Bernie Sanders slams ’vicious attack’ by pro-Clinton lobby group over Corbyn support
Staunchly liberal-socialist US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized a ‘super PAC’ behind his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton after it tried to smear him by noting his support for recently-elected British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Like Sanders, Corbyn stands for social justice and has shown sympathy toward leftist governments and groups unsympathetic to Western expansionism – something that opponents on each side of the spectrum in both countries have found to be a source of headaches.
READ MORE: ‘Corbyn’s Labour Party will go back to its roots’
The Vermont senator, who’s garnering a lot of favor with American voters, was attacked by a super PAC (political action group) for congratulating Corbyn on his Saturday victory. The email the group sent to Huffington Post references some of the Briton’s more controversial remarks, as well as Sanders’ praise for late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez (Chavez once shipped fuel to Vermont for a lower price) and uses them as grounds for unfavorable allusions to socialist tendencies, the Huffington Post reports.
Both Corbyn and Sanders have tacitly exchanged congratulatory statements, with the latter expressing happiness that Corbyn took the Labour leadership, and the MP saying he was following Sanders’s campaign “with great interest.”
The super PAC, called ‘Correct the Road’, has gone against the Clinton camp’s statements that it had no plans to attack Sanders on his views during the race for the Democratic nomination. On Monday, it set about comparing Sanders to Corbyn in a way that ends the climate of non-confrontation the democrats have had with each other.
Despite the comparisons, not everyone views the two as coming from the same stock. Author and activist Chris Hedges, for one, thinks the two are notably different in that Corbyn is the real deal, while Sanders is still part of the Democratic establishment, and therefore far less capable of standing up to US imperialism and militarism. Corbyn, on the other hand, has been fighting the establishment for 30 years now, Hedges says, among other things.
Correct the Road made no attempt to keep the comments about Corbyn off the record. In the correspondence, it disclosed that Corbyn regretted former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden not having been put on trial, but killed instead. Among other things, Corbyn was said to be referring to Shiite Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as “friends” and partners in building a peace in the Middle East.
Another idea voiced by Corbyn is his belief that NATO tactics of surrounding Russia with bases elicit a negative response and are a threat to world peace.
Both figures are seen in the email as being similar due to their opposition of their countries’ military posturing with regard to nuclear power (Sanders penned a legislation on terminating the nuclear program), as well as expansionist NATO tactics regarding former Soviet territories.
And seeing as Corbyn praised the late Chavez for his political record, and Sanders had made a deal with Venezuela to deliver cheaper heating to low-income Vermonters, both are seen as aligned with the evils of socialism.
"It is disappointing that Secretary Clinton's super PAC is spreading disinformation about Bernie," the Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told the Huffington Post. "This is exactly the kind of politics that Bernie is trying to change. To equate bringing home heating oil to low-income Vermonters with support for the Chavez government is dishonest."
Sanders followed news of the email with his own electronic address to supporters.
"Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously. They suggested I’d be friendly with Middle East terrorist organizations, and even tried to link me to a dead communist dictator,” Sanders wrote.
"It was the kind of onslaught I expected to see from the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson, and it’s the second time a billionaire super PAC has tried to stop the momentum of the political revolution we’re building together."
The super PAC’s strength in American politics is their ability to raise billions of dollars to support campaigns that promote their interests. Such groups, however, are banned from promoting their candidates formally.
In a show of disagreement with the pervasive climate of US “billionaire class buying elections,” the Democrat candidate urged his supporters to donate $3 to the campaign.