Posts tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Divided We Can Change the World

By , 23 November, 2015, No Comment

Recently, while in India, I met an economist named Deepti Sethi who told me about some research she’s doing into organizations advocating social change, like non-profits and activist campaigns. She and her team have divided them into three categories:

1. Organizations that aim at material change – new laws, money moved from point A to point B.

2. Organizations that aim at ideological change – persuading others that their ideas are wrong,  changing hearts and minds.

3. Organizations that aim at personal expression – large protests bearing witness to injustice or support groups validating the experiences of oppressed groups.

All social movements need all of these modes of activism. But, Sethi argued, the organizations that make up these movements (usually) only succeed if they pick one to focus on.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks, as squabbles over feminism and anti-racism have erupted on my social feeds.

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Hillary Clinton Seeking World Bank Presidency

By , 9 June, 2011, No Comment

Have a quick post up at Foreign Exchange on a Reuters story from this evening, suggesting Hillary Clinton is looking to leave the State Department for the World Bank.

All of a sudden, we might be on the verge of having four women in the four most powerful development policy roles.

I celebrate this. But I am not satisfied. Because despite the increased visibility of women in development policy, the central role of gender equality in economic development is under-appreciated or misunderstood.

More on why women in power doesn’t necessarily mean empowerment for all women here.

Raymond Davis and the Media

By , 5 March, 2011, 2 Comments

The Raymond Davis saga in Pakistan is far from over, and I’ll have a piece sooner or later on the implications, broadly, for US-Pak relations. But there’s a meta-story that’s worth taking note of now: the coverage of the story in the Pakistani and international press. Essentially, Davis’ CIA status was being floated in the Pakistani press for several weeks before it ‘broke’ in the Guardian. It turned out that the New York Times and other American news organizations had deliberately held back the information at the request of U.S. authorities. Though a similar request was made of the Guardian, the paper’s editors and reporters refused.

As a reader of the Pakistani press, I’d seen the CIA claim, but in part because of the easy way in which the CIA is used as a bogeyman in Pakistani political discourse, I must admit I was skeptical of the claim until the Guardian verified it. As a critic of the Times’ inconsistent policy about withholding information for ‘the safety of the subject,’ I’m disappointed, but unsurprised, by their call on this one. Points to the Guardian for getting it right. For more on the details, this video from Al Jazeera’s media-watch show, Listening Post, is good:

The story is amusing coming on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s takedown of the American media at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week. Clinton asserted that the U.S. is losing the global information war because of the frivolity in American journalism: you don’t feel when watching American news stations, she says, that you are getting real news.

Problematically, one reason American news outlets don’t deliver enough ‘real news’ is because they comply too readily with the intelligence agencies trying to win that information war. Yet another example of misaligned agendas coming from the State Department and the CIA.

Trying to Save Health Care Reform

By , 10 September, 2009, 1 Comment

The speech exceeded expectations. As I’ve argued in earlier posts, there are only two routes to achieving GUARANTEED universal coverage: an individual mandate and an employer mandate, both with subsidies for the poor. There are also only two routes to finance those subsidies: massive regulatory overhaul or economies of scale in a state-supported public insurance system. Any plan that tries to compromise by having a mandate without a finance mechanism won’t be able to achieve universal coverage goals; any plan that doesn’t have a mandate isn’t even trying.

Since the presidential campaign, Obama has promised to achieve the liberal goal of universal coverage while speaking the conservative language of efficiency, positing universal coverage as a possible byproduct. Then, when challenged from the Left, he would try to hedge it by offering universal mandates without a finance mechanism, afraid to commit to either regulatory overhaul or a public option.

That changed last night.

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Belated Thoughts on the Dear Leader

By , 19 August, 2009, No Comment

I’ve been thinking for a few days that I wanted to say something about Bill Clinton’s 11th hour trip to North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists held hostage by Kim Jong Il’s honchos.

While everyone’s thrilled that the journos are back safe, there has been much handwringing about whether it was acceptable to have a former President meet with a brutal dictator who routinely calls for this country’s demise, to have the two sit for joint photos and a meal, and whether, as some sources said, Clinton had given any sort of ‘apology,’ on behalf of the United States for the two women having entered NK to begin with. (It seems like he gave some verbal apology but did not bring any message on behalf of the government).

Personally, my relief at seeing the two journos come home rather outweighed any cringe reaction I had to the photographs. Moreover, when it comes to the actual fact of Clinton’s going there and answering Il’s request for the backchannel, I was pleased. See, by throwing a tantrum that effectively said “I want attention from a popular ex-leader,” Kim Jong Il acknowledged that he wants access to things of value in the international community, ie the status conferred by a meeting with Bill, and that his power domestically is in some way contingent on having that access. That means he can be bought.

That is, in essence, what Hillary Clinton meant when she compared NK to a petulant child begging for attention and suggested that it needed to be dealt with forcefully. Granted, force is the opposite of what Bill brought them last week, but the point is this: a regime that wants something from the United States is one that can be bargained with. The purpose of force, if it needs to be used, or Hillary’s strong language, is to push that regime to the point where the price at which it can be bought in bargaining is something we can stomach. Dinner with an ex-President, especially if it keeps that ex-President out of other people’s bedrooms, is a perfectly fine price for me.

Women and the political transition

By , 22 January, 2009, 1 Comment




Now-official Secretary of State Clinton: when watching the inaugural, I noticed that the procession grouped dignitaries by professional designation–first the legislators walked down the Capitol steps, then the Obama cabinet designees, then the first family, then former Presidents and Vice-Presidents, accompanied by their spouses, and finally Biden and Obama. Hillary Clinton fit several of those categories: as of Tuesday, she was the junior Senator from New York, the Secretary of State designee and the wife of a former President. I found it telling that she did not walk out with her Senate colleagues or her fellow Cabinet appointees but as Mrs. Clinton on Bill’s arm. As an HRC supporter during the primary, I consider much of her time as First Lady relevant experience (part of the campaign’s core argument). BUT just like you list your most recent job at the top of your CV, it seems to me that on Tuesday Jan 20th, as the administration in which she is about to serve takes over, Hillary Clinton’s primary identity should have been as a member of the Obama cabinet. That it didn’t work out that way reminds us of the many glass ceilings that are still unbroken.

That is not to say that any woman who wants a job should be promoted to it. Or that family ties are irrelevant. My enthusiasm for Secretary Clinton is grounded in the fact that she was working towards a career in public service BEFORE she became a political spouse, BEFORE she had the dynastic ties. Caroline Kennedy, who thankfully withdrew her name from the race to fill Clinton’s Senate seat, is the opposite: someone who has never shown an interest in electoral politics, except for a few weeks this winter when she thought it might come with her name. The same women voters won over by Hillary Clinton are the kind of people irked by Caroline Kennedy because it seems she has never, and never could, put career first.
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Moreover, politically, she never made much sense. New York Democrats already have a big name, downstate (ie New York City) voice in Sen. Chuck Schumer, who gets plenty of press. As a Senator, Clinton’s value was that she ran from an upstate district as a moderate and thereby allowed Democrats to make a case for themselves to the more conservative voters of rural northern New York. That’s how the Dems finally managed to take control of New York State government in Albany. From Governor Paterson’s perspective, ensuring that electoral constituency as a base for his party, and his own reelection, is paramount. Which is why I’m thrilled that he escaped the Kennedy trap.Link
Women were one reason that trap was so effective. So long as it makes sense in our national psychology to see Hillary Clinton as Bill’s wife first, Senator and Secretary of State second, so long as the dynasty is seen as the most important thing on HER C.V., it is possible to make the case that anyone with such a dynasty on THEIR C.V. can also be the glass ceiling-breaking women’s pol.

Because there were many women whose support of HRC during the presidential primaries was driven mostly by her gender; I wasn’t one of them, but I was sympathetic to the gendered part of her appeal. And those people were clamoring for a woman to fill her seat, but it needed to be a woman who, like Clinton as her supporters saw her, had a professional identity independent of any hereditary or marital ties. I had my eye on Carolyn Maloney, who’s sharp as nails, a career politician, but also a downstate liberal. Paterson gave us one hell of a pleasant surprise today by inviting moderate, upstate Congresswoman Kristen Gillibrand to his mansion to discuss her taking the job. Indeed, given the upsate vs. downstate nature of NYPolitics, someone of Gillibrand’s moderate make up is just what NYDemocrats need.

Too Fast for Jarvis

By , 14 August, 2008, No Comment

Today, the news cycle got faster than the blog cycle. Jeff Jarvis, who I’m convinced has an intravenus feed from his brain to his blog he posts so damn frequently, got behind the news.

At 5:58 AM this morning, he announced a new scheme for newspapers, that resource-crunched industry, to save money: get rid of your convention coverage. Nothing happens at political conventions. The platforms are released beforehand, the candidates are pre-determined and some major national TV outlet (or 2 or 3 or 4) will cover the big speeches. Will you get some local color from covering your city’s delegates? Sure. Is that news? Not so much.

Ooops.

At around 10 this morning, every news outlet was abuzz with the information that Hillary Clinton’s name will be thrown into the roll call at the Democrats’ shindig in Denver. That doesn’t change the fact that Barack is the candidate (whatever the Clinton die-hards may say), but it allows her supporters to make a lot of angry noise and allows the GOP to make the case that the Dems run a dysfunctional family picnic. In politics, any opportunity for one side to make the other side look bad IS news.

And most of the infighting will be happening on the local level between the Obama and Clinton people within individual state groups. Which means for once, local newspapers might have an edge, and a real reason to be on the convention floor.

Insurgent Media

By , 21 May, 2008, No Comment

There’s a fascinating cycle of media coverage coming out this week after Hillary Clinton’s bloggers-only conference call over the weekend.

In the call, she made her usual arguments about the need to seat Michigan and Florida at the Convention, and her electability in the fall. The tagline that most bloggers took away was “it’s the map, not the math,” meaning that Clinton is winning in states that will be important battlegrounds in the general election. She went on to specifically thank bloggers who have supported her and continued to cover her campaign as the mainstream media has pretty much accepted Obama as the Democratic nominee.

Disclaimer: A Clinton supporter at heart, I’ve recently come to terms with the inevitability of her defeat.

What’s interesting though, is that the mainstream media devoted ample coverage to the call itself. The New York Times ran a piece on it, and then argued that it reflects Ms. Clinton’s fall from frontrunner grace that she is resorting to the “megaphone of insurgents.” If the blogosphere is so counter-cultural, why does the Times–“megaphone” of the liberal establishment–use it as a source? And if Clinton and McCain are supposed to be the old fogies in this race against young, hip Obama, how come he’s the only candidate who hasn’t reached out to the political blogs this way?

I’m hardly making the case that Clinton and McCain are young hipsters, but rather that the line between the blogs and the so-called “mainstream” is a lot fuzzier than the NY Times makes it seem.