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“Check or Checkmate” – Will Clinton Win in the End?

Keep your enemies close?

Dakinikat found this terrific op-ed by Colleen O’Connor at San Diego News Network, and posted a link to it in the previous thread. I thought it was so on-point that it deserved a post of its own. O’Connor describes the Obama-Clinton competition as a chess game, and argues that although Hillary lost the battle for the Democratic nomination for President, she is besting Obama and all of her other opponents for the nomination today.

The patient, wily, and deft player often triumphs more frequently than the flashy, lightening quick one.

A grand master will pick off the pawns as they cross into enemy territory and then concentrate on checking the King.

The Queen has the greatest maneuverability of all the chess pieces. She can be the most lethal.

The King, by contrast, is often barricaded behind a wall of defenders, with little room to escape-save in a bold and risky fashion.

The King is dying. Long live the Queen.

Quietly, and under almost everyone’s radar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been vanquishing her foes, while President Barack Obama has been multiplying his.

Furthermore, she has been paying off her debts, while Obama has been multiplying his (and the country’s) I.O.U.s.

Obama is down in the polls. Clinton is up. He is losing his liberal base and taking heat on health care, the wars, broken promises, gate crashers, the bailouts, and a grand design that leaves his base behind.

And O’Connor points out that Hillary is poised for another victory tomorrow if her early supporter Martha Coakley wins the nomination as Ted Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate. Obama’s supporters have all endorsed Coakley’s opponent Michael Capuano, but Coakley still has a comfortable lead in the polls. Today, she got a very big endorsement–from Bill Clinton.

If Coakley wins, O’Connor points out, it will be the second time the Clintons have bested the Kennedys in a race to fill a vacated Senate seat–remember the demise of Princess Caroline Kennedy?

There is much much more in this excellent, well-argued op-ed. Please read the whole thing and then come back here to discuss it. We aren’t surprised that Hillary is still going strong, are we fellow Conflucians?

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Dear Donna, Sit on it.

Myiq2xu found this comment from Donna Brazile this morning regarding the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand:

Political strategist Donna Brazile noted the contrast between the excitement surrounding Obama’s inauguration this week and the general public attitude toward women in office, one that she said helped drive Kennedy out of the running.

“Obama inspired us to turn the page, and now women seem stuck in the table of contents,” she said.

Donna Brazile, the most hated woman in America

Donna Brazile, the most hated woman in America

Noting that women still make up less than 20 percent of both houses of Congress, Brazile said: “The elevator to our future growth in the Congress is still stuck in the lobby. It’s time we hurry history.”

Ahem.  Where to start?

First of all, here is *my* comment about Caroline Kennedy from yesterday:

There are several legitimate reasons to not support Caroline:
1.) she is not nor ever has been a politician. She is a socialite. There’s nothing wrong with being a socialite but politics does require a certain passion for the job.
2.) she doesn’t have the right personality for being at the mercy of a lot of people who want her attention. Again, not a problem for a private person; deadly for a politician.
3.) given items 1and 2, why in Gawd’s name would she ever apply for the job unless she was being asked by her uncle and felt like her name would give her an easy pass? And yes, princess is the correct term and unique to CK. It is not sexist to refer to her as a princess since prince would just have easily applied to her brother. She gives the impression that she is contending for the seat out of a sense of noblesse oblige.
4.) she doesn’t have any opinions on policy. She’s an apolitical slow learner in a family of gifted pols. She resembles her mother, who was a terrific fashion plate and editor but not really a person you wanted to blog politics with.

My only question is: had we known all of this about Caroline when she endorsed Obama, would it have carried the same weight? Now that we know her to be a private but politically shallow socialite, would any one have cared who she endorsed? It was the magic of her name that brought Obama success. Now that magic is gone. She had one chance to be a serious contender and we found that she’s just an amateur with a royal pedigree.

There’s nothing sexist about that, Donna. Caroline was more unsuited to be an interim senator than Sarah Palin was to be vice president. Not only that but Sarah can talk very eloquently, uses million dollar words and doesn’t seem skittish around the press, provided they don’t bait her with inane questions and splice her interviews to ribbons.

Donna, you are confusing sexism with classism. Sarah Palin was a self made politician with humble roots therefore it was ok to treat her like a f^&*ing c^&t. Caroline Kennedy is a socialite from a well connected family therefore we must treat her like a lady. Sarah doesn’t deserve any respect because she’s a working girl. Caroline deserves to have her ass kissed because she is too removed from the revolting peasants to get her fingernails dirty. Which one of us is being sexist now? I mean, why don’t we bind the feet of all of the future female politicians that you approve of so we will know what they look like and stop wasting our time supporting people with actual merit?

Donna, why are you even bothering to cozy up to women now? Didn’t you go out of your way to tell us that we were the “old coalition” and we weren’t needed anymore? Is it the zeitgeist?  Have you figured out that we’re royally pissed at having to wait to see a well qualified woman make it to the top? You had a hand in that when you propped up Barack Obama’s blundering campaign by fixing the RBC committee to throw its weight behind him. Yes, you heard me right. Obama ran a terrible primary campaign. It was so bad that you had to help him cheat in order to “win”. He ran through money like a sieve in big states that he lost decisively, and he took his name off the ballot in Michigan. He screwed up in Michigan. Michigan should have been his death knell politically. What kind of f^%*ing moron takes his name off the ballot in a state he has to win? Everyone and their brother knew MI and FL were going to have to count. But when your committee realized he was in trouble, you socially promoted him, gave him a pass and redistributed the delegate wealth so that Obama could *look* like he was ahead. You helped to elect a weak candidate who ran a bad campaign and relied on psychological manipulation and stagecraft to score the WH. And he was even in danger of losing that until the economy tanked and his campaign took a hatchet to Sarah Palin’s reputation. YOU had a hand in that. Please do not lecture US on sexism. You burned Hillary Clinton, depriving her of possibly her only chance to be president and our only chance to have a president who actually understands government in a time of crisis. Thanks for nothing and STFU.

And what did Hillary deserve, Donna? Did she deserve to be treated like a corporate prostituting, calculating uber bitch? I think not. No, I think she deserved to be treated like this:

Now, go away, Donna before we taunt you a second time.

Friday: It’s a Girl!

Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat in an announcement this afternoon by Governor Paterson. Gillibrand is a centrist Democrat from a conservative district in upstate New York. She’s a two term congresswoman with a reputation for being bold and forceful. With this appointment, Paterson is hoping to secure the vast wilderness of NY that is not Manhattan.

Hillary campaigns for Gillibrand in August 2006.

Hillary campaigns for Gillibrand in August 2006.

Of course, he may not have secured the seat against primary challenges in 2010. Gillibrand will likely have a contender or two, most notably Carolyn McCarthy, a congresswoman from Long Island (pronounced Lawn Guyland). McCarthy ran for congress on a gun control platform after her husband and son were callously shot by a deranged gunman as they were commuting home on a train. McCarthy is angry over the appointment as Gillibrand is one of the few Democrats who is supported by the National Rifle Association. Given Gillibrand’s district, the rolling foothills south of the Adirondacks, it’s easy to imagine that many of her constituents are avid hunters. But country folk and city folk don’t always see eye to eye on these things. It would be great if the NRA recognized that there *is* a difference and that having a lot of guns floating around a crowded metropolis where they can fall into the hands of the not-so-stable is probably not such a good idea.

Still, Hillary Clinton was an enthusiastic supporter of Gillibrand so I suspect that she’ll be pleased with this announcement. The NYTimes seems to be busily trying to find a way to smear Paterson by blaming him and his office for the botched handling of Caroline Kennedy. Personally, I’d like to thank him for taking his time and allowing the vetting of Kennedy unfold as it did. We learned a lot about the reclusive socialite, who doesn’t seem to have a political bone in her body, and the people at the NYTimes who were behind her. Something seriously weird has been going on with the Times over Kennedy. The articles written about the event have been nothing short of bizarre with a defensive tone and disjointed, out of sequence reporting of what actually happened. The sooner Caroline Kennedy is off the front page, the better.

So, Kudos to Paterson for doing the right thing and congratulations to Kirsten Gillibrand, the second female senator from the state of NY. She has some mighty big shoes to fill but if she was recommended by Hillary herself, then I’m sure the state is in good hands.

Lily Ledbetter, unlikely heroine

Lily Ledbetter, our newest heroine

In other news, the Senate passed the Lily Ledbetter act. The bill passed by 61-36.  We need to get a roll call to see which of our nation’s 36 senators voted against fair pay for women and to find out what their rationale was.  They have a lot of explaining to do to their non-burqa wearing female constituents.   Some of you ladies out there should expect to see a raise as your employers rush to head off any potential lawsuits. But there’s more to paycheck disparities than just discrimination:

The Senate debate on Thursday reflected society’s debate. Civil and womens’ rights advocates hailed the new Ledbetter legislation, but others said it will leave companies vulnerable to potentially crippling lawsuits even though discrimination is only a small factor in the so-called “gender gap” between male and female earners.

A 2007 report by the American Association of University Women found that when experience, training, education and other factors are weighed, discrimination accounts for only 5 percent of the earnings differential between male and female college graduates one year after graduation — and only 12 percent after ten years.

Nevertheless, Catherine Hill, an AAUW senior researcher who co-authored the study, said the Ledbetter law is needed.

“Most companies do the right thing anyway, but some will only do the right thing when they see laws on the books. And some companies have to be taken to court. Without (punitive) damages for discrimination, there really is no way to make them take the issue seriously,” Hill said.

However, Warren Farrell, the San Francisco author of “Why Men Earn More,” said that much of the pay gap can be explained by men choosing higher-paying professions that are in high demand and short supply, such as engineering, computer science, and information technology.

Men are also more likely to take dangerous, grimy jobs, such as collecting garbage and driving cabs, which typically pay more than other non-skilled labor.

Eliminating overt discrimination is only the most obvious thing to do. Now we have to figure out how to make the nation realize that sexism has a cost. When we don’t help girls and women succeed to the best of their abilities, it costs all of us the loss of their ideas to propel business and the nation forward. Ending pay disparities starts in middle school where we must now turn our attention to advocate for our daughters and to make sure they have the same opportunities to succeed as their male counterparts. That’s where we need to fight the next battle against gender discrimination so that girls are as prepared to study higher level math and science as boys.

Sometimes, evolution doesn’t happen gradually but in leaps and bounds. Let’s seize the day and take Lily Ledbetter up to 11.

Caroline Kennedy drops out

In one of the most bizzarre articles I have ever read at the NYTimes, comes news that Caroline Kennedy decides to not pursue Hillary’s seat because of her uncle’s health.  But, her anonymous friends exclaim, she could have had the job if she wanted it.  It’s just that, um, she didn’t want it.  Did she mention her uncle was sick?  Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.

Ms. Kennedy on Wednesday called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to inform him that she no longer wished to be considered.

The person told of her decision said that Ms. Kennedy’s concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after suffering a seizure Tuesday, prompted her to withdraw.

Ms. Kennedy believed that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said, but aides to Mr. Paterson would not comment on whether that was true.

There have been conflicting signals about whether Mr. Paterson had settled on Ms. Kennedy for the job. Mr. Paterson said earlier this week that he had chosen someone, but some advisers, as recently as Wednesday, remained convinced that he not yet made up his mind on whom to pick.

One close friend of the governor’s said on Wednesday afternoon that “I would be totally shocked” if Mr. Paterson did not pick Ms. Kennedy.

“If he doesn’t go with her, how angry is the Democratic leadership going to be with him?” the friend said.

You know, I don’t think Harry Reid gives a flying fig whether the choice is Caroline or some other Democrat as long as the vote is there when he needs it and the person has a decent shot at retaining the seat. But it’s pretty clear that someone at the Times has it bad for Lady Caroline.  Anyway, the whole reason for dropping out is just silly.  Let’s me see if I can write better copy:

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.  Ms. Kennedy was notified by Governor Paterson’s office shortly after Senator Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State that the Governor had selected another candidate to fill the office.  Unconfirmed reports suggest that Senator Charles Schumer has been actively promoting Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) behind the scenes as the person who has the best combination of legislative and electoral experience to hold the seat for the Democrats.

Ms. Kennedy said that she will be spending the next several months with the elder statesman, Senator Edward Kennedy, her uncle, whose health has been in decline since the discovery last year of an agressive form of brain cancer.  Senator Kennedy suffered convulsions at the Inaugural luncheon at Statuary Hall yesterday.  Although he has recovered and has been released from the hospital, the convulsions are a clear indicator that the tumor has regained the mass that was removed in last year’s surgery.  Ms. Kennedy has expressed a desire to remain with her uncle and help him in any capacity.

Ok, see, that’s much more straightforward but a lot less entertaining than the NYT piece.  Still, I’m relieved.

Keep those cards and letters flowing.  Go Carolyn!

Escape Inauguration Mania With Activism: Just Say No to Caroline!

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy

Governor Paterson of New York has just a few more days to decide who will be appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. Reports are flying through the New York press – some say the Governor is dead set on appointing Caroline, whereas others say he is giving other candidates a second look, including the redoubtable and incredibly worthy Representative Carolyn Maloney.

We still have a chance to make a difference. Call, write, email or fax the Governor’s office, and disseminate the open letter below as far and wide as possible.

Governor Paterson’s Contact Information:

To Write To The Governor:
David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Call: 518-474-8390

Fax: 518-474-1513

To Email The Governor:
Click here to email the Governor.

———————————————————————————————————–

An Open Letter to Governor David Paterson:

Dear Governor Paterson,

The person whom you appoint to Senator Clinton’s seat should have two qualities:

1) She should be a woman; and

2) Like Hillary, she should be ready and qualified on Day One.

Satisfying the first requirement should be quite simple. However, it is the need to satisfy both requirements that seems to be escaping your attention.

To a certain extent, we need gender affirmative action in government. As a group that makes up 51% of the country’s population, women are severely under-represented in Congress, at an abysmal 17%. When Senator Clinton becomes Secretary of State, that already inadequate percentage will dip to 16%.

But in the case of the next New York Senator, there is no need to appoint a person who has literally no Congressional experience whatsoever; a person who has apathetically declined to vote in several New York primaries; a person who, with her fawning, disingenuous attempts to pretend Barack Obama was “a President like her father,” was instrumental in making sure that the highest, hardest glass ceiling was not shattered for women this year.

Yet that is what you may end up doing with Caroline Kennedy. And according to the Post story today, it is for no other reason than the Kennedy-Bloomberg money and connections she is promising you.

May I ask how this is ANY different than what Rod Blagojevich was arrested for doing? If you are unconcerned with the fate of your state, and only looking out for your own political future, then I say you are simply selling the Senate seat that Hillary Clinton worked so hard to earn, to the people with the deepest pockets and the most political influence. For shame, Governor Paterson!

Two outstanding Congresswomen, Carolyn Maloney and Kirsten Gillibrand, are more than ready and qualified on Day One. Should one of them be appointed, Ms. Kennedy could easily step into one of their seats and EARN her stripes as a New York Congresswoman before running for the Senate seat in 2010. Interestingly, Carolyn Maloney’s district is the same as Ms. Kennedy’s. It would be a seamless transition for both women, should you choose this path.

Honor the New Yorkers at whose pleasure you serve. Do not choose Caroline Kennedy as the next Senator from New York. Below are just a few of the many blog posts and articles stating that Caroline Kennedy would not be a good choice.

 Say It Ain’t So, Governor Paterson

Caroline Kennedy is Not Being Palinized

Say Good Night, Caroline

Caroline Kennedy No Whiz With Words

Caroline Kennedy Botches Debut

PUMAs Growl at Caroline Betrayal

Caroline Kennedy Lets Her Interest Be Known

Caroline Kennedy and The Bloomberg Connection

Bloomberg Maneuvers To Crown A Kennedy

Roundup of Caroline News

New Yorkers Saying No, NO, NO to Caroline Kennedy

Is Caroline Ready? No.

She’s No Jack Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy No More Qualified Than J. Lo

Caroline Kennedy Dismayed By Own Voting Record

Caroline Kennedy’s “you knows” Turn Into “You? No.”

In addition, here is a link to an online petition that has more than 100 signatures in support of saying no to Caroline and yes to Carolyn or Kirsten.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/qualifiedwoman/index.html

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

(add your name here)

Repost: Interview With Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Part I

Our lovely blogmother, Riverdaughter, has requested that I repost this interview with one of the possible contenders for Hillary Clinton’s Senate Seat, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

Doesn’t this woman seem just an eensy, weensy bit more qualified than Princess Caroline?

You Said It, Sister!
You Said It, Sister!

And speaking of “uneducated old women…” The following is Part I of my email interview with the gracious, intelligent, fiery and fabulous feminist, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, after reading her book: “Rumours of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.” Part II will be posted tomorrow.

MadamaB: Your path to politics was far from direct. Could you share some of that journey?

CM: When I was growing up, I never dreamed of going to Congress. The options for women were very limited. I thought I would be a teacher, librarian or a nurse. Politics wasn’t even a possibility. I can remember reading an interview in Life Magazine with Margaret Chase Smith, Senator from Maine, that illustrates the thinking of women in politics when I was growing up. The interviewer asked Senator Smith what she would do if she woke up in the White House one day. She answered: “I’d apologize to Bess Truman immediately and leave.” It just shows how self-effacing a female politician had to be in those days – the idea that she might want to run for higher office was just too threatening. If you asked Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi what they would do, they’d have a list. It just shows how far we’ve come but, as I show in my book, not enough.

When I left college, I came to New York and became a teacher, teaching English as a second language to immigrant women in upper Manhattan. Within a year after I started, my program lost its funding. I was nominated by my colleagues to lobby the legislature to get the funding restored. I was successful, and my success got me noticed by the Department of Education, which hired me as a lobbyist. I soon realized that you can accomplish a lot more good by working for the legislature, so I became a staffer, first for the New York State Assembly and later for the New York State Senate. While I accomplished a lot as a member of staff, it soon became clear to me that you really have power only when you actually have a seat at the table as the elected official. So I ran for the City Council in 1982.

MadamaB: You have been a Congresswoman in New York since 1992. What prompted you to write this book now?

CM: During the years of Bush I saw a rollback, a stalling of progress on women’s issues, and in many instances an effort to roll back gains we had achieved in the ‘70s. I wanted to bring attention to the problems we continue to face and the danger that we might lose some of the civil rights protections we had struggled so hard to achieve – and more than that, I wanted to get women involved, to give them ideas of how they can work for change in their own communities. I wanted the book to serve as a wake up call, to galvanize women and like-minded men to take action to address some of the problems I talk about in the book.

MadamaB: The candidacy of Senator Hillary Clinton seems to have brought out an awareness that misogyny is far from dead in our society. Yet the press, and many national figures, refuse to admit it exists at all. Is that what inspired the title of your book?

CM: Conventional wisdom about how far women have come far exceeds how far we actually have come. 2008 will go down in history as the year we finally came face to face with the level of misogyny that still persists in American society. While it was awe-inspiring to see Hillary Clinton as a major party candidate, the number of attacks on her for being a woman was simply astonishing. It came from every direction – from the hecklers at rallies who held up signs saying “Iron My Shirt” to the netroots who created a website “Make Me A Sandwich” to the politicians who compared her to the villain in the movie Fatal Attraction and vilified her for not giving up her run for the White House. Most of all, it came from the media who treated us to a nightly attack: Her supporters were called castratos in the eunich chorus; one commentator said she was scary, castrating and that he involuntarily crossed his legs when she came into the room; another said that when she spoke, men heard “Take out the garbage.” If that’s what they thought about someone as accomplished, intelligent and gracious as Hillary Clinton, what must they be thinking of us?

When I started writing the book, some people said that Hillary’s ability to run as a serious candidate would make the book seem out of touch with reality. How could I say that our progress was exaggerated when one woman was Speaker of the House and another could be the Democratic Presidential nominee? Well, not every woman is a Nancy Pelosi or a Hillary Clinton, and most women I meet are struggling because of laws that do not support work/life balance, because they do not have health care, because they’re not paid the same as their male colleagues; or because they’ve spent a lifetime with a wage gap and now have to live in old age on social security and pensions that perpetuate that gap. I wrote the book for all those struggling women – and hopefully to inspire the next Hillary Clinton to throw her hat into the ring and join me in trying to change all that.

Continue reading

A Wrench in the Kennedy Machine

Hillary is 44 is following the labyrinthine maze that is the Caroline Kennedy for Senate campaign in NY and has turned up some very interesting connections.  Like, does anyone know why Charles O’Byrne, Gov. Paterson’s former right hand man, resigned about a week before the November election?

Charles J. OByrne (Source- NY Times)

Charles J. O'Byrne (Source- NY Times)

And who recently paid O’Byrne’s enormous back tax fines and does he have to pay taxes on it, seeing as it’s sorta like income?  (Hint: the Smith branch of the Kennedy family makes an appearance)

Curiouser and curiouser…

Just go read it all.  As Lambert would say, it’s full of “linky goodness”.

One more thing:  Alegre says another possible candidate for Hillary’s seat is Leecia Eve, one of Hillary Clinton’s former advisors on Homeland Security.  She is quite an accomplished woman, seems to have the blessing of party stalwarts like Charles Rangel and she’s African-American. She tried to line up support for a shot at Lieutenant governor of NY in 2006 but was told to take an old cold tater and wait while Paterson was nominated instead.  Hmmm, I wonder if that’s a move that will pay off for her now?

Leecia Eve, center, with supporters David Dinkins (L) and Charles Rangel (R)