Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hillary News & Views 3.22: Tackling Trump at AIPAC, Town Hall, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Endorses

Today’s edition of Hillary News & Views begins with Clinton's speech to AIPAC, which assailed Donald Trump with an intensity his GOP opponents have failed to do.

The Daily Beast reports:
Until now, Trump has succeeded in knocking out almost all his Republican opponents by deriding them as weak and ineffectual. But unlike that hapless bunch, Clinton is coming out swinging.
As a pure performance, she hit all the right notes, her voice dropping when she recalled holding the hands of men and women in Israeli hospital wards whose lives were torn apart by terrorism, then rising with indignation that anyone could advocate neutrality. She didn’t name Trump of course, but anyone with even a passing interest in the region took note of his comments earlier this month that he believes in being “somewhat neutral” in his approach towards the decades-old conflict in the Middle East.
“Israel’s security is not negotiable, and anybody who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president,” Clinton thundered.
She conjured up the perils awaiting the next president, the unprecedented chaos and conflict in the Middle East, the ongoing terrorist attacks in Israel, the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. “We have to get this right,” she said to robust and sustained applause. Outsourcing to dictators, a reference to Trump’s praise for Russian involvement in Syria, or thinking America no longer has vital interests in the region now that energy independence is on the horizon is “dangerously wrong,” Clinton said.
“We need steady hands, not a President who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable. Well my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable,” she declared.
For those who have been following the machinations of peacemaking in the Middle East, the Holy Grail for some time has been the two-state solution. It was only toward the end of her speech that Clinton returned to what remains official U.S. policy. Despite many setbacks, she said, she remains convinced that a negotiated two-state agreement is the only way to achieve a democratic Jewish state and a homeland for the Palestinian people to govern themselves.
“Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements,” Clinton said, a gentle reference to a major irritant between successive U.S. administrations and Israeli governments.
Clinton was not there to open old wounds but to fortify herself with old friends and allies against a likely general election campaign against Trump. In a democracy, differences are aired, she said.
“But what Americans are hearing on the campaign trail this year is something else entirely. Encouraging violence. Playing coy with white supremacists. Calling for 12 million immigrants to be rounded up and deported. Demanding we turn away refugees because of their religion and proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.”
“Now, we’ve had dark chapters in our history before,” she continued, recalling nearly 1,000 Jews aboard the St. Louis who were turned away in 1939 and sent back to Europe. “America should be better than this,” she said. “If you see bigotry, oppose it. If you see violence, condemn it. If you see a bully, stand up to him.”
In her otherwise sober remarks, Clinton allowed herself one light moment, recalling how “some of us remember a woman, Golda Meir, who led the Israeli government decades ago and wonder what’s taking us so long here in America,” Clinton said with a smile.
The Huffington Post reports:
“Candidates for president who think the United States can outsource Middle East security to dictators, or that America no longer has vital national interests at stake in this region are dangerously wrong,” Clinton said, likely referencing Trump’s description of Russian military involvement in Syria as a positive move that minimizes the need for U.S. action there.
In a clear effort to differentiate herself from her real estate magnate opponent, Clinton’s speech was sprinkled with anecdotes from her time as first lady in the Bill Clinton administration, and then as the leading U.S. diplomat.
“I don’t think Yitzhak Rabin ever forgave me for banishing him to the White House balcony when he wanted to smoke,” she joked, reminding the audience that she met personally with the revered former Israeli prime minister.
“I know how hard all of this is,” she later empathized on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “I remember what it took just to convene Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for the three sessions of direct face-to-face talks in 2010 that I presided over.”
On Iran, Clinton faced an inherent disadvantage with this audience compared to her Republican opponents. Last year, AIPAC spent millions of dollars trying to convince a supermajority of Congress to kill the nuclear accord. Clinton is the only candidate speaking at AIPAC this year who supported Obama’s effort to reach the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Cognizant of that friction, she prepared the audience to hear “a lot of rhetoric from the other candidates about Iran.” But she assured them that she is the only candidate who could convince the international community to re-apply sanctions on the country if it violates the nuclear agreement, pointing to her past efforts to cobble together an international sanctions coalition against Iran as proof.

 The Guardian live blogged the CNN Town Hall. Here are some highlights from Clinton:
“Every time I have a job, I get really, really high ratings,” Clinton noted, speaking of her discomfort with campaigning versus governing. “Whenever I have a job, I work really hard to do it to the best of my capacity.”
“Doing the job, getting results for people, making a difference for our country, that’s what I feel best at and what I’m committed to doing,” Clinton said. “But actually going out and campaigning, it is harder. It is harder for me.”
Part of it, Clinton said, is that campaigning “seems harder than women.”
“Are you held to a different standard?” Cooper asked, because of your gender?
“I don’t hear anybody say that about men - and I’ve seen a lot of male candidates who don’t smile very much and who talk very loud,” Clinton said.
“Senator Sanders and I have run a campaign based on issues - we haven’t been personally attacking each other and running negative ads,” Clinton said, speaking admiringly of her Democratic opponent.
“Are you in favor of expanding Obamacare to undocumented immigrants?” Anderson Cooper asks.
“There are two steps here: If someone can afford to pay for an insurance policy off the exchanges that were set up under the Affordable Care Act, I support it,” Clinton said. “But it’s not going to apply to people who are in need of subsidies in order to afford that because the subsidies have to be worked out in comprehensive immigration reform.”
As for deportation, Clinton says that “people who are already here have to be in a separate category... I want to stop the raids and the roundups. I don’t believe we should be breaking up families and deporting mothers and fathers,” Clinton said. “I want to get comprehensive immigration reform, and I want to start getting it as soon as I’m elected president.”
“But doesn’t allowing undocumented immigrants to stay reward them for breaking the law?” Cooper asked.
“I do think people have to pay a fine - because yes, they came here without legal authorization,” Clinton said. “But they should be in the pipeline and they should be given legal authority to work - which I think actually helps the whole economy.”
“Right now, there is no net migration from Mexico,” Clinton noted.
Anderson Cooper asked about encryption of phones recovered from terror suspects, and whether technology companies should be compelled to unlock their own devices.
“I really want to see a resolution to this - now it’s caught up in the legal process, as you know,” Clinton said. “I think we’ve got a lot of really smart people in our tech community, in our government, who somehow have to come to terms with this.”
“You’re not taking a side,” Cooper noted.
“Sometimes you have to keep working a problem until you get some break in that... I hope it’s not an either/or,” Clinton said. “People working in the tech community also have a stake in preventing terrorist attacks on our shores and keeping people safe. How do they do that?”
Anderson Cooper, noting that the US relationship with Cuba is rapidly evolving from decades of stagnation, asked Hillary Clinton about dissidents under Juan Castro’s Cuba.
“I support the president’s efforts to move the relationship forward,” Clinton said. “I know that the president will be meeting with some dissidents, and I heartily approve of that.”
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has endorsed Clinton.

KATU has her full statement:
Hillary Clinton is the fighter Oregon families need in the White House and I am proud to endorse her candidacy for President. Hillary and I share a bold, progressive agenda that aims to break down the barriers that hold working families back and ensures that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed. Hillary has spent her career fighting to advance civil rights for all Americans and working towards real solutions to the issues that keep Oregonians up at night. From her commitment to fighting for paid family and medical leave, to her proposal to make Oregon the model for expanding voting rights nationwide, I know that Oregonians can count on Hillary to deliver real results for us as President.
Politico reports that Senators are signaling to Sanders that it’s time to wind things down:
After holding their fire on Sanders for the better part of a year, the senators — all backers of Hillary Clinton — are gently calling on Sanders to face the reality that there’s almost no chance he’s going to be the Democratic nominee. They don’t say outright he should quit; doing so would be counterproductive, they say.
But nearly a dozen Democratic lawmakers suggested in interviews that Sanders should focus more on stopping Donald Trump and less on why he believes Clinton’s stands on trade, financial regulation and foreign policy would make her a flawed president.
“What’s important is not whether or not he gets out, but how he campaigns,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “If the contrast is now about what separates us from Donald Trump, then I think it’s fine. I just hope that we can begin to focus on unifying because obviously a lot of us are perplexed that we could be facing a country led by someone who seems to be a buffoon.”
Added Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.): “It’s good [for Sanders] to continue to raise the concerns that people have, but I think it ought to be in the context of, ‘This is the difference between the Democrats and Republicans in this race.’”
“It will be almost impossible for Sen. Sanders to catch up. And he should do the math and draw his own conclusions,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
“The writing’s on the wall,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
“Bernie is a very constructive person. And he wants to move American politics closer in his direction. He’s done that already,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the expected next Democratic leader. “I am not worried.”
Not a single Democratic senator has endorsed Sanders. And beneath their deference, there’s growing irritation among the lawmakers that the longer his campaign continues, the more he will undermine Clinton in the fall.
“That’s something he’s going to have to decide,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said of how long Sanders remains in the race. “She’s going to be the nominee.”
Clinton really is doing better with small donors than ever before.

The Huffington Post reports:
According to a new campaign report filed on Sunday, the Clinton campaign raised $10.5 million from small donors, which made up one-third of all contributions. The total includes contributions to Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee linked to the campaign, that have been either transferred to or spent on behalf of the candidate.
The February small-donor haul was a huge improvement for Clinton. She only raised $19 million from small donors in all of 2015 and added another $4.2 million in January.
The former New York Times Executive Editor speaks out about the paper’s biases against Clinton.

Politico reports:
In fact, both the candidate and her more volatile spouse went a lot further, venting to people around them that they saw the country's most powerful paper as a kind of special prosecutor in a blue plastic bag, whose top editors were bent on scouring them with an alacrity not directed at other politicians ("They are out to get us," the former president told a friend more recently).
No way, says Abramson, whose personal association with the Clintons goes back nearly 40 years. (Little-known fact: the woman who led coverage of the Clintons at the Times for a decade -- as Washington bureau chief, and then as executive editor -- briefly worked as a consultant on one of Bill Clinton's campaigns in Arkansas.) But Abramson lingers on the larger point of media fairness to Hillary Clinton, and gingerly concedes something few editors would ever admit. 
"She does get more scrutiny" than other candidates - especially male candidates, Abramson told me during a 50-minute interview for POLITICO's "Off Message" podcast last week. When I asked her if Clinton's arch-defender David Brock had a point when he lashed the Times for giving the Clintons an unfair "level of scrutiny," she interrupted - to agree. 
"Yeah, I do," said Abramson - who was ousted in 2014 after reportedly complaining that her compensation package was inferior to that of her male predecessor, Bill Keller.
"[W]e, for some reason, expect total purity from a woman candidate," added Abramson, who rose to the top job in 2011. "I did not feel, during my regime, that we were giving her way more scrutiny than anyone else." But, she said, "Where I think Hillary Clinton faces, you know, certainly more of a burden is that the controversies she's been in are immediately labeled, you know, Travel-gate or Email-gate... if you actually asked people what about any of these controversies bothers them, they don't know anything specific about any of them." 
When I asked if the Times email stories (executed after her departure, in 2015) were "a big deal," Abramson - who has taken pains not to criticize her former paper or its current editors - paused. 
"It depends on, you know, what your definition of "big deal" is, but I'm not going to play Bill Clinton for you here," she said, referring to the former president's infamous what-is-is monologue during his Monica Lewinsky deposition. "The issue, to me, that's at the crux is that everything that we know that was classified was classified after the fact, after the emails were sent. And so, why is that a big deal? And the fact that she had this private email is something that, you know, I've read widely, a lot of people in the government - Colin Powell, let's face it, got much bigger speaking fees than Hillary did."
Melissa McEwan writes for Blue Nation Review:
I am not arguing that Hillary is above criticism. To the contrary, I believe criticism—and Hillary’s willingness to listen to it—has made her the strong candidate and adept politician that she is. In her Harlem speech, she explicitly said, “Hold me accountable,” which underscores the vast divergence between the narrative of the dragon lady who will brook no dissent and who she actually is.
What I am saying is that Hillary is hardly deserving of the aggressive, insistent hatred to which she is subjected, on the basis of narratives that cannot be defended with anything resembling facts.
She is routinely called a liar, despite analyses of candidates’ honesty that find her to be the most trustworthy. She is routinely called entitled, despite having worked diligently as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the nation, Senator, Secretary of State, and two-time presidential candidate to earn her spot. She is routinely called cold, despite plethoric accounts from both constituents, people she’s met on the campaign trail, and people who have worked with and for her about what a warm and considerate person she is. She is repeatedly called undeserving, despite reports from every part of her career that she is diligent, dedicated, and extremely hardworking.
What I am saying is that the negative caricature of Hillary Clinton has no discernible basis in reality.
That Hillary, who has dedicated her life to public service with an insatiable intellectual curiosity and personal commitment which have engendered infamous loyalty, would be caricatured as a figure deserving of opprobrium, while Trump, who has dedicated his life to avarice, exploitation, and bigotry, would be caricatured as a swell guy, is intolerable.
Joan Walsh writes for The Nation:
After Obama’s first election, Sanders emerged as one of his sharpest critics, the only person in Congress to suggest that the president should face a primary from the left. I remember the conditions in late 2011 that gave rise to such a suggestion, the series of useless compromises with an intransigent GOP that culminated in the awful and thankfully unsuccessful “grand bargain.” I made enemies with my own criticism of the president back then.
But it was, in fact, Sanders’s call to primary Obama that forced me to reckon with the reality of the 21st-century Democratic base—the bedrock of which is African-American voters. Given the horrific racism faced by the first black president, they weren’t going to see him primaried just because some loud-mouthed, white progressives thought he handled that intransigence, driven in part by racism, less than optimally. At some point, I had to say to myself: Shut up and listen. I am not sure Bernie Sanders ever shut up and listened.
Hillary Clinton did, I believe. She listened to African-American friends and onetime supporters, who explained why her appeals to “hardworking Americans, white Americans” sounded like, and may actually have been, racist dog whistles. She went to work for Obama when he asked her to, as his loyal secretary of state. She mended fences with former allies like South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, who fell out with the Clintons over their perception that he’d favored Obama, though he’d technically stayed neutral in the primary; this year, he set aside neutrality to back Clinton. She also learned to do electoral math the way the Obama team did it. Once she decided to run, she put aside thoughts of reassembling the (Bill) Clinton coalition, with its emphasis on winning back working-class whites by offering “toughness” on issues like welfare and crime. Her first speeches as a candidate dealt with voting rights, mass incarceration, and immigration reform, a sign that she knew she had to consolidate the Obama coalition before thinking about a new (Hillary) Clinton coalition.
None of this makes Clinton a better person than Sanders; it does make her a better student of Democratic Party politics, however. As I wrote last July, “Bernie Sanders does his own math,” and right now it’s not adding up. I don’t think it ever will.
At one time, I did my own math too—and in the end, it didn’t add up either. Back in 2008, my biggest problem with Obama was that I just didn’t believe he could win the presidency. When he won in 2008, and then again in 2012, that was it for me. I understood that the Democratic Party owes its occupancy of the White House to the Obama coalition: African Americans, Latinos, Asians, LGBT folks, and single women. Unfortunately, chasing white, working-class voters too often involves appeals that either passively neglect that coalition, or actively drive much of it away. Somehow Sanders doesn’t seem to see that. But that may well be because he is not, at heart, a Democrat.
“I am not a Democrat,” he once told The Progressive, “because the Democratic Party does not represent, and has not for many years, the interests of my constituency, which is primarily working families, middle-class people and low-income people.” Sanders needs to place the modifier “white” in front of all three groups, because the vast majority of African Americans, and most Latinos and Asians too, have come to believe the Democratic Party serves their interests, albeit imperfectly.
Sanders’s avid supporters haven’t helped him on this score. The sexism of the so-called BernieBro phenomenon has gotten most of the attention, but the racial cluelessness of the Bros has been pretty remarkable too. Many ooze condescension, dismissing Southern blacks as “low-information” voters. As the race moved north, many continued to lament that African Americans don’t seem to know what’s best for them as they vote for Clinton. The Sanders-supporting Progressive Democrats of America dismissed Clinton’s Southern victories as confined to “the Confederacy,” ignoring the fact that descendants of people enslaved by the Confederacy were the ones propelling big Clinton wins. To its credit, the group apologized. But Sanders himself continues to minimize Clinton’s Southern wins, because Democrats are “not going to win those states in the general election.” Media analyst Clay Shirky dubbed Sanders’s frequent racial flubs the “kettledrum effect,” an inverse dog whistle in which African Americans hear slights, insensitivities, and gaffes that voters who aren’t black may not.
If the Sanders movement is going to grow, it will only grow because more of his supporters begin to recognize their racial blind spots. I continue to hope that the populist policies championed by Sanders—on trade, on union rights, on Wall Street—will win white working-class voters back from the GOP. I hope that if, as seems almost certain, Clinton is the nominee, she will continue her leftward shift that we’ve seen during the primaries, and learn from the success of Sanders’s bold message with this group. They’re up for grabs, as both parties identify them as the cornerstone of Donald Trump’s coalition. Some in the GOP want to throw them out, even though they’ve been the party’s loyal base since Reagan.


  1. As always, thanks for posting this here. In terms of inclusion, HRC is truly running the most progressive campaign, and one that represents the true face of today's democrats. You simply cannot win the White House without the support of POC and women.

    I thought DK was getting *slightly* better after the last primary results, but the Sanders folks were merely taking a break. They've come back with a vengeance and it's the ugliest I've seen that place.

    1. I know what you mean. It's just ridiculous there right now. The delusions, negativity and outright falsehoods are suffocating. I fear that this will continue until early June...or even the convention. Yikes.

  2. I appreciated Joan Walsh's article, with a couple of exceptions. She talks about racism in regard to Obama, but much less about how sexism -- even when it's unconscious -- may affect whether people vote for Hillary. She brings up Hillary's awful gaffe late in the campaign about white workers, but forgets how some Obama supporters pushed the meme that the Clintons were racist.