Posted tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Hillary’s Speech and Her (Potentially) Shiny Future

August 27, 2008

Here’s the speech from the DNC last night:

On PBS, David Brooks (conservative columnist for the New York Times) called it the best of her career. I’d agree. I’ve never been that impressed with her past speeches (A’s for content, but B-‘s for delivery, which has a tendency to be stiff and uninspiring). But last night? She was fired up and feisty, and it’s about time we got a little ninja in the Democratic party.

For the first time, I could both imagine her as president and be excited about it. Now, that’s a powerful speech. And assuming her primary shenanigans don’t blow it for Obama (more on that later), I think she will have a chance. I saw some evidence that her loss this time around could free her up to be reborn into the tougher, funnier, more self-confident version of herself, the way Gore was after 2000. Only, unlike Gore, she could still make a run for the presidency if she wanted in 2012.

By the way, kudos to whoever finally got her soundtrack right after all these years. Ditching Fleetwood Mac for edgier, grittier and funkier stuff– inspired! I cannot begin to explain why Lenny Kravitz and The Kinks work with a bright peach colored pantsuit, but it totally does. And thanks Hillary, I’ve been trying to make ‘electric peach’ happen for years! Oh, and I loved the lipstick graphic “Hillary” signs. Where were these PR people when you needed them?

A couple of columnists said she stopped short of endorsing Obama. Someone will have to explain to me what part of “Barack Obama is my candidate!” isn’t an endorsement. If they expected her to refute early primary ads that said Obama wasn’t ready for the presidency, they don’t know the Clintons very well. The first rule of being a Clinton: never apologize for that thing you did. And the ad was evidence of a less than stellar run campaign in the first place. She had the wrong folks on board.

A lot of Hillary supporters had their eyes opened when she challenged those who would vote for McSame rather than Barack with this:

“Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?”

The sad answer is that a few of them were in it just for her, or else they are using her to hide personal racism, which they can’t even begin to talk about. But those people are not true Democrats anyway, so we’ll just let them pick up their marbles, which evidently fell out of their head, and go home.

The true Hillary supporters will vote for Barack, and here’s why:

America’s Future Is at Stake – Progressive Democratic policies trump the neo-con war zone into which our country has devolved.

Helps Clinton the Senator– Putting McBush into the White House hamstrings Clinton and every other hard-working Democratic Senator from getting anything done. Putting Obama into the White House frees Clinton up to continue her good work at a record pace.

Supreme Court Justices – If McMansions is elected, his Supreme Court appointees will set everything Clinton has worked for back decades for decades to come.

Sets up a Clinton Presidency – Clinton ran and she ran well. She learned a lot in this primary, which she can use for a presidential run in 2012. Consider Obama’s administration an assist. And they can learn a lot from each other over the next eight years.

Not Voting for Obama Hurts Clintons Future Chances of Being President – Listen up PUMA’s, if Clinton’s fingerprints or those of her supporters are on an Obama loss, you can bet there are people just as small-minded who will get the Clinton Flu come election day 2012. They will be the same people who stayed home when Kerry ran.

But Clinton said it best:

“We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.”

Sometimes I Fantasize That I’m A Republican

August 26, 2008

It’s true. At election time I fantasize about what it must be like to be a Republican. The Republicans’ National Convention will be as predictable, stale and colorless as a low-fat muffin from Starbucks, but in some ways that is what will make it beautiful. When the RNC begins, you can bet that every delegate will be on the same page, of which there will be only one.

Contrast that with what I heard on Washington Journal this morning from two Clinton supporters, both women and delegates to the Democratic Convention. They will support Obama in November but want the opportunity to cast their vote for Clinton at the convention. One of the Clinton supporters said something like, “That’s what the convention is for. It is an opportunity for us to vote and express ourselves.” (Sigh.)

I love Washington Journal because random Americans call in to the guests and you never know what you’re going to hear. One guy called to say, “I don’t get it. The convention is like the Super Bowl. The coach is putting players on the field and these people think this is the time to change quarterbacks?”

And there you have them, the two diverging points of view: convention as “self-expression” vs. “full-on game.” That split in thinking is what causes Democrats to limp around at election time.

I’m all for self-expression, but I believe selecting the quarterback is what the primaries are for. In these days of ubiquitous public television coverage, the convention is for presenting the package, a carefully selected and beautifully wrapped package for America’s voters to use to make their decision in November. Republicans totally get this. You’ll never see them airing their dirty laundry on national television unless Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi is standing at the door with a cut hickory switch.

The candidates get precious few opportunities to hammer election messages home to the public. They have the convention, the debates and whatever visits to constituents they can squeeze in before November 4th. That’s it. The rest is spin. I hate to see some Democrats waste a tank of oxygen whining about how democracy didn’t go their way instead of getting behind their candidate, whose policy positions are much closer to their preferred candidate’s than McCain’s! As my friend Jackie said to me last night, it’s time for Clinton’s supporters to put on their big girl panties and move on.

I understand why Republicans and Democrats see the nature of conventions differently. The key lies in the Democrats embracing of feminist ideals. What do I mean by feminist ideals? I mean the valuing of multiple points of view and dialogue with folks who are traditionally kept in the margins (women, ethnic minorities, working class, gay people, etc.). In fact, the reason I’m a Democrat is because of my party’s willingness to champion the rights and voices of the hard working but less economically powerful, and not just the “I’ve got mine” crowd.

But there is a time and place for debate. The convention is neither. Obama is our candidate. Yes, he needs to introduce himself to the world at the convention. Yes, he needs to talk to a lot of different people, especially to reasonable Clinton supporters. Yes, he needs to speak specifically about his policies and plans (though there is no excuse for Clinton supporters not to know that stuff already. Obama’s website gives you a good idea of what he is about, and it should look very familiar).

Obama will do all of these things very well because he is disciplined, organized and running a near perfect campaign. He knows how to get people who disagree working together in the same room. It’s one of his strengths and it will serve the American people well. I guess I can view the convention as an opportunity to show America how he works.

Screen Play: Ferraro Projects Her Frustrations Onto Obama

May 22, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro, a former Democratic VP candidate in 1984 believes Obama is running a sexist campaign, and she just doesn’t know if she can bring herself to vote for him in November. If she believes a McCain administration is more likely to benefit the women of America than an Obama presidency, she’s as deluded as a Chicken Ranch hooker on Fire Island.

Oh, and she thinks the only reason Obama is so popular is because he is black. She implied that if he were a woman or a white male, no one would care about him. That’s right Gerry. All of Obama’s supporters are just throwing their votes around willy-nilly like birdseed at a gay wedding in Sacramento because he’s a person of color. Thanks for that vote of confidence in our intelligence.

Fortunately it doesn’t matter what Geraldine Ferraro thinks, at least not in terms of the general election. Her opinions make for good news theater, and that’s why we are hearing them. Still, I’m glad she’s spouting off for the same reason I am glad Rev. Jeremiah Wright spouted off: because institutional sexism needs to be discussed, just as institutional racism does. Folks like Wright and Ferraro just push the conversation.

I have seen no evidence that Obama is running a sexist campaign (his campaign has actually been quite clean all the way around), however, there is much institutional sexism in the corporate media. There is also a lot of institutional racism there, too.

I personally believe bringing these issues out in the open is the ONLY way to make things better. It is not comfortable, and it is definitely not something I want to distract us from other issues – the economy, education, energy, healthcare – but our country is long overdue for a come-to-Jesus meeting on racism and sexism.

Obama is a screen on which people’s fears about race and their prejudices about sex are projected. From what I’ve observed, he actually seems okay with that. He is comfortable with the conversations and knows they have to happen. It is his comfort with conflict and his tendency not to personalize things that makes me comfortable with him as a candidate. Well, that and the fact that he is basically campaigning against both McCain and Clinton now, and seems to be doing a fine job at handling both.

What surprises me is how people who are especially sensitive to racism and people who are especially sensitive to sexism, are NOT necessarily sensitive to one another. If you want to see a fascinating example of just this phenomenon check out Nathanial Bach’s article on Ferraro over at HuffPo. Click on the comments section (I learn a lot about the way people who leave comments think by reading comments), and you will read remarks from seemingly intelligent people who seem to be completely unaware that they are fighting fellow passengers on the USS Oppression.

Is it just that unless we are properly challenged, we tend to only understand our own oppression?

Like I said, I’m okay with hashing through this stuff. Talking is good. But let’s just deal with it and move on.

Hillary in Manassas

February 11, 2008

Just watched Hillary’s town hall meeting in Manassas, VA. She sounded good- pretty clear, strong, confident. Like the old Al Gore, she has a tendency to over-explain issues. Not that “how will we stop global warming?” doesn’t deserve a detailed answer, but the Town Hall format doesn’t really provide the best forum in which to address it. I guess all of the candidates are working as best they can with the forums they are given.

She looked really energized, too, and appeared to be having a good time. Glad to see it.

Learned over at Americablog that her campaign manager and long-time friend, Patti Solis Doyle just resigned, which means some new blood will be injected into her run. Given that few really thought the primaries after February would matter this much, it might be a good thing to have someone who is well rested come into the mix. And since Obama took the Maine, Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska primaries this weekend, new blood may be needed to lead the campaign home.

And that “town hall” is packed! I never realized that there were more than five Democrats in all of Virginia!

Gettin’ Some Gore – Lessons for the 2008 Clinton Campaign

January 9, 2008

At this point, I would vote for Hillary before any of the Republican candidates. If it sounds like I’m damning her with faint praise, it’s because I am.

She’s a fine statesperson- She has the street cred. She’s a thoughtful, smart, and nose-to-the-grindstone type. Her work on the Hill is strong in the areas of health care and in world (not just Iraq) politics. As a carpetbagger back in 2000, she had to win the votes of a lot of conservative upstate New Yorkers. They seem, on the whole, pleased with their investment.

So what’s bugging me about her? Mostly that she’s exhibiting all of the same weaknesses Al Gore did during his 2000 election bid:

a.) Wooden
b.) Defensive
c.) Appears to blame voters for not recognizing her street cred or understanding how much of a smart, thoughtful and nose-to-the-grindstone type she is.

If she wants to win, she needs to take a page from Gore’s post vice-presidency, which oddly enough looks a lot like Obama’s current campaign. She needs to:

1) Lighten up
2) Passionately chase down her vision (kind of her strong point)
3) Present it in inspired ways

Granted, Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to take one example, was just a slide show, one that even made a few debatable assumptions, but it was also simple, visually catchy and full of enough good and true information that it made a lot of Americans want to know more; no small feat, that.

Here’s an inconvenient truth for you, Hillary, and I speak from painful experience, if you know something in your heart of hearts, inside and out and you find that no amount of telling people about it is getting the point across, you may need to stop questioning your listeners’ thinking and listening abilities and rethink your delivery.

I believe Gore actually started learning his lessons during his campaign. And it’s not like his campaign was a failure. He actually won the 2000 election; he just didn’t “win” it. I sometimes wonder if he had “won,” whether or not he would have finished learning the lessons he began. I wonder if he would have become humbled (sorry, the Baptist in me) to the point that his intellect and passion had to pull him up in a new direction. I wonder if Hillary won’t have a similar experience (please, God, please, don’t let that mean we have to live through a Huckabee/Norris administration).

Obama may not have years of experience, (pardon me while I meme hop, but neither did another well-known Illinois senator when he became president–Jennie, ya hear me?), but he obviously has enough years of experience to be chill, smart, and confident about his plans and ideals without making people feel bad about themselves in the process – no, actually while making people feel GOOD about themselves in the process. If Obama doesn’t have to lose an election to learn those lessons and has some substance to put behind that form, good for him, and more importantly, good for us.