#1016 – Dick Bernard: Hillary announces….

If you need to know what the blog headline is about, you’re probably not much interested in politics…. The longer headline: “Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy for Presidency of the United States beginning 2017.”

This is a long post, mostly my personal political history – “me ‘n Hillary” – from early 2008. If you’re not into history, my current comments begin and end this post…. What is bold-faced from the 2008 comments, in the middle of this post, are those which seem most pertinent, then and now.
Humor me, and read on, just this once, whether or not “politics” interests you.
Please try…. Politics is what makes or breaks this democracy of ours. We Americans are very sloppy about how we go about deciding who should represent us, and we are even more careless about how our government works at all levels. It is a surprise our system works at all, and that’s a shame.
Sunday, April 12, 2015, Hillary Clinton announced that she’s a candidate for President. I see that as good news, though as of right now I haven’t read much about it. There’s plenty of time, and there will be, doubtless, daily polls about what the public thinks – the polls slanted, of course, in the direction the pollster wishes. A great deal of “heat”, hardly any “light”.
One thing is certain, in my opinion: Hillary Clinton is savvy, and she’ll run a very solid campaign.

I’ve long been impressed with Hillary. Most of the words which follow come from two posts I wrote at the time of the Minnesota Precinct Caucuses Feb 5, 2008.
Those who stop by this blog from time to time know that I like to add photos to posts. There are none of her included here for a simple reason: I’ve never actually seen Hillary Clinton in person, anywhere. A few days before I wrote the below comments in 2008, Feb. 2, I saw Barack Obama in person in Minneapolis. He was very impressive. He is ever more impressive; we’re fortunate to have him as chief executive of this immense country.
(click to enlarge)

Feb. 2, 2008, Target Center Minneapolis,

Feb. 2, 2008, Target Center Minneapolis,

At the end of this post, I’ll summarize what I see, at this moment. Whether you like or detest politics, the results determine what we are as a country, and you’re a participant, whether you think you’re a participant or not. (Not voting, or voting for “Mickey Mouse” or a candidate who has no chance whatever, is voting. And everyone has only a single vote, one time, in each election.)
Get involved. Your own future is determined by who will be elected for all offices in each election.
Now, a look back.
P&J#1566 “Super Tuesday” posted February 6, 2008:
“I’m guessing I’ve heard from everyone who has an interest in responding to last night, so here ’tis. Thanks. [Lots of people responded about their experience at their own 2008 caucus. These are not included here.]
Yes, I “gotta get a life”…I got curious, yesterday, about the age U.S. Presidents were when they assumed the presidency.
My time to run is definitely past: Here they are since 1901: Teddy Roosevelt, 42; Taft, 51; Wilson, 56; Harding, 55; Coolidge, 50; Hoover,
54; FDR, 50; Truman, 60; Eisenhower, 62; JFK, 43; LBJ, 54; Nixon, 55; Ford, 61; Carter, 52; Reagan, 69 (THERE’S HOPE – not much); GHWB, 64; Bill
Clinton, 46; the Decider [George W Bush], 54. (At the end of this P&J, I list the rest of the bunch….)
Funny how they seemed so old back when I knew ’em as a kid.
If elected, McCain, 71, would be the oldest President ever elected, older even than the Gipper [Ronald Reagan]. You can bet that this point will be whispered.
I’ve attended precinct caucuses for years. Our particular caucus location for the last several years has been a junior high school a 15 minute drive from me, just off I-94.
That’s 15 minutes on a normal day.
Tonight it took almost an hour to drive to the location, most of that time spent in the last half mile jammed bumper to bumper on the freeway and the exit ramp, and then another 15 minutes to walk to the school from my car which I had to park on the shoulder of the road.
The time spent had everything to do with the precinct caucus attendance, which was HUGE.
My caucus location was teeming with young people. The young guy who serves me coffee most mornings at my local Caribou was there, volunteering for Al Franken. It is nice to make occasional unexpected connections like these.
I cast my ballot – for Hillary Clinton; registered to become a delegate to the next level – an important step, as the next level is where the state delegates are selected. We left early as Cathy needed to get home for some phone calls. It was a long chilly walk back to the car, then home.
Why my vote for Hillary? More on that in a later post.
(The presidential vote in Minnesota last night is simply a straw poll of those who actually registered at the caucus. It reflects who showed up. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see the results.)
I got a sense, last night, that people in my area are wanting their country back. This was a school full of serious looking people. I’ll hope their commitment sustains itself, and in fact grows.
For myself, I’ll be proud to support whoever ends up as the nominees.
More on my impressions at the end of this post.

… [numerous comments from other members of my list, not included here]
Some final thoughts from Dick: a friend stopped by at coffee shop this morning, and said that 2100 were at our caucus location, compared with 700 two years ago. Vote was probably 2-1 for Obama at our location, even heavier in his affluent part of town. Chatting nearby were an older guy and a younger woman, both of whom I know a little, both apparently actively Republican. They were deeply involved in fearing the evils of socialized medicine and Hillary Clinton. So goes the debate.
As candidates so well know, there are two ‘peaks’ to attain: first, the nomination of their party; second, the election by the people, hopefully somewhat fairly through the process of ballots. For eons, organizers have come to know a basic truth about campaigns: don’t peak too soon! If your campaign reaches its high point six months out, you’ll lose as certainly as if it peaks six months after the election. The careful strategists are well aware of this dilemma. The Obama campaign is well aware of this dilemma as well. Super Tuesday (a media creation more than a substantive national primary) makes necessary aggressive and expensive campaigning by all the candidates. But it is just a media creation. Now comes the hard part: keeping people interested, engaged and committed.
This continued engagement can be a real problem. A lot of people showed up last night solely to vote for Clinton or Obama, and immediately left. A heap of us will gather (in my case) March 8, for a long, long, often very boring day at our Senate District Convention where the hard process of selecting delegates to the state convention begins. In turn, the state convention will select the national delegates, and on the process goes. We will work really hard on March 8, and listen to lots of people, and try to make some kind of reasoned and reasonable decisions. The people who came, voted and left, will have no appreciation of this part of the process.
Hang in there.
Here’s the rest of the Presidents, with their age at time of election.
George Washington, 56; John Adams, 61; Thomas Jefferson, 57; James Madison, 57; James Monroe, 58; John Quincy Adams, 57; Andrew Jackson, 51; Martin Van Buren, 54; William Henry Harrison, 67 (MY AGE, but he lived only 31 days in office – bad omen. Keep my day job); John Tyler, 50: James Knox Polk, 49; Zachary Taylor, 64; Millard Fillmore, 50; Franklin Pierce, 48; James Buchanan, 65; Abe Lincoln, 51; Andrew Johnson, 57; U.S. Grant, 46; Rutherford B. Hayes, 54; James Garfield, 49; Chester A. Arthur, 52; Grover Cleveland, 47; Benjamin Harrison, 55; William McKinley, 53.

P&J #1568 Why I Voted for Hillary, February 8, 2008.
This is one of mine I hope you’ll take a moment to read.
Pro or Con responses will go into a future mailbag. (There will be a ‘mailbag’ following this one, then I may give you a break for the weekend!)
Why did I vote for Hillary, and Why am I inclined to support her?
There are no simple answers to those questions, whether answered by me, or anyone else. It is a complex matter. But I can provide some clues, with some data I find significant:
1. No less an authority than archconservative William (Bill) Bennett pronounced on CNN yesterday afternoon (Feb 7), that while he had serious reservations about John McCain as the Republican nominee, he would back him because McCain had an American Conservative Union rating of 82, while Hillary Clinton had a rating of 9. (If those numbers are incorrect, it’s Bill Bennett or American Conservative Union who’s lying, not me! www.acuratings.org is where you can check [Such old weblinks are likely no longer current or in existence]. On this list, which ranks lawmakers performance through 2006, MN Senator Mark Dayton had a ranking of 11, and Norm Coleman a rating of 75. Obama’s ranking is 8. Most conservative: DeMint (SC) 98; most awfully liberal, Ted Kennedy of MA, 2).
2. The same afternoon of Feb 7, a letter came from a good friend, a Catholic Priest friend who’s now in El Paso TX saying he’s now “on board w/the Obama campaign. Clinton has never repented for her support of the [Iraq] war….” He was talking, I suppose, about the October, 2002, resolution on which she voted ‘aye’; and on which my own Senator, Paul Wellstone, wavered until almost the last second before voting ‘nay’ (I know the circumstances on the latter, since I was on the way to banner at Wellstone’s office that fateful October afternoon and on arrival there found nobody bannering. I learned after I got home that he had declared he would vote against the resolution. At the time, I was very new to the Peace movement, and nobody was keeping me in the loop about what was happening (they still don’t, too often!). Of course, that vote was strategized by the administration and Republican leadership to take place in very close proximity to the 2002 mid-term elections. It’s easy research to find out what happened that Nov.)
Clinton was in her second year in the U.S. Senate when that vote occurred, and representing her state of New York. Her vote apparently didn’t hurt her standing with her home state folks – her constituents…she was easily reelected in 2006.
If folks take time to recall, Bush’s approval ratings were still stratospheric then, and they were stratospheric because of his WAR rhetoric and planning, and the politically massaged aftermath of 9-11. It’s useful to think back to those times. Hillary Clinton’s constituency was and is in New York City and State, where the worst of 9-11 happened, and it’s hard to imagine any other vote from her at that time, however ill advised one might think it was in hindsight. I wouldn’t expect her to ‘repent’, either. (When I became a peacenik, October 2001 and the bombing of Afghanistan, 94% of Americans approved of the bombing. Talk about being in the minority.)
3. I have mentioned more than once that in my own assessment of the candidates stated positions, Kucinich clearly was most in synch with my own personal views (40), while Edwards, Clinton and Obama were quite positive and a virtual tie (29, 28, 28), with Huckabee and McCain almost tied far down the list (12, 11), and Romney almost a no-show (4). (In my listing, Mike Gravel came in at 29 also. Thompson, Hunter, Guiliani and Tancredo were at the end, with 3,2,2 and 1 respectively. www.myelectionchoices.com [also, likely defunct as a website now]
This assessment had lots of issues, and lots of position statements from all the candidates, not labeled by candidates, so I don’t know in which areas I was most in synch with Clinton or any candidate, but it was useful for me in trying to figure out the general positions of the potential candidates for the most complex and difficult job in the world.
Debate rages on this network and others about Clinton, and mostly it has been pretty negative towards her. It was an act almost like ‘coming out’ to mention that I was going to vote for Hillary on Tuesday! “What will they say?” I suspect I was/am not at all alone in the big camp of folks who think Hillary is okay, and her own person, too.
I haven’t and won’t rate Hillary based on her years as first lady; nor did I rate her based on Bill, though I admit to being puzzled why even Bill has been made out to be such a liability. Best as I recall, he was very popular with the American people even after the impeachment, and through the end of his term, and most people would take the ‘Bill days’ of the 90s in a minute over what we’ve endured in the last 7 years [2001-2008].
Clinton ended his term, as I recall, with still very high approval ratings. He still is popular here, and around the world.
But the notion has been planted (and accepted) that, somehow, that this is a bad couple, in almost any way someone wants to define ‘bad’, and this includes many assessments from the Left. So be it. Could the description be a ‘spun’ one? Are we witnessing how the Politics of Division and Character Assassination works, directly and/or subtlely? From BOTH poles of the ideological spectrum?
Hillary Clinton seems to have both the stamina and the backbone to endure the brutality of the campaign trail. This is some important evidence to me that she has what it takes to be chief executive of the United States, by far the most complex job on earth (if one takes time to be engaged in the complexity – Bush didn’t. “The Decider” decided and in the process we have become a country governed by a ruler not a President.) Even as first lady, Hillary was molded by and initiated into the vicious crucible of Washington politics with the Health Care reform dilemma early in Bill’s first term. She’s criticized for not achieving the goal; I rarely hear she (and Bill) complimented for trying….
Add to the complexity of governing a monstrosity like our democracy is, the almost certain extraordinarily difficult situations and circumstances that we are entering after this disastrous eight years, and I puzzle as to why Hillary or anyone for that matter would want to be President. FDR may prove to have had a cakewalk in comparison.
That Hillary Clinton is a woman has never caused me to wonder about her ability to lead. My career representing teachers (still basically a female profession), long ago rid me of the business of sex role stereotyping, if indeed, that ever was a serious issue for me.
As I prepare to click ‘send’ on this, I have one last thought, from overnight. Hillary (and the others) are cursed by the ‘Liberal’ label as if it is the mark of Satan himself. This has been one of the most successful anti-marketing campaigns in our history. I commented on ‘liberal’ at a disenchanted conservative’s dinner table a while back thusly: “I’m definitely a Liberal, but if you truly want Conservative government, where people carefully handle your money, and are Compassionate in the process, you’ll elect Liberal every time. We’re careful with our fellow citizens money.” Liberals in my experience are, by and large, careful with the dollar (sometimes ‘cheap’) because they’ve had to be; and they tend to be, I think, more truly compassionate and understanding of other points of view. There could be worse qualities. The best ‘Compassionate Conservatives’ are, really, Liberals. (I know plenty of truly Compassionate Conservative Republicans...these folks are, by their own admission, out of power even in their own party, and trying to figure out how to regain some of the deserved stature and respect they had in the past.
We’ll see what happens these next months. Keep talking.

1. The anti-Hillary “attack dogs” have already been let loose onto the internet, especially. So it will be. The attack dogs are not only on the Right of the Political Spectrum. The far Left types don’t think Clinton, or Obama, deserve support because they’re too conservative,”war mongers”, etc. So be it.
2. By the time of the election in 2016, Hillary will be 69, younger than John McCain had he been elected President in 2008; about the same age as Ronald Reagan at his election in 1980.
3. If nominated by the Democrats a year and a half from now, she will be the first woman to actually run for President of the United States (our country is an anomaly in this regard. There are and have been many women chief executives in other countries. We are way behind.)
4. Perhaps there has been a President who came to office with as much relevant experience for the job as Hillary Clinton already has (U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, to name just two positions she’s successfully held.)
from Corky:
Hi Dick.
Watching the MONEY MACHINES in action concerning the 2016 presidential election.
$2.5 Billion for Hillary camp..
$100,000,000 largest individual contributor for GOP candidate..
TV personality contributed $1,000,000 to Obama campaign and will give $1,000,000 to Elizabeth Warren if she runs.
Warren said she is NOT running for President.
from Fred: Read your “historical” comments and enjoyed the look-back. You have an advantage as a veteran blogger of being able to see what you actually were thinking on past topics. The rest of us can make us of selective memory—I never would, of course—and discover we were right about everything.
Your characterization of “compassionate conservatives” (don’t hear that phrase in GOP circles anymore) as closet liberals was spot on. Hey, that’s why you don’t hear that phrase anymore.
from Bruce: The Sunset guy [here] seems to boil it down to neoliberalism v republican vision and has decided the choice is clear. The neoliberal policies that led to the financial breakdown & the recession is better than that republican vision.
We solve our problems through violence. Using military force is accepted by both parties, accept when the other party’s president is in office. It’s a cynical choice that we’ve been given.
It’s sad, but the status quo may be the best we can hope for. I’ll vote for Hillary with eyes wide open.
from David: You and I choose to differ here. I supported Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke then Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. In 2008 I struck a deal with a Montana progressive citizen to exchange our votes for the green party, but as you may recall the various Just-Us departments didn’t like citizens taking charge of their own destinies.
Dr. Stein is likely running again. Who else in 2012 chose to be arrested twice—once for a sit-in at a bank protesting mortgage foreclosures and next trying to enter the presidential debate being held in Texas?
Residing in the camp of the lesser of the two evils, Obama/Romney and Clinton/To be determined, is like having to use stink bait in my opinion. I choose not to have to hold my nose when I go fishing.
I am 98.5 percent sure that Mrs. Clinton will mouth all the good slogans, just like Mr. Obama has, and then continue to build next generation nuclear bombs, propose ever larger Pentagon budgets, and keep the drones searching for targets.

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