CNN's Kohn Blames Bill Clinton for 'Tainting' 'Liberalism' by Moving Right

As CNN's Chris Cuomo on Friday hosted a debate between the left and the far left over whether "progressive" Democrats should embrace Hillary Clinton as one of them, liberal CNN political commentator Sally Kohn absurdly claimed that the reason the word "liberalism" became "tainted" was because former President Bill Clinton went to the right on gay rights and welfare reform.

This in spite of the fact that Bill Clinton himself had already been running from the word "liberal" since the beginning of his first presidential campaign because of failed liberal Democratic presidential candidates like Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale.

At 7:38 a.m. ET on CNN's New Day show, co-anchor Cuomo raised the issue of ideological labeling as he complained about liberals calling themselves "progressives." Cuomo:

And also, Sally, please weigh in because I say the labels frustrate me. Make the point you want to make, and also, can we just be honest? "Progressive" means "liberal." The left doesn't like the word "liberal" anymore, so they created "progressive." That's what frustrates me about it. Just call yourself what you are. But also make the case about why his [Bernie Sanders's] time in the Senate, in terms of the number of years, isn't reflective of what his disposition has been.

After arguing that it is possible for Senator Sanders to be considered more of an insider in spite of a long tenure in Congress, the liberal CNN commentator and Daily Beast columnist then shifted to blaming Bill Clinton moving right on some issues for damaging the "liberal" label as she added:

And, look, labels do matter, and I don't think it's fair to sort of judge Hillary by her husband. It is fair, though, to note that the reason liberalism got tainted was because of Bill Clinton when he passed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, when he was the, you know, person who shepherded through welfare reform that took-

After fellow liberal CNN commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter Hilary Rosen jumped in to complain that "you are now talking about her husband," Kohn quipped that "if Hillary is a progressive, then I'm Che Guevarra," as she continued:

No, I'm saying, but that's why it became such a quote, unquote, "dirty word." And "progressive" means something. Look, if Hillary is a progressive, then I'm Che Guevarra. I mean, it has to actually mean that you're standing for a sort of a more extreme reform in the system and real economic justice, and that's, it's different.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, February 5, New Day on CNN:

CHRIS CUOMO: And also, Sally, please weigh in because I say the labels frustrate me. Make the point you want to make, and also, can we just be honest? "Progressive" means "liberal."

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No.

CUOMO: The left doesn't like the word "liberal" anymore, so they created "progressive." That's what frustrates me about it. Just call yourself what you are. But also make the case about why his [Bernie Sanders's] time in the Senate, in terms of the number of years, isn't reflective of what his disposition has been.

KOHN: Well, you know, look, I think you can, it is possible to be an outsider on the inside, right? To have the sort of politics of being, you know, look at how much the left likes Elizabeth Warren who was a Harvard professor and is now a Senator. The two don't necessarily go hand in hand. This is about principles.

And, look, labels do matter, and I don't think it's fair to sort of judge Hillary by her husband. It is fair, though, to note that the reason liberalism got tainted was because of Bill Clinton when he passed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, when he was the, you know, person who shepherded through welfare reform that took-

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you are now talking about her husband.

KOHN: No, I'm saying, but that's why it became such a quote, unquote, "dirty word." And "progressive" means something. Look, if Hillary is a progressive, then I'm Che Guevarra. I mean, it has to actually mean that you're standing for a sort of a more extreme reform in the system and real economic justice, and that's, it's different.

ROSEN: That is actually silly. I actually thought that Hillary last night won that point when she talked about the various members who have kind of gone there. And she was the liberal Senator from New York. This is not about Bill Clinton.

CUOMO: All right, Hilary, "not Che," thank you very much for being on the show with us. We'll keep going over these issues as they pop up down the road.

2016 Presidential Liberals & Democrats Welfare Homosexuality Same-sex marriage Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) The Daily Beast CNN New Day Hilary Rosen Chris Cuomo Sally Kohn Hillary Clinton Bill Clinton Bernie Sanders