Bernie Sanders surprised people in 2016 by nearly defeating Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. He has continued his success in his pursuit of the White House, but now is being targeted by the staffers of his fellow Democrats as they dig through his life and look to bring up old ideas and use them against him.
Sanders is being treated as a threat by the other Democrats as they have seen that he can perform well enough in the primaries and wind up as the Democratic nominee for the president.
His opponents are not going to let that happen without a fight. Tim O’Brien is an advisor for the Bloomberg campaign and he showed up prepared with a list of items from Sanders’ past that he believes would be problematic for a president
O’Brien got some of his facts wrong, but he is mostly accurate about his claims. The host on CNN is understandably stunned by some of his statements about Sanders’ past.
There were similar reactions on social media.
"What??!! What??!!"–CNN's Camerota gobsmacked to learn @BernieSanders suggested toddlers run naked and touch each other's genitals to immunize them to porn.#tcot #AlisynCamerota #BernieSanders @MikeBloomberg #MikeBloomberg @TimOBrien @CNN pic.twitter.com/OjoRtYUNHg
— Mark Finkelstein (@markfinkelstein) February 25, 2020
Western Journal did some fact-checking on O’Brien’s claims.
Let’s take the first part — women getting cancer from too many orgasms.
O’Brien actually had it backward: Sanders wrote in 1969 about a single study where women who were supposedly sexually inhibited had a higher rate of cancer and quoted heavily from a book which was “very definite about the link between emotional and sexual health, and cancer.”…
…Next, the naked infants thing.
That really happened, too. Sanders, again in 1969: “In Vermont, at a state beach, a mother is reprimanded by Authority for allowing her 6 month old daughter to go about without her diapers on. Now, if children go around naked, they are liable to see each others sexual organs, and maybe even touch them. Terrible thing! If we [raise] children up like this it will probably ruin the whole pornography business, not to mention the large segment of the general economy which makes its money by playing on peoples sexual frustrations.”…
…As you might guess, the rape fantasy thing is as real and as problematic as you expect.
That essay was written in 1972 and is NSFW enough that we’re just going to link it over at NPR.
This one actually generated a mild controversy when it resurfaced in 2015; Sanders passed it off as “piece of fiction” about gendered attitudes regarding control in the bedroom when questioned on the controversy in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
It was ”something like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’” he said.
Bernie Sanders will continue to face criticism for his socialist policies and for being incapable of putting a price tag on massive entitlement programs. O’Brien’s rant adds another type of attack which obviously is not going to be completely accurate, but will force the media and Sanders to spend time addressing any accusation that is being made against him.
Elizabeth Warren is a candidate that is promising similarly expensive federal programs to be paid for with a raise in taxes, so she may be a candidate that leans into Bernie to defend the stranger parts of his history, opposed to attacking his policies.