Bernie Sanders Was on the Schlong Side of History Last Night

What better way to mark this moment than being a huge dick about it?
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What better way to mark this moment than being a huge dick about it?

Amid calls by even his staunchest supporters to suspend his campaign, Bernie Sanders responded to Hillary Clinton clinching the nomination last night by not just failing to acknowledge his rival’s historic achievement, but by being an enormous dick about it. When Sanders finally did get around to mentioning Hillary, most of the way through his speech, the moment was downright ugly, especially when compared with Hillary’s own 2008 speech the night Barack Obama clinched the nomination. Here's both of those moments for comparison:

Tonight I had a very kind call from President Obama and I look forward to working with him to ensure that we move this country forward. And tonight, I had a very gracious call from Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victories tonight. (crowd boos and jeers)

Now, in 2008, then-Senator Hillary Clinton didn’t acknowledge Barack Obama’s historic nomination the night he clinched it either, but congratulated him for the race he’d run at the top of her speech, and was greeted with applause, not jeers. It would be several more days before she would finally concede, but it was nothing like the "fuck you" that Bernie got off last night.

Speaking of contrasts, Hillary also spent a good chunk of time Tuesday night praising Sanders in her own victory speech:

I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for the extraordinary campaign he has run. He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles, and he’s excited millions of voters, especially young people. And let there be no mistake: Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America.

This has been a hard-fought, deeply-felt campaign. But whether you supported me, or Senator Sanders, or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America.

That wasn't enough for Cenk Uygur, who thought Hillary's moment should have been even more about Bernie.

Bernie Sanders is taking criticism for the erasure of a big moment in American history for all Americans, not just women, because he fucking deserves to. If Bernie’s excuse is that he still has a shot at winning the nomination, so he’s necessarily unable to congratulate Hillary for the nomination,  he didn’t need to make his mention of Hillary so ugly. He could have even complimented her “historic candidacy” without specifically conceding her victory. His fans will resent him being pilloried for this erasure, given his ostensible position as a viable contestant for the nomination.

But if you listen to the rest of Sanders’ speech, and you look at where the race stands, he’s not really gearing up to try and win the nomination, he’s gearing up for a platform fight. Hillary Clinton has reached the mark by which we have recognized every previous male presumptive nominee, and Bernie knows that, and she’s utterly swamped him even in “real” delegates, and Bernie knows that, but maybe he feels forced to deny it because he wants to retain leverage to influence the Democratic platform.

The question then becomes whether or not it was worth it. I think Bernie Sanders and his movement were poorly served by this decision, and if he didn’t want to be remembered as the dude who turned his nose up at our first woman president, he shouldn’t have made it.