Hillary Emulates Trump, Refuses to Debate in NYC Unless Bernie is Nicer to Her

© Josh Sager – March 2016

Before the Iowa caucus, Democrats and many Republicans mocked Donald Trump for his refusal to attend the Fox debate because it was moderated by Megyn Kelly. We rightly pointed out that his refusal was an act of cowardice that cheated the voters out of a chance to become fully informed as to their choices. Unfortunately, the Hillary campaign appears to be copying Trump in this regard, and has announced that Hillary may not attend future debates.


Clinton’s head strategist, Joel Benenson, announced on CNN yesterday that Bernie and his campaign need to change their “tone” if they want her to participate in a future debate. While he also declared that Hillary isn’t afraid of debates (it isn’t like polls have shown Bernie dominating virtually every debate in the past) he repeatedly brought the discussion back to Bernie’s “negative campaigning.”

Today, Hillary spokesperson Karen Finney said that future debates are simply “publicity stunts” which the Bernie campaign only wants because they are “struggling” and “desperate.”

Ironically, the best takedown of Hillary’s current position comes from Hillary Clinton of 2008, when she lambasted Obama for his refusal to attend the 27th debate of that primary (FYI: there have been only 8 debates so for in 2016):

“Honestly, I just believe that this is the most important job in the world, it’s the toughest job in the world, you should be willing to campaign for every vote, you should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere,”

Hillary Clinton – 2008

If Hillary 2008’s succinct refutation of Hillary 2016’s position isn’t enough of an argument for you, you can search the Twitter hashtag #tonedownforwhat to see thousands of people mock Hillary for this situation. It creates really bad optics which she simply cannot afford in the general.

Put simply, Hillary 2016 should take a lesson from Hillary 2008 and drop her absurd objections to future debates. Hillary and her supporters need to learn that she is not entitled to the Democratic nomination, nor is this contest supposed to be a coronation. Sure, it is inconvenient to have to sell your position to the American people, but that is part of the job description.


The most charitable reading of this scenario for Hillary Clinton is that she has lost control over her campaign spokespeople and they are talking without authorization. If this isn’t the case, it looks like the Hillary campaign is either afraid of losing future debates, thus adding to Bernie’s momentum, or she simply doesn’t see informing the American public as important anymore—she has her lead and is hoping to continue gliding on it long enough to capture the nomination.

From a purely substantive perspective, the idea that Bernie is running some sort of nefarious and vicious campaign of slander is nonsensical. In fact, Bernie has been FAR too nice to Hillary for my liking and has often limited his criticism to generalities and oblique references (e.g. citing her connections to big money, but not directly calling it corruption). If Hillary is too scandalized to address Bernie’s campaign, then she is manifestly unprepared to run a debate against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Much of the negativity that Hillary’s representatives have cited is actually just a simple recitation of her record—while many of these things can be interpreted as negative, it isn’t Bernie’s fault that these Hillary has made these choices. It is ridiculous to assert that he should simply ignore these negatives because mentioning them is impolite and might hurt her feelings so much that she does the political equivalent to taking her ball and going home.

The most common criticism that Bernie levies at Hillary is her financial entanglement to big moneyed interests. These entanglements are demonstrable, and not even the Hillary campaign denies that she has taken millions in “speaking fees” from big-banks, big-pharma, big-tech, and big-telecom. Additionally, her super-PACs have taken millions in donations from these very same industries, and plans on taking even more during the general election. Just this week, it came out that Hillary is planning a donor reception at the house of a CA venture capitalist, where the “baseline” ticket will cost $33,400 and the VIP ticket will cost $353,400.

If you want to see the full breakdown of her reliance on big industry money, you can go to her section on OpenSecrets.com, where they have compiled disclosure documents for her campaign.

If Hillary wanted to avoid these entanglements, she could have run a purely populist campaign, raised money purely from small donors, and refused to use super-PACs. Bernie has proven that running such a campaign is possible, albeit much harder. She has chosen not to follow this populist path and has, instead, decided to rely on big money to fuel her political machine.

As a final note, I would like to give credit to Tim Black, from Twitter, for making this devastating point:


Given that her 2008 campaign had internal memos (which here leaked) which plotted out a strategy of owning the “American” identity and portraying Obama as the “other,” she should be the last person who gets to accuse others of dirty campaigning…and yes, it was her campaign that released that photo and started the “Obama isn’t one of us” nonsense that the GOP threw into overdrive during the general election and Obama’s first term.

5 thoughts on “Hillary Emulates Trump, Refuses to Debate in NYC Unless Bernie is Nicer to Her

  1. This is an old tactic in politics. When a candidate is in the driver’s seat they don’t like unscripted events, like debates. Why risk making a faux pas that becomes the story? Look at the first Obama-Romney debate. Obama looked lost in the debate. It gave Romney some leverage to gain support. And when you are behind you want as many debates as you can get, hoping to score some points. I don’t blame Sanders for wanting more debates.
    So, it is not quite fair to say that Clinton “emulates” Trump in this instance. She is doing what every front running politician does. Just political strategy. Nothing unusual.
    Regarding the photo of Obama in Somali dress. Your statement is in error. That photo was circulated by the “Drudge Report”, not the Clinton campaign.. The Clinton campaign denied any part in that. And Drudge never produced evidence that it was sent to them by anyone in the Clinton campaign. In fact, the Clinton campaign pointed out that Senator Clinton herself had sometimes dressed in traditional clothing when visiting as a guest overseas. This is in the same category as the debunked Trump claim that Senator Clinton started the “birther” movement. The Drudge Report, the “birthers”. They can post what they want but they never have solid sources.


  2. You usually do thorough research but on this particular item you are incorrect. The ONLY source for the story is the Drudge Report. And the Clinton campaign denied any association with it.The direct quote from the first article from the Guardian:
    “…Aides for Mrs Clinton, who is fighting a last-ditch battle to keep her hopes of the White House alive, initially tried to brush off the furore, but later denied having anything to do with the distribution of the picture. “I just want to make it very clear that we were not aware of it, the campaign didn’t sanction it and don’t know anything about it,” Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reporters. “None of us have seen the email in question.”…

    Neither article contains the name of any “source”. The Drudge Report also reported that Mr Obama was born in Kenya. It is well known for inaccuracies. And Think Progress even has a site showing the “Top 10 ” Drudge Report false stories for 2012.

    There is NO SOURCE for the photo other than the Drudge Report. It is possible that a Clinton backer sent them the photo. It is also possible that a right wing backer sent them the photo. It is possible that Drudge dug it up themselves. No source.


  3. This is an example of a real problem trying to find the truth to an article! jsager99 links did show the Guardian reports as he said. The link josephurban sent did show The Drudge report saying Mr. Obama was born in Kenya. However, there was nothing there about the photo jsager99 was writing about. Sometimes people have to do more research than just what is presented to them. Thank you both for yours..


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