Here's A Campaign Strategy In Search Of A Rationale
October 27, 2015

"Bernie's such a nice guy. He only talks about the issues, he would never stoop to vicious attacks." It's so cute that so many people believed it.

Now the Sanders campaign is now going to break away from its pledge to run an issues-oriented campaign without personal attacks. And their rationale? Clinton is making them do it.

There is so much about working on a campaign that I don't miss, but the Orwellian use of language has got to be right at the top of the list:

“What people saw from Bernie on Saturday night is his willingness to engage in a dialogue about these differences,” Tad Devine said, doubling down on the new attack strategy that included calling out her positions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Keystone XL pipeline. “It’s been decided that we’re going to talk about differences between the candidates. But [Clinton] did so aggressively on the gun issue and by implying that somehow Bernie is engaging in implicit sexism.”

TRANSLATION: Biden's out, Bernie's stuck in the polls, and we needed an excuse to go negative. This is the best we could come up with.

Since the first debate, Clinton, also without naming Sanders, has pushed back on his assertion there that “all the shouting in the world” would not fix the country’s problem with gun violence.

“I’ve been told to stop shouting about guns,” Clinton said at a rally in Virginia on Friday, a line she repeated Saturday during her remarks at the J-J dinner. “Actually I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman talks, some people think it’s shouting.”

A good-humored jab -- one that's backed up by actual science. But is she "smearing him as sexist," as one Slate headline put it? (The author responded by claiming Bernie's record on feminism "is just as strong as hers." Yeah, well, when you can send me a list of all the international trips Bernie's made to advocate for women and girls, we'll talk.)

Of course she wasn't "smearing" him. She was making a joke at his expense. You call that a smear?

Sanders' team bristled at the suggestion that the self-described democratic socialist’s comment in the debate was inherently sexist and implied it served as the motivation for Saturday night's attacks.

Gee, there's a whole lotta extrapolation going on there, Tad. And you might want to consider the optics of "she made me do it" as a rationale. Women seem to hate that kind of thing.

If you want your candidate to go negative because he's so far down in the polls, why go through the kabuki theater of "I have a sad face because she made us abandon our deeply held principles"? The only deeply-held principle here is winning. I can respect that.

“We’d be very happy to have a straight-out debate on issues that matter to people and confine it to that,” Devine said. “But if they’re going to have a campaign that attacks Bernie on gun safety and implies he engages in sexism, that’s unacceptable. We’re not going to stand for that. We’re not going to sit here and let her attack him. We’re going to have to talk about other things if they do that. If they’re going to engage in this kind of attack, they need to understand we’re not going to stand there and take it.”

Good luck with that!

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