Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) endorsed Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff on Friday after he took criticism for refusing to call the candidate in the high-profile House election "progressive."
"Let me be very clear. It is imperative that Jon Ossoff be elected congressman from Georgia's 6th District and that Democrats take back the U.S. House," Sanders said in the statement released by his political office.
"I applaud the energy and grassroots activism in Jon's campaign. His victory would be an important step forward in fighting back against Voldemort's reactionary agenda."
But while progressive groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the liberal blog Daily Kos backed Ossoff, other Democrats warned that hugging the left too tightly could hurt Ossoff with moderate Republicans who could help him win in the right-leaning district.
And let us note again that when Ossoff was asked whether he himself was a progressive, he demurred, instead referring to himself as a “pragmatic moderate”.
I’m pragmatic, and one of the things that would be refreshing about representing this district, is that it is a pragmatic moderate district, and I would be empowered to take courageous stands in the center on, for example, comprehensive immigration reform where far too many members of Congress who are afraid of primary challenges lacked the grit and the guts to do something that’s difficult politically. I will do something that’s difficult politically and move to the center and try to get big things done whether it’s on immigration or infrastructure or tax reform.
These are not the words of a man who wants Bernie Sanders (or anyone else) to call him anything but a moderate or centrist.
And still the Hill wants to harp on the fact that Bernie hasn’t reversed himself on whether Ossoff is a progressive. In fact today he said nothing new on that issue one way or the other, but their headline wants us to relive the horror that is the words “I don’t know.”