Thursday, July 20, 2017

Exposing Faux-Progressive Clintonite’s Latest Anti-Sanders Scam

Another piece from Medium: In my last few months on Medium, I've frequently challenged the claims of a clique of hardcore Clintonites who seem to be fairly concentrated here. Essentially a cult of personality built around Clinton herself, the writers of this clique are intent on perpetually scourging both Bernie Sanders and progressives in the name of Hillary Clinton. Because Clinton herself sometimes posed as a progressive, this scourging is, perversely, often even done in the name of progressivism.

In the latter category falls "Progressivism: Bernie's Doing It Wrong," the latest screed by Val Perry (previously, Val Perry Rendel). Perry is an obsessed Clintonite crackpot, if not the worst on Medium certainly the most unhinged. Her view of Clinton: "We love her... she's goddamn brilliant and fearless and formidable and terrifying." I first came across Perry in April, in an ugly rant entitled "Fuck Bernie Fucking Sanders" in which she expressed her venomous, completely irrational hatred of Sanders and his supporters and declared her intention to make ceaseless war on both until they go away. She ended with a statement of the principle that would guide her in the conduct of this war: "See you on the low road." I dismantled that article and some others that followed. Those debunkings have mostly occurred secondhand, as Perry blocked me pretty quickly, something she seems to do to any more-than-semi-articulate critic.

Perry is a loon, a demagogue and as congenital a liar as the "President" she claims to despise,[1] all traits on display to various degrees in her new piece, which sees her spinning up a new variation on a tactic Clinton used during the Democratic primary campaign. Boring background stuff: The appropriations bills that fund the federal government are massive and contain thousands of items. When congress considers them, amendments are added and taken away, deals are cut, compromises are made, items both good and bad end up attached to them and at the end, congressmen and senators must vote yea or nay on the entire package, each member having to decide whether the good in them outweighs the bad. Hillary Clinton was a senator--she knows how this works. Despite that, she would, in commenting on Bernie Sanders' congressional record, dig through those massive appropriations bills, pull out one item and insist Sanders had voted for or against that item based on his vote on the entire package of which it was a part. Even as sycophantish a pro-Clinton outlet as the Washington Post condemned Clinton for this practice.

By this method, Perry, in her latest trip down the low road, sets out to prove Sanders isn't really a progressive, a theme she's hit in the past.[2] She provides a list of all the alleged anti-progressive things Sanders has done while in congress. Relevant here is the fact that Perry aggressively blocks articulate critics of her material; while she provides links for each item on her list, she relies on her adoring readers not to check them. If one looks into them, one finds that same Clinton-style scam from last year. Perry's assertion that Sanders "opposed legislation banning imports from forced child labor," for example, leads one to an appropriations bill from 1998 that funded the entire Treasury Department. The claim that Sanders "opposed allowing breastfeeding on federal grounds" leads to the Treasury Department appropriation for 2000. Perry Reader Daniel Sullivan pointed out that, in reality, Sanders stands up for women who breastfeed in public. Sanders has championed banning the importation of products from forced child labor for years.

Anyone who goes looking for anti-progressive votes by Sanders isn't going to come up with much and in silent recognition of this, Perry carries Clinton's tactic further and pads her own list with the same item repeatedly. Follow this: Perry's claim that Sanders "opposed federal funding to help the homeless," that he "opposed additional funding for rural housing and development," that he "opposed funding for assisting prospective homeowners with AIDS," that he "opposed legislation requiring federal agencies to create and enforce anti-sex discrimination politics," that he "opposed funding going towards investigations of unfair trade practices," that he "opposed increased education funding," that he opposed "increased funding for poor students," that he "opposed legislation increasing financial aid," that he "opposed increased agricultural funding,” that he "opposed increased funding for prominent farming communities," that he "opposed funding for drought assistance" and that he "opposed increased food safety and inspection"--all of these claims--are all based on a single Sanders vote against a single appropriations bill from 2003. There are 29 items on Perry's list and that one vote accounts for 12 of them. The claims that Sanders "opposed increased funding for nutritional programs for women, infants and children" and "opposed legislation marketing overseas agricultural practices" (how's that for a big progressive issue, eh?) are, likewise, based on a single vote on a single Agriculture Department funding bill from 1995.

Perry also includes Sanders' proposal that the U.S. withdraw from the World Trade Organization. The WTO is, of course, another of those grant-superpowers-to-multinationals orgs--Sanders proposal there was a progressive one. It's noteworthy that this is the sole item on the list wherein Perry deals with something Sanders has proposed; everything else is just assertions about things he allegedly opposed, which seems a rather curious way to judge the credentials of a progressive.

I’ve referred to this as Perry's list but while publishing it under her name, she doesn't actually take responsibility for it. Instead, she asserts "someone has compiled his [Sanders'] list of greatest hits, reproduced here for your edification." The "someone" is unnamed. Looking over what I've just covered here, readers can make of that what they will.

Perry's central thesis in this piece, that Sanders isn't a progressive, is, of course, ludicrous. A short trip over to Vote Smart will reveal to the uninitiated that Sanders has sterling ratings from liberal interest groups and exceptionally poor ones from their conservative counterparts.[3] Among other things, Sanders has gotten a 95%-100% liberal rating--usually 100%--from Americans For Democratic Action every year since 1996, with the exception of 2011 (when he was at 80%). At the same time, he holds a whopping 6% career score from ADA's rightist counterpart, the American Conservative Union. Zipping over to Progressive Punch, one finds Sanders has a 96.96% progressive rating.[4] By any serious estimation, he's one of the most progressive members of either house of congress and has been for the entirety of his stay there and Perry's assertion to the contrary is sheer crackpotism.



[1] While I deal with a few specifics here and in my other rebuttals aimed at her, one must, to get the full flavor of her mania, read her.

[2] And she goes about it in pretty much the same way she has in the past, accusing Sanders, in her opening, of "telling black folks they don't know what's best for 'em," of "dismissing racial justice as 'identity politics'" and of "throwing abortion rights down the toilet." And, of course, Sanders has done none of those things. Sanders was dismissive of Southern states during the primary/caucus campaign--the basis for Perry's claim regarding "black folks"--because those states are overly conservative and don't contribute anything toward a general-election win. Sanders has stood for racial justice all of his life. On abortion, Sanders holds a 100% lifetime record from both Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

[3] The usual caveat about interest-group ratings: they're always framed to make their own players look better. "Better" is relative though, whereas Sanders' ratings are impeccable.

[4] I'm not a fan of Progressive Punch's system, which is convoluted and built on very questionable premises.

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