” and that Sanders is somehow guilty by association.
Sanders has gone out of his way to avoid commenting on Hillary’s email scandal, which says a lot about his principles considering how many opponents see the issue as an easy way to attack and discredit her. But he has been very vocal about how financial interests have shaped her policy decisions. If pointing to Hillary’s ties to Wall Street amounts to an attack, then Sanders should do more of it. The American people deserve to know the truth about political corruption and how deeply it has tainted the country’s democratic process.
Regardless of how the mainstream media attempts to slant this story in Hillary’s favor, the truth is that she demonstrates her fundamental weakness by dodging a debate with Sanders. He’s picking up steam and gaining more momentum, and part of the reason why is because his message against political corruption is resonating with progressive voters. Hillary is only reinforcing the idea that she’s so guilty of Sanders’ criticisms that she simply can’t defend herself in a debate.