Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why Hillary Lost

A lot is being said today about why Hillary lost the primary. As an over 65-year-old woman, a feminist, and a former elected official, I agree with Hillary that sexism is alive and rather well in the general population, in government attitudes and Supreme Court decisions, and in the main stream media (MSM). However, that isn't why she lost the election. Other diaries have discussed other reasons, so I'm going to discuss Hillary's failure to constructively deal with sexism.

Before I go there, let me say I was never a Hillary supporter. I actively supported Edwards and then moved to Obama after considering Richardson when Edwards dropped out. My original reasons for opposing Hillary can be summarized briefly: 1) She is not always honest. She does a lot of word parsing and changing positions to suit the situation. 2) She represents old-style of politics, taking money from lobbyists and too often, permitting them to affect her positions, and participating in the politics of personal destruction.
3) She voted for the war and would not admit it was a mistake. I've never heard her admit to making any mistakes, and I think most women are capable of admitting their mistakes. 4) She was the most conservative Democrat in the primary. By the time Hillary got to South Carolina, my earlier views about her had been validated.

Initially Hillary said she wanted a conversation with voters, that she would be listening. Along the way she began speaking more to women, but she focussed on herself--what she wanted, what she would do as president, what her solutions would be. Hillary communicated that she knows what's best for us. While she may have listened to voters, I don't think she REALLY heard them and spoke in their language until the race was almost over.

Instead of addressing sexism head on months ago, like Obama addressed racism, she waited until two weeks ago to speak about it and then it was all about her, how badly she was being treated. Look, Hillary's life is GREAT compared to many women in this country. Did she lift women up, yes with a few anecdotes along the way, but she could have done so much more. She let her women supporters down, used them, and got them to participate in HER anger about HER primary loss and blamed it on sexism against HER. She could have made a serious impact on how women are treated, but she didn't really do that until yesterday (Saturday). Finally, the day she conceded the election, she talked about why women should have respect, about women in history and what women contribute every day. HER respect for women was too little too late.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hillary and Barack at YearlyKos Breakouts

Hillary arrived after Daou, Wolfson and a third member of her campaign (Judd someone) came in and were seated before us. Then she arrived, received a standing ovation, was introduced by Peter Daou and spoke for at least 10 minutes. When question time arrived, Peter called on bloggers that he knew for all the questions. There were few questions, three or four, because Hillary answered each question lengthily, demonstrating how much she knows about the issue at hand. Then Peter told us Hillary had to get ready for the candidate forum and they all filed out.

Why was it necessary for Hillary to bring three staff? She said it was in case "she has a senior moment," but I think it was for protection. She didn't need to fear, Peter knew the questioners -- they were all bloggers he called by name.

I contrast Hillary's breakout with Barack's. He arrived alone, we sang Happy Birthday to him, he spoke briefly, then started pointing to questioners. He was able to answer more questions, was briefer and much less formal. Then he plunged into the audience and shook hands.

As an aside, in my first post I referred interested folks to Ari Berman's article in the June 7 issue of The Nation. Berman lays out how many lobbyists are associated with the Clinton campaign. When I saw Howard Wolfson at the breakout and later on TV, I recalled Berman's comments about him, how he is part-owner of a lobbyist firm and is on leave of absence to work for Hillary. Why doesn't someone in the MSM or in one of the campaigns look at the association Hillary maintains with lobbyists? Surely the public would find these associations interesting and perhaps therein lies a better explanation of why she takes money from lobbyists.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Hillary & Staff are Tied to Corporations

Ari Berman's Hillary Inc. (The Nation, 6/4/07) raised the hair on the back of my neck, even on this hot day in So OR. Berman describes Hillary as the "compromised" candidate because of her close attachments to corporate interests. Her staff is Mark Penn, who was fired by Al Gore in 2000, runs a polling firm, Penn, Schoen and Berland, whose clients have been Texaco, Eli Lily, AT&T and Microsoft--corporations that support the Democrat Leadership Council. Penn set up the National Smokers Alliance "on behalf of Philip Morris to fight tobacco regulation in the 1990s."

Penn also works for the Glover Park Group, referred to as "the White House in Exile" because it's loaded with former Clintonites in waiting, to do more for free trade, pharmaceuticals, and former Wall Street connections. Murdoch is a Glover Park client. Glover Park has created Medicare Advantage, a privately run plan which has overcharged the government 12 percent compared with traditional Medicare. I recently received a mailer from Medicare Advantage, but tossed it because my Medicare prescription drug plan has paid fully for the few meds I use. It is evident that Penn and his candidate do not see the conflicts of interests that are everywhere.

Berman asserts Hillary is an incrementalist, who will be unable to offer the innovation and change needed when BushCo leaves office. Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen is quoted about the Senator: "She votes the issues that come up, rather than take the leadership role." Her health care experience has frightened her, and her staff recommends her program contain small changes. Hillary keeps saying re: health care, "We tried to do too much, too fast twelve years ago."

Berman spends time on Howard Wolfson, spokesperson for the Senator these days, who has taken a leave of absence from Glover Park but continues to hold an interest in the firm. The article is an important read.

I urge progressives to support only those candidates who have declined contributions from lobbyists and corporate PACs. It's evident that Hillary has nothing new to offer and that her race is contaminated.