Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hillary News & Views 1.28: Full Circle in Iowa, Standing with Labor, the Joy of Joan Walsh

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with an interesting piece about Clinton’s visit to a Bowling Alley in Iowa.

The New York Times reports:
Closing a circle on her Iowa presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton stopped in at a bowling alley here on Wednesday owned by Bryce Smith, a 23-year-old she met on her first visit to the state as a 2016 candidate.
“Bryce’s story was so touching,” Mrs. Clinton said as she stood in front of 12 bowling lanes in the packed Adel Family Fun Center, which was lined with wood paneling and local news clippings.
“He cared so much about what this business provided to Adel — it was a gathering place, it was a place for family fun, and he was describing his dream of someday owning that,” Mrs. Clinton continued. “That is the American dream.”
Mr. Smith was among five small-business owners whom Mrs. Clinton spoke to at a round table in Norwalk in April, part of her first swing in the state that will hold its caucuses on Monday. Mr. Smith lamented to Mrs. Clinton that he could not afford to pay off his college loans and pursue his dream of owning a bowling alley, and the visit turned him into something of a local celebrity. He is now running for the Iowa House in his hometown district.
“At the end of it, she said, ‘I would love to stop by your small business,’ and I said, ‘I would love that, too,’” Mr. Smith said introducing Mrs. Clinton on Wednesday. “Nothing motivates you more to clean a business than having a potential president stop by.”
The early period of Mrs. Clinton’s current campaign, when she held small round-table discussions with a handful of handpicked Iowans, drew criticism for seeming staged, but Mrs. Clinton, who focused on foreign policy in her four years at the State Department, says she got a lot out of them. She continues to refer to and draw on the stories she heard in the first few months of her candidacy.
“I went for education in college so I could teach, but I fell in love with bowling,” Mr. Smith explained to Mrs. Clinton in their first discussion. “So that’s my biggest thing, is the barrier of entry and financing.”
Mrs. Clinton lit up as she recalled the period in her campaign when she wanted to hear directly from voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. “We all know about the student loan debt, but I’ve never heard anyone so persuasively link it to the slowdown in business startups,” she said.
“You’ve given me an insight that nobody else has,” Mrs. Clinton said to Mr. Smith, “and I’m grateful to you.”
Also related to workers, Clinton has released a new ad touting her alliance with labor organizations:

This got its own diary yesterday, but I can't overlook Joan Walsh’s powerful piece for The Nation:
 I’m supporting Clinton, joyfully and without apologies. That’s not the same as without reservations; I continue to wonder whether she’ll be more hawkish on foreign policy than is advised in these dangerous times. I’m concerned that she’s too close to Wall Street; I really wish she hadn’t given those six-figure talks to Goldman Sachs. But I genuinely believe she’ll make the best president. My colleagues at The Nation know this, and when the editors decided to endorse Sanders, I was graciously offered a chance to write a brief for Clinton. (We have also agreed that I won’t cover the Clinton/Sanders race in Iowa, or anywhere my daughter works next.) I declined to respond to the endorsement; after all, I contributed to the magazine’s excellent “Who’s Ready For Hillary?” feature last year; our readers know what I think.
But then I reread that piece and realized: No, they don’t. I was actually kind of horrified at my careful, qualified quasi-endorsement. I wrote it much the way I wrote about Clinton in 2008: defensively. Here’s the gist: “My willingness to accept Clinton as a Democratic presidential nominee doesn’t stem from any great passion for Hillary herself—though I respect her—but from my aversion to the impotent game of ‘Let’s find an insurgent candidate who will topple a centrist front-runner!’ played by the left every four to eight years.”
I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve come to feel passion for Clinton herself, and for what I see as a movement that supports her, even though only Sanders is judged a “movement” candidate. I believe she’s evolved back to be the progressive Democrat she used to be, more progressive than her liberal husband. Some of my feelings remain defensive, but in a warmer sense: I really don’t want to see her abused again. I’m tired of seeing her confronted by entitled men weighing in on her personal honesty and likability, treating the most admired woman in the world like a woman who’s applying to be his secretary. I’m stunned anew by the misogyny behind the attacks on her, and her female supporters, including my daughter. I’m sick of the way so many Sanders supporters, most of them men, feel absolutely no compunction to see things through female Clinton supporters’ eyes, or to worry they might have to court us down the road, take special care not to alienate us lest we sit the race out in November, if our candidate loses.
Of course we won’t do that; we’re women! We’re trained to think about everybody else’s needs first. It’s not just that: women will be hurt the most by a GOP presidency. Naturally, I will back Sanders if he’s the nominee. I promise I’ll eventually feel joy about it—after grieving, if Clinton were to lose again. But if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be because I was too busy protecting my lefty bona fides to say I support her, enthusiastically, this time around. I stand with a lot of women who feel the same way, including my daughter, and we won’t be erased.
Here are some highlights from Clinton's wide-ranging interview with
"I'm different," she tells on the ground in Iowa. "I feel that I've learned a lot, I think my experience as secretary of state has given me additional understanding of what the next president has to do."
Clinton champions her role in the Obama administration and the president's achievements as she makes her appeal to voters in Iowa and across the country. She's quick to cheer on Obamacare, but when asked about her greatest political regret, health care looms large.
"I regret we didn't get health care back in 1993 or '94, because we'd really be much further down the road," she says.
"Health care is a basic right," she says. "We are 90 percent covered, we gotta get to 100 percent, and then we gotta get cost down and make it work for everybody. And even though we didn't get it then, we've got it now and I'm going to defend it and improve it."
Her number one priority, she says, is improving incomes.
"The first thing is I really want to do is get the economy producing more good jobs with rising incomes," she explains. "That's at the center of my agenda." "Because there's a lot we need to do in the country, we gotta make college affordable, we gotta student debt paid down, we've gotta make sure we get early childhood and paid family leave and raise the minimum wage, we have a lot of work to do, but it all really starts from just getting the economy to work again and that's my highest priority," she adds.
Clinton also spoke up about diversity at the Oscars.

Jezebel reports:
“Just think of the great films that really display not just the diversity of America, but the diversity of the human experience,” Clinton continued. “The Academy has to catch up with our reality and I am encouraging them—as I know so many others are—to really move as quickly as they can to make those changes.”
Clinton opposes the Johnson Controls-Tyco Deal.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tore into Glendale-based Johnson Controls at a campaign event here on Wednesday, condemning the company for trying to escape U.S. taxes through its merger with Tyco International.
"Here is as direct an example of what's wrong with the thinking and acting of an American corporation that we could get," Clinton said.
She told supporters at a bowling alley here that "I will do everything I can to prevent this from happening, because I don't want to see companies that thrive, use the tax code, the gimmicks, the evade their responsibility to support our country."
Clinton said that during the economic and financial crisis of 2008, Johnson Controls was among the companies "that begged the administration and the Congress to help bail out the auto industry."
Said Clinton: "Johnson Controls goes to Washington, says, 'Please American taxpayers, save us!'
"And the auto industry, the suppliers, the jobs, were saved. OK. But just in the last few days Johnson Controls announces it's going to pretend to sell itself to a company in Europe to escape paying taxes to the United States government. It's called an IN-version. I think it should be called a PER-version."
Clinton told the audience that the company was happy to accept their help during the crisis.
"Now they want to move overseas for the sole purpose of escaping their fair share of taxes to support what made them be a company that was successful in the first place — the rule of law, the contract system, our judicial system, the support we give to training people, all that you and I have contributed in previous generations. They are willing to walk away in order to pay a lower tax instead of doing what they should to support our country to grow and be prosperous and strong in the future and it is wrong."
Clinton added: "We've got to take all of these abuses on...We have to go after everybody who is trying to undercut American prosperity and America's future."
The New York Times reports that Clinton is looking at increased taxes on the wealthy to shore up Social Security:
Asked by a voter at an Iowa campaign event about her plans for Social Security, Mrs. Clinton said: “We do have to extend the life of the trust fund, and that’s going to take some new funding. And I think there are a couple of potential ways of doing it. One is lifting the cap.”
Yahoo! Politics reports on Clinton’s enthusiasm about the primary race and her take on her Goldman Sachs speeches:
“Look, I gave speeches to a wide array of groups, from health care groups to auto dealers and many, many more,” Clinton said. “And I think what they were interested in — because what we talked about was the world, coming off of four years as secretary of state in a complicated world, people were interested in what I saw, what I thought, they asked questions about matters that were on their minds.”
Clinton suggested she was booked by those who wanted to know about her role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
“[There was] a lot of interest in the bin Laden raid, how such a tough decision was made and what I advised the president,” she said.
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked Clinton if she thought those institutions like Goldman Sachs that paid her might expect something in return.
“You know, first of all, I was a senator from New York. I took them on when I was senator. I took on the carried interest loophole. I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006. They know exactly where I stand.”
Clinton also insisted she isn’t concerned about the ongoing FBI investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
“I’m not concerned because I know what the facts are,“ she said. "I never sent or received any material marked classified.”
The Democratic frontrunner doesn’t believe the FBI investigation is a cloud hanging over her candidacy.
"I cannot control what the Republicans leak and what they are contending,” she said. “And I thought it was interesting, Chuck — as a political observer you’ll understand why — you know back a couple of months ago, [House Majority Leader] Kevin McCarthy spilled the beans that the Benghazi investigation was all about bringing me down, something that I suspected, but I went ahead, testified for 11 hours, answered all their questions and even they admitted there was nothing new.”
Clinton laughed off the suggestion by some political observers that her 2016 presidential campaign lacks enthusiasm just as it did in 2008, when she lost in the Democratic primary to Barack Obama.
“I can only react to what I’m doing, feeling, getting responses from people,” she said. “I feel really great that we have the level of enthusiasm that we do. And we also have a really good team on the ground that’s been working for months to make sure it’s not here today, gone tomorrow.”
Clinton has responded to her endorsement from the Feminist Majority:
“I am honored to earn the endorsement of Feminist Majority. Under the leadership of my friend Ellie Smeal, Feminist Majority has been a tireless advocate in the fight for women’s equality. They have helped not only to elect more women to office, but to advance issues that are important to women and families across the country. They’ve championed pay equity and policies to confront domestic abuse. They’ve worked to expand economic opportunity including reproductive rights for all women. Today, women’s health and rights are under attack like never before. The stakes could not be higher in this election, and the work groups like Feminist Majority do every day is vital in helping to build a better future for all our daughters and granddaughters. As President, I will proudly work alongside Feminist Majority to continue to build on the progress we’ve made and fight against any attempts to take us back.”
The Washington Post reports on how the League of Conservation Voters came to endorse Clinton:
The endorsement, which was first reported by The Washington Post, marked the first time in more than three decades that the group had endorsed a presidential candidate before a single primary vote was cast. The group’s board Chairwoman Carol M. Browner, who served as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President Clinton and advised President Obama on climate change during his first term, said Hillary Clinton won the endorsement because she was best prepared to advance environmental priorities in office.
“You have to hit the ground running when it comes to tough issues like climate change,” Browner said. “Hillary Clinton gets what it takes to hit the ground running.”
Clinton said the endorsement of a prominent environmental group was not only “incredibly impactful” but would allow her “to start the process of being your partner as we build on the progress that has been made against pretty steep odds, and keep going here at home and around the world.”
“Because after all,” she told a crowd in Derry N.H. “I think we have to use every tool we have. There is no Planet B, this is it.”
In an interview Monday evening, LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski said ” it’s not surprising that Senator Sanders’ supporters feel passionately” about their candidate.
In determining its endorsement, according to a statement, the political committee of the League of Conservation Voters’ board of directors reviewed questionnaires and conducted in-person interviews with each “pro-environment candidate” in the presidential race. The committee gave its recommendation to the full board of directors, which approved it.
CNN reports on how both leading candidates are making a claim to Obama’s legacy:
Clinton has wrapped herself in Obama's governing style, praising his approach to health care, gun control and college affordability and vowing to both protect and build on his accomplishments.
"It is time to pick a side," Clinton said in an ad she released on guns earlier this month. "Either we stand with the gun lobby or we join the president and stand up to them I am with him. Please join us."
And in defending her judgment on foreign policy, particularly on her vote to authorize the Iraq war, Clinton employs Obama as her validator.
"I think the American public has seen me exercising judgment in a lot of other ways," she said at CNN's Democratic Town Hall on Monday. "And, in fact, when that hard primary campaign was over and I went to work for President Obama and he ended up asking me to be secretary of state, it was because he trusted my judgment."
Polls show that Clinton has captured the most diverse portion of the Obama coalition. And her primary strategy also banks on winning part of the Democratic base, especially African-American voters, that she lost in 2008. That is key to states like South Carolina that the Clinton campaign is eyeing as a firewall against a possible Sanders sweep of Iowa and New Hampshire.
During a dinner in South Carolina earlier this month, Clinton said she "noticed that very often my name is linked to the President."
"Now I personally consider that a great compliment," Clinton added. In a Politico interview, Obama underscored a Clinton campaign theme.
"I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real life difference to people in their day-to-day lives," he said. "I don't want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive."
For many in Iowa, Clinton's pitch that she is "Obama-plus" works.
"I love her idea of building on the progress (Obama made)," said Will Morrison, a 32-year old who attended Clinton's Tuesday townhall in Deborah. "I love Bernie, but I don't think his goals are realistic."
The Root has a tough but fair look at Clinton’s policies and how they will impact black individuals an communities:
Black people turned out in droves to usher in the Obama era. Can Hillary Clinton ignite a similar passion? Yes, Clinton has a long history of supporting issues that matter to African Americans, but a younger generation of black activists are much more confrontational in demanding her commitment.
In our Meet the Candidates series, we asked the leading candidates of both parties about their policy proposals on issues that are important to our community. Previously we examined Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Now we take a look at Clinton.
Rosamund Urwin writes for the Evening Standard:
Clinton is the most qualified of the presidential contenders. She is also the most criticised. If Sanders got the nod, he could expect to be lampooned in the way she has — but Clinton has had nearly a quarter of a century of it and is still fighting. That speaks of extraordinary resilience.
There is the stench of sexism around so much that’s fired her way. In fact, she’s started to embody many of the problems women experience in the workplace. She’s too robotic! She’s too emotional! She’s bashed repeatedly for mistakes she’s made, yet her male counterparts seem to be handed get-out-of-trouble passes for greater sins.
I’ve heard American women say that while they’re Democrats, and would like a woman in the White House, they don’t want it to be Clinton. Here, I think they’re making the mistake of thinking that the first woman President has to be the perfect female candidate. She doesn’t: she just needs to be better than all the men running. I think that feeling stems from the way women are routinely made to represent all other women, like an unfunny female comedian being used to write off all the rest, while an unfunny male comedian never is.
Clinton will bring maternity rights to the forefront in the US. But I also think she’ll spark a global cultural shift. In a meeting of ageism and sexism, life’s second innings has been the preserve of men. If the leader of the free world is a 69-year-old female, how could we still treat women over 50 as invisible? Forget girl power, let’s make way for grandmother power.

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