One area is immigration reform. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), supporter of Rahm Emanuel against Chuy Garcia for mayor of Chicago, has said “I don’t know if Bernie likes immigrants . . .” In 2007 Bernie voted against an immigration reform bill. It was co-sponsored by Teddy Kennedy, so it is fair game to question Bernie’s vote. It is not fair game to neglect his reason–that he thought the bill would further drive down wages. Not immigration in general, but that particular bill.
The 2007 bill was also opposed by the League of United Latin American Citizens, the American Immigrant Lawyers Association, the AFL-CIO, 15 Senate Democrats, and depending on how you keep score, Senator Barack Obama. Any honest liberal who looks at the bill can find some bad stuff in it. Bernie did back an immigration reform bill in 2013. Hence, summary invocation of the 2007 vote as a definitive indicator of anti-immigrant views is simply libelous and prima facie evidence of bad faith, or at the least, lazy-stupid recirculation of Internet bullshit.
Guns. Here is a list of Bernie votes. Some could be classified as supporting gun control, others as not supportive. You could cherry-pick from either to exaggerate in either direction. If you say he is all one or the other, you’re lyin. You could say accurately that he has been on both sides of the fence. If you were generous you would say he was faithfully representing the people of Vermont.
Bernie and the Minutemen. A blogger I never heard of until today (too dumb to link to, who has now banned me from his comments feed) claims “[H]e is on the record supporting the vigilante and racist border militia group ‘The Minuteman Project’.” Really? This gentleman needs to bone up on the meaning of ‘on the record.’ What actually did happen is that Bernie voted for an amendment to an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security that included language prohibiting the Federal government from “provid[ing] a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.” This could be criticized, but not as supporting any racist militia group.
Why did he vote for it? I don’t know. A diligent blogger might have asked him. Appropriations bills for entire departments are voluminous affairs and votes are often cast to keep the process moving along, sometimes with inattention to obnoxious details.
I’ll be keeping up with this drivel as we go forward, since stupid things can grow in the intellectual wilderness of the Internet.