In 1996, I signed the Defense of Marriage Act. Although that was only 17 years ago, it was a very different time. In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction. Washington, as a result, was swirling with all manner of possible responses, some quite draconian. As a bipartisan group of former senators stated in their March 1 amicus brief to the Supreme Court, many supporters of the bill known as DOMA believed that its passage “would defuse a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more.” It was under these circumstances that DOMA came to my desk, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress.
On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court, and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional. As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.
So have you been watching the 2012 Democratic National Convention? I’ve watched a lot of conventions, both Republican and Democratic, and I have to say that this one definitely ranks right up there. It sure as heck beats what we witnessed in Tampa last week.
President Bill Clinton stole the show last night. He was supposed to talk for 18 minutes. His prepared speech clocked in at close to 18 minutes. He spoke for 48 minutes. A full half hour off the cuff. It was amazing. Here’s the video in case you missed it or just want to watch again…
Tonight is the final night of the convention. It will belong to Vice President Biden and President Obama. Hope you’ll watch!
So, did you watch tonight? I thought John Kerry did a great job, only to be followed by The Great Communicator himself, and then it was all topped off by our next Vice President. It’s difficult to get terribly excited by most anything at my age, but tonight came close (and we still have tomorrow night to look forward to). I actually, at one point, caught myself feeling sorry for the Republicans because they have to follow all this next week. They definitely have their work cut out for them… not just in the next week but in the next two and a half months. (They are so done.)
In case you missed it, here’s video of President Clinton’s address…
MIAMI (Reuters) – Former President Bill Clinton offered faint praise for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s energy policy on Sunday, saying he preferred it to that of Republican rival John McCain.
“I think we’ll get better national policy next year,” Clinton told the U.S. Conference of Mayors in a speech centered on improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases.
It was the former president’s first public appearance since his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, ended her presidential campaign on June 7, after Obama emerged as the Democratic candidate in the November election.
The former first lady endorsed Obama, urged her supporters to rally behind him and is scheduled to campaign with him later this week.
But her husband has not publicly endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee to succeed President George W. Bush. Asked by journalists when he might do so, Clinton smiled and shook hands with spectators without acknowledging he heard the question.
In his speech, Clinton predicted Congress would pass a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions.
“Because I believe so strongly in this, I favor Senator Obama’s position, which is to go to 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses over Senator McCain’s position, which is to go to 70 percent,” he said. “But that’s light years ahead of where Republican’s have been.”
The superdelegates are going to decide the Democratic nomination this year, and most of them got to where they are during the first President Clinton’s administration. The majority of those probably owe the Clinton machine big time.
Hillary Clinton will take the Democratic nomination even if she does not win the popular vote, but persuades enough superdelegates to vote for her at the convention, her campaign advisers say.
The New York senator, who lost three primaries Tuesday night, now lags slightly behind her rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, in the delegate count. She is even further behind in “pledged” delegates, those assigned by virtue of primaries and caucuses.
But Clinton will not concede the race to Obama if he wins a greater number of pledged delegates by the end of the primary season, and will count on the 796 elected officials and party bigwigs to put her over the top, if necessary, said Clinton’s communications director, Howard Wolfson.
“I want to be clear about the fact that neither campaign is in a position to win this nomination without the support of the votes of the superdelegates,” Wolfson told reporters in a conference call.
“We don’t make distinctions between delegates chosen by million of voters in a primary and those chosen between tens of thousands in caucuses,” Wolfson said. “And we don’t make distinctions when it comes to elected officials” who vote as superdelegates at the convention.
“We are interested in acquiring delegates, period,” he added.
Clinton advisers rejected the notion that the candidate — and the party — would be badly wounded in the general election if the nominee were essentially selected by a group of party insiders.
It is a little premature to declare right now that Barack Obama is going to come out ahead in regular delegates and the popular vote, but all indications are that he probably will. The party will come out wounded. The anti-Bush and anti-Republican sentiment in the United States is strong enough that the Democrats will still take the White House in November, but they won’t have the strong mandate they would have had otherwise. Mrs. Clinton winning the nomination by decree of the party strongmen will definitely leave a bad taste in the mouths of many moderate Democrats and Independents, but not enough that they will sit on their hands come general election time.
In other news, I sure wish the Clinton and Obama campaigns would invest in some new commercials. The Texas primary is still almost three weeks away and I am already tired of seeing the same commercials over and over and over again. Yes, Barack, we know that your mother died when she was 53 and was worried about paying her medical bills and yes, Hillary, we know that you wake up each morning thinking about nice things to do for people, but… give us a break, please.
I have not been paying a lot of attention to the reports of purported mischief performed by and on behalf of the Clintons, Bill and Hillary. I’ve chalked most of them up to media sensationalism and right wing rancor. It becomes more difficult to ignore, however, when it is posted directly on Senator Clinton’s campaign website:
“I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.
“I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.
“I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.
“I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well.”
Had the people in Florida and Michigan wanted their voices heard in the Democratic party’s nominating process, they would have insisted that their respective state parties follow the rules laid down by the national party. They did not, and by not doing so they forfeited their right to be heard. Hillary Clinton knows this.
All of the candidates, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, requested that their names be removed from the ballot in Michigan. Since her name was the only name on the ballot, Mrs. Clinton won the Michigan primary. None of the Democratic candidates are campaigning in Florida. Mrs. Clinton appears likely to win the primary in that state on the basis of name recognition alone.
Of course she wants the delegates from those two states reinstated. They are her delegates. In a nominating contest as tight as this one will likely be, every delegate is going to count. Hillary Clinton jumped the shark today. It’s almost as if she declared that the rules that apply to the other candidates do not apply to her. She alienated a lot of people, including, I dare say, yours truly.
If she becomes the Democratic nominee, she will have my full support. Any Democrat in the White House is infinitely better than a Republican. Today, though, she lost a lot of the respect I had for her.
LAS VEGAS – A federal judge has denied a challenge that would have blocked many workers on the Las Vegas Strip from participating in Nevada’s Democratic presidential caucuses. U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan said Thursday that he would not force the party to change its rules.
“We aren’t voting here, we’re caucusing,” he said. “That’s something that parties decide.”
“It’s up to the national party and the state party to promulgate these rules and enforce them,” the judge said.
The lawsuit brought by the state teachers union claimed that party rules allowing casino shift workers to caucus on Saturday in “at-large” precincts on the Las Vegas Strip – nine casinos – give too much power to them, and violates federal equal protection guarantees…
The rules were unanimously approved by the state Democratic party last March and ratified by the Democratic National Committee in August.
The Clintons were fine with the rules until the Culinary Workers Union, which represents nearly all of the workers in the casinos, endorsed Barack Obama. The lawsuit was filed just two days following that endorsement.
Here’s a video of an exchange Bill Clinton had with a reporter from the local ABC affiliate yesterday.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Bill Clinton looking quite so old. Aside from that, he made it quite clear which side of the lawsuit he and Hillary were supporting. You have to know that the lawsuit would never have been filed had the union endorsed Mrs. Clinton.
We do not need this type of hypocrisy in the Democratic party. There is more than enough in the Republican party to go around (and then some).
Politics is a dirty business. We all know that and we all expect that. It kind of irritates me just a bit, however, when somebody takes a few words of something somebody said and makes something else entirely out of them.
NEW YORK (AP) – Barack Obama accuses Hillary Rodham Clinton of making an “unfortunate” remark about Martin Luther King Jr. She retorts that King’s a hero to her – and no one should be thinking Obama is a new MLK.
Racial politics, quietly simmering for months, have burst into the open in the Democratic confrontation between the woman who would be the first female president and the man who would be the first black.
Will it make a difference to voters, black or white?
The first big test will be in the South Carolina primary a week from Saturday. It will be the first Democratic primary this year in a state with a substantial black population – as Michelle Obama declared over the weekend, “Ain’t no black people in Iowa” – and the first in the South.
Clinton spent part of Monday praising King, the civil rights leader who was killed in 1968. Speaking at a ceremony honoring him in New York, she said, “I remember hearing him speak when I went with my church to downtown Chicago to see and hear for myself someone who had burst through the stereotypes and the caricatures, who could not be held back. by being beaten or gassed or jailed.”
But the Obama campaign and a lot of other people were still talking about her comment that came out over the weekend, to the effect that King’s dream of racial equality was realized only when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
I understood what Senator Clinton was saying about President Johnson and Dr. King. It was, to me at least, abundantly clear. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and he worked hard and sacrificed greatly to make that dream a reality, but Dr. King did not have the power to push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through a reluctant Congress and finally sign it into law. That took a president. I think it is unfortunate that there are people in this country who would take a truthful statement like that and try to turn it into an attack on Dr. King. It was no such thing.
Here is the video of Mrs. Clinton’s appearance on Meet the Press during which she tried to explain the Martin Luther King Jr. reference:
Here is the entire video of the Bill Clinton quote that, for some reason, Tim Russert did not want you to see:
It was also abundantly clear that President Clinton was not referring to the candidacy of Barack Obama as a fairy tale. He stated that Senator Obama’s votes supporting the war in Iraq following his election to the Senate made his opposition to that war prior to his election to the Senate somewhat of a fairy tale. It takes quite a stretch of the imagination, after viewing the entire video, to conclude that he said that Mr. Obama’s candidacy is a fairy tale. Again, I think it is unfortunate that there are those who hope to gain by twisting words in this manner.
I do not have a favorite candidate in this race (yet). One thing I do know is that I will fully support whoever is the eventual nominee of the Democratic party. Any of the Democratic candidates, and I stress the word any, will be infinitely better for the United States of America than any, and I again stress the word any, of the Republican candidates.
However, if it turns out that one candidate really is deliberately trying to use race as a wedge issue in this campaign, I could (and probably would) quickly settle upon his/her opponent as my favorite.
Finally, to close this post (bet you thought I never would), a bit of history:
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shake hands after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It should not be news to anybody that those in the rabid right wing of the Republican party hate and despise both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this rumor would surface (again) on the morning of the Iowa caucuses, in which Hillary is a candidate…
WASHINGTON (CNN) â€” It is a title that would be sure to bring either fear or cheer to many Americans, depending on your political leanings: Supreme Court Justice Bill Clinton.
That provocative possibility has long been whispered in legal and political circles ever since Sen. Hillary Clinton became a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now a respected conservative law professor has openly predicted a future President Clinton would name her husband to the high court if a vacancy occurred.
Pepperdine Law School’s Douglas Kmiec said, “The former president would be intrigued by court service and many would cheer him on.”
The same article states the reasons, put forth by a “conservative” lawyer, that the former President would not be interested in the position…
But a conservative lawyer who argues regularly before the high court noted Chief Justice John Roberts is fully entrenched in his position, and that might be the only high court spot Clinton would want. He also might not enjoy the relative self-imposed anonymity the justices rely on to do their jobs free of political and public pressures.
“Court arguments are not televised, and most justices shy away from publicity as a matter of respect for the court’s integrity,” said this lawyer. “Could Justice Clinton follow their example?”
Bill Clinton enjoys being in the public eye too much. He likes being the center of attention. He could never adapt to the life of a Supreme Court Justice.
At the end of the article, we are given the reason for its existence…
The more immediate effect of such talk might be more practical: it could help motivate conservative voters in an election year to ensure no Clinton ever reaches the White House or the Supreme Court anytime soon.
The next occupant of the White House will likely determine the shape of the Supreme Court for decades to come. The right wing Republicans are going to pull out all stops in order to ensure that that occupant is not a Democrat, particularly since the odds are better than even that there will be a Democratic majority in the Senate (where Supreme Court Justices are confirmed).
A Democratic President and a Democratic Senate (and, most likely, also a Democratic House of Representatives) would make life a living hell for the right wingers. It would sure give their bloggers a lot to bitch write about, though (to say nothing of the likes of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, FOX News, et al.)
Former President Bill Clinton has emerged as a clear asset in his wife’s campaign for the White House, with Americans offering high ratings to his eight years in office and a solid majority saying they would be comfortable with him as first spouse, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
But Americans said they would not regard the election of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as simply the resumption of her husband’s presidency. Instead, two-thirds said she would take her presidency in a different direction and half of all Americans said they believed that would be a good development. And about half of those who said it would be a resumption described that as positive.
The former president is very much at the center of his wife’s campaign — helping to raise money, muscling endorsements, providing strategic and policy advice and joining her on the trail. But after the political and personal turbulence that occurred during his two terms in the White House, there have been persistent questions about whether the nation is eager for what could amount to a third Clinton presidential term.
At this point, however, the former president is seen in favorable terms. Two-thirds of Americans said they approve of the job he did while he was in office — virtually the reverse of the ratings they give to President Bush’s current performance. Clinton remains overwhelmingly popular with Democrats, and 63 percent of independents and even a third of Republicans also gave him positive marks.
Many Republicans have said they are eager to run a general election campaign against Hillary Clinton, describing her as a highly polarizing candidate who would unite and energize the opposition. But as of now Clinton appears to to be no more polarizing than other leading Democratic candidates. Nor is there a potential Republican nominee who appears significantly less polarizing…
At this point, a hypothetical match-up between Clinton and Giuliani shows the New York senator leading the former New York mayor 51 percent to 43 percent. When the Post-ABC News poll last tested the two against one another in January, the race was a toss-up, with Clinton at 49 percent and Giuliani at 47 percent. In the new poll, among those following the election very closely at this point, Clinton enjoys a sizeable lead — 58 percent to 40 percent.
The media seems to have pretty much settled on Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as the nominees of their respective parties in the presidential election of 2008. It looks like Hillary wins.
I have always thought that Al Gore, though he won the election in 2000, would have won it by a bigger margin had he not shunned Bill Clinton as he did during his campaign. Mr. Clinton was, in spite of what rabid righties would have you believe, a very popular president. He remains popular to this day.