Monday, April 11, 2016

Hillary News & Views 4.11: Clinton Shakes Off Attacks, Focuses Her Ire on the GOP


Today's Hillary News & Views begins with Clinton’s response to the increasingly nasty and dishonest attacks from the floundering Sanders campaign.

Talking Points Memo reports:
Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, said last week that Clinton has a "hawkish" stance on foreign policy that "has led to the rise and expansion of ISIS throughout the Middle East."
Clinton was asked to respond to the comments on CNN's "State of the Union."
"Well, that is beyond absurd. You know, they're saying a lot of things these days, and I'm just going to let them say whatever they choose to say," Clinton said. "But, you know, ISIS was primarily the result of the vacuum in Syria caused by Assad, first and foremost, aided and abetted by Iran and Russia. So I think that let's put responsibility where it belongs."
CNN reports:
The Democratic front-runner is not preparing for a scenario where she or primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders fail to reach the Democratic National Convention with the delegates needed to lock up the nomination, Clinton told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview aired Sunday on "State of the Union." 
"No, I intend to have the number of delegates that are required to be nominated," Clinton said in the interview, taped in Brooklyn, where Clinton is campaigning ahead of New York's April 19 primary. 
Sanders, in a separate interview with Tapper aired Sunday, said he was "amused" by Clinton's support for raising the minimum wage to $15 in some states. That's because while she championed the move in New York, she supports raising it to just $12 an hour nationally, leaving it up to states and cities to increase it from there. 
Clinton defended her position. 
"There are a lot of places that are not well off around the country they're required to have $7.25 wage to go from that to $12 is big leap," Clinton said. "Now I want to encourage every place that can go to $15 the New York cities, Los Angeles, Seattle and California raised its minimum wage, but it also took into account different geographic areas with different economic circumstances."
Both Sanders and CNN seem completely unaware that the New York state bill does just that, and the minimum wage is going up to $12.50 — not $15 — outside New York City and four of its surrounding counties.

The backlash against the Sanders camp nastiness continues.

The Huffington Post reports:
“There are policy disagreements he may have with her on some things. Let’s stick to those,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday. “Let’s not say that the most qualified candidate for president is simply unqualified. Frankly, I don’t get that. And I think we’ve got to refrain from ad hominem attacks that — there’s a different way he could have put that.”
Female Clinton supporters often get defensive when reporters ask them whether they’re backing Clinton because she would be the first woman in the Oval Office. They stress that it’s about her qualifications more than checking a box on the gender list. 
“It’s not only that she would be the first woman president,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. “It’s literally that she brings decades of experience in foreign policy, in domestic policy, in advocacy, and she would start day one in the White House knowing exactly what needs to be done.”
And especially for many older supporters, they have heard throughout their lives that they’re not as qualified as their male counterparts, and they relate personally to the struggles Clinton has faced — the double-standards, the questions about her ambition and the focus on her appearance. In other words, if this woman — who been first lady, a senator, secretary of state and spent years in the legal and advocacy worlds — can’t be president, what hope is there for any other woman? 
“Nothing can be tougher than having your boss tell you you can’t have the raise you deserve because the other guys are married and have kids,” said Joni Salvas, 74, a Clinton volunteer in Manchester who had worked in manufacturing.
“Hillary has been through that too, absolutely. But not as bluntly as I have,” she added. Salvas said she eventually left that field because “I don’t have a military pension, I don’t have a penis and I’m getting the hell out of this joint.”
Seth Bingman writes for Medium:
Generations of women have been told they aren’t qualified to do what men do. “You can’t do that. You’re a girl,” is something too many women grew up hearing. As adults, women often face similar societal barriers, albeit not as blatantly delivered.
No one woman is qualified for an office, a job, or a responsibility simply because she is a woman. But women who match or exceed the qualifications of men can and should assume these roles. Standards should be the same, and society should not only celebrate their advancement, but also work to make it so. There’s no problem whatsoever with overtly expecting the same qualifications and performance from a woman as a man in the same role. There’s no problem with saying that a woman isn’t qualified (See: Sarah Palin). A major problem exists, though, when different or additional expectations and qualifications are applied to women but not to men.
Imagine a woman candidate for CEO of a Fortune 500 company who is told she is unqualified for the role because of specific reasons that also applied to male candidates as well as the current male CEO, but did not disqualify these men from assuming that role.
Therein lies the problem with Senator Sanders’ comments. He said that Hillary was unqualified for the specific reason that she has an outside group of supporters who formed a super PAC and are raising money from a specific industry. It’s OK for him to have that standard, but it’s not OK for him to only apply that standard to a candidate who happens to be a woman. To my knowledge, he has not even applied that standard to Republican male candidates in the race for president. He has certainly never applied that standard to President Obama. (The same is true with then-Sen. John Kerry and the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq. Senator Sanders’ standard only applied to Hillary.)
Hillary, objectively in terms of her resume and subjectively in terms of her unprecedented command of the issues, is perhaps the most qualified person in history to be president. She also happens to be a woman. Given her qualifications and the uniqueness of her candidacy, it is impossible to separate gender from Bernie’s professed standards of qualification for the presidency, because he has not applied those same standards to men. It’s also important to note that a woman has never been President of the United States, so it’s quite troubling that when an extremely qualified woman is running for president, Senator Sanders says she is unqualified for the job for reasons that have never disqualified a man.
FiveThirtyEight reports:
At the core of Clinton’s candidate packaging is the idea that she has for decades been the competent woman behind the scenes — a workhorse, not a show pony.
Clinton is not alone among her cohort in having highly burnished credentials; most female politicians are more qualified than their male counterparts, according to a 2013 paper by political scientists Kathryn Pearson and Eric McGhee. Looking at non-incumbent congressional races from 1984 to 2010, and which candidates had held elected office at a lower level — their metric for qualification — the researchers found that “women candidates in both parties are indeed more qualified than men.”
Why the extra layer of concern on the part of female candidates?
For one thing, there appears to be more self-doubt on the part of these high-powered women. A 2004 report by Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox found that of a pool of prospective candidates — lawyers, business people, political activists — men were about twice as likely as women to say that they were qualified to run. Twenty-eight percent of women said they weren’t qualified at all, while only 12 percent of men found themselves lacking in some way. In the pop psychology parlance of 2016, we might note a whiff of imposter’s syndrome in these numbers.
It might not come as a surprise that just as women generally hold themselves to a higher standard in their self-examination before running for office, voters measure female candidates by different metrics than male candidates; there’s a very specific type of scrutiny that women politicians fall under. Women who might run for office seem to intuit that; a 2015 paper from the political scientists Kristin Kanthak and Jonathan Woon found that women are “election averse.” “Women’s entry into the candidate pool increases only if we simultaneously guarantee that campaigns are completely truthful and eliminate the private costs of running for office,” Kanthak and Woon found.
Erica L. Smegielski writes:
Seven months after my mom was murdered in the halls of her elementary school, I got married — at her house in the Adirondacks, in the dress we picked out together and sneakers she would have teased me for wearing. My wedding was the last plan I ever made with my mom.
How do I describe what it feels like to have your entire world ripped apart?
For a college class, I once had to pick a word that described me and write a three-page paper about it. I did what I always did: called my mom and asked her.
“Mommy, if you had to pick one word that described me, what would it be?”
She responded in less than half a second: “Passionate.”
The day my mom was killed, I felt that piece of me burn away. Until I got involved in the gun violence prevention movement.
I’ve been an advocate for more than three years now. In that time, we’ve had some pretty significant moments — good and bad. Huge progress in the states. Horrible tragedies in Oregon, Charleston, and DC. Every time I read another heart wrenching headline about another deadly shooting, I quickly reach out to the community where it happened. I give them my support in any way I can. For pretty obvious reasons, gun violence is at the forefront of my entire life.
My family actually isn’t part of the lawsuit against the gun manufacturers; a lot of people don’t know that. But when I saw Senator Sanders’ callous response to the families whose loved ones were killed alongside my mom, something snapped. It brought me back to that day in the Sandy Hook firehouse when I looked around and realized: Our families were all murdered together, and now these people are my family. I went into straight defense mode.
Over the last few days, I’ve been bombarded with vile, nasty comments. One person tweeted: “I blame your grandmother. The manufacturers made the guns, sure, but your grandma made your mom. See how dumb you sound?” And then there’s the stupid car rhetoric: “If I ran over a dog, would you sue Ford?” They told me I was a pawn, that I was being used in political posturing, that I politicized my mother’s death. The only thing they didn’t throw at me was the hoax (yes, there are actually people who claim the Sandy Hook shooting never happened).
But for every hateful, hurtful tweet, I’ve gotten five times as many messages of support. And they’re not only coming from friends and family, gun violence survivors and gun violence prevention activists — they’re coming from people I’ve never met.
The outpouring of love and support I’ve gotten since people saw I was really taking a beating from the other side was overwhelming.
But here’s the thing: Even if that weren’t the case, I’d still be speaking out.
What kind of world would we live in if everybody always backed down from a challenge? What if everyone who faced tough odds said, it’s hard, so I’m going to walk away? That’s not the type of world I want to live in.
90 Americans are killed every single day by gun violence, and countless others are injured. Every day that I hesitate to speak out is one more day I’m not helping people who are going to be hurt.
I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that devastating news. That’s why I am going to continue to do everything I possibly can to take on the issue of gun violence, for the rest of my life.
And it’s why I’m doing everything I can to elect Hillary Clinton. She’s the only presidential candidate who has any type of respectable plan for guns — or any plan at all for guns, for that matter. She doesn’t hide from it. She doesn’t just tell us she cares — she shows us she cares. Consistently. And that means something.
Here’s how I think change is going to happen.
A lot of politicians know the statistics now. And when more leaders start stepping up the way Hillary Clinton has — when they’ll sit with somebody like Lucy McBath and tell the story of Jordan Davis — that’s how we’ll change hearts, minds, and laws. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s going to be more of a marathon than a sprint.
And to everyone who votes against gun violence prevention bills or stands with the gun lobby instead of survivors and family members: We will eventually vote you out. If you’re not voting on behalf of your constituents, you’re not going to have your job for much longer.
As for me? I’m going to be one of the people knocking on doors and doing all that I can to make that change happen faster.
My mom isn’t here. She can’t speak out on behalf of the 33,000 people who are killed every year. She can’t tell their stories. But I am, and I can. And it’s going to take a lot more than nasty words to stop me.
Paul Krugman writes for New York Times:
Mr. Sanders is starting to sound like his worst followers.
It’s one thing for the Sanders campaign to point to Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street connections, which are real, although the question should be whether they have distorted her positions, a case the campaign has never even tried to make. But recent attacks on Mrs. Clinton as a tool of the fossil fuel industry are just plain dishonest, and speak of a campaign that has lost its ethical moorings.
And then there was Wednesday’s rant about how Mrs. Clinton is not “qualified” to be president.
What probably set that off was a recent interview of Mr. Sanders by The Daily News, in which he repeatedly seemed unable to respond when pressed to go beyond his usual slogans. Mrs. Clinton, asked about that interview, was careful in her choice of words, suggesting that “he hadn’t done his homework.”
But Mr. Sanders wasn’t careful at all, declaring that what he considers Mrs. Clinton’s past sins, including her support for trade agreements and her vote to authorize the Iraq war — for which she has apologized — make her totally unfit for office.
This is really bad, on two levels. Holding people accountable for their past is O.K., but imposing a standard of purity, in which any compromise or misstep makes you the moral equivalent of the bad guys, isn’t. Abraham Lincoln didn’t meet that standard; neither did F.D.R. Nor, for that matter, has Bernie Sanders (think guns).
And the timing of the Sanders rant was truly astonishing. Given her large lead in delegates — based largely on the support of African-American voters, who respond to her pragmatism because history tells them to distrust extravagant promises — Mrs. Clinton is the strong favorite for the Democratic nomination.
Is Mr. Sanders positioning himself to join the “Bernie or bust” crowd, walking away if he can’t pull off an extraordinary upset, and possibly helping put Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in the White House? If not, what does he think he’s doing?
Washington Monthly reports:
“Alright, I believe that in the midst of the kinds of crises that we face with a disappearing middle class and massive levels of income and wealth inequality, the only major country on earth not guarantee to healthcare to all people, only major country not to provide paid family and medical leave, it is time to get beyond establishment politics. So to put your question in maybe a simpler way, is she a candidate of the establishment? The answer is, of course she is.”
This is an astonishing thing for Sanders to say for a couple of reasons. First because, as he surely knows, it was the “establishment” Bill Clinton who, as one of his first acts as president in 1993, signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after it had twice been vetoed by his predecessor. Second (and maybe Sanders doesn’t know this; few do), having signed the FMLA providing up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to workers to care for a newborn or a sick family member, Clinton, with the active help of his wife, became the first president to use federal power to provide paid leave to American workers.
First, federal workers would be allowed to use the sick leave they’d earned to take time off to care for other sick family members. Second, and potentially more important, states would be allowed to let public and private sector workers who have paid into the state’s federally regulated unemployment insurance systems to collect payments from those systems while they’re on leave caring for a newborn or a newly adopted child. Having attended the meetings where these policies were hashed out, I can assure you that they were a joint East Wing/West Wing initiative. The main person behind them was Nicole Rabner, who was the First Lady’s senior domestic policy adviser as well as a special assistant to the president.
The first policy (paid leave for federal workers) is still in place today. The second (allowing states to tap their unemployment insurance systems for paid leave) was overturned by George W. Bush, who deemed it a harmful imposition on businesses. But four states (California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington) that have separate Temporary Disability Systems, which are not federally regulated, used those systems to create basically the same voluntary family leave programs the Clintons were trying to incentivize. A major study of California’s, the largest and longest running paid leave program, found that it improved children’s health outcomes without measurably harming business productivity.
So the “establishment” politician Hillary Clinton can rightly claim a share of the credit for the paid leave programs that exist in the United States. They’re far from universal, but they’re real, up-and-running programs that seem to be working as advertised. And the reason they’re not more wide spread is not “establishment politics”—they are in fact the result of establishment politics—but Republican resistance.
Both Clinton and Sanders sponsored bills in the Senate to expand family leave that didn’t pass, and each has put forward plans to do so if they’re elected president (though the plans differ in how they’re financed). So both are, for progressives, on the “right side” of the issue. But only one of them has actually accomplished anything on this, and it isn’t Bernie Sanders.
The Washington Post reports:
Here’s what the numbers say: During her eight years in the Senate, Hillary Clinton sponsored 10 bills that passed the chamber. The mean senator passes 1.4 bills a year, so Clinton’s 1.25 bills per year is approximately in line with the chamber average. By contrast, Bernie Sanders has been in the Senate nine years and has sponsored only one bill that passed.
Another way members of Congress can influence legislative outcomes is to amend a bill someone else has sponsored, particularly in the Senate. The rules in the Senate allow for much more and freer amending activity than in the House, so senators introduce (and pass) many more amendments than House members do.
Clinton successfully amended bills 67 times in her eight years in the Senate. Sanders did so 57 times in nine years. On a year-by-year basis, that comes to 8.4 per year for Clinton and 6.3 per year for Sanders. Moreover, the mean senator passed 7.4 amendments.
Clinton’s is significantly higher than the mean, and Sanders’s is significantly below the mean. Put differently, Clinton passed 33 percent more amendments per year than did Sanders.
Of course, these measures may not capture every facet of legislative effectiveness. I haven’t taken into consideration the relative importance of the bills and amendments Clinton and Sanders have passed. I’ve looked only at activity on the floor of the Senate, rather than work in committees.
Nevertheless, this particular evidence does suggest that Sanders has been less effective than Clinton, and the average member of Congress, at getting his legislation through Congress.
Beyond her obligations to respond to the nonsense from the Sanders camp, Clinton is thinking beyond the primary in her stump speech. After walking away from Wisconsin and Wyoming with more delegates than she needed to stay on track for the nomination, that’s no surprise.

CNN reports:
"We are on a path to the nomination, but I need to win big here in New York, because the sooner I can become the nominee, I can turn and unify the Democratic Party like I did with President Obama in 2008," Clinton said. "And the sooner we can go after the Republicans full-time." 
"I look forward to debating whoever emerges as the Republican nominee, because both of them have really put anti-immigration statements at the core of their campaigns," Clinton said Saturday. "Donald Trump started this campaign calling immigrants rapists and criminals and he has gone on from there."
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

CNN reports:
On Sunday Cummings officially endorsed Clinton, ahead of Maryland's April 26 primary. Cummings had held out for months in endorsing Clinton, the only Democratic member of Maryland's congressional delegation to do so. 
Cummings introduced Clinton and recounted her resume highlights, including her experience as secretary of state and senator from New York. 
"This is why I will be voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton," Cummings said. "I am asking everyone one of you... to vote for Hillary. To be abundantly clear, I am endorsing Hillary Clinton for president." 
Cummings said after his speech on Sunday that he had wanted to wait until the Benghazi committee wound up. Yet with the panel continuing to work, Cummings said he felt time was short to back a candidate, a bit more than two weeks out from the Old Line State's primary. 
Clinton, in turn, lavished praise on Cummings. 
"I have seen him in many settings, but sitting in front of the Benghazi Committee for 11 hours, I have got to tell you, I was so proud to see him leading the Democrats," Clinton said. 
"And listening to him make the points that needed to be made. I wasn't surprised because that is the kind of congressman he is. I just have to tell you how lucky you are to have him as one of your leaders." 
After noting his work into the investigation around the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans, Clinton went on to call Cummings a "jewel" in Congress.
Clinton sprinkled her stump speech with Maryland specifics references and promises. 
"We need to look for every way possible to create new jobs, we need to be focusing on how we can bring investing to places that need it," Clinton said, touting her plan for urban revitalization. "As part of my plan, I will direct hundreds of billions of dollars to places like West and East Baltimore, including $20 billion aimed specifically at helping to create jobs for young people."
Connecticut Moms for Hillary has launched.

New Haven Independent reports:
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said that she and her fellow Clinton supporters gathered because they were “speaking on behalf of sanity.”
“So often we look at what is going on in this election process and who really has the experience, the intelligence and the tough mindedness to run the most powerful country in the world, and we know that this time it is a woman who is a mom,” Harp said. “It is Hillary Clinton. The one thing that mothers have done since the beginning of time is they have civilized this world. They have made sure that young people grow up to be contributing adults. And that has been the role of women no matter what.”
“I remember when I was in the [state] General Assembly and we started, under the Clinton administration, through her initiatives, to add young people into the Medicaid program and make sure that our youngsters had access to health care,” Harp said.
Harp said Clinton is the only candidate who will take on the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers to hold them accountable when it comes to gun violence.
“One of the most disturbing things I have to do as mayor and have done is to go to the funerals of young people whose lives have been cut short by gun violence,” Harp said. “She [Clinton] understands that the gun violence that plagues our inner cities, as well as our suburbs now, is intolerable. No mother should have to worry that when her child goes out to play, that that child may be hit by an intended bullet or a stray bullet.
“Hillary understands what it means to have a strong community; what it means to have confidence that for our children, for our grandchildren, that the United States of America will still be ... the only place, where anyone can come from any other place and make a life for themselves and their children. That’s why I am endorsing Hillary today. That’s why I support her. I know that we will still rise as a nation when she is our president.”
Clinton made an appearance at an NYC charity event, where she joined in the ribbing of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

ABC reports:
Toward the end of the evening, Clinton joined de Blasio and "Hamilton" actor Leslie Odom on stage during a skit at the event, which took place at the New York Hilton Midtown.
“Do me a favor,” Clinton said to de Blasio. “Will you just fix these MetroCard slots? It took me like five swipes.”
“The little terminal thing kept saying please swipe again,” she continued, a reference to her April 7 trip on the No. 4 train in the Bronx, when she failed to glide through the turnstile. "I mean you’ve got to fix that. You don't have to worry about horses anymore. Fix the turnstile and the MetroCard."
During the skit, Clinton also jabbed de Blasio for his delayed endorsement. “Thanks for the endorsement Bill -- it took you long enough,” she said. de Blasio endorsed Clinton for president on October 30, 2015.
This endorsement of Hillary Clinton by a reluctant young progressive is very funny, but also gets at some hard truths about politics that some progressives overlook.

Redline reports:
I don’t understand liberals who hate Hillary Clinton. She is authentic; she is naturally bad at running for office and that painfully shows through at almost all points. But maybe you would be bad at campaigning too if you had been subjected to over two decades of vicious and often contradictory political attacks.
We’ve forced Hillary Clinton to change her hair, her clothes, and her accent. We’ve criticized her for taking too prominent a role during the Bill Clinton administration, then questioned whether being First “Lady” qualified her to run for office. She’s been the most investigated politician since Richard Nixon, yet has never been found to have committed a crime. People have said she has all of the “Clinton baggage” but none of the “Clinton charisma,” which is odd because the “baggage” is her husband cheating on her and the “charisma” is what allows her philandering husband who perjured himself to be loved, while she’s gets called “untrustworthy.” We told her she was too uncompromising in the 1993 health care debate, and now tell her she comprises too much. She’s the most detail-oriented major party candidate since... Bobby Kennedy? But when she shows her substance, we call her “boring.” We call her a political robot, but when she tries to throw away a meaningless platitude at some old lady’s funeral, we lose our minds. We’ve questioned her toughness because she’s a woman, then when she proves she’s as tough as anybody, we “unsex” her and make jokes about her having big balls.
Clinton can’t say “the sky is blue” without Breitbart running a headline “Hillary Clinton Politicizes Sky, Denies Noble Whiteness Of Clouds.”
Hillary Clinton is not a secret Republican. She’s not a witch. She’s not going to jail. She’s a hawkish left-of-center policy wonk. She believes in incremental change and compromise. She’d rather pass a crappy law that has some positive outcomes than watch a great law die in committee. She believes in government, she thinks it does work and can work.
One of the reasons our politics is broken right now is that we have completely lost the ability to compromise. We have let the perfect become the enemy of the good. And I think it’s telling that the frontrunners in both parties are the ones who seem most likely to make a deal (with the devil, no doubt), while the challengers are the “true believers” who want the center of the country to submit because they know what’s best. A majority of Americans are telling us that obstinance is not a political virtue. The ideologues are losing on both sides of the aisle. Liberals need to accept that just as much as conservatives.
Hillary Clinton is not why we progressives can’t have nice things. The entrenched views of conservatives, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, climate deniers, zealots from all religions, and the gun lobby are why we can’t have nice things. Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with a reasonable plan for dealing with those forces.
And that uninspiring, incremental, realist “plan” is why I’ll be voting for her. I guess. Until something practically better comes along.
Peter Daou writes for Blue Nation Review:
When Hillary hired me in 2006, it wasn’t because I agreed with her on everything, it’s because I didn’t.
My job was to build bridges between Hillary and online progressives. As a (very vocal) progressive activist who protested the Iraq war, I came to the task from her left.
In the years that I worked for her, I came to know a person whose fortitude, dignity, compassion and intelligence made her an exceptional candidate for the presidency. Hillary has precisely the qualities that make a great leader: deep knowledge of complex issues and a thorough understanding of the labyrinthine nature of governance.
I’m not looking for perfection — I’m looking for someone who has made mistakes, learned from them, changed their mind, evolved, adjusted, listened, responded.
I’m looking for someone who has the inner discipline to remain steady in the face of brutal headwinds but the courage to change course when necessary.
I’m looking for someone who has disappointed me on occasion but wins me back with the strength of their vision and steadiness of their character.
I’m looking for someone whose moral compass is evident throughout their life and who has the purpose, drive and experience to make their vision a reality. Because that’s how our dreams become a reality too.
Hillary is that person.
For my part, I won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the exceptional.
And Hillary is as exceptional a candidate for president as we’ll ever see.
One last thing: Fighting to elect America’s first woman president and smashing the ultimate gender barrier is something to be proud of, no matter how much heat it brings. Defending Hillary against vicious character attacks is worth the intensity, worth dealing with the constant venom from her detractors.
You only get an opportunity like this once in a lifetime.
Actually, once in 227 years.