Would Clinton be Incompetent on Gay Rights?

I believe that the Clintons would like to do what's right with respect to gay rights.  I believe that, if it were up to them alone, they would be in favor of gay marriage and gay adoption and full partner rights, emloyment and housing rights, etc.  The problem is that it really is NOT entirely up to the Clintons, and they don't have a good record on the issue.  

No sooner had Bill Clinton gotten elected in 1992 then he tried immediately to implement a policy of full gay equality of participation in the military.  He believed he could accomplish this by executive order, forgetting that the US Congress also has a say in these matters.

The political right got together with military leaders like Colin Powell, and they rapidly built a solid wall of opposition to gay rights, mobilizing all of their forces.  Those of us who supported Clinton had not been mobilized at all.  We were not even informed beforehand that he was taking on this issue.  He just sprang it on the nation and assumed that everyone would go along because he had been elected president (with a plurality of the vote).

And then Clinton was forced, by stiff opposition in the US Congress and a significant part of the public, to accept "don't ask, don't tell," which effectively reified the discrimination that existed before Clinton tried to do anything at all. This would have been like Johnson trying to open the lunch counters to Blacks and whites and then ending up with a legislative reiteration of Jim Crow instead. Yes, Clinton's heart was in the right liberal place, but she was utterly ineffectual at implementing her vision that time.

When you think about it, this is actually very similar to what happened with national health care. Hillary Clinton believed that she could design a complicated health care regime in isolation, and then all of the forces who opposed the plan would go along with it just because she said so. So, she didn't effectively work with Congress to find out what was politically possible or to obtain buy-in from the essential Congressional players.

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Color Arousal Led to Underestimation of Obama's Potential

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2008 Democratic Convention Watch

Earlier this year, some blogs as well as Clintons surrogates argued that Barack Obama would have a difficult time winning the presidential race simply because of his skin color.  However, the graphic above (full of actual facts) tells a different story.  Ten governors of US states are for Clinton, but 13 (30% more) have endorsed Obama.  Governors, as we all know, are super-delegates, and so their opinion counts whether they are from caucus states, big states or small states.  Of course Clinton and her surrogates will assure us that this fact does not matter, and is not indicative of meaningul support for Obama.

The graphic also shows that while Clinton has the support of 13 US senators, Obama has the support of 17 senators.  Obama has five more US senators than Clinton does!

Now, Clinton has the support of 73 members of the US House of Representatives, while Obama has 71, or only two less.

Regardless of our hopes, I suspect that few of us, except perhaps Barack Obama and his campaign aides, believed that Barack Obama's campaign could find itself in this position today. In addition to Clintons strong position going in, also no Black person has ever been elected president. It was natural that our learned experience had taught us that a Black person would have difficulty being nominated and then elected president. Thus, our historical experience, combined with our perception or awareness of Barack Obama's skin-color, helped conditioned our ideation - what we would believe and refuse to believe, think and exclude from our thinking.

See narrative below the fold.

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Clinton Camp Says News Looks Grim

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The Clinton camp is acknowledging to supporters that the national news looks bad for the Clinton campaign.  In a mass e-mailing that I received from Hillary Clinton for President today, signed by Terry McAuliffe in his capacity as chairman of Clinton for President,  McAuliffe says,

When I turn on the TV all I hear is negative words. The news stations keep telling you that we're down and out.

Meanwhile, the loss of message discipline within the Clinton camp seems only to be feeding the rising tide against Clinton, as her surrogates increasingly and openly express honest doubts that she'll win.  According to Politico.Com,
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver of Kansas City -- a Hillary supporter and superdelegate -- gives a sense of how tenuous Clinton's hold on many black superdelegates is.

( . . . )

"If I had to make a prediction right now, I'd say Barack Obama is going to be the next president," he said just after 18:00. "I will be stunned if he's not the next president of the United States." Politico.Com

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Afrosphere Criticizes its CNN Coverage

CNN, did a segment this week on the difference in opinion between Black voters and bloggers who support Barack Obama, on the one hand, and so-called "towel-head" members of the Black Congressional caucus who continue to support Hillary Clinton, even while Hillary Clinton has tried to make the nomination contest a referendum on whose skin color is most similar to the skin color of the majority of voters.

The AfroSpear's Jack and Jill Politics, who drew my attention to this CNN national media coverage of AfroSpear and afrosphere voices, is dismayed because, among other things, the news segment seems to suggest that our only objection to Hillary Clinton is her skin color, while our only reason for supporting Obama is his skin color.


    Without comment from the bloggers and lacking insight themselves, Anderson and Soledad left it to the very black superdelegates being pressured and allowed them to frame the issue and "respond" as they saw fit. This meant they framed the issue as "these black people want me to support Obama just because he's black."Baratunde at Jack and Jill Politics

Although that argument was made by the Black Clinton surrogates who appeared on the program, and no Black bloggers were invited to respond, yet I didn't hear the piece that way overall.

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Alice Walker Endorses Obama, not Pseudofeminists

I've read the Alice Walker endorsement of Barack Obama and I think it's potentially very important, because it is the Black feminist response to some well-known white feminists  like Erica Jong and et al, women who have e.g. deeply offended and alienated Black people and other Obama supporters by asserting that the only feminist thing to do is vote for Hillary, while voting for Obama would merely be "tokenism." Erica Jong said,

Obama is also a token -- of our incomplete progress toward an interracial society. I have nothing against him except his inexperience. Many black voters agree. They understand tokenism and condescension.  Washington Post [See fuller discussion of this article here.
This is but one example of how terribly wrong such Hillaryfeminists have been about the facts, much less in their opinions.  We now know that 90% of Blacks are supporting Obama, due in part to the massive offense Blacks have taken to the expression of views like this by Hillary supporters like Erica Jong and Geraldine Ferraro.  Entirely and utterly contrary to what Jong said in the Washington Post, Blacks don't agree that Obama is a mere "token" and neither do the majority white voters in Vermont, Wyoming, Minnesota, Idaho, Maine and Alaska. That's why 90% of Black votes are now going to Barack Obama: At the same time Obama was showing that he was an excellent candidate for the presidency and therefore deserved our votes, Hillary and her supporters were insulting us daily as if they WANTED us to vote for her opponent, regardless of whom he might be.

Where do Hillaryfeminists get this stuff?  Isn't what Erica Jong said frighteningly similar to what Geraldine Ferraro said?  It's almost as if they're all working from the same color-aroused script, so similar are the ideation and emotion that are present in their offensive expressive behavior!

Erica Jong said of Obama:

He was lucky enough not to be in the Senate when the Iraq war resolution was floated after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell lied about WMDs. Washington Post

This is a strange context in which to use the word "lucky." Actually, there wasn't much "luck" involved, since there was not a single Black person in the US Senate when the IWR was passed in 2002. When a group that constitutes 13% of the nation only has one member in a one hundred member Senate, it is perverse, disgusting, repulsive and deeply offensive to describe that as "lucky." 

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Obama Wins Endorsement of (Ret.) Rep. Lee Hamilton

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Barack Obama continues to receive high level Democratic endorsements, while Hillary Clinton mostly does not.  The LA Times blog reports that:

In what could prove both a significant addition to his foreign policy credentials and a boost for the close Indiana primary, Ex-Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, former head of the 9/11 commission and Iraq Study Group, endorses Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in advance of the party's May 6 primary there.  Ex-Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, former head of the 9/11 commission and Iraq Study Group, endorses Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in advance of the party's May 6 primary there.  Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois this afternoon scored the endorsement of former Rep. Lee Hamilton, one of the Democratic Party's leading foreign affairs experts.

Hamilton, a 35-year House member from Indiana, which holds its presidential primary May 6, chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-chaired both the 9/11 commission and the Iraq Study Group.

"I read his national security and foreign policy speeches," Hamilton told Bloomberg News today, "and he comes across to me as pragmatic, visionary and tough.  He impresses me as a person who wants to use all the tools of presidential power." LA Times

So, what does all of this mean?  On the one hand, we have Hillary Clinton and her surrogates criss-crossing the country, telling voters that only she is electable because only she is white. Yet, in spite of Hillary Clinton's relentless attempts to color-arouse the electorate, Obama continues receiving the endorsements of well-known WHITE Democrats, like Lee Hamilton, who prefer to endorse Obama instead of Hillary.

Although Hamilton is not a Democratic super-delegate, his backing comes on the heels of several high-profile endorsements for Obama, who leads Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in delegates for the party's nomination. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota endorsed Obama in recent days.

Hamilton is the highest-profile Indiana Democrat to back Obama before the state's May 6 primary. Sen. Evan Bayh and the bulk of Indiana's Democratic Party leadership have campaigned actively for Clinton in a state where neither candidate is regarded as a natural front-runner. Yahoo News

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HRC Campaign Manager Led Sub-Prime Lender

Today, an AfroSpear colleague, Yobachi Boswell, turned me on to  an  astounding bit of well-sourced, campaign-acknowledged information about Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, "Sub-prime Maggie" Williams:

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton spends considerable time on the campaign trail bemoaning unscrupulous lenders who have left millions of Americans scrambling to keep their homes but all the while her campaign manager, Margaret "Maggie" Williams, has sat on the board of one of the nation's once-largest and now-bankrupt sub-prime mortgage lenders.

Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told FOXNews.com late Sunday that Williams, a longtime Clinton ally, didn't join Clinton's Democratic presidential campaign as a volunteer until after Delta Financial Corporation -- for which Williams is a director -- went bankrupt in December 2007.

That's more than seven years after Williams joined New York-based Delta Financial in 2000. She became a director one month after a federal settlement was reached with the lender over discriminatory lending practices. More recently, Delta has been accused by consumer advocates of pursuing predatory practices throughout the housing boom and bust.  Faux News

 Now, I know this comes from Fox News, but Fox News got it directly from the mouth of Howard Wolfson, one of Hillary Clinton's principal campaign spokespeople.  

Yeah, I know this information about "Sub-prime Maggie" makes Hillary look terribly bad, and I know it comes from a source (Faux News) that hates Democrats, but I have an even more fundamental concern:  Is it true?  If so, I think it really does bring into question the future commitment of Hillary's people, particularly Sub-prime Maggie Williams to address mortgage lending in a fair-handed way.

Remember what happened when we elected a vice president who came directly from Halliburton Corp., which might just as well be known as "War, Corp."?  That's right, we got TWO wars, neither of which is over yet.  This is a good reason to doubt the wisdom of electing a president whose campaign manager, Sub-prime Maggie, comes from one of the sub-prime lenders that has caused a near melt-down in America's economy.

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Gov. Rendell "Loves" Obama & HRC Ticket

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To judge by a paragraph in the New York Times, Clinton's continued presence in the presidential race may evince an effort to compel Barack Obama to place her on the Democratic ticket.  It's no secret that Obama may believe Hillary is too divisive and old-politics to gel with his change themes.  However, Clinton may be trying to compel him to find a way, whether he likes it or not:

. . . the Clinton campaign continued to insist that the senator would stay in the race, despite Mr. Obama's lead in delegates. On Sunday, one of her top backers, Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, said he would "love" to see Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton on a ticket together.  New York Times
If key Democrats like ex-Governor Cuomo and Edward Rendell favor a joint ticket, the question is, "What would it take to make that happen?" The answer may be that Obama has to be softened up by the ongoing battle until having Clinton on the ticket and united at his side seems preferable to trying to keep her off and having her perpetually trying to prevent and destroy what he is trying to build.

Is it possible that Clinton would demand more than the vice presidency, for example that Bill Clinton become Ambassador to the UN, or that Hillary Clinton be allowed to name major cabinet appointments?  Would Hillary Clinton want control of the bureaucracy in exchange for her to cease and desist her negative campaign?     Could Barack Obama be president if Clinton were vice president?

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Gov. Cuomo Proposes Obama/Clinton Ticket?


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In an Op-Ed article at the Boston Globe, Democrat Mario Cuomo, ex-governor of New York, calls for and explains the convincing logic of a joint Democratic presidential/vice presidential ticket with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:


Obama and Clinton can - by putting aside personal irritations, and to some extent personal aspirations, and agreeing to end the hostilities and form a ticket that offers both of them, a candidate for president and a candidate for vice president who is clearly good enough to serve as president, should the occasion arise. That candidate for vice president would also have a good chance of being elected president eight years from now because neither of the two would be too old in 2016.

If they are not capable of doing that, the two could announce they will complete the primary schedule and convention with the winner becoming candidate for president and the other agreeing to be a candidate for vice president, thereby mollifying to some extent the constituency of the candidate who was not chosen as the nominee for president.

Think of it, over the next eight years we could elect both the first woman and the first African-American to become president. That's not a dream: It's a plausible, achievable, glorious possibility - if our two remaining candidates have the personal strength and wisdom to make it happen. The joint statement announcing their agreement would rock the nation and resound across the globe - sweeter than any political poetry; smarter and more meaningful than any tightly intelligent political prose.

If, on the other hand, the candidates refuse to work out a way to keep both constituencies firmly in the Democratic camp for the general election, the 2008 primary may be the story of a painfully botched grand opportunity to return our nation to the upward path, and leave us mired in Iraq and government mediocrity.  Mario Cuomo:  How to Avoid a Democratic Disaster

This has always made sense to me, and I've advocated it since early last year. Granted, my estimation of Hillary Clinton has dropped immensely over the last three months, but I nonetheless admire her tenacity and determination.    

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Sen. Casey's w/ Obama, Leahy Says "HRC Concede"

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Sen. Bob Casey (PA) endorses Obama.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) says Clinton should concede.

Today may be remembered as a turning point for Senator Barack Obama, leading toward a concession speech by Hillary Clinton.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama. Casey said Friday at a boisterous rally, "I believe in my heart that there is one person whose uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama."

The two appeared on the stage together.

Pennsylvania's April 22 primary is the next big prize in the drawn-out nomination battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Casey is a first-term senator and the son of a popular former governor of the state. Casey is Catholic and, like his father, is known for his opposition to abortion and support of gun rights. His support could help Obama make inroads among Catholic voters. News.AOL.COM

It's hard for the Clinton camp to argue that Sen. Casey's endorsement doesn't matter, as they have with other recent endorsements, since Sen. Leahy is one of the two US Senators from the next state to hold a primary and, like many of the voters there, Sen. Leahy is a white male.

At the same time, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont (a state that Obama won) has announced his belief that Senator Clinton should now concede the race to Obama.  

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