Hillary Clinton; Executive Experience Explained

Hillary Clinton puts McCain above Obama – Complete

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks of her ample experience.  The Senator from New York reminds us in advertisements and advisements that she, the former First Lady is abundantly qualified to serve as President of the world’s superpower, the United States of America.  For decades, Clinton gave to her country and the community.  She would like to continue to work for the people; perhaps, in a more profound manner.  As Hillary Clinton affirmed of herself, “I have crossed the Commander-In-Chief threshold.”  However, some question her qualifications.

We agree; Senator Clinton has already walked within the private quarters of the White House.  She was privileged enough to inhabit the residence. She, and her spouse, were selected by the people, not once, but twice to represent this nation.  In her position as First Lady, the Presidential hopeful gained much wisdom.  As Senator, she expanded her knowledge.

Hillary and husband Bill Clinton are deeply connected.  The pair has been through trying times.  Yet, repeatedly, they triumph.  Nearly a score ago, William Jefferson Clinton coined the term “comeback kid” about him.  From his first Presidential bid to has last, and then again after he left office, the boy from Hope, Arkansas never lost his.  This extraordinary man married a woman who mirrored his amazing ability, Hillary Rodham.  On March 4, 2008, Presidential hopeful, the wondrous Hillary Clinton did as her husband had done well over a decade ago.  She too can now be called the quintessential candidate who will not be kept down.  Despite a mass of primary and caucus wins, Barack Obama, learned as many before him had, the experienced candidate, Hillary Clinton will carry on with greater vigor until she realized substantial victories.  

As near newlyweds, Bill and Hillary governed in Arkansas.  Against all probability, the fresh young couple, from a small Southern state, entered the national scene.  Together, they engaged in many difficult and persistent disputes with the privileged political notables.  Hillary argued against all claims cast against the couple.  She spoke of a vast “Right-Winged Conspiracy.”  Ultimately, the Clintons prevailed and came to occupy the Oval Office.  

They endured when others lost faith.  Bill’s hometown, Hope, provided him with extraordinary will.  Apparently, Hillary had the same ability to dream and create the impossible.  The two are practiced.  They have been beaten down, and just as the Phoenix, they rise from the ashes.  

Many Americans recall when the Governor of Arkansas and his bride first appeared on the national scene.  people recognized Hillary was not and would not be the woman behind the man; the two were as one.  The First Lady of  the Natural State was as articulate, erudite, experienced, and eloquent, just as her Rhodes Scholar husband Bill was and is.  The couple met in college.  Each attended and graduated form Yale Law School.  Each was and is a professional in his or her own right.  In 1991, the thought was elect one and the nation would have two esteemed and eligible individuals working in the White House for “us,” the citizens of the United States.

Thus, Americans were convinced.  The Clinton’s, as they are often called, moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Bill Clinton and Hillary shared a bed.  They exchanged secrets.  The two lawyers understood the complexity of their given roles.  They were familiar with the particulars in each other’s lives.  Couples communicate.  Americans saw evidence of what the Clintons could do.  The deficit was reduced.  A surplus produced.  The people prospered.  Many would say, ‘life was good under the Clinton’s.’

Hence, there is reason to believe as Louis Murray of Barry, Vermont declared, on a cold day in March 2008, as he emerge from the polls.  Mister Murray told a National Public Radio reporter, “She is truthful, truthful.”  We can only wonder of the rest of his statement,  “[T]his Obama, I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I just don’t trust him.  I am not prejudiced or anything.  I just don’t trust him.”  

Perhaps Louis Murray mirrors his mentor.  Hillary Clinton, only days before the March primary vote expressed her reticence.  She was questioned about her faith in Barack Obama, or at least she cast doubt on his.  In a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Senator Clinton was asked of a concern expressed by many constituents.  ‘Is Barack Obama a Christian?’

“You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?” Kroft asked Sen. Clinton.

“Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that,” she replied.

“You said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not…a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s…,” Kroft said.

“No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know,” she said.

“It’s just scurrilous…?” Kroft inquired.

“Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors, that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time,” Clinton said.

This terse and tentative dismissive of the rumors that Barack Obama may be Muslim, hence a threat to the Jewish population, or pro-Israel policy, is but one of many stealthy, subliminal actions in an ample arsenal of Clinton agendas.  The experienced campaigner and her cohorts have been up to much mischief.  However, they deny,  or refuse to comment, on claims and confirmations.

The comment seemed like a casual aside. Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, was touting the New York senator’s strong support for Israel during a conference call in January with leaders of major American Jewish organizations. During the call, Lewis energetically contrasted Clinton’s pro-Israel credentials with those of Barack Obama.  To make her point, she said that Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser” is Zbigniew Brzezinski, says one participant who would talk about the call only if he were not identified.

Brzezinski-the former national-security adviser to Jimmy Carter-is not Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser.”  That is the job of a triumvirate who once worked for Bill Clinton: Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Greg Craig. But Brzezinski, who tells Newsweek he has advised Obama “only on occasion,” has a reputation that is close to toxic in the American Jewish community.  “When Brzezinski’s name appears on an advisory list, that’s a red flag right away,” says an influential American Jewish leader who did not want to sour relations with the Obama campaign.  Many American Jews mistrust Brzezinski because he endorsed a 2006 article, later a book, called “The Israel Lobby,” which blames many U.S. foreign-policy problems on Washington’s ties to Israel.

Lewis’s aside is not an isolated incident. (She did not respond to a request for comment.)  As the race between Clinton and Obama has sharpened in recent months, other Clinton campaign operatives have sent around negative material about Obama’s relations with Israel, according to e-mails obtained by Newsweek.  In addition to Brzezinski, the e-mails attack Obama advisers such as Rob Malley, a former Clinton negotiator at the 2000 Camp David talks who has since written articles sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view, and they raise questions about Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor at Obama’s Trinity Church in Chicago.  Wright has criticized Israel, and Trumpet, a publication run by his daughter, gave an award for “greatness” to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who once called Judaism a “bloodsucking religion.”  (Obama disagreed with bestowing the award.)

Yet, regardless of Barack Obama’s denouncement, and rejection of talk or actions against Israel, irrespective of his support from and for the Jewish people, the Clinton Camp rages on.  Repeated assaults, similar to those the Clinton’s “experienced” when they first entered the political fray are not being used against the man they consider the enemy, presumed Presidential nominee, Barack Obama.

In an e-mail sent Feb. 4-a day before Super Tuesday-Clinton finance official Annie Totah passed along a critical essay by Ed Lasky, a conservative blogger whose own anti-Obama e-mails have circulated in the U.S. Jewish community. Totah wrote: “Please read the attached important and very disturbing article on Barack Obama.  Please vote wisely in the Primaries.”  (She didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

While no definitive evidence exists, there seems to be a direct correlation.  A region is flooded with electronic mails that claim the devout Christian Barack Obama is Muslim, just before a primary or caucus in that given territory takes place.  Search after search proves the gossip is false.  Barack Obama is not and was not Muslim; nor was he educated in a radical Muslim school known as a “madrassa.” Yet, a fearful public reacts to rumors with venom.  Possibly, probably, an experienced and educated Clinton has read the research.

In an August poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 45 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for any office who is Muslim.

Fueled with more fire, and fiercely familiar with what it takes to command a lead a country, Hillary will do what she feels she must to triumph.  As the former First Lady asserted, for Hillary Clinton, this campaign “is personal.”  Hence, her campaign avowed, they would ‘throw the “kitchen sink” at Barack Obama.  The Obama momentum, 11 straight wins, would be derailed.  The New York Senator would to be regain her title.  After all, she, and her husband, are the Comeback Clinton’s.

The infinitely experienced and esteemed Hillary Clinton is able to evaluate a situation and a person perfectly.  She has done so for thirty-five years.  When Senator Clinton states Barack Obama is not prepared to be Commander-In-Chief, those who trust her as Louis Murray does, look and listen.  Most forget; for years, Senator Clinton prepared for her coronation and cultivated military connections.

Mama Warbucks

Hillary Clinton brings home the dollars for New York’s defense contractors

by Kristen Lombardi

Village Voice

April 26th, 2005 12:00 AM

When someone like Newt Gingrich commends a Democrat’s service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, you know, you’re looking at a serious hawk. That hawk is Hillary Clinton, junior senator from blue-state New York and possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Gingrich, with an eye on his White House bid, told a group of newspaper editors last month that she’d make a formidable opponent.  “Senator Clinton is very competent, very professional, very intelligently moving toward the center, very shrewdly and effectively serving on the Armed Services Committee,” the GOP hard-liner said.  Gringrich should know: He sits with her on a star-studded Pentagon advisory group.

When not fending off terrorists or bucking up the troops in Iraq, Clinton has been equally fierce about defending defense dollars for her home state.

Just ask Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who got the back-off sign from her at an April 19 budget meeting of a Senate Armed Services subcommittee. Clinton isn’t assigned to this smaller group, but she showed up anyway. And we know what she said, because her aides sent out a press release and video snippet of their Democratic boss fighting the good fight on Capitol Hill.

Lieberman, a fellow committee member, had sought a coveted $1.7 billion contract to build the presidential Marine One helicopter in his home state. The deal was awarded January 28 to Lockheed Martin-in upstate New York. Now Clinton feared he would try to block its funding.

She spoke briefly, telling the subcommittee: “Now that the contract has been awarded, we think it is important we proceed expeditiously.” Cut this money, in other words, and you’re crossing me.

As countless knew long before the March 4, 2008 primaries,, and as Barack Obama now understands more than he hoped to imagine, do not threaten Hillary Rodham Clinton or her desired rise to power.  The wrath is far greater than a woman’s scorn.

Contempt from the Clinton Camp is intended to crush any member of Congress or rival candidate.  The experienced Senator Clinton is skilled in her craft.  She is clever and deftly able to avoid confrontation as she did a week prior to the Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont primary elections, during a Democratic Debate, the honorable former First Lady was asked of her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement.  There was much controversy surrounding her stance.

In 1997, Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed her support for the action.  “The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,” she said in a 1997 speech to the Corporate Council on Africa. “Look around the globe: Those nations, which have lowered trade barriers, are prospering more than those that have not.”

At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.” She added: “It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.”

She continued to endorse the accord for quite some time.  Once in the Senate, Clinton voted inconsistently on trade policy.  Hence, the issue was [and is] of great import.  Specifically, in Ohio, where the most recent debate was held, workers struggle to survive.  Jobs once held by American laborers are ‘outsourced.’  Since the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] was initiated, employment is fragile. Yet, when given the opportunity to discuss what Senator Clinton would do about trade agreements as President of the United States, Clinton deviated from the subject and instead voiced her objection.  She did not speak to how the economy was hurt by NAFTA.  She addressed her own distress.

Before focusing on the topic, she said she found it “curious” . . . that, according to her, at the “last several debates” she seemed to be targeted for the first question.

We can’t recall if she’s right about that.  But we’re pretty sure the matter will have been thoroughly vetted by morning. It also will be interesting to see if Clinton will be seen as standing up for herself or acting a bit petulant.

It all might have been mainly a ruse to work in that reference to the SNL spoof that showed Obama being fawned over by media types.  Here was the entire Clinton remark, when the NAFTA query was kicked her way:

“Well, could I just point out that, in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time.  And I don’t mind.  You know, I’ll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious. And if anybody saw ‘Saturday Night Live,’ you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.”

Hillary Clinton, as was obvious through her numerous odious remarks did not care whether her adversary was cozy.  Indeed, she intended to ensure he was not.  Behind the scenes and far off in Canada, the Clinton campaign worked to establish that Barack Obama or one of his advisers might be insincere.  Early on, there was no mention of the mendaciousness within the Clinton Camp.  Hillary and all those who help her focused on what presumed was her manifest destiny.  However, as time marches on, Americans have a truer picture.  Will Louis Murray have reason to pause?

Clinton campaign denies Canadian report on NAFTA comments

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton’s campaign is denying a Canadian report Thursday that suggests her campaign called representatives of that nation’s government to re-assure them that despite campaign rhetoric, they would not seek changes to NAFTA – an allegation they used against Barack Obama’s campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday’s critical primary votes.

“Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from,” Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement. . . .

The Canadian government has said it is investigating the source of the leak. The Canadian Press reported Thursday that the comment that sparked the original story may have come from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie – and that his remark had implicated Clinton’s campaign, not Obama’s.

The Thursday story also said CTV’s Washington bureau had initially decided to report on Clinton.  The New York senator was mentioned in the final report, but it focused on Obama’s aide. . .

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken, but not under the direction of the campaign, and said that a leaked Canadian government memo implying otherwise had mischaracterized the substance of the discussion.

Substance is a shaky matter.  The experienced candidate comprehends this.  Hillary Clinton who has achieved an image of strength understands the weight of her words.  When the Senator from the Empire State chided rival Barack Obama, she set a tone and advanced an agenda that would be the impetus for further insinuations.

Apparently it pays for a presidential candidate to inject “Saturday Night Live” into a serious political dialogue, as Hillary Clinton did during her most recent debate with Barack Obama.

Clinton’s gambit may have struck some of those critiquing the debate as woeful, but SNL opened its latest show with another skit depicting Obama as the media’s darling — and her as its victim.  More to the point, the coda to the sketch was an “Editorial Response” — delivered by the candidate herself.

Hillary Clinton learned her lesson well, when her husband’s affaire de coeur was revealed.  Clinton realized if the public feels her pain, she garners admiration, appreciation, and awe.  The Presidential hopeful was reminded of this recently.  In New Hampshire, tired and distressed, the forlorn former First Lady tearfully spoke of her despair.  The people responded.  In that race as well, Hillary Clinton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.  

This experienced elected official, knows how to play the game, and even make the rules.  Hillary Clinton rants; she rages.  She is a self-proclaimed “fighter.”  The soon to be coronated Commander-In-Chief, if she has her way chuckles when a coy response is required.  She croons and catches America off guard.  Hillary Clinton cries, and many weep with her.  People relate to the rhetoric of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and why would they not.

Clinton loaded her speeches with a laundry list of policy promises . . . She boasted of the endorsements she has received from retired admirals and generals, including two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (both of whom, as it happens, served under her husband). “I’ve been very specific in this election,” she said in a serious understatement.

And she’s been equally specific in her blistering critiques of Obama of late. On Monday, after the Associated Press reported that Obama’s senior economic adviser had indeed privately told Canadian consular officials not to take the candidate’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric all that seriously, Clinton lit into both Obama and the media. She said the alleged communication, which the senior adviser claimed had been misinterpreted, shows the Obama campaign has “done the old wink-wink.  Don’t pay any attention.  This is just political rhetoric.”  She also suggested the media would be treating this more seriously if she had done it. “With this story, substitute my name for Senator Obama’s and just ask yourself.

Oooops.  It seems of late we might have to, for as noted earlier in this essay, the tale may be as true if not truer for the Clinton folks than it ever was for the Obama campaign.  The circumstances of this conundrum are yet to fully be realized.  However, the situation does not look good for the Clintons.  Yet, that “truth” does not deter Hillary “Comeback” Clinton.  She continues.

At times, it seemed Clinton was all but accusing Obama of being an empty suit. She warned voters not to be swayed by speeches that left them thinking, “That was beautiful, but what did it mean?”  Defending her provocative television ad suggesting he was not up to the challenge of answering the White House phone at 3 a.m. in a crisis, she told reporters at a news conference Monday in Toledo: “I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House.  

I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002″ – a reference to the address in which Obama, before being elected to the Senate, had publicly opposed the Iraq invasion that she and McCain had voted to authorize.

While the clamor increases, few are able to focus on the more quiet and calm candidate, the Presidential hopeful who displays calm in a storm, Barack Obama. On the defensive as he has been forced to be in the first week of March, the candidate remains cool.  The Senator from Illinois does not squeak and therefore, may not receive the oil.  Nor must reporters toil in order to gain access or information from Barack Obama.  While this subtle nuance is rarely discussed, it may be quite significant.  At least it is to the Assistant Managing Editor, of “Newsweek”.

Evan Thomas spoke of his bewilderment on Hardball, with Chris Matthews.  As a group of pundits bandied about the details of the March 4 election results and all the doings that led to the conclusion, a sweeping Clinton win, the conversation turned to talk of who would be the best Commander-In-Chief.  The 3 Ante Meridian red phone call commercial crept into the dialogue.

Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor, “Newsweek”: One thing I don’t get about the ad, the whole idea of 3:00 a.m. is, you want coolness and detachment, right?

She is not cool and detached.  She is really either hot and angry or she’s icy cold and tough.  But I don’t think of her as being cool.  I think of Obama as being the cool, detached guy.  Now, maybe he doesn’t have the experience, but I think, if you peel this onion, there is something about it that just doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean, she doesn’t strike me as the person who is the cool, detached, steady person at the other end of the phone.

Barack Obama however, is steady.  The potential President said of himself in an interview with Time Correspondent, Joe Klein.  “It’s just not my style to go out of my way to offend people or be controversial just for the sake of being controversial.  That’s offensive and counterproductive.  It makes people feel defensive and more resistant to changes.”  Barack Obama does invite inquiry; however, in a mild tone.  Frequently, the less ferrous candidate asks Americans, might we fully examine Hillary Clinton’s experience? Perhaps, we, the people, should.  If we are to truly trust Hillary Clinton as Louis Murray does, it is important that we know why we have faith in this future leader.

The Long Run

The Résumé Factor: Those 2 Terms as First Lady

By Patrick Healy

The New York Times

December 26, 2007

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.

But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

Perhaps, pillow talk was not always pleasant in the Clinton household.  Granted we know the two stayed together.  We can assume they worked through the problems that presented themselves in those earlier troubled times.  Bill was there for Hillary when she decided to run for her Senate seat.  The former President is his wife’s chief cheerleader.  Bill, just as Hillary boast of her record and the résumé.

In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience.  But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.” . . .

And late last week, Mr. Obama suggested that more foreign policy experts from the Clinton administration were supporting his candidacy than hers; his campaign released a list naming about 45 of them, and said that others were not ready to go public.  Mrs. Clinton quickly put out a list of 80 who were supporting her, and plans to release another 75 names on Wednesday.

The competitive, confrontation, conduct of Hillary Clinton is consistently clear.  Possibly, her character traits are the qualities she thinks define her as a Commander-In-Chief.  The experience the former First Lady speaks of may entail more than her thirty-five years with Bill.  Certainly, her persona has been with her for a lifetime.  It seems her duties as the First Spouse were negligible.

Mrs. Clinton’s role in her most high-profile assignment as first lady, the failed health care initiative of the early 1990s, has been well documented. Yet, little has been made public about her involvement in foreign policy and national security as first lady. Documents about her work remain classified at the National Archives. Mrs. Clinton has declined to divulge the private advice she gave her husband.

An interview with Mrs. Clinton, conversations with 35 Clinton administration officials and a review of books about her White House years suggest that she was more of a sounding board than a policy maker, who learned through osmosis rather than decision-making, and who grew gradually more comfortable with the use of military power.

Her time in the White House was a period of transition in foreign policy and national security, with the cold war over and the threat of Islamic terrorism still emerging . . .

She did not wrestle directly with many of the other challenges the next president will face, including managing a large-scale deployment – or withdrawal – of troops abroad, an overhaul of the intelligence agencies or the effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons technology.  Most of her exposure to the military has come since she left the White House through her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

My personal experience may serve to enlighten.  Each morning I awaken and we talk.  He tells me tales.  Barry details his dreams, those he experienced in his sleep and those he aspires to achieve throughout the day.  We reflect on what was the day before.  Barry and I discuss as we did before bed, what occurred in the office.  His suite is not oval is shape.  The walls in his workplace are angular.  

When my significant other, my partner, thought to “stay the course,” an associate advised him that might be best.  Business decisions can be brutal.  As an authority figure within the corporate structure Barry, must be sensitive to his base, the people who support him in his struggle to succeed.  I questioned that truth, or did I comfort Barry, assure him that he must accomplish the mission.  Whatever I said, most definitely, I shared his burden.

I have helped my closest friend and confidant through many a corporate crisis.  I listened and offered opinions.  Yet, his experiences in his work were not mine.  I am capable; yet, I could not do what Barry does daily.  Barry and I are a couple.  We are extremely close, intimate, and united.  However, we are not one.  Who he is, what he thinks, says, does, and feels, is distinctly unique to him.  I have never been his eyes, his ears, and certainly, I do not have his heart.  I may know Barry better than any other human could.  Couples have told us they have never met two people that speak more openly or often than the two of us.

Nonetheless, after all these decades, I could not walk into his executive suite and do his job as though I had done it forever.  Indeed, Barry commands with finesse.  Perchance, I could be as eloquent.  However, I will never be Barry.  Nor was his experience my own.  I stand alone, as me, myself, and I.

Yet, in this election season, I and all other Democratic voters are asked to suspend disbelief and forget Hillary Clinton’s own account.

Mrs. Clinton said in the interview that she was careful not to overstep her bounds on national security, relying instead on informal access.  . . .

She said she did not attend National Security Council meetings, nor did she have a security clearance.

When osmosis, access, right of entry, and contact defines experience, we need not wonder why the State of the Union is dismal.  If a person who we sometimes share a bed with qualifies as our alter-ego, then perhaps we have had many women Presidents.  

Hillary Clinton is exceptional in that her experience encompasses manipulation, exploitation, and ethics a peacemaker who not value.  The depth and breath Clinton alludes to is arguably, illusive.  Her excellent management style leaves a staff, as the Washington Post notes, even in victory, battling itself.  Yet, these qualities have impressed voters such as John Murray.  What does this say of us, a people so ready to attack another country, that before we bombed innocent men, women, and children, we did not verify the “intelligence?”

While not cool, calm, or collected, Hillary Clinton exudes a strength that leads many Americans to believe she has been and will continue to be Commander-In-Chief.  Congratulations Senator, former First Lady, and possibly President Hillary Rodham Clinton.  You have convinced citizens to suspend disbelief and many do.

Sources and Secrets . . .

Shame on Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton. A Shame for Americans

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Shame seems to be the issue of the day.  The North America Free Trade Agreement is also among the topics discussed.  Health Care plans are reviewed.  As the Presidential campaigns progress, let us reflect, and recall why these matters move the media and the people.

It was a cold day in January.  The year 2007, after much debate and ample discussions, Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded the time was now.  The climate was ideal.  The former First Lady sat poised on a couch.  The colors in the room were warm.  A lamp placed behind the sofa was lit.  Sunlight streamed into the room.  Photographs of the family were visible on a table nearby.  Finally, the stage was set.  The New York Senator looked into the eyes of her visitors.  Gently she smiled.  Hillary Rodham Clinton opened her home and her heart to an American audience desirous of change.  The woman many had hoped would be the first woman President of the United States affirmed “I’m in.”

Hillary Clinton invited us all to join her in a conversation.  She mused, she had a feeling; it was going to be very interesting.  Indeed, it is.  Weeks ago, the candidate realized a deep dip in the contributions.  This drop in donations caused much clamor.  On February 21, 2008, during the Democratic Debate, First Lady Clinton offered her admiration to the man who appeared to be more prominent in the eyes of the people, Barack Obama.  Then, a mere forty-eight hours later Hillary Clinton attacked her adversary.  

The Senator from New York claimed, while in the crowd at an event in Cincinnati, Ohio, just days prior to that State’s primary, she was handed two mailers.  A brilliant woman, organized, and aware, ready to take on the responsibilities of the Oval Office the day she crosses the threshold, did not realize that ten days earlier, the Ohio Daily Blog published an essay which spoke of the brochures.  Jeff received his copies.  Yet, Hillary had not yet sampled hers.  

The experienced, professional politician fumed as she spoke, of the accounts.  As a mother scolding her child potential President Hillary Clinton shrieked, “Shame on you Barack Obama!”  The genteel First Lady pointed her finger and challenged her rival Senator Obama to “meet me in Ohio, and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”

As Americans listen to the words of the woman we once thought would receive her just coronation into the White House, we are reminded, this political campaign has never truly been about issues.  Personality, popularity, electability, and the ability to connect to wealthy contributors have long been the focus among the candidates and by extension the electorate.  Voters are subject to the voice of those who speak of what is important to them personally.  We might recall the times a candidate or two expressed what is true.  For them, this campaign is personal, full of personal attacks.

A day later, the Clinton Camp announced they would engage in a calculated campaign of smear.  Conduct unbecoming a possible Commander-In-Chief, when named Barack Obama is quite befitting of a potential President Clinton.

In the robo-call voiced by Clinton, she said she wants to set the record straight.  “Sen. Obama has sent out attack mailers that distort my record on NAFTA, but I believe Ohio deserves the truth,” Clinton says, “NAFTA has hurt Ohio families and I have a plan to fix it.  My opponent does not.  I’ll appoint a Trade Prosecutor to enforce our trade agreements, and crackdown on China’s unfair trade practices.  I’ll eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and invest in creating good jobs right here in Ohio.”

The Clinton attack mailer cites press reports of Obama praising NAFTA and other trade deals.  “Don’t be fooled by Barack Obama.” [or Hillary Clinton?]

Might we take a moment to reflect.  Let us begin with the records.  The text of Barack Obama comments may enlighten us on the issue of tactics and behavior, the topics Hillary Clinton would like to discuss in an Ohio debate.  The background also offers insights.

(Alan Keyes wanted to withdraw completely from trade agreements.) “Keyes, the Republican nominee, said the United States should move away from negotiating multinational trade agreements, arguing the country can cut better deals by bargaining one-on-one and imposing tariffs on countries that undercut American farmers with cheap products. ‘Why is it in American economics that you say ‘tariffs’ and everybody thinks you cursed,’ Keyes said. ‘We need to make sure we get a fair deal.’ He also called for complete elimination of the inheritance taxes, as well as the income tax.

“But Democrat Obama said Keyes’ ideas could lead to trade wars that would harm farmers, who are always looking for new markets willing to buy American crops. He said the United State should continue to work with the World Trade Organization and pursue deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the country must be more aggressive about protecting American interests. ‘We don’t want to set off trade wars. What we want to make sure of is that our farmers are treated fairly,’ Obama said. ‘The problem in a lot of our trade agreements is that the administration tends to negotiate on behalf of multinational companies instead of workers and communities.'” (AP, 9/8/04)

Hillary Clinton took a stand on the North American Free Trade Agreement and has for years.  The Former First Lady spoke in support of her husband’s Bill’s legendary policy.

Clinton promoted her husband’s trade agenda for years, and friends say that she’s a free-trader at heart. “The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,” she said in a 1997 speech to the Corporate Council on Africa. “Look around the globe: Those nations, which have lowered trade barriers, are prospering more than those that have not.”

Praise for Nafta

At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.” She added: “It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.”

Clinton “is committed to free trade and to the growing role of the international economy,” said Steven Rattner, a Clinton fundraiser and co-founder of Quadrangle Group LLC, a New York buyout firm. “She would absolutely do the right thing as president.”

However, as Hillary Clinton herself reminds us, speeches are not solutions.  While at a General Motors plant, the Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton proposes, “That’s the difference between me and my opponent, I offer solutions. It’s one thing to get people excited.  I want to empower you to live your dreams so we can all go forward together.”

“Now, over the years, you’ve heard plenty of promises from plenty of people in plenty of speeches. And some of those speeches were probably pretty good. But speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.”  Only jobs and a stable income can keep Americans safe and secure; hence, the need for American policymakers to assess the North American Free Trade Agreement.  As Senator, Clinton could finally take actions that would rescind a policy that haunts her husband and his heritage.  Thus, she did or did not.  Please ponder the documentation.

  • Voted against CAFTA despite Bill Clinton’s pushing NAFTA. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
  • Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)
  • Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted YES on removing common goods from national security export rules. (Sep 2001)
  • Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record. (Dec 2002)

What is a voter to think?  Hillary Clinton Biographer Carl Bernstein avows, Hillary Clinton’s economics, the ones she preached to her husband in the White House are much closer to John Edwards then you would think. She argued with Bill Clinton when she was First Lady, her husband, she said ‘Bill, you are doing Republican economics when you are doing NAFTA.’ She was against NAFTA.  Yet, as the author expresses in his own assessment of the candidate . . .

A new biography’s unflattering portrayal of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton as someone who “camouflages” her real self for political gain is starting to attract attention – and not for the salacious stories, most books recount about the Clintons.

“A Woman in Charge,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, gives scant attention to the tense days the former First Lady spent in the White House when Bill Clinton was sneaking around with his intern, Monica Lewinsky. Instead, the former Washington Post reporter, who helped blow the lid off Watergate, attempts to portray Hillary Clinton as someone who is willing to rewrite her own history to advance the political career she put on hold when she moved to Arkansas with her college sweetheart who would later become president.

“This is a woman who led a camouflaged life and continues to,” Bernstein told TODAY host Matt Lauer on Friday in an exclusive interview. “This book takes away that camouflage.”

The Bernstein book, which the writer refers to as the first “real biography” of Hillary Clinton, is a recent edition. There is ample, additional information; Hillary Clinton was for, no against, the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA].  Hence, again, we can only do as Hillary advises; look at the votes for verification.  As we observe, duplicity and a commitment to convenience, seem apparent.

This inconsistent configuration is no less obvious in the banter and behavior of Barack Obama. The expressions of Barack Obama and the conduct of Hillary Clinton are, as the First Lady imagined them to be many months ago, interesting.  

Words are not separate from work, whether we speak of one candidate or the other.  Even constituents can be considered complex beings.  We have wants, needs, among these are Universal Health Care.  Barack Obama understood this on that cold frigid day in Springfield, Illinois.  In February, on the 10th day of the month, in the year 2007, Illinois Senator Barack Obama stood in front of the Old State Capitol building.   A throng of supporters frozen; yet full of fervor positioned themselves where they could best see the man they admired.

Dignified as he spoke Presidential hopeful Obama reminded Americans that more than a century ago, on these same steps, Abraham Lincoln called on a divided house to stand together.  Barack Obama stated that in Springfield, Illinois he learned that “common hopes and common dreams still” live.  Then, the man who speaks and writes of the audacity of hope offered . . .

I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States. . .

Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let’s be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president’s first term.

Yes, we can . . .  be the generation that declares we will provide medical coverage for one and for all.  Yet, Barack Obama is, as of yet unwilling to propose that we, the people be insured equally.  Senator Obama, has not worked towards Universal Health Care.  Indeed, he argues against it, and presents a proviso, the plan may changed if need be.

Like former senator John Edwards (N.C.), who outlined his health-care goals in February, Obama would pay for his plan, which could cost more than $50 billion, by increasing taxes for people earning more than $250,000 and reversing tax cuts that President Bush approved. Obama would require almost all employers to offer insurance to workers or face a tax penalty, an idea that many businesses abhor and that is also in Edwards’s proposal. This employer mandate drove much of the opposition to the Clinton plan in 1994.

Like Clinton, who in a speech last week laid out some of her health-care ideas, Obama is focused as much on reducing the costs for those who are insured as on expanding coverage to the estimated 45 million Americans who are not. He called for the federal government to pay part of the costs for patients with chronic illnesses, so that employers would not have to do so, but also emphasized the importance of preventive care. It is important to “listen to our wives when they tell us to stop smoking,” he said, referring to his own unhealthy habit.

Like many Democratic politicians, he blamed drug and health insurance companies for stopping the passage of more expansive health-care proposals.

The lack of new ideas in Obama’s health plan in part reflects his approach. He has emphasized his freshness as a rationale for his candidacy, but that freshness has been much more about his tone and his rhetoric about hope and bipartisanship than his policy proposals . . .

One concept that Obama’s plan does not include is a popular idea from both Democrats and Republicans who work on health-care issues: an “individual mandate” that would require every American to buy health insurance.  . . .

The Clinton and Edwards campaigns quickly criticized Obama for not offering a plan that would require insurance for all. ” . . .

Obama’s advisers argued that such a mandate is less important than adding subsidies and other ways to make health care more affordable.  . . .

“The key is not the mandate,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard, who advised Obama on the plan. “It’s the affordability and the accessibility.”

It seems Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, neither of whom offer a Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care can tout as they do with credibility.  Each vocalizes, “I will be the people’s President.”  Yet, as the nation peruses the plans it remains evident, that if either of these aspirants [or the Republican rival] enters the Oval Office in 2009, all men will remain unequal.  Those who lost jobs to Free Trade agreements will likely remain unemployed or become underemployed.  Circumstances for the constituents will continue to be dire.  Millions of citizens will be unable to afford or access medical care at any cost, to say nothing of the twelve or more million migrants who go without health care.  Mailers be damned.  Shame on Barack Obama?  Shame on Hillary Clinton?  It is a shame that the people were never given a voice or entrée into the election.  

Dennis Kucinich, potential President of the people, a live-time Union member, the one person to actively propose an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], the war in Iraq [remember that refrain?], and Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care, I miss you.

Sources of Shame . . .

Super Power – Now Running On Empty

copyright © Judith Moriarty

You’ll never meet these folks.  They represent the hundreds of thousands who have been kicked to the curb these past years (from Clinton’s NAFTA in ’94 until the current time).  A ‘restructuring’ company (better known as hatchet men) took over their company in 2004 with lofty promises of Jobs etc.  Fact is – these companies buy and resale companies.  They were informed right before Christmas that they (122 people) no longer had a job by Watermill (International) Ventures.  The company only decided to give two weeks severance pay due to the Governor’s intervention.  Naturally, all their health benefits etc went out the window.  Some of these folks had worked at this DECENT paying Modular Home Company for decades.  They bought homes here (Claremont) and have children in college.  These employees were highly skilled.

They were the leading builder here in New England of energy efficient modular homes/ businesses etc.  They have won numerous awards for their outstanding craftsmanship and have been featured in many building etc, magazines.

This is a sample kitchen.

This is one of their energy efficient homes.

The skilled carpenters and craftsmen at CSI trained youngsters.  This was not addressed in the numerous news articles (nor their great work).  Today kids are leaving school – they seek men who will mentor and train them in skills they can use!  They are not interested in perpetual testing and social engineering.  Now this great gift to our area’s children is lost.  Do the corporate predators care?  No – they’re in the business of profits not the future of children.

While we are kept dutifully distracted with the drunken antics of air headed starlets (called breaking news) or the theater of mud slinging politics, few are aware of what’s happening in their own state, let alone what is happening across the nation.  What ‘breaking news’ announced the closing of Maytag – in business for 114 years?  The thousands losing their jobs due to this closure (parts – appliance stores – businesses in town) wasn’t deemed newsworthy?  Mike, leaving Maytag, on the last day, doesn’t know where he’s going to turn.  He was four years short of receiving his pension.  Not so with our politicians.  They needn’t invest 30 years before they’re eligible for pension.

A mere five years will see them given life long pensions (the longer in office the bigger the pension).  Unlike work a day folks whose pensions are stolen – they receive pensions with yearly cost of living increases (plus life long medical coverage).  This is WHY you see such a detachment on the election circuit.  Those in cradle to grave political jobs have long ago lost any empathic understanding of men in their late 40s – 50s – 60s suddenly jobless in a nation without jobs (livable wage jobs that is).

Maine and New Hampshire have seen their paper/pulp mills closed.  Like Maytag – the move is on to China.  The usual patronizing PR of job retraining   is lauded – and then, these men (families) get lost in the shuffle of time.  This job retraining is a colossal joke.  Another story.

We hear of massive foreclosures across the nation.  The media would have you believe that every one, and his brother, is losing their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford.  When mills, and manufacturing plants close, duh, banks don’t care if you can’t pay a mortgage.  These steel mills (gone to China etc) forged the steel for our ships, planes (WWII) built the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge etc.  The fuel company, electric company, etc, aren’t interested in your plight when the mill closes.  You’re on your own after unemployment runs out.  You’re now thrown into a job market where people highly educated with numerous degrees are being thrown overboard.

When a  company leaves  town, all the supporting businesses,  where employees shopped go belly up.  People worried about buying milk for the kids or keeping the lights on aren’t buying  seafood, winter clothing, shoes, or pizza.  Restaurants and movie houses don’t take promissory notes.  The truth is  America (due to drastic cutbacks) has no safety net.  The only bailouts in the USA are for the corporate destroyers; loans, grants, subsidies, tax breaks etc.  Towns boarded and closed search for investments such as  box stores, foreign companies (promising JOBS) , high-end condos,   or malls!  All of which produce nothing and do not contribute to the fiscal health of a town.

Years of paying a bank,  twice as much for a home  (with interest)  goes up in smoke when you miss a few payments.  These mortgages held by foreign/corporate conglomerates don’t care if you end up living in your car, in a tent or under a bridge.

It is really quite insulting and degrading to hear officials laud the future opening of a foreign owned Tap Water/plastic bottle plant as a viable option to replace that job as  a skilled craftsman!  There appears to be this mindset that ‘any job will do’!  These same officials don’t see their own positions (yearly raises – bonuses) being replaced !  You’d be hard pressed to see them identifying filling bottles with water, (making the molds) for $7.25 an hour  (maybe $8.00)  as an adequate job  to live on (pay their mortgage – car payments – etc).

Steel workers in Pittsburgh were advised to get that job at Wal-Mart (part time of course).  Filled with Chinese junk – it’s little wonder one cannot find anything Made In America.  Wal-Mart is our nation’s largest employer.  This should frighten people no end (also NH’s largest employee).

In the end, Corporate Greed (paid 400x more than common worker)  is destroying the nation.  In 1886, the Supreme Court declared that corporations were  henceforth to be considered ‘persons’ under the law, with all of the constitutional rights that designation implies.  Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, corporations reshaped every aspect of life in America and much of the rest of the world.  The factory system turned self-sufficient small farmers into wage – earners and transformed the family from an interdependent economic production unit into a consumption- oriented collection of individuals with separate jobs.  Advertising turned productive citizens into ‘consumers’.

Business leaders campaigned to create public schools to train children in factory- system obedience to schedules and in the performance of isolated, meaningless tasks.  And now ?  Corporations came to own and dominate sources all information and entertainment and  the control of politicians and judges.  Once upon a time, the robber barons influenced Washington.  Now they sit on the cabinet and have been appointed to the positions of influence.  The great exodus of immigrants taking place worldwide is their doing.  Be it the UK – Sweden – France – the US – etc) the name of the GAME is cheap labor.  The American – Mexican – UK etc, dream was all an illusion.  Trade agreements  make slaves of us all.  

Finally a Forum, A Lengthy Look and Listen; Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich – PBS, News Hour

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

For years, four years plus, the well-researched, well-versed, thoughtful, and full of thought Dennis Kucinich has been shunned by Mainstream Media.  Often, this truly compassionate Congressman, and Presidential hopeful, has been absent in political discussions.  Periodicals do not site his stance.  Radio and television programs do not devote time to this man or his message.

The opinions and plans Dennis Kucinich presents are frequently ignored, or just not included.  Space is saved for those the influential Democrats deem savvy.  It is difficult to grasp the knowledge of one that is intentionally not invited to debates, or is purposely kept at a distance when he is made available.  Thus, the prospect to look at or a listen to an authentic altruist aspirant Dennis Kucinich is unusual.

In 2008, election coverage focuses on the few, the front-runners.  Clinton, Obama, and Edwards court the financers, and in turn, the fundamentally wealthy woo the power elite.  The press is persuaded to follow the leaders. 

Forced absence for this Presidential aspirant is not new.  Dennis Kucinich was barred from Democratic forums during his 2004 campaign.  The history of exclusion is expansive.  “Electability” is often the excuse.

Dennis is short in stature; yet, the future President of the United States is elevated in principles.  His faith in people and peace sustains him. 

Dennis Kucinich trusts in every man, woman, and child.  He is as the common folk are.  Congressman Kucinich was poor and hungry.  [Please view Dennis Kucinich on Leno 9-24-07 video.  See below.]  Kucinich struggled to succeed in a world that caters to the rich.  This future President realized his mission at an early age.  He understood as the nation’s youngest Mayor of a major city, the importance of people power.  

Intimidation has not deterred Dennis Kucinich.  He is accustomed to the climb from obscurity.  Dennis perseveres as he shares his message of Strength through peace.  Sadly, most Americans miss the words and wisdom of a man similar to them.  However, with thanks to Public Broadcasting Services, News Hour we have a rare opportunity to meet Dennis Kucinich for more than the moment he is awarded in a televised debate.  I am pleased to present Dennis Kucinich in all his glory.

Judy Woodruff: Finally, in our ongoing series of conversations with Democratic and Republican presidential nomination candidates who are competing in the primary contests, tonight, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the former mayor of Cleveland, and he ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. I spoke with Dennis Kucinich earlier today.

Congressman Kucinich, thank you very much for talking with us.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), Ohio: Thank you very much. Good to be here, Judy.

Judy Woodruff: You were the only 2008 presidential candidate who, five years ago this week, voted against giving the president the authorization to go to war in Iraq. Now, Barack Obama was also against the war at that time. Right now, it’s also Bill Richardson and Mike Gravel who want to get U.S. troops out of there right away, just like you do.

So how do you distinguish your position today from the other candidates?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, it’s very easy, Judy. I not only voted against it, but I did an analysis five years ago that totally debunked the Bush case for war.

As a matter of fact, the analysis that I did was 100 percent spot-on in asserting that there was no proof that Iraq had the intention or capability of attacking the United States, that they had anything to do with 9/11 or al-Qaida’s role in 9/11, and certainly there was no proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

My analysis was chapter and verse. And furthermore, it isn’t — you know, to me it’s not sufficient to say that you said something against the war, but when you get to the Senate — as Senator Obama did — and voted 100 percent of the time, up until recently, to fund the war, there’s a contradiction there.

Judy Woodruff: But what about today? How is your position different?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: But today what’s different is this, that not only did I reflect the capacity for judgment and wisdom at the moment of crisis when it really counts, but also today I have a plan that would bring our troops home and stabilize Iraq at the same time, and also leave Iraq in control of their oil.

It’s embodied in H.R. 1234. It’s a plan to end the Iraq war. I submitted versions of that plan immediately after the invasion, but today there are many people who talk about ending the war, but I have the plan to do it and a way to stabilize Iraq at the same time.

There’s no one else who really has presented that awareness or who is saying, look, the privatization of Iraq’s oil or the partition of Iraq is a path to continued war.

Judy Woodruff: What do you think Iraq will look like after U.S. troops are out of there?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, you have to keep in mind that my plan calls for a parallel process. We end the occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home in parallel with an international security and peacekeeping force that moves in as our troops leave. I mean, that’s the way you bring an end to the U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Otherwise, you have the plans of Senators Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, all of which will leave a U.S. presence in the region. And, frankly, we have to get out of there. We have to bring our troops home.

So, you know, I’ve been consistent on this. And I’m the only one running for president who’s been right from the start on this issue and has demonstrated a quality of judgment that people have a right to expect in a president of the United States about matters of international security.

Judy Woodruff: You have described yourself, I think, as a committed pacifist. Help us understand what that means. I mean, for example, after 9/11, the terrorist attack on the United States, if you had been president, what would you have done?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, I think that we had a right to strike at the training camps. As a matter of fact, I voted for the resolution that gave the president the ability to do that.

But, you know, the response has to be measured. What we’ve done in this search for top people in al-Qaida, we’ve destroyed a lot of villages along the border of Pakistan. You know, these missile strikes in places like Damadola killed a lot of innocent villagers under the pretext that somehow we were getting top-ranking people in al-Qaida.

You know, we have done this all wrong. This administration has been wrong with every aspect of their international policy, beginning with the response to 9/11, continuing with the war against Iraq, and up to this moment planning for an attack on Iran. This administration’s policy of peace through strength, the neoconservative policy, which endorsed preemption, unilateralism, first strike, I reject totally.
I’m talking about strength through peace. No unilateralism, no preemption, no first strike, adherence to international law, and working with diplomacy, direct engagement, leader talking to leader in order to create security for our nation and for the world. I mean, that’s the approach that a Kucinich presidency would bring.

Kucinich’s Department of Peace
Judy Woodruff: You’re the only candidate, I think, who’s talking about a Department of Peace. How would that work? And what would it mean for the Defense Department?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, first of all, the idea of a Department of Peace has both domestic and international criteria.

On a domestic level, everyone watching this understands that American families are beset by a lot of problems that result in domestic violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse. I’m talking about creating programs that would help families get out of that really deep rut that creates a lot of emotional problems and strife inside families.

But also, when you look at the issues of gang violence, violence in the schools, racial violence, violence against gays, the Department of Peace would also supply help to deal with that.

On an international level, we’d look at those areas that help conflict percolate and get involved before they develop into something that requires troops. It’s really a very wise approach that uses the principles of Gandhi, of Christ, of Dr. King, and others to try to lift us out of this idea that war is inevitable. War is not inevitable. Violence is learned, and non-violence can be learned, as well.

‘Tis true.  Brutality is not inborn; it is bred into us.  What we witness in the world abroad is a reflection of what we see on the streets of America..  the war is on our shore.  In homes and neighborhoods conflict abounds.  People are combative.  Thus, perhaps we must speak to defense.  There is much that offends.  Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich considers the need to protect America and those that reside in the United States of America.

Judy Woodruff: So you’d still have the Defense Department? This would be in addition?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Of course you’d have the Defense Department.

Judy Woodruff: You’ve also said that you admire the foreign policies of Jimmy Carter, President Jimmy Carter. Tell us about why. What is it that you admire about him?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: He’s been the one president who has shown a real capacity to reach out, and deeply, into the Middle East to understand that America must take an even-handed approach.

Look, I’ve been to Israel, and I’ve met with the Israelis, and I’ve met with the Palestinian people, and I’ve met with people throughout the region. My wife and I have been to the region twice in the last year and two months. And there is a deep desire for peace on all sides.

But the United States must take an even-handed approach. We have to do everything we can to help Israel survive. And Israelis perceive this existential threat; we must be attuned to that. At the same time, the Palestinians are crying for justice that they can’t receive with walls and fences and losing their property.

There has to be a United States presence that assures the survival of the Israelis and the rights of the Palestinians. And, frankly, here again, I’m the only one running for president who’s even talking about this.
And this is really — the door to peace in the Middle East going right through Jerusalem. And anyone who would be president of the United States has to have the capacity to talk not only to the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Jordanians, and all of the others in the region. And I have that capacity.

Domestic tranquility is built into the Constitution.  Yet, it is not evident in our communities.  We must ensure that at home all is well.  Currently, it is not.  Crime is a constant.  Jobs are not secure.  Health Care is in a state of crisis management.  Prices are high.  Interests rates, well, they are in flux.  With mortgages in default and Middle Class Americans fearful they will have no shelter, there is much to discuss.

Judy Woodruff: Let me turn you to a couple of domestic questions, the current subprime mortgage crisis. What do you think the cause of it is? And what would you do about it? Who would you go after, or whom or what?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, there’s a number of different areas that needed to be looked at initially. The Fed has not had proper oversight of banks. The Securities and Exchange Commission has not had proper oversight of hedge funds. So you take those two conditions, and you see what’s burst forward now, which is hedge funds in trouble because of their investment in subprime mortgages, and you see millions of Americans losing their homes because there wasn’t a cop on the beat.

So, obviously, what needs to happen is there needs to be a financial mechanism that basically creates a wraparound mortgage that would help protect the people who are in danger of losing their homes, that’s number one. But, number two, we have to get to the underlying issue of predatory lending here.

There are many areas in our cities that have basically been red-lined, cannot get access to credit. And that is a violation of the Community Reinvestment Act, Judy. During the Carter administration, the Community Reinvestment Act was put forth so that inner-city areas would have access to credit.

And what’s happened is that the credit for homes has dried up. Minorities in particular were offered these subprime products, no-document loans. As chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, I was the first one to put my finger on this and identify it and begin to ask the questions.

But this is a broader issue that deals with: Can Americans have a dream of homeownership? Can the government form a role in protecting that? Can we get these banks to be honest with their credit policies? Do they have a responsibility to provide capital to people who happen to be minorities? What about these adjusted prime rates that are going to start coming in and forcing people’s mortgages up on a monthly level? There’s going to be more people losing their homes.

This is a profound economic crisis and a moral crisis in this country.

Politics is Economics.  As long as voters are content financially, there is little need or want for change.  As executive earning increase exponentially, blue collars find themselves awash in red ink.  This is a calamity caused by an implied inequality.  Candidates must address this topic.  Most of those we see on the stump cannot relate to the “little’ guy or gal.  Kucinich can.

Dealing with income inequality
Judy Woodruff: I’m going to tick off a couple of other issues that I know people are interested in. Income inequality seems to be growing in this country. The other candidates are talking about rolling back the Bush tax cuts, doing away with those. Would you go further than that? Do you think taxes need to be raised on some Americans?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: To me, income inequality comes from a couple things, first of all, the fact that there are many people who don’t have jobs. That creates inequality. Secondly, the people need a living wage. And in many communities, people are not making the kind of money they should be making for the work they’re doing. So we need to raise the level of wages in our society.

We also need to have more competition in our economy. You have more jobs when you have more competition. We need to break up the monopolies. Teddy Roosevelt understood this more than a hundred years ago. We have too many monopolies governing our economy, and that is creating less competition, and actually it’s shaking out a lot of jobs.

So, in addition to that, one of the ways that you help lift up people’s economic standing is to have health care for all. I’m the only one running for president — it’s pretty shocking, actually, that no other Democrat is ready to take a firm stand to say it’s time to end the for-profit health care system with a universal, not-for-profit system, Medicare for all. And, Judy, I’m the co-author of that bill. And I’ve helped organize about 83 members of Congress in support of that bill.

What occurs in the workplace is felt in our homes.  A stressed worker is more likely to need health care.  A happy laborer, able to attend to prevent inevitable illness and injury benefits the community as a whole.  However, as long as Big Business Insurers and Pharmaceuticals control the Health Care system nothing will change.  Privatized medicine dictates patients are profits.  People consume services; care is not bestowed upon those in need.  Currently, costs are exorbitant and expected to increase.  The consumer feels the crunch.  Presidential hopeful, Dennis Kucinich understands this.

Judy Woodruff: For most people, single-payer health care system, most people, their image of that is what Great Britain has, what Canada has. Would it be something like what’s in those countries?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Yes, it would, and we’d have the quality, as well. You know, the problem is that people are trapped into premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Everyone watching this knows that there’s no control over these insurance companies, that the insurance companies make money not providing health care. They tell doctors what they can and cannot do.

Under my plan, people have the doctor of their choice, and they’re also able to get the care they need. They don’t have to worry about losing their homes or going bankrupt as, frankly, half the bankruptcies in America are connected directly to people not being able to pay their hospital bills.

So my plan, which is Medicare for all, where you recognize that the money is already there to provide the care that’s needed for people, plus vision care, dental care, mental health care, prescription drugs, and long-term care.

See, what’s happened is the Democratic Party, we’re forgetting who we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to be the party of the people. We’ve become the party of the insurance companies. We’ve become the party of the oil companies. We’ve become the party of the arms merchants. And somebody has to stand up and say, “Hey, where are the Democrats? Where are the real Democrats?” And I’m a real Democrat running for president.

Then there is trade.  As a lifelong union member Dennis Kucinich understands this reality more than those that walk a picket line for minutes or hours.  For Dennis Kucinich labor concerns are not a photographic opportunity; they are a enduring commitment.

Criticizing globalization
Judy Woodruff: You’ve also said you would have the United States pull out of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization. You’ve been a vocal critic of globalization. How do you see the United States shifting if none of those trade agreements were in place?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, I mean, actually, before NAFTA, we had trade. Before NAFTA, we weren’t in the rut that we’re in now, which is close to a $850 billion to $900 billion imbalance in our trade.

What I envision is this: Cancel NAFTA and the WTO and have trade that’s based on workers’ rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles. You lift up the wage levels in the United States and in other countries. You assure that workers have the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, and all the other rights. No child labor, no prison labor, no slave labor, protection of the air and water.

And this is much more desirable than the conditions we have right now. Judy, I’ve been all over this country, and I’ve seen grass growing in parking lots where they used to make steel, where they used to make cars, and washing machines, and bicycles. And now there’s grass growing in the parking lots, padlocks on the plant gates.

I’m saying: NAFTA is directly responsible for the decline of American manufacturing. I want to restore American manufacturing, actually have an American manufacturing policy where the maintenance of steel, automotive, aerospace, and shipping is seen as vital to our national economic security.

Religion is often a taboo topic.  Kucinich embraces the opportunity to share his deeply held beliefs.  For Kucinich, faith is a guide.  Dogma does not deter his vision, it enhances and advances a trust that we can realize strength in every aspect of our lives through peaceful means.

Judy Woodruff: This is a different subject area. Just this week, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis said that he would deny communion to any presidential candidate who is Catholic who favors abortion rights, as you do. Does this in any way make you rethink your position on abortion or rethink the Catholic Church?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, no. And let me just tell you something. Much of my public policy comes from what I’ve learned as growing up Catholic. My economic policies were deeply informed by Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, by encyclicals of Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio. And so I have a deep respect for the Catholic Church.

On the issue of abortion, I think that we need to do everything we can to make abortion less necessary. And I think you can do that through promoting birth control, through making sure that you have prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, universal health care, a living wage.

I think I’m the one candidate for president who can help heal this nation in this intense divide over abortion by recognizing the concerns that people have, including in the Catholic Church, about abortions, but by creating circumstances where abortions are less likely to occur. So I think it’s time for a president who brings a healing hand to this country on this issue.

Judy Woodruff: Four years ago, you changed your position, is that right, on abortion?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Well, you know what? It was long before I ran for president the first time that I came to an understanding of how this issue was tearing America apart and how it’s possible to simultaneously stand for a woman’s right to choose and, at the same time, work to make abortions less likely. I think it’s possible to do both.

We’re called upon, those of us who run for president, to have a kind of wisdom which comes from understanding what people go through, not that I’m smarter than anyone else, but I understand the kind of difficulties that people have, how complicated life can be for people.

So when you come with the intention of not rejecting the teachings of the church, but of trying to create a society where the concerns of the church are given full effect and, at the same time, make sure that women have this right to choose so that they can — and create a society where women can choose what is best not only for themselves, but for the society, as well.

I think a president who takes that approach is someone who can heal this great divide which the issue of abortion has created.

As in any campaign, there are naysayers and rumors.  At times the gossip is more gripping than the truth.  There are a few that would have us believe that a candidate that lost a re-election campaign is considered an outcast in the city that once called him Mayor.  In truth, decades later the Cleveland Mayor Kucinich made.  Even in the 1970s Dennis Kucinich understood the error of privatization.  His refusal to sell Muny Light and Powers saved the citizens of this community $200 million dollars. That is quite a sum.  The people are grateful.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I ran the last time, and I was re-elected to Congress. You have to remember something. The people in Cleveland, they know me as someone who will stand up and speak out when no other person will.

I saved the municipal electric system years ago in Cleveland. It saved the people of Cleveland hundreds of millions of dollars, because I took a stand that no one else would. I helped save a steel mill in Cleveland with close to 2,000 jobs because I took a stand after the mill had already been closed. I made sure we saved the mill and saved a hospital. I’m the one who takes a stand.

And on the war, all these other candidates were either quiet or they went the wrong way or, if they spoke up, they voted to fund the war later. People know me as being someone who’s not afraid, and it’s because I come from Cleveland. That’s what I represent: the kind of person who will stand up and speak out when others are quiet and who’s not afraid to take on big challenges.

I mean, frankly, that’s the kind of spirit that the Cleveland Indians have. That’s why they’re in the playoffs. You know, that’s why I’m in this race for president, because I have that kind of Cleveland spirit that’s tough and, at the same time, informed.

Judy Woodruff: Dennis Kucinich, we thank you very much for talking with us. Thank you.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Judy Woodruff: Appreciate it.

I too appreciate this fine dialogue.  I am grateful for the time given to discuss the issues with a candidate that is truly mainstream, a man of the people.  My hope is that many will stop for a moment and sit quietly away from the hype.  I invite you dear reader to reflect and absorb with an open mind and heart.  I appeal for a moment more.  If you would, please ponder the interview with Jay Leno.  As Mister Leno stated, my expectations were not realized, and I am thankful.  For me, this conversation on a program often known for comedy is one that brings tears.  Truth is often a source of enlightenment.  This interview illustrates illumination comes from the most casual of conversations.

Dennis Kucinich on Leno 9-24-07

I thank you for your time.  I appreciate the look, the listen, the forum, and the opportunity to introduce our future President, Dennis Kucinich.

Let us ponder as Kucinich has, free trade, globalization, income inequity, war, and peace.  May we proceed with intent.  Let us heal a world torn asunder, and a nation that crumbles from within.  Might we appraise and raise the consciousness of all throughout the plant.  When we are strong, we embrace peace.

References, Resources, The Reality, Dennis Kucinich . . .

  • Dennis Kucinich. Washington Post.
  • Kucinich given thanks for keeping Muny Light, By David Plata.?Sun Newspapers. December 17, 1998
  • Kucinich says his candidacy is viable. USA Today. February 9, 2004
  • Dennis Kucinich on Leno 9-24-07  YouTube.
  • Kucinich Details His Views on Iraq War, Health Care Reform. Interview with Judy Woodruff.  News Hour. October 4, 2007
  • pdf Kucinich Details His Views on Iraq War, Health Care Reform. Interview with Judy Woodruff.  News Hour. October 4, 2007
  • The Charge of the Muny Light Brigade By Joshua Scheer.  TruthDig. December 14, 2006
  • Keynote speakers.  University of Texas.