Why Some Bernie Sanders Fans Are Warning About Beto

In many important ways, Beto’s record is in line with the GOP. Yet, the dem establishment calls him progressive. But Beto is more corporate-friendly than Obama. 

By Daniel Marans
HuffPost (12/29/18)

The progressive commentariat has been buzzing in recent weeks about the barrage of unflattering reporting and criticism directed at retiring Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) by left-leaning journalists and activists.

Although Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ team insists he has had nothing to do with the criticism and there is no evidence to suggest he has, many of his supporters have indeed been peeved by the boomlet of hype around O’Rourke following his 3-percentage-point loss in the race for a Senate seat in Texas.

But there is a specific factor driving the frustration of some diehard “Berniecrats” that has thus far received little attention: The defection of key alumni from Sanders’ 2016 presidential run to the O’Rourke camp and the resulting worry that they will provide a progressive coat of paint for the Texan’s more moderate record.

“The use of campaign tactics and the enthusiasm they generate among the grassroots is effectively used as a substitute for policy.” — Charles Lenchner, the People for Bernie Sanders

Becky Bond and Zack Malitz are two of those figures. The pair had a major role in shaping Sanders’ innovative “distributed” organizing model that the candidate used to empower decentralized, self-organizing groups of volunteers in lieu of a much larger, more expensive cohort of field staff. They masterminded a similar setup for O’Rourke in his 2018 Senate run.

Bond and Malitz have already pledged themselves to O’Rourke if he jumps into the presidential race.

Bernie-washing Beto’s image

“They are using their Bernie credibility to whitewash Beto’s policies,” said a progressive strategist sympathetic to Sanders who declined to be named for professional reasons. “It’s Bernie-washing.”

As for those policies, progressive critics point to a number of examples. O’Rourke, a member of the business-friendly New Democrat Coalition, has voted for bills lifting the ban on exporting crude oil and granting presidents a fast-track approval process for international trade agreements. Over three terms in Congress he also failed to sign on to a single-payer health care bill that had the support of the majority of House Democrats, though as a Senate candidate he said that if elected, he would support Sanders’ Medicare for All bill.

Bond and Malitz aren’t the only Sanders alumni likely to bolt for O’Rourke’s team if he runs. …

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Ocasio-Cortez Says Departing Sen. Claire McCaskill Calling Her A ‘Shiny Object’ To CNN Is ‘Disappointing’

“McCaskill promised she’d “100% back Trump up” on his anti-immigrant rhetoric & lost.” — Ocasio-Cortz tweet.

By Kimberley Richards
HuffPost (12/29/18)

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has responded to a CNN report that outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) referred to her as a “shiny object,” calling the comment “disappointing.”

The soon-to-be congresswoman took to Twitter on Saturday to address the senator’s interview with CNN published earlier this week.

“I’m a little confused why she’s the thing,” McCaskill said, according to CNN. “But it’s a good example of what I’m talking about, a bright shiny new object, came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a longtime Democratic incumbent in New York’s 14th Congressional District in the June primary election, called the interview “pretty disappointing.”

“Not sure why Sen. McCaskill keeps going on TV to call me a ‘thing’ and ‘shiny object,’ but it’s pretty disappointing,” she wrote on Twitter.

McCaskill lost her re-election bid to Republican Josh Hawley in November. She also reportedly referred to Hawley as a “bright shining object” during her interview with CNN. …

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