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Posts Tagged ‘White House’

I have said it before here, the Obama administration has a miserable record of pushing treaties through the Senate.  I keep a record of Hillary Clinton flying all over the world signing treaties, but back here at home, precious few get pushed to a ratification vote in a Senate that, for now, has a Democratic majority.

When I posted Secretary Clinton’s remarks at a women’s leadership event at UNGA yesterday, little did I know that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that has not rung in on the women’s rights treaty.  But here it is, thanks to HuffPo.  Signed by Jimmy Carter 30 years ago, CEDAW has been languishing without Senate ratification all these years.

It is time for this White House get moving on treaties, and this one would be a good start.  It needs a push!

Clinton Un Cedaw

Posted: 9/20/11 07:55 PM ET

NEW YORK — On the eve of high-level meetings for the United Nations’ general assembly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended an event on Monday afternoon designed to highlight the importance of women’s participation in public life.

Together with a selection of major female world leaders, including Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, and Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile and the head of U.N. Women, Clinton put her name to a document calling for developing countries — especially in the changing Middle East — to clear the way for women to hold leadership roles.

The joint statement read:

We call upon all States to ratify and fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and to implement fully Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security and other relevant UN resolutions

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Elizabeth Warren Out: Report

IT’S OVER

Harry Hamburg, File / AP Photo

Elizabeth Warren Out: Report

There’s no better way to ruin a weekend than having somebody replace you at work. President Obama has reportedly chosen his nominee for chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it’s not early favorite Elizabeth Warren, a source told Bloomberg News Friday.

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Why do I have a nagging thought at the back of my head that this announcement, coming at this particular time, is inextricably tied to conversations going on behind closed doors at the White House between the Republicans and the erstwhile POTUS?

Did I require yet ANOTHER reason not to support Barack Obama for any additional time leading from behind?  No!  Leading from behind whom?  My guess, from behind the GOP!

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One of the reasons why, unlike some of my friends, I did not de-register from the Democratic Party after the 2008 spectacle/debacle,  is because once in awhile they actually contact me to ask for something besides money.  (Another reason is because the Clintons are both still Democrats, and I like being in their party.)  Yesterday, Patrick Gaspard sent me a question and a questionnaire.  Being a responsible Democrat, I responded to both.

Here is my response to the question:

April 30, 2011 email question:

What should democrats be doing to prepare for 2012?

The Democratic Party should wake up and realize that Barack Obama campaigned on rhetoric, built a coalition that has fallen apart and, like Humpty Dumpty, cannot be put back together again, not with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.

In forcing Barack Obama on us, the party managed to fracture itself. It shot itself in the foot. His approval ratings are low for a good reason: He fails to act. He folds to the GOP. He hesitates. This is not leadership. This is weakness.

Hillary Clinton is a strong leader, and the DNC failed to give her a fighting chance in Denver. Right now, she is the only one who exhibits the kind of leadership this party needs and the country needs.

It is time to stop making this campaign about re-electing a feeble candidate. It is time to be realistic and make the campaign about doing the right thing for America. The RIGHT thing: Put Hillary Clinton on the ballot. Get on your knees and beg her to run. Give Obama his walking papers, and pray that Hillary Clinton says yes. I know she will… for her country.

The questionnaire is a typical survey, but there are places to write text.  It looks like this:

Survey
How do you feel about the work the Democratic Party is doing now?:1 Extremely Negative
2
3
4
5 Extremely Positive
How do you feel about the work the Democratic Party has done in the past?:1 Extremely Negative
2
3
4
5 Extremely Positive
How important would you rate the following issues?
Job creation and strengthening the economy:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Health insurance reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Clean energy:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Education reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Wall Street reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Immigration reform1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Which issue is the most important to you?:
If “Other”, please tell us which issue is most important to you:
How would you rate the quality of the Democratic Party website (www.democrats.org)?:1 Very low quality
2
3
4
5 Very high quality
Do you know or work with your local Democratic Party?:Yes
No
How likely are you to participate in the Democratic Party’s next online activity (letter to the editor, online petition) on an issue that’s important to you?:1 Very unlikely
2
3
4
5 Very likely
Do you identify yourself with any of the following groups? (Check all that apply):

  African Americans
Americans Abroad
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
Environmentalists
Healthcare Professionals
Labor
Latinos/Hispanics
  LGBT
Native Americans
People of Faith
People with Disabilities
Seniors
Students
Veterans
Young Professionals
How would you categorize yourself politically?:
Are you a fan of the Democratic Party on Facebook?:Yes
No, but I use Facebook
I don’t use Facebook
Do you follow the Democratic Party on Twitter?:Yes
No, but I use Twitter
I don’t use Twitter
How would you describe the current political climate? (Optional):
What do you believe the Democratic Party stands for? (Optional):
Why are you a Democrat? (Optional):

Here is how I answered the optional questions:

Which issue is the most important to you?:   (There is a drop-down menu with choices.  I chose “other.”)
If “Other”, please tell us which issue is most important to you:

Choosing the right leader to take the party in the right direction. That would be Hillary Rodham Clinton whom the party kicked to the curb in 2008. We need a real leader, not a hesitant, weak, do-nothing. All Obama does is talk. Hillary acts. I am sick of this gutless, self-centered weakling. Many thousands of Democrats, former Democrats, and Independents agree with me. His coalition is gone. He cannot be re-elected. It is time for the party to wake up to that. I did not vote for him, and I will not. I will write in Hillary Clinton’s name, if I have to.

How would you describe the current political climate? (Optional):

Very dangerous for the middle class and the poor. The Democratic Party used to stand for those groups, but,  under Obama’s leadership (if you can call his paralysis in the face of every crisis leadership),  these groups are hurting.  He simply folds to the GOP every time. ENOUGH! Get Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ticket. She is decisive, strong, and smart. Her heart is with the people.

What do you believe the Democratic Party stands for? (Optional):

Right now? There is nothing democratic about the way Barack Obama became the nominee and plenty of us are angry about that. The party stands for manipulation, caucus fraud, sexism, and disenfranchisement.
Why are you a Democrat? (Optional):

Why am I STILL a Democrat? After what I saw in the last general election?  To continue to receive questionnaires like this from you. I want my party back! The Democratic Party I grew up with did not tolerate thuggery. Primaries were civilized. Roll call votes on the convention floor were genuine,  and a candidate would emerge after several ballots. Hillary Clinton and her delegates (for whom we voted) were not given a fair vote. I want my party back!

Unfortunately, there was no way to put my poster on their survey. 😦

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John Bolton doesn’t like Hillary Clinton.  He really, really doesn’t like her,  and he will grab any chance before him to remind us of that.  While his attack on her in an Op-Ed published today in the UK Guardian holds no surprises,  it does deserve a reproach from the Department of Homegirl Security along with a correction.

Although the main target of the piece is Barack Obama,  the opportunist Mr. Bolton not only seizes the moment to go off topic onto Secretary Clinton, but, in doing so,  misinterprets and twists her words (or reads them selectively) and inappropriately places the entire blame for what he sees as an inadequate response by the Obama administration to the Wikileaks document dump on her lovely and already overburdened shoulders.   Of course this kind of textual cherry-picking is a big reason why the Still4Hill blog * depends upon the Secretary’s own words rather than articles about them, and DeHoS does not single out every article for analysis.  Most often, they are accurate if unnecessarily unbalanced.  In this particular case, not so.

On 29 November, secretary of state Hillary Clinton lamented that this third document dump was “not just an attack on United States foreign policy and interests, [but] an attack on the international community”. By contrast, on 1 December, the presidential press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said the White House was “not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop”. Hours later, a Pentagon spokesman disdained the notion that the military should have prevented the WikiLeaks release: “The determination of those who are charged with such things, the decision was made not to proceed with any sort of aggressive action of that sort in this case.”

Clinton is demonstrably incorrect in being preoccupied with defending the “international community”, whatever that is. Her inability to understand WikiLeaks’ obsession with causing harm to the US is a major reason why the Obama administration has done little or nothing in response – except talk, its usual foreign-policy default position.

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First of all, he ignores her use of the word “just” meaning “only.” Of course she recognizes this as an attack on the U.S., but, given her post as Secretary of State (as opposed to Secretary of Defense or Director of Homeland Security) as well as the sources of the documents released by WL she is absolutely correct in pointing out the implications for the foreign governments and populations with which her Department communicates.

Further, it is erroneous to charge that she shapes the administration response.  The last time I looked, when Robert Gibbs spoke, he did so from the White House press room and was speaking for the White House not for the State Department or the Secretary of State.

When the Secretary of State releases a statement, provided she does not deliver the message herself, she does not do so through Gibbs, but, most often, through P.J. Crowley.  He makes his announcements, not  from the White House press room, but rather from the press room at the State Department.

To call her “preoccupied with defending the international community” is senseless and inaccurate.  The international community is her purview.  Bolton would be the first  to attack her if she dipped her little pinkie toe into a domestic situation.   What we have seen over the past week is not a defense of that community so much as an attempt to reassure friends,allies, and also those we would like to have as friends, that we are trustworthy partners.

As for “preoccupation,”   Bolton’s preoccupation with the popular, respected, diligent Secretary Clinton has all the earmarks of sour grapes.  HIs Wikipedia entry reads thus.

He served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 on a recess appointment.[1] He resigned in December 2006 when his recess appointment would have ended[2] [3] because he was unable to gain confirmation from the Senate.[4][5]

Coming from an unconfirmed, short term, place-filler the allegations seem rooted more in envy than in  reasoned inquiry.  Bolton’s interest in Secretary Clinton’s career betrays  less the character of serious patriotic rebuttals and more the behavior of the fourth-grade boy who,  frustrated that the Tracy Flick of the class always gets it right, dips her pigtail in the inkwell.   (OK, I know, we don’t have inkwells anymore.  We don’t even use ink! We have power wells in the most up-to-date classrooms, but you catch my drift.)  Usually, the boys who do things like that harbor a secret crush,  but the behavior is abusive, and Bolton can take his hard-on for Hillary Clinton and, well, shove it!  She does not deserve this attack and has responded to the WL situation most appropriately and admirably.  She has had a rough week what with WL, North Korea, and a four-day trip thrown in for good measure, and she has come out of it glowing.    Thank you for your hard work,  Mme. Secretary!  And thanks for nothing,  Ambassador Bolton.  It is pretty clear why the Senate withheld that title from you.

Now you KNEW I would not end this without a picture of the Homegirl-in-Chief!  Here she is at her Kennedy Honors Gala Dinner last night.

*The full text of the Secretary’s statement can be found here>>>>

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What is it about the summer season that causes pundits to initiate wild tales about Hillary Clinton that are patently unlikely or untrue?    Do their brains cook in the heat?  Last summer, on these pages, we dealt with a series of Vampire Tales that refused to die.

Vampire Tales: The Story That Will Not Die

Vampire Tales II: The Return of the Toxic Memes!

Vampire Tales III: The Attack of the Unattributable

Vampire Tales IV: The Gov Myth

Vampire Tales V: I have a silver cross. Does anybody have a stake? Some garlic? Anything?

As you can see, these tales that would not die started in early July and did not die out until late January.  Now the whole circus begins again.

I left untouched, and probably should not have, the speculation that Hillary Clinton would replace Robert Gates at Defense.  It was a ridiculous scenario.  For once we have Secretaries of Defense and State who genuinely are a tight team, respect and like each other aaaannnd AGREE!  Why would ANYbody break that up?   But, of course, that little unfounded rumor had to spawn something bigger.  I present, for your careful inspection, the Hillary as VP meme.

First, we need to consider the source.  The earliest attribution I can find came from David Gewirtz on Anderson Cooper’s 360 Blog in late May.  Gewirtz describles himself politically thus:

Gewirtz claims to have voted for both Democrats and Republicans and acknowledges voting for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. According to Gewirtz, “At various times in my life, I’ve called myself a Republican and at other times, a Democrat. These days, both parties have sufficiently pissed me off that I’m pretty much an independent.”

Wikipedia

Seems non-partisan enough. By mid-June this meme was drop-kicked first by Sally Quinn at the Washington Post and then by Colleen O’Connor at the San Diego News Network.  I do not know anything about O’Connor, but I do know that the waters have never been calm between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sally Quinn since the former FLOTUS first set foot in D.C.  One has to wonder what her agenda is in moving this story forward.

The biggest splash came with Douglas Wilder’s Op-Ed at Politico.  By last week, the story had made it all the way to the Wall Street Journal having made a stop a week ago at Chris Matthews Sunday morning network TV spot – serious discussion, I am told.  I missed it because I was watching my friend Will Bower on Fox discussing the Democratic Party’s “Change Commission” on Primary reform (which is code for no change/no reform).

So what of these sources?  All but Wilder have not held elected office,  and what his motivation might have been has borne speculation itself.  Several of the others (Quinn, Matthews & Co.) have shown protracted, open hostility to our Homegirl-in-Chief in the past.  Why would they tout her for VP?

The obvious answer is Obama’s tanking approval rating.  Their boy is in trouble, and they want one-time lifeguard, Hillary Clinton, whose approval ratings are the highest in the administration to keep him afloat.  The story has survived for more than two months and continues to make news – the mark of a truly strong Vampire Tale.

If the DNC were smart (and we know they are not), they would realize that the problem is not the Vice President.  It is Obama’s pitiful performance in office.  Would Hillary on the ticket keep him afloat? Maybe.  Maybe NOT!  If she were VP certainly she would transform that post as we all stood by dazzled.  It would assure Hillary-watchers of years of spectacle.  But, you see, neither is the Vice Presidency in need of transformation, no, not any more than Joe Biden as VP is the problem.

If Hillary Clinton were president, she would transform the executive branch in the same way that she is tranforming the State Department.  She would order reviews at all departments like Defense’s QDR and the QDDR she initiated at State.  These reviews would result in recommendations for streamlining and updating agencies and practices that have been allowed to stagnate.  She would bring the executive branch, finally, into the 21st century.  Ironic, is it not, that the candidate everyone said would be transformative is not.  But the Secretary of State, she is a change-agent extraordinaire!

Our American practice seems to be that if you fail, we provide tutoring and remediation.  We need to rethink that as an application to the highest office in the land.  We might start by killing off this vampire tale of Hillary as VP with a mighty stake,  and replacing it with a real prospect for this country, that of a truly transformative, brilliant, hard-working, and creative, dedicated candidate at the top of the ticket where she has always belonged  but now more than ever.

(I believe the adorable gifs are the handiwork of Homegirl Conanincharge. If they don’t play, try clicking on them, and they will open in a new window and play.)

From Team Hillary Clinton just for this blog:

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So up into one of my news feeds pops this, which is a victory, don’t get me wrong,  but is a rather anti-climactic one.

Obama orders additional benefits for same-sex partners of executive branch employees

Seems rather staged to me, coming, as it does at the onset of Gay Pride Month.  Last year, when Secretary of State Clinton announced benefits for domestic partners, there was a transparency at work.  We knew of her meeting with an LGBT group from State early on in her tenure, and of her promise to study the situation.  Her announcement came at a propitious,  but also at a reasonable time, after her promised research and budgetary work could be completed.

This announcement, on the other hand,  has the appearance of  a time-release capsule scripted to occur at a specific time although it may well reflect benefits that were possible from every porrtal, much earlier than now.  I’m just sayin’….

So if you were not here last year, or even if you were, I thought now might be a good time to remind you of this post.

Sit! Stay! Under the porch!

Not completely unrelated, if you read that post, it is a good time to remind everyone that this is also Adopt-a–Shelter-Pet Month.   If you are looking for a pet,  please do!  If you are gay and looking for a pet,  please!   The  sweetest little Princesses and Tinkerbelles, or Spikes and Machomans can be found at shelters, and they are there just waiting for YOU!  Even if you only want Spot or Puff, take my word for it  – they are there!

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