Clinton rally in Oakland draws 14,000

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg i?f=/c/a/2007/09/30/MNM8SHF2M.DTL

Clinton rallies faithful in Oakland

3 videos of the event:

Click on this link for video 1 of the event:

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=27215@kpix.day port.com

Video 2:

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=27216@kpix.day port.com

Video 3:

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=27213@kpix.day port.com

Presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, casting herself as an agent of change in the 2008 presidential campaign, told an estimated crowd of 14,000 people in downtown Oakland on Sunday that she will send emissaries around the globe "the day after I'm elected" to proclaim the message "the era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

"You cannot be a leader if no one is following," Clinton said to cheers, delivering a stump speech in which she lambasted the Bush administration over its policies on the environment, justice, economics and diplomacy.

Clinton's Oakland rally drew at least 3,000 backers who paid a $20-a-head to get VIP seats, and an additional 11,000 supporters and curiosity seekers.

I guess we are now entering a phase of the large scale block-parties after we had seen smaller events for both Clinton and Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire for several months.  Obama recently had a block-party event in NY that supposedly drew 24,000 (Obama campaign estimate,) so we will probably see Clinton bring her supporters out en masse in Chicago and New York for these types of large rallies.  We will probably see more of these during these final 90 days before the first votes in Iowa are cast.  A good thing IMO, as it underscores the pull that both candidates have and by extension the Democratic party has and it shows the country that the Democratic candidates are bringing people out in droves,bring excitement, whereas the Giuliani's, Thompson's and Romney's of the world are lucky to break a couple of thousand at their typically ho-hum events.

The fundraising is scheduled to continue today - the first day of the new quarter - with a breakfast in Tiburon and a lunch in Lafayette. She also is scheduled to announce an "urban agenda" during a visit to Oakland's Laney College, where she will visit classrooms and speak to students about issues such as the role of vocational education helping people transition from welfare to work and the importance of investing in career education.

Education is a huge part of Clinton's appeal to me, and I am very interested in this unveiling of Clinton's Urban Agenda today.  

Many in the crowd at Clinton's event were women who said they had come to see a woman in a historic role who could make it to the White House.

Rebecca Lehrer, 25, an arts administrator from San Francisco, and her roommate, Abby Edelman, 25, an entrepreneur, were among those waving "Women for Hillary" signs as they watched the candidate.

"I'm a student of international affairs, and the idea of a woman being an international leader can change the face of politics," Edelman said. "That is very, very powerful."

Clinton spoke directly to those young followers.

"I am so proud that I might have the great honor of being the first woman president in the history of the United States," she said. "I am not running because I am a woman ... (but because ) I am the best qualified person to hit the ground running on Jan. 1, 2009."

There's more...

Hillary and seniors

This is a candidate-supporter diary

Seniors are our parents, our grandparents, in some blogger's cases, they are seniors themselves.  

Social security funds, which should be in a lockbox, have been raided time and again to pay for other "emergencies," and now we are told that Social Security is in a crisis, that it won't be solvent after 2040, that it needs fixing.  Prescription drug benefits are a major issue, as are other health related issue like full access to Medicare, stem cell research and other related issues.

Against that backdrop, let's look at some of the reasons why seniors are Hillary Clinton's strongest demographic, the group that gives Clinton her most lopsided support.  Let's also look why seniors are absolutely crucial for the upcoming elections (both primaries/caucuses and the general election.)

SENIORS AND THEIR HISTORIC ROLE IN ELECTIONS

Individuals 55 years of age and over are the most prolific voters.  Ergo, that age group makes the most important voter block to any politician.

http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Politi cs/4-10-28SeniorVote.htm

Almost 70% of all seniors cast votes in a general election.  In the rest of the population the percentage is below 50%.  

When it comes to primaries and caucuses, the share of the "older" vote is incredibly high.  A full 64% of Iowa caucus voters in 2004 were 55 years of age or older.  Almost TWO-THIRDS of all Iowa caucus voters are over 55 years of age.  In the New Hampshire's primary, the 55 or older population makes up over 50% of all voters.   If you win a lionshare of that vote, you win the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, naturally.  Not to speak of the Florida primary and all the other primaries which show a share of over 50% in the over-55 demogroup.

Clinton's strongest support in basically all the polls we have seen comes from the 55 and over demographic, the one group that consistently shows up to vote in caucuses, primaries, general elections, rain or shine.

WHAT IS THE ROOT OF CLINTON'S STRONG SUPPORT AMONGST SENIORS?

Well, there is her Senate voting history.  Unlike her main competitors John Edwards, who did not focus strongly on senior issues while in the Senate and Obama, who has not much of a record of fighting for senior issues, Hillary Clinton has been leading on many issues important to seniors.

More after the break

There's more...

Hillary and Education

Part 4 of the candidate-supporter diary series

As many of you may be aware, we have two daughters, one is 2 yrs. old (Christine) and the other turned 10 (Janine.)

 Naturally, education is one of the biggest issues and concerns for our family.  I have been dissecting all candidate's educational platforms closely and what I have found in Clinton's approach is one of the main reasons I settled on her as my favored candidate for the nomination.  

I am quite confident, after looking at Clinton's record and educational plans and proposals that the teacher's unions (such as the NEA and AFT) will be putting their endorsements and considerable weight behind Clinton's candidacy.   It would surprise me if the choice went any other way based on what I have seen in terms of the individual's educational credentials.

First a bit of history:

After receiving a grant, Clinton's first job in 1970 was working for the Children Defense Fund. During her second year in law school, Hillary Clinton volunteered at Yale's Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development, as well as New Haven Hospital, where she took on cases of child abuse and the city Legal Services, providing free legal service to the poor. Upon graduation from law school, she served as staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

source:  http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/f irstladies.aspx?biography=43

In 1996 Hillary Clinton penned the book "It takes a village to raise a child."

This old African proverb was the title of the book Clinton penned in 1996, and it perfectly illustrates the through-and-through progressive nature of Hillary Clinton.   In essence, progressivism believes in the idea that government can, better than private enterprise, provide social services to its citizens.  If it is done efficiently and smart, it is infinitely better equipped to provide virtually any service imaginable (health care, education, social security, elderly care, child services, etc.) because it does not need to run ever-increasing profits, just break even.   It can save money due to its increased buying power over fragmented "for profit" services and, in its ideal form, is a mere servant to the citizenry.    That is in essence what "It takes a village" is all about.  All of us, society in general, have to pull together to take care of our children's needs, from teachers, health care providers, parents to neighbors, friends, even "all of us" in the form of government.   Extend that to the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the war-wounded, and you have a society that helps its sick and poor instead of turning its backs on them.  

Here is Clinton's speech at the 1996 Democratic convention addressing the idea of all of us pulling together to improve the lives of every individual:

http://www.happinessonline.org/LoveAndHe lpChildren/p12.htm

Here are some what I found to be moving and poignant comments from Hillary Clinton addressing the book itself:

'It Takes A Village....'

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

I write these words looking out through the windows in the White House at the city of Washington in all its beauty and squalor, promise and despair. In the shadow of great power, so many feel powerless. These contradictions color my feelings when I think about my own child and all our children. My worry for these children has increased, but remarkably, so has my hope for their future.

REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

We know much more now than we did even a few years ago about how the human brain develops and what children need from their environments to develop character, empathy, and intelligence. When we put this knowledge into practice, the results are astonishing. Also, because when I read, travel, and talk with people around the world, it is increasingly clear to me that nearly every problem children face today has been solved somewhere, by someone. And finally, because I sense a new willingness on the part of many parents and citizens to turn down the decibel level on our political conflicts and start paying attention to what works.

There's an old saying I love: You can't roll up your sleeves and get to work if you're still wringing your hands. So if you, like me, are worrying about our kids; if you, like me, have wondered how we can match our actions to our words, I'd like to share with you some of the convictions I've developed over a lifetime--not only as an advocate and a citizen but as a mother, daughter, sister, and wife--about what our children need from us and what we owe to them.

"IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD"

I chose that old African proverb to title my book because it offers a timeless reminder that children will thrive only if their families thrive and if the whole of society cares enough to provide for them. The sage who first offered that proverb would undoubtedly be bewildered by what constitutes the modern village. In earlier times and places--and until recently in our own culture--the "village" meant an actual geographic place where individuals and families lived and worked together.

For most of us, though, the village doesn't look like that anymore. In fact, it's difficult to paint a picture of the modern village, so frantic and fragmented has much of our culture become. Extended families rarely live in the same town, let alone the same house. In many communities, crime and fear keep us behind locked doors. Where we used to chat with neighbors on stoops and porches, now we watch videos in our darkened living rooms. Instead of strolling down Main Street, we spend hours in automobiles and at anonymous shopping malls. We don't join civic associations, churches, union, political parties, or even bowling leagues the way we used to.

WE CAN'T TURN AWAY FROM THIS BRAVE NEW WORLD

The horizons of the contemporary village extend well beyond the town line. From the moment we are born, we are exposed to vast numbers of other people and influences through the media. Technology connects us to the impersonal global village it has created.

To many, this brave new world seems dehumanizing and inhospitable. It is not surprising, then,, that there is a yearning for the "good old days" as a refuge from the problems of the present. But by turning away, we blind ourselves to the continuing, evolving presence of the village in our lives, and its critical importance for how we live together. The village can no longer be defined as a place on a map, or as a list of people or organizations, but its essence remains the same: it is the network of values and relationships that support and affect our lives.

NEW WAYS OF COMING TOGETHER

One of the honors of being First Lady is the opportunity I have to go out into the world and to see what individuals and communities are doing to help themselves and their children. I have had the privilege of talking with mothers, fathers, grandparents, civic clubs, Scout troops, PTAs, and church groups. From these many conversations, I know Americans everywhere are searching for--and often finding--new ways to support one another.

Even our technology offers us new ways of coming together, through radio talk shows, e-mail and the Internet. The networks of relationships we form and depend on are our modern-day villages, but they reach well beyond the city limits. Many of them necessarily involve the whole nation. They are the basis for our "civil society," a term social scientists use to describe the way we work together for common purposes. Whether we harness their potential for the greater good or allow ourselves to drift into alienation and divisiveness depends on the choices we make now.

CREATING CONSENSUS, RESISTING EXTREMIST RHETORIC

We cannot move forward by looking to the past for easy olutions. Even if a golden age had existed, we could not simply graft it onto today's busier, more impersonal and complicated world. Instead, our challenge is to arrive at a consensus of values and a common vision of what we can do, individually and collectively, to build strong families and communities. Creating that consensus in a democracy depends on seriously considering other points of view, resisting the lure of extremist rhetoric, and balancing individual rights and freedoms with personal responsibility and mutual obligations.

THE TRUE TEST...

of the consensus we build is how well we care for our children. For a child, the village must remain personal. Talking to a baby while changing a diaper, playing airplane to entice a toddler to accept a spoonful of food, tossing a ball back and forth with a teenager, are tasks that cannot be carried out in cyberspace. They require the presence of caring adults who are dedicated to children's growth, nurturing, and well-being.

What we do to participate in and support that network--from the way we care for our own children to the jobs we do, the causes we join, and the kinds of legislation we support--is mirrored every day in the experiences of America's children. We can read our national character most plainly in the result.

MORALITY, AND SELF-INTEREST, AT STAKE

How we care for our own and other people's children isn't only a question of morality; our self-interest is at stake too. No family is immune to the influences of the larger society. No matter what my husband and I do to protect and prepare Chelsea, her future will be affected by how other children are being raised. I don't want her to grow up in an America sharply divided by income, race, or religion. I'd like to minimize the odds of her suffering at the hands of someone who didn't have enough love or discipline, opportunity or responsibility, as a child. I want her to believe, as her father and I did, that the American Dream is within reach of anyone willing to work hard and take responsibility. I want her to live in an America that is still strong and promising to its own citizens and lives up to its image throughout the world as a land of hope and opportunity.

THIS, THEN, IS AN INVITATION TO A JOURNEY...

we can take together, as parents and as citizens of this country, united in the belief that children are what matter--more than the size of our bank accounts or the kinds of cars we drive. As Jackie Kennedy Onassis said, "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much." That goes for each of us, whether or not we are parents--and for all of us as a nation.

More after the flip....

There's more...

Hillary Clinton and healthcare

This is the third installment of a weekly candidate-supporter diary series

The biggest domestic topic facing our nation is the health care crisis.  Our health care system is broken, and we must act to fix it.  The per capita outlay in our system is over $6,000 per person, double that of European countries, and they have at least a universal health care system that covers every citizen(some use the single-payer model,) whereas in our overpriced system we have 45 Million people without health care.

Much has been written about the competing health care plans of the candidates.  I would like to focus on Clinton's health care input and plans, but encourage additions and comments.  

Let me state that Clinton's entire health care plan has not been released yet, the final installment of the program is expected within the next 3 to 4 weeks.   From what I have read I expect the system to be closer to Edwards' plan than Obama's plan, but will most likely not include insured-mandated coverage (a major drawback to Edwards' system, IMO.)  It has been  claimed that you HAVE to impose insurance mandates to make the system universal, but that is not always true, in fact most European countries don't include them and they achieve universal coverage.  Whatever it may be, this final piece of Clinton's  health care plan will have to wait for a later merit discussion in a few weeks.

Let's go with what we already know, and part of the history.  

Let's go way back to 1993.  The health care system was not nearly as broken as it is today, the per capita outlay for our health care system in 1992 was $3,165 per capita.  In contrast, in 1992 Germany's per capita expenditure on health care was $2,476 per capita, France's was 2,119, Canada's was $2,008 and Sweden's was $2,528 per capita.    

source:  OECD figures

We had the most expensive health care system in the world even back in 1992, but the differences were not nearly as drastic as they are today.  Our expenditures per capita exceeded those of other major industrialized nations by about 30% to 40%.  

Against that backdrop came Bill Clinton's proposal to overhaul our health care system.  The Task Force on National Health Care Reform was set up, headed by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, to come up with a comprehensive plan to provide universal health care for all Americans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_hea lth_care_plan

In a major speech to Congress president Bill Clinton made these comments:

Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings. Millions more are locked into the jobs they have now just because they or someone in their family has once been sick and they have what is called the preexisting condition. And on any given day, over 37 million Americans -- most of them working people and their little children -- have no health insurance at all. And in spite of all this, our medical bills are growing at over twice the rate of inflation, and the United States spends over a third more of its income on health care than any other nation on Earth.

The plan ultimately failed to pass.   There were mistakes made when the plan was put together, but the main reason for it not gaining enough support was that conservatives were able to portray the plan as too convoluted and complex and the question was raised whether there was indeed a health care crisis present in the first place.   Many in the media and many political figures looked at the 1992 per-capita health care expenditures (and the relatively small difference in such expenditures to UHC nations like Germany and France) and shortsightedly dismissed that a major health care crisis was already afoot and was bound to get progressively worse.  All one had to do was to look at given health care growth rates and compare them to projected growth rates of expenditures in other industrialized nations to realize what was to come.  

Fast forwarding to 2006 we are now clocking in at over $6,000 per capita health care expenditures, a doubling of our health care costs per capita, whereas the other industrialized nations referenced above saw very slight increases in coverage cost.  Instead of being 1/3rd more expensive than Germany, France, Canada, Japan and Sweden our health care system is NOW THREE TIMES the expense of these other nations on average.  

An illustration of the explosive growth in this chart comparing expenditures from 1992 and 2002.

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S-CHIP a major step towards UHC:

Four years after the Universal Health Care proposal failed, Hillary Clinton helped pass the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP.) She helped negotiate the bill with Congress and later was the point person working to ensure that parents across the country knew about the program and signed up their children. "Over the course of a year, the program, financed jointly by the federal government and the states, provides health insurance to six million children in families that have too much income to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance." [White House Press Release 10/17/00; New York Times, 3/14/07]

Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965. The five year, $24 billion State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will provide health care coverage for up to five million children. Two million children have already been enrolled, and in October 1999 President Clinton announced new outreach initiatives to enroll millions more uninsured, eligible children. Last year, the President launched a nationwide "Insure Kids Now" campaign that will bring together major TV and radio networks, healthcare organizations, religious groups and other community-based organizations to help enroll more children in the Children's Health Insurance Program, with the goal of enrolling 5 million of the estimated 10 million children eligible for health insurance under CHIP within 5 years. This year, the budget includes several of Vice President Gore's proposals to accelerate enrollment of children in CHIP. The President is also proposing a new FamilyCare program, which would give States the option to cover parents in the same plan as their children. [White House Fact Sheet, 1/11/00; White House, 2/23/99]

source:  http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/Accomplishme nts/health.html

This program has now grown well beyond its original scope.  The initial plan gave medical coverage to 5 Million children who lacked eligibility for Medicaid, with elegibility capped at twice the poverty level (approx. $40,000 for a family of four.)  In some 14 states the program now covers hundreds of thousands of adults (using wavers to cover parents, pregnant women, etc.) to the point where in Minnesota 92 percent of money spent under the program is going to adults, and the other 13 states covering adults with universal coverage to varying degrees under this program.  Other states are looking to expand coverage to adults under this program as well.  Incrementally, the S-CHIP program has been used by states to expand health coverage to many of their citizens who are beyond the scope of Medicaid.  It is not hard to see how expanding this system and raising the elegebility threshold one eventually arrives at a system that comes close to covering many of the currently uninsured.

Enter S-CHIP expansion

Watch it:

Hillary Clinton is one of two principal sponsors of the S-CHIP expansion bill.  The Clinton-Dingell bill passed the Senate (altered) by a vote of 68-31 on 8/3/2007 and is awaiting reconciliation with the S-CHIP expansion house bill, which was passed on 8/1/2007.  The Clinton S-CHIP expansion bill included a reauthorization of S-CHIP for another 5 years, spending of $50 Billion over 5 years, and an expanded scope of coverage to allow states to increase coverage level to up to 4 times the rate of poverty, which would make eligible a family of four earning up to $82,600.  Also increased was the age of eligibility, allowing states to cover children up to 25 years of age.  Individual states abilities to also cover adults under this bill was not curbed.   The compromise alteration of Clinton-Dingell now allows for 3-times the poverty level (up to $61,000 earnings for a family of four) and a $35 Billion budget over 5 years.  

More after the flip:

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My Problem with Hillary

First I must begin with a caveat - Hillary Clinton will be a good and inspiring President, especially for young (and young at heart) women. She is intelligent, has an amazing memory, and her policies will be a welcome relief from the current incumbent. Any opponent of Hillary would be unwise to recognize these positive traits.

However, my problem with Hillary is that she will not unite the nation and change the direction of our nation's politics. The baggage Hillary carries will not prevent her from winning the general election, but will prevent a larger Democratic wave from appearing (especially in Red/Purple states and districts). More importantly, her baggage will ensure that many Republican voters will fail to appreciate how well she is governing by remaining focused on why they loathe Hillary. In short, a Hillary Clinton presidency will be similar to a Bush presidency, except that Democrats are supportive and Republicans are pissed.

The second problem I have with Hillary is that she is a southern moderate (with strong ties to the DLC). I am afraid that she will not appreciate the desire for change and fail to take full advantage of the political opportunities she is presented with. Her policies will be incremental, not bold. She will be concerned with her reelection in 2012 and not do what she knows is right until it is safe to take that position. I fear she will not appoint a strong progressive to the Supreme Court, but nominate moderate, pro-choice Democrats to the bench instead of Justices like Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, or Brennan.

I believe the choice Democrats have in this election is between incremental change or a more dramatic change of the nation's politics and policies.

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