Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fleshing Them Out '08: Hillary Clinton

Let's face it... unless Al Gore tries to parlay his Oscar win into another bid for the While House, or someone like Mark Warner reconsiders his decision against running, there are currently three Top Dogs running in the Democratic Party for the White House. They are (in alphabetical order) Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton seems inextricably tied to her husband, President Bill Clinton. For our purposes, we are going to try and analyze Hillary as an individual, a Senator, and a Presidential candidate.

For purposes of analysis, we will be using the most recent poll of American public opinion - A CBS/New York Times poll taken between March 7-11, 2007. According to this poll, Americans are most concerned about the following issues:
War in Iraq - 29%
Economy/Jobs - 8%
Health Care - 8%
Immigration - 5%
Education - 5%
Hillary Clinton will be 60 years old as of October 26th. She went to Wellesley College, and obtained her degree in Law from Yale in 1973. Prior to her marriage to Bill Clinton, she served as a staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund, and later as one of only two women lawyers on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee during the term of Richard Nixon.

Following her husband's terms as Arkansas Governor and President, she was elected as a member of the United States Senate, where she has served since 2001. She currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Hillary Clinton is probably the best known of the Democratic candidates, for better or worse. She has played the role of a unifier within the Democratic party, and also represents of the most polarizing figures in contemporary American politics. If money were the name of the game, she'd be the Democratic nominee - hands down.

Her website is very polished and looks very nice, but it is VERY difficult to find any substance on this site, relative to where she stands on the issues. The closest we find to a page on the issues is a Newsroom Page, which lists various statements that she has made, but doesn't clearly state her stand on a variety of issues.

This is a HUGE problem, for a number of reasons. As we'll see further into this series, a majority of the other candidates clearly have a page dedicated to their positions and issues of importance (though they're not always so clear... remind me to ask Joe Biden how Afghanstan and Darfur wind up as related issues).

But beyond this is the fact that if Clinton doesn't clearly define her positions, she allows others to do that for her.

A visit to her Senate web site clears up much of the mystery, but at the very least, this information should be transferred onto her campaign web site. I had to look f-a-r too long for this information - the average voter probably won't even look... let alone taking any significant time to look.

IRAQ: On February 17, 2007, Hillary Clinton introduced the Clinton Plan To End War. She calls for an end to President Bush's escalation, capping troop levels at Jan. 1. 2007 levels. She calls for a phased redelpoyment of troops within 90 days, or a new Congressional authorization for the use of force would be necessary. The plan also calls for certain benchmarks to be met by the Iraq government, or else face a loss of funding for the military and reconstrction efforts in Iraq.

ECONOMY/JOBS: Clinton's economy page focuses primarily on state and local economic issues. After some digging, I was able to find these remarks presented to the Economic Club of Chicago in April, 2006:
I suggest that we agree on the need for an economic strategy that keeps our economy growing and creating good jobs in the face of new competition. And that we strengthen the middle class, which is, after all, the engine of our growth and the backbone of our democracy.... Now, the shape of the American economy depends a lot on where you're sitting and where you're looking. The stock market is at historic highs. But so are the budget deficits and the national debt.... Productivity is growing. But spending on research is decreasing and wages have fallen over the last four years on average.... We need, therefore, a real national discussion about how to do again in this new century what America has always done best: promote innovation, create the new jobs of the future -- including manufacturing jobs, get back to our "can do" spirit that really is the fuel for the free enterprise economy and make strategic investments in both the public and the private sector that will help us not only grow the economy but secure the values that define who we are as Americans.... Tax cuts alone can't secure the middle class. They are not the cure all for everything that ails the American economy. It takes the right tax system and the right investments, including infrastructure. And right now we don't have either. We need investments, decisions and policies that only all of us acting together through our government can make to set the stage for future prosperity.... Now I would start, for example, by updating both our virtual and our physical infrastructure. I think that it's imperative that we look at how we've been living off the investments of decades ago, people who build the interstate highway system, the bridges, the tunnels, the rail systems and so much else.... The way to reduce our oil addiction is through technology, and we need a much more aggressive strategy.... I think we need a major energy research program similar to what President Eisenhower did after Sputnik went up because we are suffering through what might be called -- and some have -- silent Sputnik. And the energy issue is one of those.... Now, government can't do this alone. We need this public and private sector partnership. And businesses can do much more. I think our oil companies have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I propose that we ask that they invest more in alternative energy or contribute a percentage of these extraordinary profits, which are due in part to the subsidies they still get when the price of oil keeps going up.... Over the long-term and maybe the median term, red ink fiscal policies will undermine America's competitiveness. We have to ask ourselves whether our taxing and spending policies are in line with our economic goals. Do we have the right priorities and values in the federal budget?... Nineteen years ago, a Republican gave a speech about deficits which I think rings true today. He said close the deficit and lock economic expansion in place for the years ahead or return to the days of inflation and stagnation.... We must answer the call to action now if we are to preserve and protect our economic expansion. The answer is clear; get on and stay on the road of declining deficits. The speaker? President Ronald Reagan.
HEALTH CARE: Clinton has called universal health care coverage "not only a moral and health imperative, but an economic and jobs imperative as well." Other key votes on health issues include her support for the Medicaid Generic Drug Amendment, as well as the Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act.

IMMIGRATION: Clinton voted in support of the Immigration Reform Bill in May, 2006 - a bill which increased border security and enforcement laws, established criteria for U.S. citizenship, and provided financial assistance programs for areas of immigration. Clinton also voted in support of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a bill that authorized the construction of an additional 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico and granted the Secretary of Homeland Security authority to take necessary steps to stop unlawful entry of undocumented immigrants into the U.S.

EDUCATION: Clinton supports expanding access to Head Start for pre-school-aged children. She supports increasing the skills and salaries of Head Start teachers. While she supports No Child Left Behind, she criticizes President Bush efforts to remove significant funding for the program. She was an original co-sponsor of America's Better Classrooms Act, which would ensure school modernization needs. She supports efforts to double the maximum Hope Scholarship Tax Credit to $3,000, and make it available for four years of college instead of the current two years. She supports efforts to enable the over five million borrowers with consolidated loans to refinance their loans, just as they would refinance their home mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates and eliminate origination fees on subsidized loans.

Below are a few links to further information about Hillary Clinton:

Official Campaign Website
Senate Web Site
Hillary Clinton MySpace Page
Hillary Clinton on YouTube
Molly Ivins: I Will Not Support Hillary Clinton For President

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:58 PM /


  • Blogger Political Realm posted at 9:50 PM  
    The main reason I won't vote for her in the primaries is because I don't believe she is authentic. Her positions seem politically crafted.
    I do, however, think Republicans would be foolish to underestimate her if she gets the nomination.

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