The next time Elizabeth Warren offers you a beer, be sure not to turn your back on her lest she crack you across the back of the head with it.
That’s the message the Warren camp has sent out with the latest Liz-Bernie spat — just in time for the seventh (I know!) Democratic debate in Iowa tonight.
Pulling a dirty trick worthy of Roger Stone, Warren’s associates briefed CNN about a December 2018 meeting between the two senators, during which Sanders allegedly said ‘he did not believe a woman could win.’
Saagar Enjeti of The Hill lays out the apparent Warren strategy nicely: ‘Progressives. Allow me introduce you to the media ecosystem that has bedeviled conservatives in the Trump age: Step 1) Leak a bullshit smear sans any real confirmation to CNN. Step 2) Have those same sources say the same thing to the NYT to create the appearance of a snowball. Step 3) Never actually confirm that your smear occurred but allow it to float endlessly around. Step 4) Now your opponent controls the story of the day and every single reporter will ask you/your surrogates about it. Step 5) You are now branded as a sexist. You have no real recourse. Welcome to hell.’
Warren herself has told reporters that the leak from the meeting was not intentional. But then — what else would she say?
Bernie has issued a full-throated denial: ‘it is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win.’ But at this late stage, does it really matter whether it’s true? Once more people are talking about the latent sexism of the Sanders campaign and the mythic ‘Bernie bros’, regurgitating a popular Clinton-supporter allegory from the 2016 primaries.
John R. MacArthur was spot on, then, in his assessment in this magazine’s November cover piece, where he wrote, ‘if Warren in 2020 is profiting from Sanders’s bold run in 2016, she begins to look less like a heroine of the left and more like an opportunist. Like Hillary, she’ll do whatever it takes to secure the nomination.’
Quite right. More and more Liz is looking like someone eager to lean on the Democratic machine’s old ways. Well, it beat Bernie last time.
When Bernie’s campaign launched last year, the Clintonites tried the same ‘offended PR’ politics. He talked about judging candidates ‘not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age.’ Hillary Clinton adviser Neera Tanden duly responded ‘At a time where folks feel under attack because of who they are, saying race or gender or sexual orientation or identity doesn’t matter is not off, it’s simply wrong.’
Reacting to this latest attack on Bernie, Tanden wrote ‘believe women — unless it doesn’t work for your ambition, apparently,’ ghoulishly borrowing a slogan from #MeToo.
For Democrats, surely, the secret to beating Donald Trump in the states that matter — if that’s possible — lies in building a movement, or tapping into the reasons that people voted for him in the first place. Warren’s latest stunt merely suggests that Liz is just another backbiting elite politician, more interested in getting ahead than standing for decency. How can she claim to want to unite the party after such a desperate swipe?