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Showing posts with label Bill Clinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bill Clinton. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hillary wins...and the black vote loses

By Charles Brooks


The South Carolina primary was to be a test of black vote for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – and the black vote lost.  Despite Hillary Clinton’s commanding win in South Carolina with record turnout from black voters, the 2016 election cycle is slowly shaping up to be yet another lost opportunity – another disappointment. Exit poll data shows blacks made up 61% of the electorate, voted for Clinton 84%-16% while 82% came from black men and 89% from black women.



There continues to be an obsession with the black vote by the Democratic Party as black voters still have yet to realize the magnitude of their vote. The exit data shows a lock step approach largely driven by whether Hillary Clinton is “electable” or if she’s the “lessor of two evils”.  An approach that sidelines the black voter unable to build any leverage.  So what goes unnoticed is the spectacle the 2016 primaries have become that’s largely driven by two critical issues for the black voter.  The very public display of Clinton’s naked pursuit of the black vote on one hand and on the other hand, a base of black voters whose allegiance to the Clinton campaign shows no signs of eroding.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Elections: Did Democrats run against Republicans or President Obama?

By Charles Brooks
The nation’s political landscape is remarkably more Republican now with their decisive victories a couple of weeks ago during the 2014 elections. Just in case you forgot – not only did Democrats lose on the national level but they suffered losses on the state level as well. For example, Democrats lost their only majority in the US Congress – in the Senate and they lost seats in the House of Representatives. Now bear in mind Democrats lost seats in state legislatures all across the country and a few key governorships in Democratic Party territory – like in Illinois, Massachusetts, and the biggest surprise in Maryland.  This is what the National Conference of State Legislature had to say: “It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 300 and 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920. Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year. It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 300 and 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920. Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year.”  So what does that mean – what does the current political landscape look like – Republicans now control 23 out of 50 state governments, that means both chambers of the state legislature and the  Governor are all Republican.  They are Republican majorities in 30 state legislatures as well as in 68 legislative chambers (one of the two houses that typically makes up state government).  Lastly, there are 31 Republican governors sitting in state capitols across the country.  Clearly the 2014 elections has empowered the Republicans as the lines of battle are redrawn...at least until the 2016 elections. You can already sense the tension quickly building as President Obama spoke of his intention to take executive action to address immigration reform while Republicans counter by suing the president over the Affordable Care Act. The first of many battles to come over the next two years...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Clinton confidential papers released...

By Charles Brooks

“Courtesy, William J. Clinton Presidential Library.”
A fourth batch of confidential documents from the Clinton days in the White House was recently released for public view on April 18th.  This release of documents contains over 100 files totaling approximately 7,500 pages - the largest set of documents released thus far. As noted in The Blackboard’s previous posts on the Clinton Papers, these confidential documents contain items such as email correspondence, presidential meeting schedules, handwritten notes, internal memorandums, transcripts, letters, and speech drafts.  This stream of confidential correspondence – hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents provides the public with a peek to the world inside the White House where candid thoughts and hard-line positions are debated and captured on paper. 

These confidential documents delve into a wide range of issues that do well to remind the public of the hot-button policy issues as well as the tabloid scandals and political crises. The public can now view these internal memos that can provide some insight into the administrations’ thinking and approach to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the genocide in Rwanda, the aftermath of the horrific Oklahoma City bombing, and contentious relations with the Republicans.  In reviewing several of the released files, The Blackboard uncovered a few rather revealing items.  For instance, the White House relationship with the press: “We are really caught in a pull and tug with the magazine, I agree with some of LIFE's comments, but strongly disagree on others.  I agree with their reordering of the text, and I think it comes close to my first draft: opening with the personal Boys Nation anecdote, moving to the timeless lessons to be drawn from Kennedy's administration. My argument is not with the story they want, but the way they want the story told. The tone they seek from the President is so self-centered, it's actually solipsistic.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Blackboard Report - 4/14/14

By Charles Brooks 


White House
·       In the last week, remarks by both the President and Attorney General at the National Action Network annual convention have placed a spotlight on the issue of race.  The Attorney General’s comments at the National Action Network were in part, in response to an contentious exchange between Mr. Holder and Mr. Gohmert during a House Judicary Committee hearing.
·     The President speaks at the Civil Rights Summit, a 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights Bill signed in July 1964.  Joining President Obama was former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
·      Affordable Care Act Update:  Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigns after months of criticism and days after news reports of 7.5 million signups for  health insurance through the marketplace exchanges.


National
·       Archived Rosa Parks memorabilia will be put up for auction for a reported $10 million.
·       Fox News is reporting that Ben Carson raised $4 million for the 2016 presidential race.
·       Reverend Al Sharpton’s past as an FBI informant has been republished as the National Action Network convention opens.   
          

Local
·      Chokwe Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba wins mayoral primary in Jackson, Mississippi.
·      Florida’s Republican legislators are pushing gun bills to expand gun rights in Florida.
·      Missouri lawmakers seek to expand their self-defense laws.


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Highlights from the Clinton Papers - March 28, 2014 release

By Charles Brooks

In a recent post, I wrote about the March 28th release of the Clinton papers from the Clinton Presidential Library - the third such release since February 14th.  Below you will find highlights from selected correspondence on various topics from corporate responsibility to Clinton's Race Initiative.

Highlights from selected correspondence (letters, memos, emails, etc)

 “Courtesy, William J. Clinton Presidential Library.”

An internal memo on corporate responsibility
The program we're discussing is sponsored by Procter and Gamble, which, as one of the Labor Dept. people pointed out yesterday, MAY NOT BE A GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN.

By giving the President a speech about corporate responsibility in Ohio, we are potentially involving him in the GM strike. Even if he "no comments" or says we don't involve ourselves in these matters when talks are underway, he's going to look out of touch with the very issues-- .how companies treat their workers-- that he's coming to Ohio to address. Is a Catholic University the best venue for this sort of speech? It should be held somewhere like the Detroit Economic Club.

Friday, April 4, 2014

More Clinton papers released - shows thinking on race



Courtesy, William J. Clinton Presidential Library
The Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas has released a third set of confidential correspondence from the Bill Clinton presidency.  The public can now view, for the first time, about seven files containing about 3,400 pages.  According to Politico, these files don’t appear to include some of the more sensitive and scandal-related documents believed to be in the set of about 33,000 pages of documents. These documents were initially withheld under restrictions that expire 12 years after a president leaves office.

There’s a broad sweep of presidential events covered in the recently released papers related to both domestic and foreign policy. From preparing for the State of the Union address in 1996 and 1997, the president’s farewell address in 2001, the World Trade Organization 50th anniversary, plans for the second term, to drafts of speeches to business leaders and college graduates.

So what you’ll see in this installment of White House documents are vivid reminders of the hot button issues that unfolded during the Clinton presidency such as crime (that’s adult and juvenile), welfare reform, poverty, and the global economy.  Internal memos and handwritten notes offering political advice as well as staff engaging in debate as positions are argued.  There were strategic plans around using commencement addresses to serve a political purpose. See the following from an April 1996 memo: “This memorandum outlines themes and topics for this spring's commencement addresses. We propose that you do a total of four such speeches -- the three currently scheduled, plus an additional speech at a site to be determined. These speeches would give the press and public a sense of what your goals for the nation would be during a second term, and would show how those goals flow from the goals you ran on in 1992 and the policies that you have put in place since then.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Secret Clinton papers released

By Charles Brooks

The Clinton’s are in the news again as thousands of pages of confidential communications from the Clinton days in the White House has finally been released for public view after legal restrictions expired.  During the last two weeks, about 73 files containing documents such as internal memos, handwritten notes and drafts of speeches were made available by the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. The public can now see the president's handwritten notes clarifying his thoughts, internal memos from White House staff outlining political strategy and political advice for the president.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What about Joe?...will Hillary’s history repeat itself?


By Charles Brooks

Since Hillary Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State in February 2013, a groundswell of support has emerged encouraging her to run for the presidency in 2016. Although she remains noncommittal to the idea of running for president, nevertheless there’s the foregone conclusion that she will be the Democratic Party nominee. Now, if you recall, there was a similar sentiment when she launched her 2008 campaign – when she was afforded front runner status – until the bubble burst in the Iowa caucuses when then-candidate Barack Obama shocked the world by defeating Hillary Clinton. Obama went on to win several key primaries during a contentious campaign while Hillary played catch up and failed to gain traction. Only time will tell if history will repeat itself, but in the meantime there are two years before the 2016 campaign really starts to heat up.



In recent months, several news articles were written advancing the notion of Ms. Clinton running and even winning the nomination in 2016.  Now bear in mind that Ms. Clinton has already garnered a number of early endorsements from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillbrand, and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. In addition, several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have voiced their support for Hillary such as James Clyburn (D-SC) John Lewis, (D-GA), and Donna Edwards (D-MD).

But the question here though is - what is the basis of their support for Hillary – aside from her popularity? What is in her body of work that indicates she will be responsive to their interests as president? It is probably better to take a step back and pause for a second or two before we declare Hilary the winner…before the first vote is cast. For an electorate that has demonstrated vulnerability to political symbolism and gestures, there’s the strong potential of getting caught up in all of the hype, pomp and circumstance that already surrounds her much anticipated candidacy. This is significant, particularly before any tough questions are asked - such as what does Hillary stand for and is it relevant or aligned with our interests. Wouldn’t you agree that the tough questions need to be asked because posing the tough questions ignores the popularity and instead, highlights the politics? A curious observer of these events must critically think for themselves and not choose popularity over policy. A critical thinking observer must also be wary of a media that fails to ask the important questions because of their partnership with the idea of a Hillary run for the presidency.

For example, the New York Times recently published an article about Clinton’s attempt to mend fences hwith their most supportive yet maligned constituency – the African American voter. Incredibly though, the article was written without so much of a thread of scrutiny or coherent analysis. Although the article cited several popular political commentators, there were no political analysts or even a professor of political science interviewed for the piece. Hmmm...strike one. The article indicated the wounds opened during the 2008 campaign were healed as a result of the "Clinton personal touch". Additionally, no insight was provided regarding the source of those opened wounds other than the “fairy tale” quote made by former president Bill Clinton. No mention of Hillary’s quote about Dr. Martin Luther King’s role in the passage of key civil rights legislation. Ahem…strike two. And lastly, the article appeared to indicate that African Americans has forgiven the Clintons, especially due to the role the Clinton personal touch played in all of this…whiff – strike three! On the other hand, a Washington Post article argues that there is no need for Hillary to rebuild her relationship with Black America, “...Hillary Clinton’s reputation among black voters is on solid ground.”

The voter must critically think for themselves and disregard Clinton's popularity over policy; become more interested in policy proposals and ideas while ignoring celebrity and elitist endorsements. For example, while we know of Hillary’s advocacy for women issues - what do we know of her positions on the economy, unemployment, education, or affirmative action? What about her views on Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East? Where does she stand on the use of drones – both domestically and internationally, as well as the NSA's surveillance on American citizens? Taking into consideration the fallout between Blacks and Clinton during the 2008 campaign – what will be Black America’s political reaction if Hillary disagrees and then criticizes President Obama policies?

And just one last point…why is there such a bright spotlight cast on the much anticipated candidacy of Hillary Clinton while Joe Biden, the Vice-President for five years, is barely noticeable behind the faint glow of a flickering candle. What about Joe? What about Joe?