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    Clinton: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

    Eight years ago, in what was really my first few months as a blogger, I opened a post like this:

    The most important question to ask tonight is:

    Can a woman be elected President of the United States?

    I think the answer, at the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign, has to be a resounding "Yes."

    No, she didn't win. No, she is not going to be the next President. But it's no longer possible to say that a woman couldn't do it. It is now undeniable that a woman can be a powerful contender for the White House, and that if a few things had gone differently (her campaign strategy; her vote on Iraq) Senator Clinton would have had the nomination.

    That was the night Hillary Clinton's first campaign for President ended, with the close of the 2008 California primary.

    Last night she proved me wrong and right. I was right that she had paved the way for a woman to gain the nomination and to win the White House. But I did not foresee that the next woman candidate, the first to be nominated by a major party, would be Clinton herself. She has become her own successor, her own political descendant. I wish my mother had lived to see this day.

    She didn't go easily eight years ago, and I was in the opposing camp. But I was moved by what she had achieved then, and moved more deeply by her accomplishments today.

    In 2008 there were also mutterings that the fix was in, that she had had the race stolen from her by sexism. And then, as now, I thought those mutterings diminished then-Senator Clinton's place in history:

    Least of all should her achievement be diminished by claims that the nomination was wrongly denied her, or that it was stolen. It wrongs Senator Clinton, and ill serves the women who will come after her, to imagine her not as the pioneer, the power broker, the master politician that she has become but instead as a victim.


    Don't tell your daughters that the nomination was taken from Hillary Clinton. Don't tell them that the door to the Oval Office will always be closed, that no matter how well they do they will never get a fair accounting. Don't tell them that even the best candidate, with the best message and best campaign, will always be cheated by sexism, that a woman's best will never be good enough, or that even great women end up as victims. Tell them the truth: that there is a chance for them no matter what they do, that sexism will always have to be confronted and defeated but that it can be, and that while they will have to work harder and fight longer that in the end they will have the chance both to fail and to succeed, to take upon themselves the responsibility for their own defeats and their victories. Do Senator Clinton justice as a woman who made her own decisions, as a historic figure who held much of her political destiny in her own hands.

    Tell your daughters that Hillary Clinton ran a great campaign, but not a perfect campaign. Tell them that she was a great woman, but not the last great woman. There was a better campaign to run, and there will be another woman, on another day, to run it.

    The next day has come, and the next campaign, and the next great woman in American politics is Hillary Clinton herself. As long as I have thought I have known her, she never ceases to amaze.

    History, here she comes.



    And now we can say that a self-proclaimed socialist could also pull it off.  Every election a step forward, it seems.

    What about a Jewish atheist?

    Oh, I was always willing to vote for Woody Allen.

    With Marx, you get the socialist, atheist, Sufi and comic all together.

    "I've had a wonderful evening. This, sadly, was not it."

    Groucho was a Socialist?

    Named after one, and awfully social - married 3 times.

    In his book The Groucho Phile, Marx says "I've been a liberal Democrat all my life", and "I frankly find Democrats a better, more sympathetic crowd.... I'll continue to believe that Democrats have a greater regard for the common man than Republicans do". So at least a wannabe.

    FBI kept files on comedian Groucho Marx  - October 13, 1998

    NEW YORK (AP) - He did more than smoke cigars and leer at women. He defended free speech and U.S.-Soviet friendship. He had opinions on everything from the New Deal to the United Nations.

    So when Groucho Marx wiggled those eyebrows and cracked wise about the Establishment, a few Establishment eyebrows went up as well.

    Documents recently made public show the FBI kept detailed files on the comedian, ranging from his supportive quote about the Scottsboro Boys in the 1930s to jokes made on television in the '50s and '60s.

    With the unintentional humor of a Marx brothers villain, the bureau is still withholding several pages "in the interest of national defense or foreign policy."

    ..."In 1953, the FBI was told by one of their confidential informants that Groucho was a member of the Communist Party and they decided to do a full review" ...

    The son of Jewish immigrants, Marx grew up in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, in a world where socialism was about as subversive as the Sabbath. He would become a dependable member of Hollywood's liberal community, supporting the New Deal and other causes.

    But what was standard left-wing thinking in the 1930s and '40s became suspicious thinking in the Cold War era. In 1953, the House Un-American Activities Committee pressured Groucho through Jerry Fielding, bandleader for the comedian's TV game show "You Bet Your Life."

    Fielding, who had been tagged as a Communist sympathizer in Walter Winchell's syndicated column, would later say the committee wanted him to name Groucho as a fellow traveler. Fielding refused and the show's sponsor, DeSoto-Plymouth Dealers of America, persuaded Groucho to fire him.

    "That I bowed to sponsors' demands is one of the greatest regrets of my life," Marx wrote later.

    According to the FBI files, Groucho's alleged offenses date back to a 1934 article in the Communist Party newspaper the Daily Worker. The article claims he called Communist support for the Scottsboro Boys an inspiration for "Soviet America." He was also quoted as defending Tom Mooney, a labor leader then imprisoned, and later pardoned, for the bombing deaths of 10 people.

    In the '40s, Groucho attended a benefit concert for Soviet war relief, helped sponsor a fund-raiser for the liberal magazine The Nation and opposed United Nations recognition for the fascist government of Spain. He was also a member of the Committee for the First Amendment, an anti-HUAC organization that included Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

    ...There's no indication that Groucho's career was affected, but the FBI did take him seriously. One internal memo - noting Groucho's real name was Julius H. Marx - was initialed by six officials, and J. Edgar Hoover personally responded to at least one letter writer, enclosing the pamphlet "What You Can Do to Fight Communism and Preserve America."

    Entries to Groucho's file ended in the early 1960s. He died in 1977.

    "They concluded from their study he was not a member of the Communist Party," Wiener said. "The party was a very rigid organization; it's hard to imagine a wisecracking spirit like Groucho's in it."

    Or as Groucho famously said, "I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

    "History, here she comes."  Indeed.  And it's only just and right that the first daughter of the first African American President will cast her first presidential vote for the first woman nominee on November 8, 2016.  

    What shocks me is that I've lived through so many presidential elections supporting males every time, giving only momentary thought to when it would be a woman's turn.  Even when Geraldine Ferraro got in the race as the potential veep, that was as close as I thought it would get.  Even I had been conditioned to buy into the myth that the presidency was a man's work.  It could be that the female politicians didn't work toward that goal, preferring to stick to congress, or local and state posts, instead, but when Hillary ran against Obama it changed everything.  She got THIS close!  It could be done!  And now there's a real possibility it will be done.  It feels good.

    You had Hillary, the passionate speech by Warren, Obama's endorsement, and Biden's speech. Then there was Bernie, walking stooped beside the President, Bernie sitting silent next to Harry Reid when asked about Hillary's endorsement, and Bernie giving his same tired speech, totally ignoring Hillary's victory, to a crowd n D.C. Bernie sucking the joy out of each place he went. 

    The point is, the Democrats put all that aside and included him in their victory.  I'm proud of them for that.

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