Tag Archives: Hillary

Feeling fatter… and what’s McCain doing with another woman?

Is anyone else feeling oversaturated? I’ve only eaten one hamburger in the last week, but I can’t help but feel just a little bit fatter today. Maybe it’s due in part to the wall-to-wall coverage of the democratic convention and my now intimate knowledge of Wolf Blitzer.

Honestly, if I hear him say one more time that CNN is “the best political team on television,” I will scream. Does Wolf know that his coverage of the conventions is oversaturated, repetitive, corporate-run crap? Thank god for MPR, who are actually taking the reins on evaluating the media in this country by discussing whether the coverage of the conventions has been sufficient, annoying, or what have you. And yes, to all of it.

The speeches on repeat, the talking heads fighting to be heard by Larry King, the invasive interviews with sobbing audience members… it’s making me wonder if all the hype over the democrats is going to be used as fodder by the republicans. “Oh, how subtle and respectful of everyone’s time we are,” John McCain will say next week, after a delicious 72nd birthday lunch, who is bound not to draw as much glitz as glamour to his convention as the sprightly Obama. Mark my words. Even me, a hardcore liberal, a born and raised Minnesotan who knows that Obama once shared the same senate desk as Wellstone, the only two senators who voted against the war, is losing interest.

And it’s not just what the journalists are saying, it’s the politicians as well. Obama spoke for 40 minutes, in a speech he wrote himself… about absolutely nothing. I remember him getting specific about his policies for about three minutes. If he wants the republicans to have even more proof as to how vague he has been about what he’ll do in the White House, last night’s speech was a perfect example. Okay, he doesn’t have experience to back up what he’s saying, but – and I hate to sound like my 6th grade History teacher here – couldn’t he at least give us an outline?

I don’t want to hear about the single father who has cancer and no health insurance, and I don’t want to know about the plant worker in Pennsylvania who lost his job last week. And please, step away from those ridiculous Greek columns while your at it, which, through the lens of the TV camera, are not even visible and instead give way to brown window panes circa 1973. Oh, and please don’t try to appeal to those long-forgotten residents of the South, who have been lost to the democratic party for years, by blaring what you think is their favorite country song. Us liberals can spot a suck-up when we see one. And I, for one, am definitely not impressed.

I also have to comment on McCain choosing a woman as his VP. Way to go, republican party. Smooth move. For once, I’m not being sarcastic. Just as the Obama camp shunned Hillary from joining their troops, disappointing lay feminists around the world, McCain sends out the shocker of the day by announcing he will continue his presidential fight with a woman by his side. If that wasn’t an orchestrated move to make Obama look like a woman-hater, then I don’t know what is. No one’s talking about gender politics yet, but give it a minute and soon there, too, we will all be oversaturated.

Now, on to Minneapolis. I can’t believe I’m missing the RNC in my hometown. I seem to always miss the milestones whenever I’m abroad. But, luckily, I know that I’ll have Wolf Blitzer at my side, to tell me everything I don’t need to know, at least thirty times, 24-hours a day.

Politics. Journalism. America. Ugh. I’m losing my patience. And I’m a journalist.

Now somebody get me a hamburger.

A tearful start in the race to the White House

I’ve got to give big ups to Hillary last night for that move towards Obama’s nomination by acclamation. Her strained smile and flat gaze reflected just how hard that proclamation was for her. Even Chelsea looked pained. Am I really surprised? No, of course not. Can you imagine standing amongst a crowd of 75,000 people cheering to nominate your rival – but gosh darnit, they have a whole lot of respect for you!

And poor Bill. Forced into professing his confidence in a man he once attacked. Forced to ignite the American public to vote against his own wife. I can’t remember any other campaign that has become this incestuous in years. Oh wait, wasn’t there something of a dynasty known as the Bush family?

I have always been a fan of Bill, and as a woman (because as much as you want to separate the two, you have to recognize the power of seeing yourself and your own struggle in a candidate) I have overwhelming respect for Hillary, but it’s time for their family to step out of the spotlight and go do something else for awhile. Give everyone a break. We can be sure that Chelsea will be inching back into the political foreground in just a matter of years anyway.

Whether it was going to be Hillary or Obama, one thing remains clear about this election year. History has been made and I have officially cried during a democratic convention. It was Michelle’s speech that did it – which I finally caught online – when she spoke about the American dream. Even though I am a white, middle-class female who has never had to truly battle poverty, it was mind-boggling to imagine a little bi-racial boy growing up in a single-parent family, just going to public school like me and my friends, becoming a presidential candidate. And so I cried.

Yet after my emotions subsided, I realized that Obama has not been the only one. Looking back over the years of presidential candidates, how many of them have actually grown up with a silver spoon in their mouths? I am no politico so I couldn’t give you the facts, but it seems to me that many candidates grew up just like Barack, in working-class families who complained about tax hikes and gas prices. Except that they were white, so perhaps the spoon was bronze and not silver, but it was still in the running for the gold.

What I keep asking myself is what we should be more proud of: a black candidate or a female candidate. Okay, so maybe I’m asking this question a little too late – we’ve been through this before – but it’s relevant if we’re going to spend the next two months celebrating Obama’s nomination because of his race. I suppose in the end, we’d do the same amount of partying for Hillary for reasons that are, as they say in Asia, “same same but different.” But I often wonder, who had it worse? Who struggled the most to succeed in the exclusive political world of the upper-class white man? And why this compelling need to elect the martyr?

It’s all relative, you see. Here in France, no one’s buying the whole “Barack had it bad” excuse. I’ve never had one French person exclaim that the Americans have really done it this time, electing a poor black man into office. Maybe, culturally, they just don’t understand. But the truth is, Barack did not grow up as the poor, oppressed black man. He grew up as a bi-racial, light-skinned black male in sunny Hawaii in a relatively stable environment. I’m not doubting that he has faced racism in his lifetime. Far from it. Just the other day, two men were arrested for plotting to assassinate him – bringing to light a great fear of mine and many people I know. The depth of this country’s racism is frankly shocking.

But to dwell on the fact that he has moved up in the world socially or racially in a truly astounding way is going a bit over the top. Maybe it’s my generation and the fact that race has not really played a part in my personal or professional relationships. Maybe this whole race question is more for the generation of my parents – who seem to be leading the discussion on the magnitude of Obama’s achievements. To me and my friends, he’s just another man (and an attractive one, at that) who has sparked our interest.

Still, his election takes nothing away from the plight of African-Americans and what has just been accomplished. Obama has opened the way for amazing things to happen in America’s future and given hope to everyone – black, white or otherwise, rich or poor. I still haven’t decided if we should be patting ourselves on the back for “coming so far” by electing a black man over a half century after MLK’s speech – is that a long or short amount of time? I can’t answer that. But it’s a hell of a start.

Perhaps the bigger accomplishment is that such a junior senator can rise to the heights of presidential candidacy based almost solely on charisma and hard work. Looking at how far he, not American race relations, has come professionally in such a short amount of time is what’s worth recognizing. That, I think, gives everyone hope, regardless of race or gender. Even if you can’t relate to Obama’s racial history or family upbringing, you can surely relate to his will to achieve great things in his life.

His story reminds me of a Fortis commercial I saw recently. It goes something like this: “One day, you were born into this world (insert woman pushing a baby carriage). And one day, you’ll leave this world (old lady hobbling down the street with a cane). But what you do in between is up to you.”

I’m not sure why, but every time I see it, I get goose bumps. What Obama has done is exactly the point this commercial, however simplistic, is trying to make. Everyone has a choice in how they direct their lives. They can choose to sit in the corner and feel sorry for themselves and their lot in life, or they can stand up and make a change. The decision is their’s.

So, what will you do today?

Go, Hillary, go! Quick – catch that weery voter!

After my ramblings the other day about the U.S. national conventions and all their “hype,” I must say that Hillary Clinton really lived up to it last night. Watching her there on the podium, I thought back to an article I read several months ago by Gloria Steinham and why it was her duty to vote for a female candidate for president. After all my claims of being a feminist over the years, was it mine as well?

Hillary’s speech tonight put some of Obama’s recent blatherings to shame – his fumbling in TV interviews, those long pauses in his speeches, his half-open eyes on the campaign trial. Not that I don’t respect his arduous efforts. But seeing Hillary speak in Denver made a small part of me wonder why she wasn’t the Democratic candidate. Thirty years of experience. An intimate knowledge of Capitol Hill. Already-instilled relationships with international leaders.

BUT. I did vote for Obama in the primaries because, when it came down to it, I didn’t believe Hillary back then. It’s easy to look at her now and say, what if? Did we make the right choice? We can even hold a ridiculous, time-consuming, ludicrously expensive “roll call” to prove that we have made the right and popular decision. But elections are more than powerful speeches and calculated buzz words. Hillary made a point tonight to hit all the required politically correct categories: Women, African-Americans, the GLBT community, sick people without health insurance, her staunch and stubborn supporters… even Christians. (“God bless this country” and “God’s speed” – what was that?!). Those comments were not accidents. She’s got a powerful team of speech writers who knew where the money was and they cashed in, as far as I’m concerned. If those former Clinton supporters weren’t shamed into action from her words tonight, then they’re lost to us democrats forever.

I started to blank a little in the middle of Clinton’s speech, I admit. But she really hit home with those comments about Harriet Tubman. Quote any great trailblazer of the past, with 75,000 people cheering around you, and your going to hook any short attention span voter. Once again, there she was using those buzzwords. And it worked.

Hillary’s speech last night gave me a little more perspective. Although I would never vote McCain, my support for Obama has been wavering lately. There’s something about him that doesn’t sit well with me and I’ve felt this way for months. The deeper he gets into the trenches, the more he falters. Every time he speaks, I don’t believe him. Or I don’t believe that he believes what he’s saying. But same difference.

But listening to Hillary set me back on track. Of course Obama is the right choice, if only by the political team he will bring with him to the White House. After all, it’s not the president who makes the decisions, is it? The “talking head” reference is played out, but it’s a cliche because it’s true. Everyone knows that the real president lies somewhere within his group of assistants. And sadly, as Americans, we have minimal control over choosing them.