Pony Tales

So Hillary wrote a book.

Fine.

It’s about the 2016 election.

Fine.

She mentions Bernie.

Fine.

She infers that arguing for universal healthcare is the same as arguing America should get a pony.

… (Sigh).

So Hillary Clinton wrote about her 2016 election loss. I have not read the book, and I have no intention on reading it. However, I have seen two pages that made themselves around Twitter yesterday. Many people have seen these pages and have made some similar comments I am about to make, so if you said it first, then take credit.

Part of a passage from Secretary Clinton’s book — “That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept promising four-minute abs, or even no minute abs. Magic abs!”

1. Most of the proposals Bernie Sanders supported in 2016 were proposals he had already supported. He didn’t need to wait for Secretary Clinton to announce her plans in order to ambush them with a bigger and better proposal. For his entire career he has believed in a Single-Payer Healthcare system. He didn’t need to wait for Clinton to say, “We need to make improvements to the Affordable Care Act” in order to propose that healthcare should be a right.

2. “We would propose a bold infrastructure plan…” What? The American Society of Civil Engineers believes we must invest at least four trillion dollars in infrastructure spending. The AFL-CIO also believes in trillions of dollars of infrastructure spending. While running for president, Senator Sanders made a one trillion dollar proposal (a proposal which he supported before the election started). Earlier this year Congressional Democrats proposed a two trillion dollar infrastructure plan. While running for President, Secretary Clinton proposed a 275 billion dollar infrastructure plan. What’s so bold about your plan Secretary Clinton?

3. Wasn’t Secretary Clinton the candidate who launched her campaign from Roosevelt Island? Didn’t she speak of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms? How can she speak of Roosevelt and yet complain that Senator Sanders was arguing for false promises? It was Roosevelt who argued for a Second Bill of rights. I don’t think Roosevelt was arguing for a meager infrastructure plan and modest improvements to healthcare. If Secretary Clinton wants to mirror President Roosevelt, then get on board with Single-Payer and other truly bold proposals.

Secretary Clinton then shares something she was sent on Facebook in order to explain the “…dynamic in which we were caught.”

Bernie: I think America should get a Pony.

Hillary: How will you pay for the pony? Where will the pony come from? How will you get Congress to pay for the pony?

1. As many people have stated, universal healthcare is not a pony. Access to higher education is not a pony. Arguing to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, is guess what, not a pony. These are necessities. Ponies are not. If only in movies and sitcoms, little children were saying, “For Christmas this year, I really hope America enacts a healthcare system that guarantees people high quality healthcare as a right, that significantly lowers the price of prescription drugs, and that allows people to be sick without going into bankruptcy.” This is not the situation that exists. Ponies are a symbol of wishful thinking from children who hope their parents will go to the extremes and buy something they don’t need. Hoping for true universal healthcare should not have to be wishful thinking and Single-Payer is not extreme.

2. If Secretary Clinton was truly concerned with how Senator Sanders would pay for his proposals, then she should have looked on his website or listened to one of his speeches. Throughout the primary, the argument from the Clinton campaign was that Senator Sanders didn’t have plans to pay for his proposals. This was there strategy and it worked. But to claim you don’t know how Senator Sanders would pay for his proposals is either to admit you are lazy or to admit you are lying. Given her words in the primary we know she is lying. Throughout the campaign she argued that she was the only candidate who would not raise taxes on the middle class. By saying this, she admits that she knows how Senator Sanders would pay for his proposals. She knew that Senator Sanders’ healthcare proposal would tax middle class families (and save them money). She knew that in order to pay for paid family and medical leave, Senator Sanders supported a proposal that would tax middle class workers. Secretary Clinton knew then as she knows now how Senator Sanders would have paid for his proposals, and if she claims otherwise, she is lying.

3. Another strategy the Clinton campaign used was to argue that Senator Sanders wouldn’t be able to pass any of his proposed legislation. What they failed to answer was how Secretary Clinton would pass any of her proposed legislation. So Secretary Clinton, how would you get Congress to pay for your Pony? President Obama faced historic obstruction, and yet the Clinton campaign wanted me to believe that Congress would pass anything that she supported. Why? Because they liked her so much? Credit to Lawrence O’Donnell who was the only member of the mainstream media I saw challenge the Clinton assertion that it would be easier for her to pass her legislation that it would for Senator Sanders to pass his. If Congress blocked everything from President Obama, then they certainly would have blocked anything from a President Hillary Clinton.

On another page in her book, Secretary Clinton says this about Senator Sanders, “He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

1. If Senator Sanders didn’t run to make sure a Democrat won the White House, then he would have run as an Independent. He specifically ran as a Democrat so a Republican would not win in November. Senator Sanders always said that he would support the Democratic Primary winner whoever it happened to be. Throughout the general election, he consistently argued that people should vote for Secretary Clinton while warning against the consequences of voting for a third party candidate. After DNC emails were released to the public, Senator Sanders could have gone on a tirade. He could have sat the general election out. But he didn’t. You say that Senator Sanders didn’t run to make sure a Democrat won the White House? Sure, keep telling yourself that.

2. Senator Sanders made more campaign stops for Secretary Clinton in Michigan and Wisconsin then did the candidate herself. Full stop.

3. Yes, Senator Sanders also wanted to disrupt the Democratic Party. Can you blame him? Look what happened to it over the last few years. Maybe he didn’t want the same people to run the same strategy that failed Democrats so badly in 2014. Unfortunately, he did not win the primary and we can see what the results were. When you have the same Democrats, you have less Democrats.

And then there’s this, “Nonetheless, his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” campaign.

1. As if Donald Trump needed Senator Sanders to attack Secretary Clinton. Imagine thinking this, “If Bernie had never entered this race, then Trump never would have attacked me. Trump would have played nice. You know I’m the first candidate he gave a mean nickname to.” What are you talking about? Trump is a disgusting human being and will attack anybody without any care of decency. Secretary Clinton, he didn’t need Bernie to attack you or to come up with “Crooked Hillary.” Also, any legitimate critiques of your candidacy are public knowledge. Senator Sanders didn’t go on some secret quest to find out that you voted for the war in Iraq, or that you are a little too cozy with Wall Street.

2. Secretary Clinton attacked Barack Obama in 2008 and he won anyways. Yes there were different dynamics to that race, but you have to roll with the punches.

3. When Secretary Clinton says Single-Payer will never ever happen, it’s harder to unify progressives. When Secretary Clinton supports TPP, then doesn’t, then chooses TPP supporter Tim Kaine to be her VP choice, it’s harder to unify progressives. When Secretary Clinton ignores Standing Rock, it’s harder to unify progressives. When Secretary Clinton doesn’t seem to care that fracking poisons people’s water, it’s harder to unify progressives.

There’s more to critique in these two pages from Secretary Clinton’s book, and others have done so, but I will leave you with this. I look forward to a society that guarantees health care and clean water as a right, that makes higher education accessible to everyone, and that puts more justice into our justice system. And if all these things come with a side of pony, then yes, I will take my goddamn pony.