And Now Bernie Sanders Criticizes President Obama, Because Of Course He Does

Following days of criticism, from both conservatives and progressives, of President Barack Obama for getting a reported $400,000 speaking fee to speak to a health conference, Senator Bernie Sanders weighed in last night.
I think it just speaks to the power of Wall Street and the influence of big money in the political process.

I think it's unfortunate. President Obama is now a private citizen and he can do anything he wants to, but I think it's unfortunate.

You have the former president of Goldman Sachs, is now the chief financial advisor for President Trump, and then you have this, so I think it's unfortunate.
That is not a coherent argument. That is a vague aspersion cast via insinuation, made by comparing very unlike things.

Sanders invokes Wall Street, big money, the political process, Goldman Sachs, and Trump, none of which are relevant to private citizen Barack Obama speaking to a conference on an area of his expertise, and hopes that the optics of mendaciously tying all of these things together will suffice.

And, for many of his supporters, it will.

It does not, however, suffice for me. I am incredibly angry that Sanders is using his increasing visibility to make such a deeply irresponsible and dishonest argument against the former president.

"It's unfortunate." Why? That Trump has chosen Gary Cohn to chair the National Economic Council (which is indeed gross) is not actually relevant to Obama speaking to a health conference, even if it is being sponsored by a Wall Street firm—specifically because one exists inside "the political process" and one does not.

If Sanders is going to position himself as a progressive leader, he has to do more than make nebulous, unsubstantiated, and unexplained accusations. He can't just drop a bunch of unconnected dots and allow people he's cultivated to be reflexively suspicious of "the establishment" to connect those dots by filling in the cavernous gaps in his criticism with conspiracy theories and misplaced resentments.

This is the big leagues. With more visibility comes more responsibility. And more scrutiny.

I expect more from people who assert themselves to be progressive leaders.

We've already got a president who is utterly unprepared and has no idea what the fuck he's doing. The last thing we need is a self-anointed resistance leader who displays the same unpreparedness and expects to coast by on arguments that are abject horseshit.

We need serious people. And this commentary is anything but serious.

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