Tag Archives: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yes, the world takes a keen interest in U.S. elections

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WEITERSDORF, Germany — I¬†mentioned in an earlier blog post that I¬†intended to¬†comment on the interest level among Germans in the U.S. election.

I have a pretty good idea of that interest, based in part on a lovely evening my wife and I spent with our friends and their parents.

Gerhard and Gabi are the parents of Alena, one of our hosts in this village near Nuremberg.

My sense from both of them — particularly from¬†Gerhard — is that, yes, by golly, they are mightily interested in the election we’re about to have back home.

Do they totally endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton? I didn’t get that from them. Do they totally fear the election of Donald J. Trump? Um, yes, I did get that feeling.

Gerhard also believes there might be an anti-woman feeling in play in the United States, which could signal a Trump victory in exactly two months.

I sought to tell him tonight over dinner that I didn’t believe the sexist vote was that prevalent back home, that a majority of Americans who bother to vote are going to choose experience and actual knowledge of government over the rhetoric that’s pouring out of Trump’s mouth.

Gerhard, a lifelong journalist who works in Nuremberg, didn’t quite buy into the notion that Trump is going to lose. Gabi, a homemaker in this lovely and oh, so quiet village — which is about a 10-minute train ride from central Nuremberg — was a bit quieter on the subject.

If these two fine folks are indicative of German sentiment — and they seem to be mainstream folks who have carved out a¬†comfortable mainstream life in this rural village — then at least this portion of the rest of the world is watching with great interest in what American voters decide on Nov. 8.

This is the kind of attention that great nations engender — no matter how many times Donald Trump tries to tell us back home that we are no longer a great nation.

The culling of the fields is about to begin

Leader

The American presidential nominating process is a grueling exercise.

It’s also a useful one.

The Iowa caucuses are about to begin in¬†three weeks. Right after we’ll witness the New Hampshire primary elections.

The usefulness comes in the form of the culling of the fields that’s about to commence.

The candidates at the back of the Republican and Democratic packs have been able to retain their campaign viability by insisting that “no votes have been cast.” That argument ends in Iowa.

Who’ll pack it in?

Martin O’Malley will exit the Democratic Party race, leaving the field to just Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

On the Republican side, the outcome is a bit murkier.

It has become a battle for third place. The top two spots will go to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Third? It’ll be either Marco Rubio, Chris Christie or maybe Jeb Bush. After that, the rest of ’em ought to bail out.

Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul and Jim Gilmore (yes, the former Virginia governor’s still in the hunt) all need to exit the stage.

Of the also-rans, my biggest disappointment would be Ohio Gov. Kasich. He’s got a tremendous substantive argument to make: that he, as House Budget Committee chairman in the late 1990s, helped produce a balanced federal budget¬†by working with President Bill Clinton.

That hasn’t worked with the GOP base, which lusts for the red meat being fed to it by the likes of Trump and Cruz.

The process, though, does produce winners. It’s often not pretty to watch. This year has been ugly, to be sure.

However, the process has worked every four years for as long as most of us can remember.

The serious winnowing of both parties’ fields will commence soon.

Let’s all stay tuned.

 

Is Bill Clinton on the ’16 ballot?

hillary clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton says Donald Trump reveals a sexist attitude toward women.

Trump responds by saying that Clinton’s husband, the 42nd president of the United States, has demonstrated an equally horrible attitude toward women.

So …

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might be facing each other in the 2016 general election, which makes Trump’s view of women relevant.

Trump’s retort about Bill Clinton? Well, is that relevant? It would be if the former president was on the ballot. He’s not.

And that begs the question.¬†Why is Trump bringing up the former president’s well-chronicled, heavily reported, much-discussed and debated inappropriate relationship with that young White House intern?

In my view, it’s an attempt at political diversion from the issue at hand, which is whether the current leading Republican presidential candidate really holds sexist views.

I am fully aware of former President Clinton’s history. Yes, I also know of the allegations of other extramarital relationships.

However, the man ain’t on the ballot.

His wife wants to be the next president.

Furthermore, his wife has raised the issue of a potential opponent’s fitness for the job they both want.

 

Alzheimer’s gets attention in this campaign

alzheimers

Campaign pledges too often get made — only to become ignored by the candidate who makes them.

I believe I will keep one candidate’s feet very close to the fire should the campaign turn out in this individual’s favor next year.

Hillary Rodham Clinton pledges devote $2 billion annually to fund research into finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Big deal, yes? Well, it is, even if it comes in the form of a campaign promise.

“For me, the bottom line is if we’re the kind of nation that cares for citizens and supports families,” Clinton said, “then we’ve got work to do and we need to do it better when it comes to diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

I happen to have intimate knowledge of this dreaded, miserable and merciless affliction. My mother died from it in 1984. She was 61 years of age. It robbed her of her wit, her intelligence, all of her cognitive skill, eventually her ability to speak and her ability to recognize those who loved her.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in this country and it brings great grief and pain to an increasing number of Americans.

Clinton isn’t the first politician¬†to make this pledge. However, I do not remember the last time a politician running for president of the United States of America has made one like this.

Today’s post, though, isn’t about Clinton’s campaign promise. It’s about the disease.

I have made a vow myself to bring attention to Alzheimer’s disease whenever possible using this forum.

Another beloved member of my family also is suffering from its early onset. I pray for him daily. Also pray for his children, grandchildren and his wife, all of whom must care for him.

They aren’t alone. As Clinton found out while attending a campaign event in Iowa when she asked who in her audience had a connection with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s affecting more and more of us daily. Our population is aging and yet a cure for the disease remains elusive.

Therapies have advanced tremendously. Some of them reportedly are slowing the progress of the disease. They don’t stop it.

Clinton’s pledge has drawn the support of at least one leading Republican, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. I would hope other politicians from both parties would endorse her promise by making similar pledges of their own.

“I’m running for president to deal with the big problems but also with these problems that keep families up at night, and this is one that really fits into the category,” Clinton said.

You got that right, Mme. Secretary.

 

VA scandal far from ‘overstated’

veterans affairs

Hillary Rodham Clinton could not be more wrong than she was the other night when she said that the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal was “overstated.”

You’ll recall the VA matter. Veterans seeking medical care in Phoenix were made to wait for too long for the care — and then some of the died while waiting.

Meanwhile, the VA cooked the books, so to speak, and hid that information from agency watchdogs in order to protect the medical staff at the VA medical center in Phoenix.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki had to quit and the agency went under the microscope to correct the hideous situation that resulted in the veterans’ deaths.

News flash to Hillary: None of it — zero — was “overstated.”

Veterans should be offended¬†by what the Democrats’ leading presidential contender told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow the other evening. I know I am.

Yes, Clinton is right to say that most veterans get good health care. I can attest to the quality of care I am getting in Amarillo at the Thomas Creek VA Medical Center. Then again, I enjoy good health.

My hope is that when I do need some specialized care that it will be available to me in a timely fashion. I damn sure don’t want to die waiting to receive it.

Most veterans do receive good care. The veterans who have died because of too-long wait times, though, did not.

For the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate to suggest it’s all¬†“overstated,” overblown and overplayed is dishonest on its face.

Does anyone want the speaker’s job?

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., talks about the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, part of the House GOP energy agenda, Wednesday, June 6,2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When a politician becomes the butt of late-night comics’ jokes, well, that quite often spells the end of his of political ambition.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the bad form to suggest that the House Benghazi committee was formed — in effect — to torpedo Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming president. He then followed that with a string of nonsensical statements about the former secretary of state’s tenure.

The joke machine was then turned on … full blast.

Today, McCarthy said he is dropping out of the race to become the next speaker of the House; John Boehner wants to leave Congress and the speakership at the end of the month.

It now looks as though he’s going to stay on a while longer.

Why? Because, his Republican Party leadership team is in shambles.

McCarthy bows out

Some of us out here are utterly dumbstruck by what’s happened back in our nation’s capital.

McCarthy had a fight on his hands to become speaker. Two TEA Party insurgents, Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Daniel Webster of Virginia, were running against him for speaker.

It’s true that McCarthy didn’t help himself when he made the statement about the Benghazi committee’s mission. In truth, he merely muttered what many of us out here beyond the Beltway believed all along, which is that the GOP formed the panel precisely to undercut Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Boehner, McCarthy, Benghazi panel chairman Trey Gowdy all deny that is their intent.

Uh, huh. Whatever you say, gentlemen.

Meantime, the lower congressional chamber is looking for a new Man of the House.

Does anyone want this job? Can anyone do the job?

GOP field now appears complete

Pssst. I’m about to let you in on a secret.

The Republican Party’s presidential field now appears set. Sixteen men and one women are running for the White House.

The final candidate — I hope! — announced his candidacy today. It’s former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. I know, I know. Your enthusiasm is boiling over.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-primaries/249878-jim-gilmore-formally-declares-white-house-bid

Gov. Gilmore’s message: We’re heading in the wrong direction. He’s going to strengthen our place in the world. He’s going to reverse the “Obama-Clinton” foreign policy debacles.

The problem with Gilmore’s announcement was that no one heard it. Donald Trump, the party frontrunner, was in Scotland today, of all places. And the public is still talking about him.

The rest of the field? It doesn’t matter, apparently. The Donald is sucking up all the attention — as if that’s a surprise.

Meanwhile, Jim Gilmore has climbed into the arena.

Does this complete the field? Let’s hope so.

Crowd size is overrated … trust me

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is blown away by the size of the crowds greeting Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders as he campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Here’s¬†what Reich posted on Facebook: “What amazes me, frankly, are the crowds. Not since Robert F. Kennedy sought the Democratic nomination in 1968 has a candidate for the nomination of either party generated such large numbers of people eager to see and listen to him. None in living memory has summoned such crowds this early, before the nominating season even begins. Even Sanders’ advisers are amazed (I spoke with one this morning who said they never expected this kind of response).

“What’s the explanation? It’s not his sense of humor. It’s not his youth. He isn’t a demagogue, bashing immigrants or pandering to hatred and bigotry. It’s that he’s telling Americans the unvarnished truth about what has happened to our economy and our democracy, and he is posing real solutions. And it seems that America is ready to listen.”

I guess I need to remind Reich — who I’m sure is aware of a lot more than I am — about a reality.

It is that big crowds don’t translate necessarily into votes.

The late U.S. Sen. George McGovern drew big crowds as well when he ran for president in 1972. I stood among a throng of thousands of¬†people¬†in a plaza in downtown Portland, Ore., as McGovern fired up the masses. That crowd was big, boisterous, enthusiastic — and it mirrored many of the political rally crowds McGovern was drawing all across the nation.

Sen. McGovern lost the election that year by 23 percentage points, as President Nixon rang up a 49-state landslide victory.

Yes, Sanders is telling voters his version of the “unvarnished truth.” Indeed, RFK did much the same thing in 1968 as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy’s message was different; it dealt more with issues of the heart, such as peace abroad and justice at home for all Americans.

Sanders’s crowds are impressive. Let’s remember, though, that he remains a still-distant second to the Democrats’ frontrunner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s got another all-important edge over the rest of her party’s primary field: money.

We now live in an era where money matters far more than massive crowds.

Hey, what’s happening on the Democratic side?

Republican presidential candidates are gobbling up all the attention these days.

Have you noticed what’s happening in the “other” party’s presidential race? The once-unstoppable Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking, well, a bit stoppable these days.

Polling data suggest that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who’s running in the Democratic Party primary against Clinton, has closed a lot of the once-huge gap between the two of them.

He trails Clinton now by just 9 points in New Hampshire, according to new data.

OK, it’s fair to ask: Is that a home-boy advantage for Sanders, given that he hails from next-door Vermont?

His crowds are huge. The excitement appears to be real. He’s speaking to the Everyman among us, railing against wage equality and declaring — without equivocation — that he opposed the Iraq War authorization from the get-go, unlike Clinton, who approved it.

It’s still a significant stretch to believe that Sanders is going to be nominated next summer at the Democratic National Convention. Two others also are running to the left of HRC — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Democrats aren’t likely to actually nominate an avowed socialist whose major campaign platform plank has been to call for massive redistribution of wealth.

Actually, of the three men running against Clinton, I find Chafee to be the most interesting, given that he once was a Republican.

But those gentlemen are far behind the two Democratic frontrunners.

How strange it seems to be talking today about Sen. Sanders as someone with at least a shot at derailing the Clinton Express.

Now, let’s¬†all turn our attention¬†back to those crazy Republicans … shall we?

 

Rubio takes heat, gives some of it back

Welcome to the national spotlight, young man.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, is finding out first hand how tough it is to keep some aspects of one’s personal life out of the glare of public view.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/marco-rubio-hits-back-at-new-york-times/ar-BBkXhm9

It really cannot be done.

The New York Times has published a couple of stories about the senator from Florida. One of them details the number of traffic tickets he and his wife (mostly his wife) have run up in the past 18 years.¬†The other examines the couple’s spending habits.

The stories aren’t exactly flattering. In fact, they’re quite unflattering. Rubio has hit back at the Times over the personal finances story. He wrote an email: “It’s true, I didn’t make over $11 million last year giving speeches to special interests,” Rubio said. “And we don’t have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion from Wall Street and foreign interests.” Those examples appear to be shots at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s come under scrutiny herself for the money she has earned since she and her husband, President Bill Clinton, left the White House in 2001.

Personally, I think the traffic-ticket story is overblown. Indeed, if he is elected president in 2016, neither he or his wife will be sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on public streets for at least the next four years. So, what’s the point, right?

As for the financial story, the Rubios reportedly have thrown a good bit of money that Sen. Rubio seem to indicate they don’t have. According to U.S. News & World report: “The Times also said Rubio has handled his personal finances in a manner that ‘experts called imprudent,’ with a low saving rate, substantial debt, buying an $80,000 boat and leasing a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7.” Rubio is going to insist on prudent spending by the government as he campaigns for president. Do as I say and not as I do? Is that it, senator?

Here’s a thought for the Times’s editors to consider: If you’re going to examine the personal spending habits and the portfolios of the candidates, be sure to look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’s account statements carefully. He is the “Democratic socialist” who’s campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination on a platform that seeks to redistribute wealth throughout the country because of what he calls the “obscene” wealth of too few Americans.

As for Rubio and the treatment he’s gotten from the media, there’s¬†much more¬†scrutiny to come.

It goes with the territory.