HomeUncategorized1/6 News Roundup & Open Thread – Bernie Sanders Leads Iowa & New Hampshire Polls (+ More)
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As a poll skeptic, I sure hope there’s some truth in that report. T and R, LD!!


I know I should know this, but I don’t. I’ve been trying to figure out for months now what T and R means. I’m sure I’ll feel foolish when I find out.



I do find a little bit of cheer from these efforts of centrists to call themselves progressives in that I’m old enough to remember how I used feel like I had to stick up for yourself just calling myself liberal (during the 80’s for ex). And now politicians are fighting to be called progressive.

But, OTOH, those fake progressives need to be called out. They’ve already stolen the word liberal from us.


Ocasio-Cortez has had the most effective rebuttal to the inane “purity test” criticism of the left. Part of me recoils from the celebrity cult surrounding her, but she keeps coming with the substance to show that she deserves the spotlight she’s earned. Keep up the great work!



Amid signs that both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have found their footing in Iowa after months of being overshadowed here, they are now aggressively seizing on the escalating tensions with Iran to press their starkly divergent cases for the presidency as they compete for an overlapping slice of the electorate.

Both men seemed newly energized on the campaign trail, treating the Iran confrontation as a clarifying political moment, as well as a tailor-made opportunity to showcase their long records on international affairs. And yet no two candidates better illustrate the sharp divisions in the party about what American leadership abroad should look like.

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, has focused on highlighting his decades-long résumé in foreign policy and his relationships overseas, casting himself as the candidate best prepared to assume the commander-in-chief title “on Day 1.”

In contrast, Mr. Sanders, Vermont’s junior senator, is emphasizing his long-held aversion to war while steadfastly promoting a domestic political agenda for America’s working class. “Joe Biden has prided himself on foreign policy experience for the last several decades,” said Sean Bagniewski, the Democratic chairman in Polk County. “I’ve heard Iowans say they think this election may focus more on foreign policy than many of us expected and that he’s now their guy.”

He added, “On the flip side, Bernie was one of the few Democrats to vote against the war in Iraq. I’ve heard folks say that reinforces their decision to support someone who they think had been right all along.”

Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders both appear to be “doing fairly well” in Dubuque, a heavily Catholic, blue-collar city along the Mississippi River where they campaigned this past week, said Steven Drahozal, the Democratic chairman of Dubuque County.

“This is the type of community, I think, that actually, interestingly, plays well to both of them,” Mr. Drahozal said. Mr. Biden, a Catholic, has longstanding relationships in the city, but Mr. Drahozal added that Dubuque also had a “very vocal, very active, very progressive community that is very supportive of Senator Sanders.”

Mr. Sanders views his consistent diplomacy-over-conflict stance — dating to his opposition to the Vietnam War and his anti-interventionist foreign policy as mayor of Burlington, Vt. — as an advantage with working-class Americans who are frustrated with the country’s involvement in costly and distant wars.

“I know that it is rarely the children of the billionaire class who face the agony of reckless foreign policy — it is the children of working families,” he said on Friday, reading from prepared remarks at an event in Anamosa.

Aides to Mr. Sanders view him as well positioned against Mr. Biden — who in many ways embodies the centrist Washington establishment Mr. Sanders dislikes — and they have urged him for months to go after the former vice president more directly. With foreign affairs, Mr. Sanders’s campaign sees an opportunity not just to call attention to the senator’s consistent resistance to war but also to draw an easy-to-grasp contrast between the two candidates.

Even before the airstrike in Iraq last week, Mr. Sanders’s aides had been eager to highlight his foreign policy views. But though he speaks on the trail about his opposition to America’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, foreign policy has so far taken a back seat in his campaign to domestic policy proposals like “Medicare for all” and tuition-free public college.

The rising tension with Iran, however, has afforded Mr. Sanders a fresh opportunity to highlight his diplomacy-centered vision for foreign policy — and in particular his opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a stance that underscores his contrast with Mr. Biden, who voted to authorize that war.

At an event in Dubuque on Saturday, Mr. Sanders called on Congress to “take immediate steps to restrain President Trump from plunging our nation into yet another endless war.”

His foreign policy views have struck a chord with voters in Iowa like Peggy Ross, 67, a bookseller from Decorah. “I think he has the right idea,” she said after seeing Mr. Sanders speak. “No one likes war.”


Biden lies about his role in promoting the Iraq war and whether he supported the bin Laden raid.


Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose entire presidential campaign centers on the restorationist idea that his decades of Washington experience are the best guarantee to undo the Trump administration’s mistakes, has been increasingly nudged closer to the fire by opponents pointing to his past support for the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation, a quagmire from which many of the current crises in the region emerged. As a former two-term vice president and a major figure in U.S. foreign policy during his decades in the Senate, Biden is particularly vulnerable to attacks on geopolitical orthodoxy as an example of what not to do.

“Age does not necessarily correlate with wisdom on foreign policy,” one foreign policy adviser to a top-tier campaign told The Daily Beast. “Over the course of years, and in some cases decades, there is a track record that is extensive—and in some cases it is consistent—in pointing to flaws of judgement, and perhaps even a worldview that is not necessarily well-suited to what is required of a commander in chief.”

Leading the charge, unsurprisingly, is Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who for years has trumpeted his 2002 vote against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq as a member of the House of Representatives as evidence that decades of foreign policy experience can’t supplant good judgment. Even in the days before the strike that killed Soleimani when foreign policy was still very much on the back burner for most presidential hopefuls, Sanders had described Biden’s support for the war as “a lot of baggage.”

“I was right about Vietnam. I was right about Iraq. I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran,” Sanders tweeted on Friday morning, alongside a video underscored by a trap beat in which he describes that war and the vote that authorized it as “the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of the United States.”

“People want to criticize me for that? Go for it, that’s okay,” Sanders said. “I don’t apologize to anybody.”

The Trump campaign also pushed out an old interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under President Barack Obama, in which he stood by saying that he thought Biden had been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Biden’s response, as in other campaign moments when his buttons were pressed, has been defensive to the point of inelegance, refusing to respond to Sanders’ comments about his “baggage” except to say that Sanders himself has more than his fair share.

On Friday, Biden’s response to a reporter’s inquiry about his role in the 2011 operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden prompted further questions about whether his foreign policy experience is a help or a hindrance. In an exchange with Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, Biden said that he would be willing to use an airstrike to kill a terrorist leader, using the bin Laden operation as an example. When Doocy followed up by noting that Biden has previously said that he discouraged President Obama from authorizing the operation, Biden brusquely responded, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t.”

The exchange—which was almost instantly repackaged by the Trump campaign into an email titled “Joe Biden just lied about opposing the raid to kill Osama bin Laden”—sparked a flurry of fact-checking articles noting that by all accounts, including Biden’s own in 2012, he had not backed the operation in a group meeting at the time. In 2015, Biden said that he did not offer a firm opinion in that group meeting, saying that “it would have been a mistake” to do so, but that he had privately encouraged President Obama to “trust your gut.”



Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden dishonestly suggested on Saturday that he had opposed the war in Iraq “from the very moment” it began in 2003 — even though Biden’s campaign said in September that he “misspoke” when he made a similar claim.

Biden was responding Saturday to a voter in Des Moines, Iowa, who told him, “I’m with you 90% of the way” but questioned his judgment in part because “you were for the second Gulf War, which was a mess.”
Biden said that “from the very moment” President George W. Bush launched his “shock and awe” military campaign, and “right after” that occurred, “I opposed what he was doing, and spoke to him.”

It’s false that Biden opposed the war from the moment Bush started it in March 2003. Biden repeatedly spoke in favor of the war both before and after it began.

Biden’s language on Saturday — saying he opposed “what he was doing” at the moment the war commenced — was more vague than his language in September, when he flatly said he had opposed “the war” at that moment. But the new version was highly misleading even under the most generous interpretation.

On both occasions — and on another occasion earlier this week — Biden created the impression that he had been against the war at a key moment when he was actually a vocal supporter.