The Sanders campaign is demanding that Hillary Clinton apologize for telling the truth. They and their supporters are having an absolute meltdown over the fact that Hillary Clinton called them out on crafty lies they have been telling about her, and as a consequence, they can no longer furnish that lie without explanation.
At issue is Sanders' longstanding accusation that Hillary Clinton "takes money from the fossil fuel industry." Approached by an aggressive Greenpeace activist about that talking point from the Sanders camp Secretary Clinton finally called out Sen. Sanders, saying, "I do not. I take money from people who work for companies. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me."
Here is the video:
Under any reasonable person theory, taking money from an industry would mean taking direct contributions from the companies or their PACs, which the Clinton campaign does not do. Her presidential campaign takes money, as does Sen. Sanders, from individuals, who work for certain employers. Given his own contributors who work in the fossil fuel industry, it's doubtful Sanders is in favor of restricting the rights of citizens to give to their candidate of choice because of their employer. Nor has Sen. Sanders returned the money from those individuals, making it just a tad hypocritical for him to be challenging contributions made by other individuals to other candidates.
It is, however, true that the biggest fossil fuel dealers in the world, the Koch brothers, are spending millions supporting Bernie Sanders' candidacy in the Democratic primary.
Hillary Clinton's clear challenge did not sit well with the Sanders campaign. They quickly expressed outrage and demanded that Hillary Clinton apologize to Bernie Sanders for stating the truth. Jeff Weaver, the genius Bernie Sanders campaign manager who got slapped down hard by Rachel Maddow for trying to rewrite the history of the primary, argued that facts don't matter.
No, Jeff. What makes it lying is the fact that it is an intentional falsehood about the facts at hand. And what makes calling it out the right thing to do is the fact that your candidate and your campaign has built itself on the grounds of lying about Hillary Clinton's record, attacking her integrity, and questioning her character.
So no, Bernie Sanders shouldn't get an apology. Here's why: Truth is an absolute defense, and Hillary Clinton was telling the truth.
The meltdown from the Bernie camp is instructive if nothing else. This is how bullies act when they are stood up to. They throw a tantrum because they do not understand how someone is standing up to them. They cannot stand the fact that they are being called out, and they want to quickly crush any talk of that calling out.
Why? Because bullies don't have anything to go on beside for their bluster, red-in-the-face attack, and brute force. They thrive on not being challenged, on not having to answer to anyone for their behavior. When they are stood up to, they want everyone to coddle them and be sensitive to their hurt feelings while they go on being the biggest pinheads on the face of the earth.
In that way, I doubt that this was an off-the-cuff moment for Hillary Clinton. For the last week, the Clinton campaign has begun to make the nasty tone of the Sanders campaign an issue, and predictably from the beginning the Sanders campaign has reacted by having paternalistic, angry meltdowns, not much different from his debate stage finger-wagging and huffing and puffing.
Clinton campaign may have learned a lesson from President Obama - when your enemy has a self-destructing weapon, your job is to give them more opportunities to use that weapon. That, in my view, is exactly what the Clinton campaign is doing. Angry bullying is that weapon of self-destruction for the Sanders campaign, and Hillary Clinton and her campaign and exposing them and drawing exactly the responses one would expect from an angry bully.
Bernie Sanders is going to need to do more than cry about being called out in a fight he picked. Expect the call-outs from the Clinton camp to get stronger, not softer should Bernie choose to continue with his lying.