Hey news junkies! (Who else would be reading a Wonk the Vote roundup on a Saturday morning?)
I’m going to start by rewinding to Tuesday night, when ABC aired Cynthia McFadden’s joint interview with Hillary and Gates in Melbourne, Australia (link goes to youtubes and transcript at my blog). McFadden introduced the segment with the following description of the two Secretaries:
the ultimate power couple of US foreign policy.
Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton are amazingly at ease with each other. It’s always fascinating to watch, partly because it’s unusual to see the head of the Pentagon get along so well with the head of Foggy Bottom but also simply because the banter between them is delightful:
McFADDEN: Thank you both. I came over on your plane, I’m going home on your plane. His is bigger.
CLINTON: [laughter] I’m not surprised!
GATES: Proportionate to the budget.
CLINTON: I don’t know. He has a plane with no windows. Did you bring the no window plane?
GATES: Yes, yes, yes.
McFADDEN: The Doomsday plane. I told . . .
GATES: . . . It’s like being FedEx’ed around the world.
CLINTON: [laughter] Did you get scanned and screened?
To riff on that theme some more… US diplomacy in the age of Hillary Clinton: Signed, sealed, delivered. (Too bad her domestic policy isn’t ours.)
Click the prompt to continue reading after the jump…
McFadden tried to get some answers on the persistent chatter in DC that Hillary will take over the Pentagon when Gates steps down in a year. The ease and banter between Hillary and Gates made it very easy for them to deflect:
McFADDEN: So you tell me you’re not going to stay in office more than another year, Secretary Gates? Any thoughts about who might do a good job at Defense?
CLINTON: We’re hoping that that timeline keeps moving further and further ah beyond . . .
GATES: . . . We have, we have . . .
CLINTON: . . . We came in together, we should go out together! That’s my theory!
GATES: We have, we have what we call the Old Folks Caucus.
GATES: Since we’re so much older than everybody else in the government right now! We’re the only ones that kinda pick up on our cultural allusions and our jokes and things like that! All these younger people are sitting around with what — what was that all about? . . .
CLINTON: . . . What are they talking about!
So McFadden probed more directly. Gates was quick to answer that Hillary could do his job, but Hillary interjected once again to reiterate that she wants Gates to stay:
McFADDEN: Could she do your job?
CLINTON: I –
CLINTON: Well yeah, but –
McFADDEN: But what?
CLINTON: No, no, wait a minute!
McFADDEN: I asked — Just a second, I asked him.
CLINTON: It’s not fair, it’s not fair! First of all we want Bob to stay, so I don’t want him — I don’t want him on national television talking about somebody else doing his job! I hope . . .
GATES: . . . But I will say . . .
CLINTON: . . . we could convince him to stay.
GATES: I will say this. I think that one of the great strengths that Hillary brings to the job as Secretary of State is as spokesperson for the United States around the world. And to go back to the beginning of this conversation, that’s not the role of the Secretary of Defense.
Once again…US diplomacy under Hillary: signed, sealed, delivered.
I would not hazard a guess as to whether there is any validity to the buzz of Hillary taking over as Secretary of Defense. DC loves to talk, and both Clintons never fail to give DC something to talk about. If Hillary is ever asked to take on that role, though, I know she will serve. Mostly because she’s a dedicated public servant but for two other reasons in particular as well. McFadden touched on the first one:
McFADDEN: Okay! But you’re interested in shattering those glass ceilings, and with due respect two other people have been in this job before. There’s never been a woman sitting in the Secretary of Defense’s position.
Hillary answered McFadden exactly as you would expect her to:
…I do want to see women break every glass ceiling, from Secretary of Defense to President and everything else. But I love the job I’m doing.
I truncated Hillary’s response. You can read and/or listen to the full response at the link I posted at the beginning.
The other reason Hillary would take on the role of Secretary of Defense ties into the glass ceiling issue, and that reason is the fact that Hillary has a good working relationship with the military. I remember the conference call of retired military leaders one after another endorsing Hillary Clinton for president just like it was yesterday. That was an amazing thing to hear.
A Secretary of Defense Hillary Clinton would be doing her part to pave the road for a woman to become commander-in-chief someday.
I am really torn on the idea. My first instinct is to hope that Hillary is never formally asked. I do not want her to be saddled with Bush’s and now Obama’s war policy. I am sick over these wars. I was skeptical of Bush-Cheney taking us into Afghanistan, let alone into Iraq–operative words there being Bush-Cheney.
Throughout our country’s history, men have waged the wars. Hillary voted for an authorization of military force from the state of NY, representing her constituents’ interests in the atftermath of 9-11, and somehow she became more to blame for the war than Bush, Cheney, McCain, Kerry, Edwards, and the supposedly anti-war Barack Obama (who in 2004 said, “There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage”).
A woman to blame for the wars all over again is just the kind of distraction the corporate media and its backers would love to have at their disposal.
The other part of me thinks our troops really need leadership, and Hillary Clinton is a leader.
Outside of the Clinton-Gates alliance, there is a deep leadership void where the American president’s should have been but has been missing-in-action for the last decade. The “best” attempt we have seen at leadership in recent days is a tacky cutaway to footage of a roaring bear at the end of a political ad. That is not a commentary on Sarah Palin but on the sad point we are at in American history.
We do need strength, but we also need that strength to be grounded in substance.
Speaking of substance, I would like to turn your attention to a very imporant op-ed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if you have not read it already. Just hours before I had come across it on Wednesday morning, I had actually just been thinking about this subject–how we as a society let the modern slavery of human trafficking continue and yet act as if slavery is over. And, lo and behold Hillary comes out with a piece to appear in newspapers across the world entitled
An End to Human Trafficking
Not only that, but her opening paragraph is this:
Elementary students across America are taught that slavery ended in the 19th Century. But, sadly, nearly 150 years later, the fight to end this global scourge is far from over. Today it takes a different form and we call it by a different name — “human trafficking” — but it is still an affront to basic human dignity in the United States and around the world.
It is especially important for governments to protect the most vulnerable – women and children – who are more likely to be victims of trafficking. They are not just the targets of sex traffickers, but also labor traffickers, and they make up a majority of those trapped in forced labor: picking cotton, mining rare earth minerals, dancing in nightclubs. The numbers may keep growing, as the global economic crisis has exposed even more women to unscrupulous recruiters.
We need to redouble our efforts to fight modern slavery.
Hillary refuses to yield to the idea that modern slavery cannot be abolished. She includes concrete ways citizens can work to END this problem:
Citizens can help too, by advocating for laws that ban all forms of exploitation and give victims the support they need to recover. They can also volunteer at a local shelter and encourage companies to root out forced labor throughout their supply chains by visiting www.chainstorereaction.com.
In other Hillary news, rewinding even further back to Monday and the National Geographic channel’s special on the State Department (which I semi-live blogged when it aired), I just wanted to hightlight that Deputy Asst. Secretary of State Philipe Reines described Hillary as the…
I have called her the political energizer bunny before, so that made me smile.
If you missed the special, I believe it will be reairing again tonight at
8 pm Central/9 pm Eastern on the National Geographic channel.
You can also view the first 14 and a half minutes on youtube, courtesy of Team Hillary Clinton.
Moving along to Hillary’s interview with Hamish and Andy — it has already generated a lot of buzz in the press, but there’s audio, video, and a transcript at the link in case anyone missed it. It’s a must-see. My favorite part is where they ask Hillary about how she, a sitting secretary of state, and Bill, a former president, negotiate where to get takeout from for dinner. Here is most of Hillary’s response:
SECRETARY CLINTON: We practice different models of negotiation around important issues like that. Because if I were to say to him, as I have on many occasions, “What shall we have for dinner tonight?” If he says to me, “Oh, I don’t care; you choose,” I know that’s a really bad answer, because then I’m stuck with the responsibility. So I will come back and I’ll say, “All right. Well, so how do you feel about Chinese — or Mexican or Italian?” And if he says a second time, “I really, really don’t care,” then I will go choose. Now, contrarily, if he says to me, “What do you want for dinner tonight,” I will say, “What do you want?” Then he’ll go, “Well, I was thinking of maybe picking up some Thai.” And if I’m in a good humor, I’ll say, “That’s fine.” But if I am feeling not enthusiastic about Thai, I’ll say, “Well, maybe we should consider something else.” And he’ll say, “Well, then you choose.” (Laughter.)
Watching Hamish and Andy give Hillary the bag of chips and her hilarious acceptance of them as a diplomatic gift, I could not also help but remember this MoDo column from April of 2008, making a federal case out of the fact that Hillary is in fact “an eater of chips”:
The Nixonian Hillary has a ravenous hunger that Obama lacks. Literally — at a birthday party in Philly for her photographer, she was devouring the chips and dip with two hands — and viscerally.
How the tide has turned. Hillary still is enjoying her chips while the Village eats crow.
Turning to the Village’s pick in 2000–though they would have you forget W was their pick–I will only remark on his return to the spotlight briefly because George W. Bush is no shero.
Joseph C. Wilson and Peter Daou summed it up best earlier this week.
George Bush’s Deception Points
Bush was far more successful rehabilitating his image by disappearing than by reminding people how callous and smug he can be.
Back to Shero news. From Lynette Long at Equal Visibility Everywhere:
And of special interest to us, Macy’s is also introducing a new balloon of a real live actual female human: Virginia O’Hanlon, the little girl whose letter prompted the famous reply, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
We’re glad to see this year’s new balloons feature both male and female characters. Last year all four of Macy’s new balloons were male: Sailor Mickey, Ronald McDonald, Spider-Man, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Macy’s has still had only 10 female balloons in its entire history.
Parade balloons are not a trivial issue. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade regularly has 2 million live viewers and 50 million television viewers. Every year millions of young girls eagerly attend Macy’s and other parades, only to look up and see nothing but male characters float by. While we applaud the inclusion of new female characters in this year’s balloon line-up, Macy’s still has a long way to go to achieve gender parity.
EVE’s Great American Heroines balloon project is committed to creating balloons that celebrate outstanding women in American history and culture. We’re also encouraging parade planners to select and request more female characters from their balloon suppliers. Hopefully, one day, the parade skies of the United States will be filled with an equal number of male and female characters.
From the Great American Heroines link:
Our first balloon is famed aviator Amelia Earhart. The 40-foot balloon is a replica of the red Lockheed Vega that Amelia flew across the Atlantic in 1932, with an oversize Amelia looming out of the cockpit. The balloon had its first “test flight” in October 2010, and will be booked in parades across the country. You can track its progress in the map at right, and visit the Amelia Earhart Balloon project page to read about the building of the balloon.
I want an Alice Paul balloon float! And, of course a Hillary Clinton one, too. (Also one for Jeannette Rankin, who last week I included in the November 6th trivia, because about.com’s women’s history site lists that as the day she became the first woman elected to US Congress. I went digging and found out it was actually November 7th. Small difference there, but I wanted to correct the record.)
Okay, now this Reuters video of two elephants squaring off in northeastern India made me think of the GOP establishment vs. Sarah Palin and the tea partiers.
Say what you want about Sarah’s politics, and I personally agree that most of her ideological stances are horrid and empty, but at least she takes on her own party’s establishment.
Sadly on the left, we have the opposite, with the Cecile Richards of the world writing op-eds about “Why Women Need Pelosi.”
Excuse me, but no, we do not need the female Speaker of the House who enabled the Stupaksis disease and allowed it to give birth to all its evil spawn (warning: link goes to a pdf document showing the mini-Stupak laws on abortion that have arisen across the country in 2010.)
Cecile has the guts to say this:
And in the fight to defeat the effort by Congressman Bart Stupak to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion care, Speaker Pelosi refused to budge. Women need her now more than ever to protect their gains from those who are anxious to roll back health care and undermine their rights under the law.
I miss Ann Richards every day in American political life. Her daughter gives me a headache.
Here’s your November 13th trivia. I just grabbed these from wikipedia:
1956 – The United States Supreme Court declares Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, thus ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1715 – Dorothea Erxleben, German, first female medical doctor (d. 1762); 1856 – Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (d. 1941). His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the high court; 1869 – Helene Stöcker, German feminist, pacifist and publicist (d. 1943); 1869 – Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams, Russian feminist (d. 1962); 1953 – Frances Conroy, American actress; 1969 – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dutch author.
1963 – Margaret Murray, English anthropologist and Egyptologist (b. 1863) One of the earliest women to “make a serious impact upon the world of professional scholarship,” she was also an ardent feminist, being actively involved in the Suffragette movement; 1974 – Karen Silkwood, American activist (b. 1946); 2005 – Vine Deloria, Jr., Native American author, theologian, historian, and activist (b. 1933)
As you can see, I let a couple heroes slip in there with the sheroes. Cecile Richards says we need Pelosi, but what we really need is strong women like Hillary and like-minded men!
Well that’s it for me. I hope you have a great weekend and please use the comments to share what’s on your mind and what you are reading this Saturday morning.
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