There is a long-standing concept in interpersonal communications that has a new name: the subtweet. On Twitter, talking about someone without explicitly mentioning them is called subtweeting them. If I were to tweet, “One of my co-workers has terrible glasses,” clearly, I’m talking about Chris Cillizza. But that’s up to the audience to figure out.
On Saturday night at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fund- and energy-raising Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Bernie Sanders got up to give a speech that, at its core, was one long subtweet of Hillary Clinton — and her husband.
Here’s the full speech, from Sanders’s Web site. The parts in yellow were the parts where he was referring to Clinton with an obvious wink.
Since that’s meant less to be read than for effect, here are all of the subtweets.
“After I came to Congress, corporate America, Wall Street, the administration in the White House and virtually all of the corporate media pushed for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. I didn’t believe their arguments. It didn’t make sense to me then that American workers should compete with people making a fraction of our wages. I also opposed CAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.”
Clinton opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), but her husband enacted NAFTA and permanent trade relations, with Hillary Clinton helping to sell the former.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership “is not now, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements. I did not support it yesterday. I do not support it today. And I will not support it tomorrow.”
The “gold standard” line is a direct quote from Clinton, who now claims that she meant it could be the gold standard, before saying she can’t support the end result.
“Today, some are trying to rewrite history by saying they voted for one anti-gay law to stop something worse. Let us be clear. That’s just not true.”
In saying that he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton, Sanders notes Hillary Clinton’s defense of the bill banning gay marriage as being an attempt to stave off worse legislation.
“[I]f you agree with me about the urgent need to address the issue of climate change, then you would know immediately what to do about the Keystone pipeline. Honestly, it wasn’t that complicated. Should we support the construction of a pipeline across America and accelerate the extraction of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world? To me, that was a no-brainer.”
Clinton only recently announced her objection to the pipeline that would transport tar-sands oil from Alberta to Nebraska. Environmental activists have made blocking the pipeline a critical issue, pushing the State Department not to issue a permit allowing it to cross into the country. As the secretary of state at the time, this put the initial decision on Clinton — though it wasn’t finalized while she was at the State Department.
“If you go to my website, you can see exactly what I said at that point and the fears that I had about the destabilization of that region if we invaded Iraq. It gives me no joy to say that I was largely right about the war. I am proud to tell you when I came to that fork in the road I took the right road even though it was not the popular road at the time.”
“Yes, I was in a small minority. Yes I took on Wall Street which spent $5 billion lobbying for [ending Glass-Steagall]. But the vote I cast was the right vote.”
Sanders notes that he opposed the Clinton-era bill overturning a law limiting the ability of financial institutions to expand. The reversal is often cited as a reason for the economic collapse that led to the recession.
“[T]oday those Wall Street interests are trying to buy the government of the United States with their bundled contributions and their super PACs. Well I don’t take their money and I never will. And I don’t have a super PAC either.”
To be fair, this one hits more than Clinton. But all of the above fit into Sanders’s broader theme:
“[T]hose are the choices I made when I came to the forks in the road. I think they tell you a lot about the choices I will make as president. And my message to you today is the same as it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.”
Now who on Earth could he be talking about? It’s a real mystery.