They’re like a cranky old couple bickering and snippering at each other in Ikea as they clash over whether to buy the Gronkulla or the Knutstorp.
Bernie Sanders, 77, and Hillary Clinton, 71, are back at it again, squabbling and wrangling over Every. Tiny. Thing. And not a moment too soon. The curmudgeonly socialist from Vermont is ramping up his 2020 election campaign and the grumpy, caftan-clad grandmother is mulling her options.
Bernie, of course, has reason to be sore after his 2016 loss to Hillary in the Democratic Party primaries. Early on, Team Clinton essentially took over the Democratic National Committee, which then made things very difficult for Sanders.
“If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead,” Donna Brazile, the former DNC interim chairwoman, wrote in November 2016, days after the election.
“This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” she said, adding that while it may not have been illegal, “it sure looked unethical.”
Everything from the primary and debate schedule to the excessive power of super-delegates helped Clinton secure the nomination, even though Sanders was drawing far larger crowds and had massive support from all wings of the party. Even Brazile, for all her honesty about what happened to Bernie, helped her longtime friend Hillary: At one point, the former CNN contributor delivered the network’s prepared questions to Clinton’s campaign just before a crucial debate.
And Hillary, too, perhaps has reason to bear a grudge. Sanders — with his “free everything for everybody” campaign platform — pushed the anointed candidate far to the left in order for her to secure the nomination, making Clinton a sitting duck for the crafty Donald Trump, who systematically dismantled her during the general election. Plus, he stayed in the race forever, forcing Clinton to spend much-needed cash.
So, there is no love lost between Bernie and Hillary. And that apparently goes for their staffs, too.
Which brings us right up to this week. Yes, the soap opera is back, starring two septuagenarians in a remake of “The Odd Couple.”
Several former Clinton staffers told Politico this week that after Hillary won the nomination, Sanders frequently requested the use of private planes paid for by the Clinton campaign as he traveled the country in order to appear at rallies for her. That became “a running joke in the office,” partly because Sanders is a socialist who is vehemently pushing for the end of fossil fuels.
“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.
Bernie’s jet-setting reportedly ended up costing the campaign of Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine $100,000.
It didn’t take long for Bernie’s people to punch back. His 2016 presidential campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, called Team Clinton the “biggest a**holes in American politics.” He also called Clinton’s staff “total ingrates” for complaining about the use of private planes, which he said was the only way Sanders could get to campaign events in time.
“You can see why she’s one of the most disliked politicians in America,” Briggs said. “She’s not nice. Her people are not nice. [Sanders] busted his tail to fly all over the country to talk about why it made sense to elect Hillary Clintonand the thanks that [we] get is this kind of petty stupid sniping a couple years after the fact.”
Briggs added: “It doesn’t make me feel good to feel this way but they’re some of the biggest a**holes in American politics.” He’s got a way with words, doesn’t he?
Please, God — if you’re listening — please have Hillary run again. Just one more time. Please!
* A version of this article was previously published in The Washington Times.