In fending off the challenge posed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Hillary Clinton has wrapped herself around President Obama, touting her appointment as secretary of state as confirmation of his trust in her “judgment,” while criticizing Sanders for not being ready for prime time as commander in chief. In fact, when it comes to foreign policy, there is little question that Sanders is closer to Obama’s sensibility than is Clinton.
One revealing “tell” is that Clinton’s criticism of Sanders echoes the attacks she leveled at Obama in 2008. That year, her campaign released its infamous “3 a.m. phone call” ad, implying that Obama was not ready to be president. Now she criticizes Sanders because there “is no way to predict what comes in the door of that White House from day to day that can pose a threat to the United States or one of our friends and allies.” Also in 2008, she dismissed Obama as “irresponsible and frankly naive” for saying that he’d be prepared to meet with Iran, North Korea, and Cuba without “preconditions.” Now her campaign accuses Sanders of “fundamental misunderstandings” for calling for engaging Russia, Iran with the Sunni nations, and our allies in a coordinated effort to defeat the Islamic State.
The campaign rhetoric exposes a significant divergence in perspective. Both Sanders and Obama opposed President George W. Bush’s catastrophic war of choice in Iraq. Clinton voted for it and defended her vote for years. That was, as Sanders repeats, not just a calamitous case of bad judgment; it also reflects differing worldviews.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.