Bernie Sanders hires Beto O'Rourke critic as top aide in 2020 race

By James Oliphant

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday said he is hiring a well-known liberal journalist with a history of sharply criticizing other Democratic presidential candidates, including Beto O'Rourke.

Sanders’ campaign said it is bringing in David Sirota, whose work has appeared in The Guardian and Newsweek, among other outlets, as a senior adviser and speechwriter.

The move could stoke tensions within the Democratic field since Sirota has previously targeted O'Rourke, the former U.S. congressman from Texas who entered the presidential race last week, and other rivals.

Sirota on Twitter and in published articles has accused O’Rourke of siding with President Donald Trump and Republicans while a member of the House of Representatives, as well as being overly friendly with the oil and gas industry.

Sirota’s criticism of O’Rourke in December drew a warning from Neera Tanden, a top ally of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and president of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank.

"A supporter of Bernie Sanders attacking a Democrat," Tanden tweeted. "This is seriously dangerous. We know Trump is in the White House and attacking Dems is doing Trump's bidding."

The conflict was a reminder of the bad blood between the Clinton and Sanders camps when the two battled for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and the mistrust between the party’s moderate and progressive wings.

Sirota also has slammed presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, as well as former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, for being overly cozy with corporate interests.

Asked for comment, Sanders campaign spokeswoman Sarah Ford cited a HuffPost story last month about an email Sanders sent to campaign surrogates, asking them to "engage respectfully with our Democratic opponents ― talking about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances."

Sirota worked for Sanders as a press secretary when Sanders was a member of the House of Representatives in the early 2000s.

An article Sirota wrote in 2013 for the liberal news website Salon praising the economic record of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s late socialist president, also attracted criticism on social media from Sanders' Democratic Party critics and conservatives alike.

Sanders recently refused to label Venezuela's current president, Nicolas Maduro, a dictator or recognize the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the country's rightful leader the current U.S. position.

Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency in January, saying Maduro’s re-election was not legitimate.

O’Rourke said while campaigning in Iowa last week that he supported Guaido’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Well isn’t this going to be fun? By time Dems get done trying to put virtue signal each other won’t be much left between Trump and re-election.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mr Sanders should save everyone time, money and drop out now.

He is so far left as to be unelectable. Literally, any other candidate is better. So many of his ideas are so wacky, I've wondered about his sanity.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

If readers don't see bias in this "objective" Reuters' article, then you're blind as a bat. This is emblematic of the type of stories written about Sanders for years now. The supposed liberal media is in fact biased, not right or left but to the center, in favor technocratic, establishment-friendly, neoliberal candidates and ideas that have one overarching thing in common--maintaining a thoroughly rotten status quo that paved the way for Trump. If actual liberals weren't wise to this b-s, the NYT and WaPo would still be falling all over themselves to prop up the campaigns of Howard Schutz or Bloomberg, centrist billionaires who LOL feel our pain.

O'Rourke is a giant cipher afraid to take a position on anything which can only be interpreted one way--he's for sale. Look at his record. He may not be a grifter on the epic level of our current president but he sure comes across as an enormous phony:

If you think Wall Street hasn't taken note of this, just as their minds were put at ease by Clinton and Obama, then you're a fool. Malefactors of great wealth and their bought and paid for media arms know who's a threat and who isn't.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


The far left has only itself to blame. People of that persuasion have tried downplaying the horrible track-record of socialism for decades and to their own detriment. I know because my uncle, a local NDP candidate in Toronto was one of them. He couldn’t fathom how defending Mao, Castro and Jughashvili could ever come back and bite him in the butt. He lost for this very reason.

I also have an acquaintance in Japan who is a local representative of the Communist Party of Japan, and when I asked him if they had ever thought of changing the name, he said “no,” because the CPJ has a history separate to that of the USSR. But realistically, how many Japanese know this?

I think it’s probably a combination of pride and ignorance that keeps them from doing so, but if the left wants any success, they need to formally break with the past by denouncing the autocratic history of socialism. The average Joe can’t place Scandinavia on a map, but they more than likely know the name, Stalin. Bernie needs to be overtly clear about not wanting to take the US down Route Chavez-Maduro otherwise he will not gain enough mainstream traction to beat Trump.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"A supporter of Bernie Sanders attacking a Democrat," Tanden tweeted. "This is seriously dangerous. We know Trump is in the White House and attacking Dems is doing Trump's bidding."

I'm going to enjoy watching the Dems tear each other apart. The party is severely fractured.

Mr Sanders should save everyone time, money and drop out now.

He is so far left as to be unelectable. Literally, any other candidate is better. 

I dunno, I think I'd actually rather see Bernie take the job over Kamala Harris, Beto or Pocahontas. Of course any of those would be a total disaster...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A few of Sander's ideas:

Samuel Goldman, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University](, states that Sanders' platform is not socialist and is better described as "[welfarism" reminiscent of the 1950s that aims to regulate rather than to replace capitalism.

He has suggested that he would be open to a 90% top marginal tax rate (a rate that last existed during the years after World War II]( for the wealthiest earners, as well as a 52% top income tax bracket.[[

In 1974, while running for the Senate, Sanders said, "nobody should earn more than $1 million" (more than $5 million in 2018 dollars)

On May 6, 2015, Sanders introduced legislation designed to break up "too big to fail" financial institutions. With three of the four banks that were bailed out during the 2007–08 global financial crisis now larger than they were then, Sanders believes that "no single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist."

According to PolitiFact, Sanders has "consistently argued for protectionist trade policies as opposed to free trade."[40]]( Sanders opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which he has called "a continuation of other disastrous trade agreements, like NAFTA, CAFTA, and [permanent normal trade relations with China." He believes that free trade agreements have caused a loss of American jobs and have depressed American wages.

As early as 1976, Sanders proposed workplace democracy, saying, "I believe that, in the long run, major industries in this state and nation should be publicly owned and controlled by the workers themselves."

Not all his ideas a bad, just a few are way out there and make him unelectable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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