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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Friday, February 22, 2008

Senator Clinton

I've encountered so many barbed comments on the blogs that I want to address a couple ways in which I like and respect Senator Clinton.

First, a month ago I wrote two long pieces on Senator Clinton that describe my take on her career and my critical but respectful view of her campaign.

Senator Clinton, clearly, has been a powerful advocate for women, children and families for her entire life. She is and has been an agent of change as a woman and a political advocate. This is a consistent theme; it's real. Her work, after being appointed by President Carter to the board of the Legal Services Corporation, defending that organization from Reagan's budget cuts and mission change, was exemplary. Few knew who she was at that point; no one was looking. She took that stand because of her core values, period. It wasn't about glory because...well, because, even now Senator Clinton has never received proper credit for her role in preserving the organization in its true mission.

Further, Senator Clinton's work over long years with the Arkansas Education Association was, from what I've read, fruitful and had a profound impact. People who say that Senator Clinton left a mark on Arkansas...as she is now leaving a mark on New York State...are credible, in my view. Her speech at the Women's Conference in Beijing was powerful and bold; it deserves more attention than it has received this campaign season. Senator Clinton's advocacy for Senator Kennedy's S-CHIP bill and her recent amendment of the act to extend its benefits to wounded veterans were remarkable and signficant.

Senator Clinton is, in this regard, exactly what she says she is: a tireless advocate for women and children and basic issues that confront citizens who are not powerful and do not have a voice in our politics. It is no coincidence that her most solid bloc of voters are senior citizens and that her advertising can be seen to subtly skew towards them. Her campaign has done a good job conveying its concern for voters on a fixed income. That is relevant to her sucess.

I guess what I'm saying is that Senator Clinton's campaign, on one level, does not get credit from something that is apparent to someone who delves into her supporting material. Senator Clinton has a consistent track record of caring and advocating for those without much political power. Her line about the wounded veterans at the last debate was powerful because it was real. She, in my estimate, truly is that person, she was being sincere.

The overarching theme of caring is why Senator Clinton is involved in politics and it is consistent theme over her 35 year career in public service, law, as First Lady and as a United States Senator.

4 Comments:

  • Hillary Clinton has been, as you say Kid, an exemplary fighter for women's causes, both in this country and abroad. Even if we take exception to her attack yesterday on the Obama mailings, we oughtn't to forget that.

    I belong to a progressive Democratic club, and I've noticed that our members who support Clinton's candidacy do so partly on feminist grounds. They want not only to see a woman as President but also someone who will bring a woman's progressive sensibilities to the office. They aren't under any illusion that gender alone is decisive -- Margaret Thatcher in England, to mention only one example, implemented very conservative policies. Still, as you note, Clinton has in her political life thus far been advancing an agenda that is progressive and humane overall.

    I believe that all of us Dems recognize now that we've got to hold our Party together as we reach the end of the primary season. We've got to focus on the Republican opposition, not attack one another. We ask that Clinton continue to treat Obama with respect, notwithstanding her remarks yesterday, and we have to treat her with deep respect as well, for all that she has stood for and accomplished.

    For many of her detractors -- some Democrats as well as Republicans, unfortunately -- Hillary Clinton is a figment of THEIR twisted imagination. As Stanley Fish has pointed out in the NY Times, "She is vilified for being a feminist and for not being one, for being an extreme leftist and for being a 'warmongering hawk,' for being godless and for being 'frighteningly fundamentalist,' for being the victim of her husband’s peccadilloes and for enabling them." Whomever we support in the Democratic primary race, let's resist the vilifying stereotypes.

    raymond

    By Blogger Raymond Barglow, at 7:52 AM  

  • Hillary Clinton has been, as you say Kid, an exemplary fighter for women's causes, both in this country and abroad. Even if we take exception to her attack yesterday on the Obama mailings, we oughtn't to forget that.

    I belong to a progressive Democratic club, and I've noticed that our members who support Clinton's candidacy do so partly on feminist grounds. They want not only to see a woman as President but also someone who will bring a woman's progressive sensibilities to the office. They aren't under any illusion that gender alone is decisive -- Margaret Thatcher in England, to mention only one example, implemented very conservative policies. Still, as you note, Clinton has in her political life thus far been advancing an agenda that is progressive and humane overall.

    I believe that all of us Dems recognize now that we've got to hold our Party together as we reach the end of the primary season. We've got to focus on the Republican opposition, not attack one another. We ask that Clinton continue to treat Obama with respect, notwithstanding her remarks yesterday, and we have to treat her with deep respect as well, for all that she has stood for and accomplished.

    For many of her detractors -- some Democrats as well as Republicans, unfortunately -- Hillary Clinton is a figment of THEIR twisted imagination. As Stanley Fish has pointed out in the NY Times, "She is vilified for being a feminist and for not being one, for being an extreme leftist and for being a 'warmongering hawk,' for being godless and for being 'frighteningly fundamentalist,' for being the victim of her husband’s peccadilloes and for enabling them." Whomever we support in the Democratic primary race, let's resist the vilifying stereotypes.

    raymond

    By Blogger Raymond Barglow, at 7:53 AM  

  • The extreme amount of sexism that has been displayed towards Hillary Clinton's campaign has been outrageous. And even more disappointing is the lack of response from the community to stand up and say this type of talk in public discourse is not acceptable. It is way too easy to just laugh it off when people say extremely sexist remarks.

    Using words like bitch, cunt, nut breaker in discussion of presidential candidates should be opposed vigorously. No matter who you support. . I hope that all the presidential candidates will take a vow to fight this kind of sexism no matter who becomes our candidate. i hope progressive individuals will speak to the issue when it emerges in public or private discussion.

    By Blogger karen, at 9:48 AM  

  • I agree Karen.

    There is no excuse for misogyny. The internet is a particularly rough place for racism, homophobia and misogyny as well as nasty comments of all sorts.

    It's anonymous and people routinely make insincere comments to game the system.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 10:22 AM  

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