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DNC 2016: Hillary Finally Clinches

Binyamin Rose, Philadelphia

Should Clinton win in November, it would mean that women would be the highest office holders in the three most powerful western countries, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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Former President Bill Clinton speaks on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. SAUL LOEB / AFP

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: DAY 2 REVIEW AND WRAP-UP

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For Hillary Clinton, who’s been campaigning for president ever since she announced her first run for the Oval Office in 2007, it was a sweet moment indeed.

Once the super delegates cast their ballots,Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by nearly 1,000 ballots, wrapping up the Republican nomination for president, and ending a contentious primary campaign that was far too close for comfort for someone who entered it with the inevitable tag.

Should Clinton win in November, it would mean that along with Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May, women would be the highest office holders in the three most powerful western countries.

To get there, Hillary will have to improve her popularity. According to the latest Galluppoll, 30% of Democrats and those who lean Democratic view her unfavorably.

That reputation is unfounded, says Elaine Geller, a Clinton delegate from Hollywood Florida who shared a story with me on the convention floor shortly after Hillary wrapped up the nomination.

Geller is vice-president of her local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, Hillary, as first lady, spearheaded a project to improve Arkansas’s rock bottom literacy rate.Clinton heard about the NCJW’s HIPPY program, which stands for Home Instruction for Pre-School Youngsters. Hillary joined an NCJW trip to Israel, where the project was initiated in the 1960s, to help illiterate immigrants teach their own children to read and write.

“Hillary learned as much as she could, and then came to meet us in Florida to make sure she really understood it, and then took it back with her to Arkansas,” Geller says. Eventually, Arkansas rose from 50th to 14th in national literacy rankings.

Geller says this is the Hillary Clinton the press doesn’t report on and the public doesn’t know:

“I think these are the right values that Hillary has, and that she instills in her family and I instill in mine, which I think is going to make America better.”

 

THE REAL ONE

One thing you can say about Bill Clinton’s finale at last night’s convention is that he still knows how to work a crowd.

Getting emotional at points, he dwelled on Hillary’s many volunteer activities in a variety of capacities including legal aid for the poor, and children’s health care, and talked about their lives together; how they met, fell in love, married and embarked on their life of public service together.

Some of it fell flat considering the couple’s somewhat checkered relationship, but overall, Clinton’s message focused on building a strong case for Hillary Clinton as someone who sets goals and gets them done.

“You should know that this woman is never satisfied with the status quo in anything,” Clinton said. “She always wants to move the ball forward. That’s just who this woman is.”

The question overhanging Clinton’s presentation was what type of man Bill Clinton would be as First Man in a Hillary Clinton administration. The New York Times reported that while Hillary would not name Bill to a cabinet position, he would serve as her confidant and behind the scenes troubleshooter using his experience and connections to guide her and help her through rough spots.

And one of those rough spots has already arrived, with Republicans drawing blood at their convention last week, casting Hillary as an irresponsible secretary of state who also has blood on her hands.

Clinton summed it up, asking, how do square everything I’ve told you with what you heard about her at the Republican convention last week? He answered his own question: “This is real, and that was made up.”

 

SAY IT AIN’T SO BERNIE

Bernie Sanders made a gracious maneuver in asking the DNC to nominate Hillary Clinton by acclamation once she crossed the required threshold to clinch the nomination. But his supporters aren’t giving up their fight.

Hundreds of Sanders delegates and followers staged a protest, blocking access to the media filing center right after the roll call vote. Police quickly blocked the entrances and kept the demonstration peaceful. It had to have been a well-organized move on the part of the delegates because they garnered a bonanza of media attention.

Margie Castellano, a delegate from San Diego, said she’s still sticking with her man. “That’s democracy. People choose who they want. We came here to nominate Bernie,” Castellano said.

But he already gave up, I ask?

“Bernie had the only chance to beat Trump. Why would we vote for Hillary? It doesn’t make sense. The whole convention was rigged.”

Daniel Kilbride, a veteran of the Iraq war from Oklahoma expressed similar sentiments. “I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who did not stand against that war,” Kilbride said. “I can’t think of anyone who I associate with, or know, who would vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Daniel’s companion, Autumn Gardner, also a Bernie supporter said she plans to vote for one of the third party candidates in November. The fact that Hillary is America’s first female presidential nominee doesn’t impress her.

“I can’t say she’s a feminist,” Gardner said. “She’s never done anything for women.”

 

PLAYING THE LOTTERY ON TRUMP

“We expect perfection from our elected officials and it’s not realistic.” So said New York City Council Member David Greenfield at a Jewish roundtable event Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of the DNC.

That being the case, asked him why people take Donald Trump to task for utterances and behavior that almost every previous president has been found guilty of, including Richard Nixon’s foul and sometimes anti-Semitic utterances caught on Memorex.

“It’s almost impossible to judge what people do in their personal lives and behind closed doors,” Greenfield said. “It’s very different when you are the standard bearer for your party – and potentially for your country – to behave publicly in a way where you insult and denigrate other officials and ethnicities.”

Greenfield, a Democrat, supports Hillary Clinton. He has met or conversed with her on more than a dozen occasions and views her as a solid, consistent, long-time supporter of Israel. When Bernie Sanders made his putsch on the party platform to incorporate a plank critical of Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and demand an end to “illegal settlements,”Clinton pushed back and her forces defeated the effort. “She also stuck her neck out by sending a letter to her own church asking them to vote against BDS. I’ve spoken to her personally and quite frankly, she is hawkish when it comes to national security and terror, and with Donald Trump, you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Greenfield said.

Nevertheless, many voters feel that Trump “gets it” on global terror and Hillary doesn’t.

“I liken Donald Trump to a lottery ticket,”Greenfield added. “A lot of people think they’re going to win big. I liken Hillary Clinton to Israel bonds. It’s reliable, safe and pays yearly interest. It’s a good, secure investment. You don’t take your all your money and your whole family’s possessions and stake it on winning the lottery.”

 

AMERICANS ARE SANE, GUNS AREN’T

Congressman Jerrold Nadler hasn’t changed much since his college days when he marched against the Vietnam War and for Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 presidential campaign.

One of the most liberal members of Congress, serving New York’s 10th District, which includes parts of liberal Jewish Manhattan as well as conservative Orthodox districts in Brooklyn, Nadler told the Jewish roundtable event that Donald Trump is dangerous for America because he’s ignorant. 

“He offers no specifics,” Nadler says. “He says I’ll solve all your problems because I’m a strong leader. So was Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain and Peron in Argentina. It better not be Trump in the United States.”

Nadler did not discuss his controversial support for President Obama’s Iran deal, and his press aides hustled him away from me before he could answer my question about the topic. Nadler also reiterated his support for a two-state solution, although he admitted that the Palestinians don’t seem interested.

Mishpacha News Editor: Binyamin Rose

He also criticized Trump’s pro-gun position, citing a statistic – which he said isn’t exact because he was working from memory – that some 33,000 Americans are killed by guns every year, compared to about 75 in Great Britain and about 150 in Canada. “Tell me Americans are thousands of times more mentally ill than in other advanced democratic countries,” Nadler said. “The only reason for that is the insane preponderance of guns in America– 110-million for 330-million people.”

Nadler’s memory for numbers may be good, but a fact check shows they’re misleading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention corroborate his figures at about 32,000 per year, but two-thirds are suicides, not murders. Would people who are despondent enough to take their lives use other means if they didn’t have a gun?

There is room for healthy debate on the gun control issue, but it shouldn’t start with comparing apples to oranges.

 

JERROLD NADLER’S NOVEMBER CHALLENGE

Philip Rosenthal earned a doctorate in physics, practiced law where he specialized in the licensing of nuclear material, and co-founded Fastcase – an online legal research company. He’s also found time to become shomer Shabbos over the past couple of years.

With that kind of wisdom and talent, why would he run for Congress, considering its measly 14% approval ratings? I asked him that question when we met on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland.

“In a sense, that’s why I’m doing it,” Rosenthal said, in an interview on the convention sidelines.

“Our future is at stake. Congress isn’t getting done what’s needed for the country. We easily should remain the world’s greatest economic and military superpower if we stop making mistakes.”

One of the most egregious mistakes, says Rosenthal, is the nuclear deal with Iran. His Democratic opponent in November’s race for New York’s 10th Congressional district, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, supported it. Rosenthal thinks that will be his Achilles heel.

But it will take much more than nipping at Nadler’s heels to unseat him.

Despite public contempt for Congress, some 95% of incumbents won re-election in 2014.

“This year is different,” insists Rosenthal. “He betrayed a lot of his base with the Iran deal, and this is a year where people have a strong yearning for someone from the outside, like me, who understands science, business and technology. When I was studying physics, the US led the world in everything. Now if you want to fly into space you go with Russia. The best fundamental physics lab in world is CERN in Europe. We need to dream again. And we need to lead again.”

 

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