I wrote about the Warren Sanders spat recently. I keep thinking about it. Most of us have been involved in conversations where there was some misunderstanding or miscommunication. With two leading contenders in a private (not entirely sure about that…that vague “familiar with the meeting” sourcing) conversation discussing the complexities of the American electorate, Donald Trump, and strategy, there’s going to be a lot of potential for miscommunication.
I don’t think either is lying. The CNN article I linked to previously alternated between identity politics and gender. The article, with all its problems, might actually be an accurate reflection of how two people might walk away from a conversation with two very different perspectives about what was said.
This issue reflects poorly on Sanders and Warren. It reflects even poorlier (made that word up) on us (me included, no more parentheses I promise) and the media.
I need to back up a second. he said she said has been part of the male PR playbook since Herodotus. Women have been telling us that forever, and we wouldn’t listen. Why was she out that late? What was she wearing? I’ve shot photos at a lot of women’s marches and events the past four years, and one of the phrases my lens always went to is believe women. Am I now being hypocritical by discussing the possibility of a miscommunication? I don’t think so. Sexual assault is a horrible crime. It’s not something anyone wants to relive, and it’s not something people want to discuss. They know that a team of well-paid defense attorneys are going to ruthlessly attack.
The CNN article was different. The author mentioned four sources, but there wasn’t a lot of context about the sources. Two of them spoke to Warren after the meeting, and two were familiar with the meeting. The four sources might have all been linked to Warren. The article appeared shortly before a debate in Iowa, with little or no (memory fails) explanation about the timing of the information. The timing seems weird, and the Sanders / Warren subsequent comments seem weird. The comments sound like two lawyers carefully introducing vague language. I suspect that a lot of us were left thinking that this was something that two alleged friends (their claims not mine…oh man, I broke that parentheses promise…again and again) could have solved pretty easily. You said X. No, I said Y. Your Y is clever bullshit, you meant X, and I’m telling people that.
This last part gets trickier. If I’m lucky, I’ve got 25ish more years left. I’m not jogging a lot these days, so I think a Vegas bookie would take the under on that. I hope I live to see a woman elected president. The sooner the better. I haven’t been impressed with the men occupying the office. I’d be a terrible president, but it seems like it would have been pretty easy to avoid Iran-Contra, ignoring AIDS, preying on a young woman for a blowjob in the Oval Office, starting an unnecessary war in Iraq (that’s the worst one in my book, but all’s well, just be friends with Ellen and give Michelle Obama a piece of candy…cute), expanding the drone kill list and letting the Benghazi narrative get so wildly out of control, and pretty much everything after 2016. But it’s America. We’ve foolishly never had a woman as president. I think, unfortunately, that saying a woman can’t beat Trump could be an honest albeit negative statement about our political circumstances, not a slight against women. I’m terrible with names, but I know that Germany, New Zealand, Ireland (among many others) have had women heads of state, and those are all places I’d like to move. (No, I don’t hate America. But we all have choices, right? I’d like to leave the gun culture and move to a place where one of the main ideologies isn’t just don’t be poor.)
Update: Matt Taibbi wrote an interesting article about the Warren Sanders argument and CNN’s handling of it.