Daily Archives: June 10, 2015

When you run for President, weird stuff happens

Okay, so Bernie Sanders was a guest this morning on The Diane Rehm Show.

For those unfamiliar, Diane Rehm is a veteran public radio talk show host based on Washington, D.C. Her show is aired on many public radio stations across the country, including New Hampshire Public Radio but not VPR, which airs “On Point” in that time slot.

Anyway, Bernie was on to talk about his run for President. And about 25 minutes in, something weird happened. Rehm began a question by stating, as a fact, that Sanders has dual US/Israeli citizenship. Bernie cut her off and denied the assertion:

Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.

Rehm responded that Sanders was on “a list we have gotten” of public officials with dual US/Israeli citizenship.

Sanders dismissed it as “the nonsense that goes on in the Internet.”

And in fact, Rehm was completely wrong. The “list” has been circulating among anti-Israel conspiracy theorists for years. It includes 12 Senators and 29 Congressmembers — basically anyone with a Jewish-sounding name. The list carries no attribution and offers no evidence. (It’s also about five years old, and includes several people who are no longer in Congress.)

The question then becomes, how in the blue Hell did this get on public radio?

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Not a single moment of grace

I guess the Vermont Republicans really can’t wait for Peter Shumlin to leave. After his Monday announcement that he would not seek a fourth term, they issued a press release that was gleefully venomous from start to finish. The words came from Executive Director Jeff Bartley, who just couldn’t resist the opportunity to spew his toxic pablum of unconvincing partisanship.

This is one decision for which Governor Peter Shumlin deserves praise. In deciding not to seek reelection, Governor Shumlin has done what is best for Vermont.

Hahaha, BURN!

After that nice little fratboy opening, Bartley ticks off his litany of imagined Democratic failures, and then promises that Republicans “will continue our laser like focus on growing the economy.”

Yeah, laser-like focus on scoring cheap political points, more like.

Maybe, instead of recycling the same stale attacks, Bartley might have allowed Peter Shumlin a single moment of grace as he announced his exit from the stage. I know, I know; that’s expecting a lot from a guy whose apparent career goal is to become a conservative consultant a la Jim Barnett or Corry Bliss, the ex-Vermonters who get paid big bucks for consistently losing strategeries.

But if he’d wanted to express the least bit of humanity — and given himself a better chance to connect with undecided voters in the process — I would have suggested something more like this:

“We salute Governor Shumlin for his years of public service. While we disagree on many issues, we honor his earnest desire to make Vermont a better place to live and work. We look forward to a spirited campaign of ideas in 2016.”

You know, even if you think he’s a dunderhead, give him a little credit for his years in the public sphere.

But I suppose that’s too much to expect from Jeff Bartley.