A number of you wanted to weigh in on Hillary Clinton.
Frank in Orlando: I am just so mad and so angry at you for what you wrote about Hillary yesterday morning [see "The Times pushes happy talk (and hopefully gets their report on Hillary Clinton's latest speech wrong)"]. Who died and allowed you the right to peer into Hillary's head? I think you're looking into someone's else head, you might want to check that because Hillary is the finest person we have on the left and everyone needs to remember that because she will be our nominee in 2008 and we need to stop attacking her. It's time to shut your pie holes, get your b*lls out of your purse, and stand behind her. There is no time for attacking her or questioning her so just shut it. And since when do you accept what the Times prints as being true or the truth? Couldn't you have even raised the possibility that the Times might, MIGHT, have been wrong? Instead you just slam her and say she's turned her back on abortion. She will never do that! She is our strongest leader today and if she'd been a leader in the sixties, she'd be second only to MLK! Back off Hillary.
Sally: I was glad you noted that the paper could be wrong. It's gone after the Clintons with a rope for years. I have no idea why the paper hates them so but it does. And since I've taken the time to put that upfront, I want to stress how angry I am by what appears to be Hillary's backing off of abortion rights.
Tammy: What bothers me is the number of people rushing to Hillary Clinton's defense. NARAL and all the rest. Excuse me, she needs to speak for herself. And with all due respect to NARAL, I question their rating her 100%. Yes, she did vote against the ban on late term abortions. But she's been very clear that she supports such a ban. In her debate with Rick Lazo she said, and I quote, " My opponent is wrong. I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected. . . But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake, if the potential for having any more children is at stake, this must be a woman’s choice." This is not support for late-term abortions. And her vote against the proposal should not be read as support for late-term abortions. She also uses the term "partial-birth abortion" which is incorrect. NARAL can rate her however they want and I'll still make my donation to them. But the idea that she can make those statements and still be rated 100% is very sad and reminds me of when we all went out of our way (myself included) to defend Bob Packwood because he was a "friend of abortion."
Natalie: So Hillary weighs in, as any politican will, and suddenly the attack dogs come out telling us to back off, telling us not to dare question the great Hillary, not to pressure her to explain her remarks. What? She seems to be want[ing] to run for president so exactly, please tell me, when are we allowed to question her? Really now, when can we question her? Should she win the party's nomination in 2008, of course we'll all have to fall in line then as we did last year behind John Kerry. Exactly when are we allowed to question? Can someone tell me that? Aren't we supposed to be questioning all our leaders? Aren't we supposed to hold all of them accountable?
Hillary gets a pass because her last name is Clinton? I'd argue the legacy of Bill Clinton's presidency was exactly that -- rally round Bill, he's in trouble again! F**k, I bought his book for that reason. It's become a knee jerk reaction. They trash Bill so we rush to his defense. They say his book won't sell and make the success or failure of it into a referrendum on the left and I'm stuck having to buy that book (which I found very boring) just to prove that the left is still strong because we bought Bill's book. I mean, where does it end? Everytime they are attacked we have to rally. And most of us do not agree with most of Bill's policies. NAFTA isn't huge to the left. Welfare reform did more to drive my liberal friends away from Bill than anything else.
I know I washed my hands of him as he continued to "triangulate" but then he got caught in the Monica Lewinsky matter and I felt I had to rally behind him. Don't get me wrong, I don't think his relations with Lewinsky were an impeachable offense. But this knee jerk reaction to rush to defend one of them everytime or to overlook what Newsweek reported Bill told Kerry is just appalling. If he really told Kerry to back off support for civil unions, Bill should be highly criticized. But we don't ever get to deal with that because we're always stuck defending him or his wife. I'm not going through the rest of my life playing Clinton defender. He didn't deserve to be brought up on charges for impeachment by the House. I'll always stay firmly behind that. But I do not approve of the majority of his policies in the second term and I will not blindly scream, "Leave Bill alone!" or for that matter, "Leave Hillary alone!" I'm not in a fan club, I'm in a political party and everyone can be questioned. That includes Barbara Boxer. I'm so proud of her for what's she's done. But if she does or says something that bothers me or makes me raise an eyebrow, damn straight I'm going to question her. I don't believe in an exception to the rulers. They are all accountable to us and there's no "Clinton exception." If she wants to be a candidate in 2008 for president, she and her defenders need to understand that she needs to face criticism now and clarify where she stands on a number of issues. And I hope everyone that was silenced into not holding Kerry accountable for addressing torture or addressing the morality of what we're doing in Iraq will take a moment to realize we need to hold everyone accountable.
Lynda: Instead of various surrogates marching out to the mikes, why can't Hillary or someone on her staff issue a statement? I'm sure the paper had people on background that they didn't name or quote in the story. And I'm sure her office was thinking they could have it both ways and if anyone who supports reproductive rights questioned her, they could say, "Read the text of her speech!" Hillary's remarks were at best ill-timed; at worst, they were a rush to the center. She needs to clarify herself and NARAL and others need to stop telling us the speech was no big deal. (I'll do a disclosure, I support NARAL.) Quit going out to defend her. We are angry, we are mad and we want answers. Not from NARAL, from Hillary.
Susan: I'm humming a song right now to myself. The Pretenders. It goes "how much did you, how much did you, how much did you get for your soul?" [Pretenders' "How Much Did You Get For Your Soul" can be found on the album Get Close. Also, before anyone attempts to correct Susan, although the group is "Pretenders" -- which Susan may or may not know -- on this album they are billed as "The Pretenders" on the front cover and the spine of the CD packaging.]
I bet you think I mean Clinton? I don't. I mean the people who are rushing in like angry teachers with their rulers ready to slap if we don't shush our questioning. Apparently, part of being a Democrat means never questioning Clinton. This is one registered Democrat who wasn't informed of that by law when she signed up.
Kara: I love Janeane Garofalo and I love The Majority Report. I am not fond of Kos of The Daily Kos. But when Kos attempted to address this issue, I was mortified that Janeane took the attitude of "that's not what she said!" Kos actually had some strong points. And this just didn't happen in isolation but at a time when many are trying to move the party to the right. I can understand, as a feminist myself, Janeane's reluctance to criticize another woman if that's what was going on. However, I do not believe that we refrain from questioning. And maybe instead of immediately going into Defend-the-Clintons-mode we could stop a moment to have an honest discussion on what's going on with some in the party and then determining whether Hillary is part of that shift to the right. There is more to a speech than merely the text: there's also the sub-text. We need to be examing that. So to argue "she didn't say that!" misses the point of the subtext.
Martha: As an African-American woman I'm supposed to love the Clintons and always be there to say, "hey, leave 'em alone." I'm not really sure why that is. Welfare "reform" attacked single mothers, mainly single African-American mothers and H. Clinton got behind that "reform" selling it all over the place. So excuse me for just a damn minute if I'm not ready to gather arms and take my place outside the Clinton fortress. H. Clinton's a grown woman and an ELECTED offical.
She can defend or explain herself. She hasn't as of today [Martha e-mailed Thursday]. Considering that my race was a victim on election day last year and H. Clinton couldn't stand up and support B. Boxer during the Senate vote, I'm not going to make it my life's cause to stand on watch outside the Clinton fortress. If others feel the need, have at it. But I want some answers and I want them to come from H. Clinton herself.
Lyle: I think too much has been made about Hillary's remarks. I think people need to realize that abortion is like any other issue and we'll all have to learn to compromise.
Betsy: Now is not the time to make overtures to the enemies of choice. We've tried that and we've lost over and over. Parental notification is a joke and a policy I strongly oppose. But we were going to be big and we were going to work together. That chipped away. Every time we try to be fair and work together, we chip away a little more. What's going to be left of Roe v. Wade? Women in many areas now have to travel great distances because no one performs the service in their areas. You know what happens as we continue to "work together" and Roe gets chipped and chipped? They're going to go after birth control next. This is line in the sand time and we need to say no and we need to stop trying to work together. Every time we do that, we send a message that our position is weak and needs modification which further weakens abortion rights. I've heard all the arguments for compromise and I went along with some of them believing as did most that this would get people to back off and keep their f**king hands of our bodies. That never happens. We retreat a little, they push forward some more, and every time they win more and more territory. If Senator Clinton wants to make overtures to the pro-life crowd, she can certainly do so. But I can certainly criticize her for that. And anyone who tries to stop me needs to keep their hands off my f**king body and away from my damn mouth because I will not be silenced on this issue.
???: I think Ms. Clinton was trying to navigate a touchy subject. And I think she made a mis-step this week. I think we are right to press for a response.
Keesha: I spoke to a feminist who was advocating a women's conference in Afghanistan to highlight the fact that there is little to no "freedom" for women in Afghanistan (despite all the bombs we dropped), that the war lords continue to control the country and that women continue to be oppressed. I thought of Hillary (who was one of my heroes when I was in high school) and asked if she'd spoken to Hillary. The response was not one of praise for Hillary.
This woman was very knowledgable on Afghanistan and has published on this issue. There's this perception that Hillary's the great left hope and I'm not quite sure why that perception even exists. Is there a link for Julia King's commentary on Morning Edition?
[There is a link for that: Commentary
Commentator: Democrats Softening on Abortion Rights (click "Democrats Softening . . ." to hear the audio)
Morning Edition, January 25, 2005 · In the second of two commentaries on abortion, Democratic activist Julia King worries that her party may be softening its support for abortion rights at a time when, she says, conservatives are working harder than ever to overturn Roe v. Wade.]
Gavin: Me-ow! Did someone forget to fill your saucer this morning?