Saturday: 18 million

Hillary, the advocate. For 18 million and counting…

Morning, newsjunkies.

What a difference a few election cycles make… did you catch this from a week or so ago?

Samantha Power, October 2013:

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview broadcast Thursday that she regrets calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a “monster” during the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I regretted it pretty much every day since,” Power told NBC’s “Today.”

Interesting timing, that. The creative class-er set are gunning for their continued relevance in the Democratic party looking toward 2016 and beyond, and it’s been pretty clear that the comments coming out of the Obama ’08 veterans about Hills 2016 are at least partially  self-serving in that vein. (Past is prologue, and as Peter Daou reminded back in April–anyone calling Hillary inevitable in 2016, really isn’t the strongest of Hillary allies.)

Nonetheless–good for Power for saying the above anyway. Still have yet to hear of Axelrod’s regret over blaming Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on Hillary Clinton, but hey. I’m a realist. *wink*

Additionally, I think it’s good any time anyone on the D side reflects on 2008-present and recognizes that going after your core constituencies of women, working class, and older voters isn’t a good strategy strategically in the long term or morally ever.

Moarr, from the Power link:

“It just completely broke my heart that there is a fair amount of negativity heaped upon her that I find massively unfair,” she told “Today.” “And the idea that I could have contributed in some way to that narrative is just terrible.”

Power said apologizing to Clinton in person was “very emotional” for her.

Again, good for her and for women’s political participation in general, including Power’s herself. Hopefully. *Fingers crossed.*

Because, if this lesson isn’t retained–understand, this is the kind of negativity that we reinforce and exponentially multiply any time any of us calls any woman in politics a monster.

I was especially thrilled to hear this very un-monster like statement make it into the headlines and thus into our public discourse this morning, and of course from, of all people, our Hillary:

Hillary Clinton has called for a “sensible adult conversation”, to be held in a transparent way, about the boundaries of state surveillance highlighted by the leaking of secret NSA files by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a boost to Nick Clegg, the British deputy prime minister, who is planning to start conversations within government about the oversight of Britain’s intelligence agencies, the former US secretary of state said it would be wrong to shut down a debate.

Clinton, who is seen as a frontrunner for the 2016 US presidential election, said at Chatham House in London: “This is a very important question. On the intelligence issue, we are democracies thank goodness, both the US and the UK.

“We need to have a sensible adult conversation about what is necessary to be done, and how to do it, in a way that is as transparent as it can be, with as much oversight and citizens’ understanding as there can be.”

THANK YOU, Madame Secretary! I have been waiting for someone more versed on the matter than me to make this point and make it forcefully. Awhile back I attempted to write a post on the competing issues of privacy vs. security–though I had tried to wade through the mass of expert opinions and viewpoints on the issue of surveillance in this country, including those contained within articles bostonboomer had been kind enough to send me at my request, I just felt woefully out of league in discussing the subject. It helps (well at least it helps me personally) to hear an emeritus [sic] stateswoman say we need to have a debate–that it would be wrong to shut it down. With Hillary having been on the frontlines of a sort of World Apology Tour in the aftermath of Wikileaks, it feels good to hear that she recognizes the complexity of the issue and doesn’t just dismiss out of hand concerns about privacy, the public’s right to have oversight over its government, etc. I would not expect any less from the woman who as a young Hillary Rodham cut her legal and political teeth working on the Watergate investigation.

Here’s an interesting open letter to Hillary in the Monterey County Herald:

Dear Hillary:

I’m a beleaguered elementary school teacher fighting in the California front-line trenches and I need to give you a guilt-ridden, heartfelt apology. Although I embraced most of your political positions, I felt at the time I had to vote strategically. When it mattered most, I voted for Barack Obama. But it ate my soul because you were the only candidate against No Child Left Behind.

NCLB destroyed public education. It was the biggest of bamboozles, gutting science and social studies for more than a decade, and the whole intrusion of private involvement (testing) in public education has been one of extracting money from classrooms. Race To The Top and Common Core are destructive subtractive chaotic cousins to NCLB.

I teach fifth-graders in a little town near Monterey. My kids are 10 years old. Last year, five students had dead parents. I had 30 kids, so that means one of six had a dead parent. Cancer, cars and gangs were the culprits. This year, I have 31 kids. Two of them soil themselves regularly. Remember, they are 10 years old.

One of my parents warned me her child has Tourette’s syndrome and will upon whim scream, “Chicken!” Nine of my students have set foot in a jail or prison to visit a family member. One of my favorite former students was incarcerated at age 13. He is 30 now and has spent 17 years in and out of prison. At the moment, he has two strikes and is on the run.

I have four special education kids in my class. The pull of gangs is all-powerful here. A few years ago, a former student’s mother was gunned down in a gangland slaying in nearby Salinas. The same child’s grandmother was shot in the face in another gang incident.

I boil over and fester when I hear any mention of “failing schools.” I teach in a desperate community of abject poverty. Poverty is the failure, not the bricks of my building nor the many noble and heroic teachers who have chosen to work in my school. Making teachers accountable for testing results with the abominable life conditions here is a disconnect so large the country is lucky teachers are not engaged in open rebellion. And the money lost to testing, test preparation, test result trainings, test motivation and test-improvement- consultant-magic-dances is repugnant.

All is focused on language arts and math. Nothing else matters, as it is not tested. Result — a diminished curriculum, no music, art, band, restricted field trips, if any. But unctuous consultants show up with paycheck regularity, drive-by checklists in hand. It is, as Diane Ravitch writes, a “Reign of Error.”

Therefore, Hillary, I apologize for voting strategically last time. Obama sang his song, “Yes, We Can,” but the reality is, “Nope, He Didn’t.” We need a president with brains and testicles — figuratively, that is. Bush qualified in one respect, but was shy in gray matter. Obama has brains, but many disappointed supporters wonder what is below the belt.

It is up to you. We need a president with brains and more. That would be you. Please, just remember the teachers and help us help our desperate kids.


Paul Karrer teaches in Castroville.

Do you think the above is emotional “hurt feelings” over 2008?

I don’t think Obama is the worst president in American history. In fact I was pretty adamant about Hillary not being the type to primary Obama in 2012, and precisely because I didn’t think he was a “monster” that needed to be removed from the presidency by extraordinary means that virtually no white male president before him ever had to face. (and, yes, I’m aware of the history with LBJ, but that’s really an exception that proves the rule.)

Yet, Obama is a moderate Republican president in all but name. Can’t we do better as a Democratic party? Because, I agree very much with this blog headline from WaPo in spirit: Hillary Clinton could win all 50 states running against Banana Republicans in 2016.

But, that only approaches some sort of realization in practice if we push this Democratic party to the left and make them prove they are an actual meaningful alternative to the Republicans. Just my two, anyway.

Also, too: Figuratively and literally, I think it’s time for ovaries over brovaries. Wendy 2014 and Hillary 2016.

Your turn in the comments, Sky Dancers. Have a wonderful weekend!

40 Comments on “Saturday: 18 million”

  1. List of X says:

    I am sure that once Hillary is elected (and I hope that happens, just to be clear), her stance on surveillance and transparency will change, just as it happened with Barack Obama. But since Hillary already spent years as SOS and knows the government from the inside, she just will not make as many promises about transparency as Barack did in 2008.

    • NW Luna says:

      I beg to differ. I think Hillary will be far more transparent and upfront. She voted against FISA back in ’08, in contrast to Obama, who did a turnabout and voted for it.

      And yes, “it’s time for ovaries over brovaries”!

    • Hi List of X, thanks for reading and commenting. Maybe making promises she can actually deliver on and not closing off the debate (i.e. so we can do the grassroots work of pushing her) IS the difference.

      • List of X says:

        I expect much less in terms of promises from Hillary, so it should be easier for her to fulfill them.

        • So then she wouldn’t be changing her tune then right? It would be what you see is what you get–or as close to it as we’ve gotten with a presidential candidate in the modern era.

          I think there would also be a difference in terms of Hillary doing what she talked about even as far back as ’69 in her speech at Wellesley, where she talked about the “trust bust” and the need to restore the public’s trust in our public and private institutions. Part of that is listening and communicating with the public–that’s part of the huge puzzle missing. We’ve been lied to so much, it’s hard not to worry we’re giving up freedoms for security and that they’re being abused.

  2. Sometimes dreams do come true…stranger things have happened 😉 :

  3. Sweet Sue says:

    Great post, Mona, but …Ahem-because I didn’t think he was a “monster” that needed to be removed from the presidency by extraordinary means that virtually no white male president before him ever had to face. (and, yes, I’m aware of the history with LBJ, but that’s really an exception that proves the rule
    Johnson wasn’t impeached-neither was Nixon, by the skin of his teeth, but Bill Clinton was and he was and is white.

    • Hey! Thanks for dropping by, good to hear from you!

      Yes, Bill was, and he walked out with one of the highest voter approvals for it 😉 I was talking about primarying from within the party as a means of removal, not impeachment, though.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Got you! Wasn’t Jimmy Carter primaried by Ted Kennedy?
        The whole Kennedy clan can go jump in the lake–just realized that’s an unfortunate turn of phrase. Funny how the mind works.
        Except Rory, I like Rory.

  4. Sweet Sue says:

    I always say wake me up when Ken Starr’s goons are pawing through Michelle’s lingerie drawer.
    As for the aptly named Power, she’s been dead to me for years.

    • Again, it is interesting timing. If you felt bad every day, it might have behooved you to say it one of those days about five years ago.

      But anyway, more power to Power. 😉 😉

      • NW Luna says:

        Yeah, that bit about regretting the words nearly every day since saying them sounds either dumb or false to me.

        • Just a little much…she could have left that out. It just makes it so obvious that the narrative is being rewritten to accommodate the fact that Obama ’08-’12 is now “Ready for Hillary.” (Literally, since they’re the ones who are in charge of the Ready for Hillary group.)

          I mean don’t get me wrong, they should support Hill and *when* (going to dispense with the if-word, 😉 ) she’s president, they all still need jobs…so yeah. But, just how stupid do they think we are?

  5. From June… Wendy, giving ‘voice to values’:

  6. Pilgrim says:

    Mona, I am very pleased with every thing you have said in your post.

    What you say, how you say it, how delicately and deftly you calibrate the words for the thoughts…really a delight to read. I know what you are saying, and I am pleased.

  7. RalphB says:

    At the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, Battleground Texas Senior Adviser Jeremy Bird, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and former Houston Mayor Bill White talked about what it will take to make Democrats competitive in Texas again. Roughly 38 min of video.