Hillary’s Early Years

Most people first became aware of Hillary Clinton as Bill Clinton’s wife. Probably the next thing they remember is the disaster of the Health Care reforms that she spearheaded at the time. Also, the controversy about Whitewater and Vince Foster’s Death. Then they were aware of her as a Senator from New York, followed by Secretary of State after losing to Barack Obama or the Presidency. But most people don’t know much about her early years.

Parents

She grew up on Park Ridge, IL near Chicago. It was a middle class community. Her father served in World War II in the Navy and had a drapery business after that. Interestingly, he not only sold them, but designed and printed them. He was a died in the wool Republican. Hillary had two brothers and they and their mother helped out in her father’s business when possible.

Hillary’s life growing up was very stable, unlike her mother’s. Her mother’s parents abandoned her and she was sent to live with relatives who also didn’t really want her. That would make you or break you. It seems to have made her because when she was 14 she started working and trying to support herself so she could be independent and didn’t have to worry about these other people. But it also made her want a different life for her own children.

Childhood

Hillary went to public schools and was in the Brownies and Girl Scouts. She also played girls softball. Her mother, Dorothy taught Sunday School in the Methodist Church which is what Hillary was brought up as. Through the youth program, Hillary got to see Martin Luther King speak and the youth minister was a key reason that Hillary became a lifelong advocate for social justice.

College, Law School and After

Hillary went to Wellesley College and then to Yale Law School where she met Bill Clinton. After law school, instead of working for a law firm, she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund.

She then served on a congressional committee investigating Richard Nixon. She then moved to Arkansas and started Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. In 1975, she married Bill Clinton. As first lady of Arkansas, she pushed for better health care access and to improve educational standards and performance.

Hillary Clinton and the Black Vote

We just wrote about Hillary and possible problems with a generational gap and appeal. But there is another audience that will be critical to her election, the black vote.

How do you follow up on a performance like Barack Obama’s in turning out the black vote. It will be hard to repeat.

Some people not only wondered whether she will get the black vote, but whether she enjoys it. F. Michael Higginbotham wrote and interesting article that makes the claim that she does deserve to be supported by blacks.

Police Relations

He points to her speech at Columbia University on April 29th. She spoke about a number of causes for the problems in Baltimore and other issues around the country and her proposed solutions.  She spoke about the racial inequities in the criminal justice system but just as importantly in the US in general and in the areas of politics and the economy.

Although it has become obvious to most Americans over the last year with Baltimore, Feguson and unfortunately many other incidents, she pointed out the poor relationship between the law enforcement and minorities. She also commented on the dramatic disparity in arrests, sentencing and imprisonment by race. Black men are much more likely to be stopped, searched,  and charged and they receive longer prison sentences than white men for the same crime.

One solution she suggested, which has been at the top of many people’s minds recently is body cameras for police. But, she said there were problems that were even more important than relations with the police. It was the lack of employment for black men. In Baltimore, the black unemployment rate is twice that of whites’. In the 20-24 year old age range it is 3 times as high. More disturbing is that the median net worth of whites in the US is 18 times that of blacks, which is higher than in South Africa during apartheid.

Economic and Educational Opportunities

She pointed out that more economic opportunities are needed and better education. She also suggested more support for poor families so they can better give a leg up to the children.

Voter Rights

In a speech last summer, she also condemned voter identification laws and restrictions that had a greater impact on the minority community. She was very critical of the Shelby County vs. Holder decision by the Supreme Court which invalidated part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. She pointed out that the Voting Rights Act has done more democratization than almost any piece of legislation. Within 4 years of becoming law, 800,000 new voters registered, mostly black.

 

Hillary Clinton, David Letterman and Mad Men

What do Hillary Clinton, David Letterman and Mad Men have to do with each other? On the surface, not much. They are or are about Baby Boomers. So what?

Who is going to be voting for Hillary Clinton? Granted, there is a population bulge with the Baby Boomers, but they are beginning to die off and the Greatest Generation from World War II is rapidly fading.

David Letterman and Jay Leno were dominant during their long runs, but they have now handed things over to the next generation of Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel. Yes Letterman represented the Baby Boom generation and the attitude of Question Authority. But the irony and and sarcasm that he brought to the fore as a contrast to Rat Pack type cool of Johnny Carson, isn’t new and cutting edge anymore. Besides, everyone is doing it. The younger generations have grown up instead on The Simpson’s and South Park.

You also have a generation of news anchors turning over such as  Bill O’Reilly for Megyn Kelly and Diane Sawyer for David Muir.

Then there is Mad Men, which is quintessentially about the 60s and the beginnings of the Baby Boom dominance. But what younger group really wants to watch things like this or reminisce about Ed Sullivan or The Beatles or Edgar Bergen? They would rather focus on things that relate more closely to them.

This is the problem for Hillary Clinton. She is 67. Obama is 53 and was only 47 when elected. Hillary will be on the upper end of the age range for Presidents. Obama energized the youth vote who were excited about a change. Can she relate to this part of the population and can she energize them in the same way that Obama did?