Tag Archives: clinton

Clinton at Netroots Nation – Quick Take

14 Aug

It was absolutely fascinating to watch President Clinton try to liberalize his legacy in his speech last night.  He hit on some important and true themes that Democrats need to consider from time to time.

1. Obama needs the help of Democratic activists to push his agenda.  The opposition is organized, well-funded, disciplined, lying, and has a tendency to control the media narrative on just about everything.  When Clinton was President, no such thing existed as blogs, twitter, and the internet as we know it was in its fetal stage.

2. Sometimes you have to wait a long time to get the results you need.  Like health insurance reform, expansion of Americorps, and other initiatives.  And if you’re not willing to wait for the momentum for complete change to catch up with you, then you have to be willing to accept some incremental change.

3. At one point, a heckler disrupted Clinton’s speech to inquire about DOMA and DADT.  Lane Hudson defends his question and the method in which he asked it here, but I’m unpersuaded.  He says when he realized it wouldn’t be an open forum, he would have to scream out a question.  We had all sat through about 6 or 7 speakers before Clinton took the stage, but no one felt compelled to yell out a question at Alleghany County Executive or pose a provocative question to Braddock, PA Mayor John Fetterman (they wouldn’t dare).  I realize that a lot of people in that audience weren’t happy with Clinton and the concessions he made on big issues, but Clinton shot back effectively and factually to explain why he did what he did.

It was an interesting spectacle, but nowhere near as interesting as the panel on Democracy and the death of Newspapers featuring Post-Gazette reporter John Fuoco and NYU Professor Jay Rosen. More on that later.

The Kennedy Crowning

16 Dec

Sayeth Atrios:

I find the whole unfolding Caroline Kennedy saga to be rather depressing. Not just that she’s being considered (in the press if not elsewhere), but that she’s running a public campaign which involves reaching out to elites. The whole thing is just weird and feeds into the politics as personality soap opera that the press loves to focus on.

Caroline Kennedy is a person for whom upstate is anything north of 57th Street, and has never subjected herself to a prospective electorate, much less been elected to anything. Now she’s all of a sudden a Senatorial contender, complete with the approval, blessing, or endorsement of Michael Bloomberg, Louise Slaughter, and Hillary Clinton?

She could be the most awesomest Senator New York could ever dream of, but right now all we have to go on is her last name and her background. That might be enough to permit her to win re-election over and over again in perpetuity, but why does she get this plum spot over someone – anyone – who actually worked to become elected to something and represent a constituency? This isn’t an appointment to state government or even to the House of Representatives. This is the Senate – as exclusive a club as you can get. You don’t just appoint the legacy. This should at least have a sheen of meritocracy attached to it.

Furthermore, Paterson’s budget just came ’round the bend and explained to you in excruciating detail just how many times the state will have its grubby paws in your wallet for even the most de minimis purchase – no plan, no rhyme or reason, just taxes on consumption that will cause disproportionate pain to the working and middle classes. You have a State Senate that has taken Albany dysfunction and FAIL to new and dizzying heights – and has now been manhandled and raped by a handful of clumsy and/or corrupt downstate turncoats. You have a state in decline with no end in sight.

Albany has effectively turned its back on upstate and western New York, and the selection of Caroline Kennedy to the U.S. Senate would just further solidify that disrespect. Pick a senator from upstate.

You have a $120 billion budget, plus God only knows how much more off the books being spent and borrowed by the various and sundry public authorities – all a recipe for further and deeper fail, as we tax the living shit out of the middle class in order to maintain a bloated and inefficient state government.

You add 137 new taxes and fees, yet you’re going to cut state spending on public education to the tune of $700 million? Our bloated Cadillac of a Medicaid system gets a spending hike? Talk about your priorities being way out of whack.

Caroline Kennedy isn’t our biggest problem. It’s merely emblematic of how off-track this state has gone, with no end in sight. If you think what Rod Blagojevich did was bad, I’d be willing to bet corruption like that happens every single day in Albany. It’s just that those guys don’t get caught until after they’re out of government and have parlayed their former public service into a lucrative lobbying career.

Caroline Kennedy?

8 Dec

Still no word on who will replace Hillary Clinton in the senate, but Kennedy’s is a name that’s been floated primarily by the national media.

I don’t know anything about her beyond what’s written in Wikipedia, and I have no doubt that she’s the smartest woman ever. My problem here is that she’s a marquee candidate. She may be interested, but it’s a massive hop from whatever she’s doing now to U.S. Senator.

Also, given the complete and utter rectal reaming upstate has received with the gang of three deal, if it happens both US Senators and all of the Albany leadership will be in the hands of downstaters. Downstate’s problems do not even begin to resemble upstate’s problems.

I’d much prefer someone who has been here, been engaged with voters and issues here, and realizes that, to a lot of people upstate, even West Virginia is starting to look pretty good.

Remember This?

1 Dec

Back in the Iowa Democratic Primary debate, Obama makes a prediction…

Not so funny now, is it Hillary?

Madame Secretary

1 Dec

President-elect Obama unveils his national security team. New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will be secretary of state. Gen. James L. Jones, former NATO commander, will be national security adviser. Robert Gates will stay on as SecDef.

A quote from an Obama aide via the New York Times’ story:

During the campaign the then-senator invested a lot of time reaching out to retired military and also younger officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to draw on lessons learned. There wasn’t a meeting that didn’t include a discussion of the need to strengthen and integrate the other tools of national power to succeed against unconventional threats. It is critical to a long-term successful and sustainable national security strategy in the 21st century.

Jones and Gates had been vocally critical of Bush policy and strategy in recent months:

A year ago, to studied silence from the Bush White House, Mr. Gates began giving a series of speeches about the limits of military power in wars in which no military victory is possible. He made popular the statistic, quoted by Mr. Obama, that the United States has more members of military marching bands than foreign service officers.

He also denounced “the gutting of America’s ability to engage, assist and communicate with other parts of the world — the ‘soft power’ which had been so important throughout the cold war.” He blamed both the Clinton and Bush administrations and said later in an interview that “it is almost like we forgot everything we learned in Vietnam.”

Mr. Obama’s choice for national security adviser, General Jones, took the critique a step further in a searing report this year on what he called the Bush administration’s failed strategy in Afghanistan, where Mr. Obama has vowed to intensify the fight as American troops depart from Iraq. When the report came out, General Jones was widely quoted as saying, “Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan,” a comment that directly contradicted the White House.

But he went on to describe why the United States and its allies were not winning: After nearly seven years of fighting, they had failed to develop a strategy that could dependably bring reconstruction projects and other assistance into areas from which the Taliban had been routed — making each victory a temporary one, reversed as soon as the forces departed.

Here is an excerpt from Obama’s remarks this morning:

And so, in this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning – a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world: democracy and justice; opportunity and unyielding hope – because American values are America’s greatest export to the world.

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.

In their past service and plans for the future, these men and women represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example. They have served in uniform and as diplomats; they have worked as legislators, law enforcement officials, and executives. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.

I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and as a campaign opponent. She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic. I am proud that she will be our next Secretary of State. She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence; who knows many of the world’s leaders; who will command respect in every capitol; and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world.

Hillary’s appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances. There is much to do – from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, to seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to strengthening international institutions. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our State Department, and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda.

Best of luck to Senator Clinton and the rest of the Obama national security team.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

18 Nov

The Guardian says it’s so.

While I think it would be great for Obama to select our junior Senator for his cabinet, I would have prefered Bill Richardson, who may not have Clinton’s name recognition, but there’s no doubt that he has the chops for the job. I’d be less surprised to see Clinton go to work in a cabinet post that had a – any – domestic policy prerogative.

But it’s somewhat shocking in a way, because Clinton could have been re-elected to the Senate over and over again until the end of the earth, so assuming she still harbors Presidential aspirations, this is somewhat of a risky move from that perspective, but as for public service, there’s a whole lot more she can do as SoS than as junior NY Senator with no leadership positions.

She knows the issues, she is tough but diplomatic, she is smart, and many people throughout the world still think very highly of her and her husband.

Cabinet Rumors

14 Nov

Rumors are rampant that Hillary Clinton is under consideration for a cabinet position – possibly Secretary of State. If selected, the scuttlebutt continues, a certain South Buffalo Congressman may very well be promoted to the United States Senate.

Palin & Clinton

14 Sep


Channel 4

28 Aug

Remember Tuesday night when Fracasso and I were at Channel 4 blogging the Clinton speech? I think maybe one person actually saw either of us on the teevee, so after the jump, (because the video auto-starts), you can see the raw video Channel 4 shot. B-roll until 2:30, at which point the audio kicks in. Continue reading

Random Thoughts on The DNC

28 Aug

Yesterday, I started to write a post about my thoughts on the Democratic convention, but as I was reading some of my favorite pundits last night, I came across a column which pretty much summed up my feelings on the convention so far…

The first two days of the convention were wasted, or seemed so from my vantage point. Tonight, Joe Biden will rip into McCain. And tomorrow, Obama will do whatever he does. Then on Friday, at noon, John McCain will announce his vice presidential nominee, strangling any convention bounce in the crib. Then the Republican Convention will begin, and you can be assured that they will remember Barack Obama’s name. They will remember how to make fun of him, how to mock his celebrity and inexperience. And the media will not cover Ron Paul’s protesters with the vigor or attention they gave to Hillary Clinton’s diehards. Instead, they will cover four days of straight attacks on Barack Obama, culminating with a grave address about sacrifice and service from John McCain. And unless Obama’s convention makes a sharp turn tonight and tomorrow, they will have done nothing to soften the impact of these attacks and themes or create a counternarrative for the media to cover.

Once I read his column, I decided to wait until today to write another post in order to see if the convention took a turn for the better.  I’ll admit that I was allowing the cable network pundits to set my expectations for “red meat” and attacks on Bush and McCain rather than allowing Obama to define himself and unite the party.

It occurred to me that this is now Obama’s Democratic party and this convention reflects who he is as a candidate.  Red meat and attack politics is Clinton era and the pundits need it to feed the 24/7 beast.  Obama’s convention is about unifying the party after a rancorous primary, it’s about setting goals and defining the ideals of Democratic politics.  To that end, the evening was kicked off with an emotional and classy move by Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Her gesture kicked off what was a great night for Democrats as they carefully defined what being a Democrat is all about in this new era.  Sure, they got their digs in at Bush, McCain, and the Rove politics of the last eight years, but it was a night in which we saw the party start to awaken.

John Kerry took the floor and gave what could be called the best speech of his entire career.  As is usual, once freed from the constraints of endless campaign consultants and the scrutiny of the media machine a former candidate finds his voice.  He laid out a critical analysis of the last eight years of Republican policies and did so in a passionate and stirring manner.  He drew upon the anger and frustration that so many of us feel when looking back on the Bush administration.  He also tore John McCain a new asshole.  Of course, unless you were watching C-SPAN, you were stuck listening to the cable news talking heads demand more red meat and asking Hillary dead-enders if they would get behind Obama.

When Bill Clinton took the stage, I expected a 10-15 minute speech in which he defended his politics and accomplishments after a primary season where he was accused of being a racist and Machiavellian party manipulator.  Instead, he delivered a wonderful and personal endorsement of Obama and outlined why the Democrats have the right plan for America with Obama as President.  The money quote:

People around the world have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

Damn straight, Bill.  Thanks for stopping by.

Finally, Joe Biden took the stage to re-introduce himself to the American people.  He showed why he is the perfect running mate for Obama.  He is a man of ideas with a deep understanding of diplomacy and foreign relations as well as a penchant to speak truth to power.  He will provide the counsel that any President needs during difficult times because he’s pretty much seen it all.  On top of all that, he’s a working class kind of guy with a grounded sense of morals and the ability to connect with those voters Hillary once counted amongst her most strident supporters in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Tonight, Obama takes the stage at Invesco Field and we’ll see if he can deliver a speech that fits with his early campaign themes that spoke to so many and justify the selection of a football stadium for the speech.  My money is on a speech for the ages and one that will remind America why this man represents our future.