Saturday, August 01, 2015

Hillary Clinton Slams Jeb Bush on Racial Issues

The annual convention of the National Urban League provided Hillary Clinton with a venue to call out Jeb "Jebbie" Bush on the inherent racism of the economic policies he favors which, as noted before, are just a warmed over version of the GOP's voodoo economics which have not worked at all over the last 35 years.  At least not for black and average Americans.  Instead, the policies have benefited the 1% and pushed America toward a new Gilded Age where the few have fabulous wealth and the rest of us struggle to hang on to what we have with increasing difficulty.  The New York Times looks at the salvos that Hillary rightly delivered at Jebbie (she should have also attacked the GOP's anti-union agenda in my view).  Here are highlights:
Jeb Bush and his aides had envisioned a big, inclusive, high-minded speech about race on Friday in his home state of Florida, a chance to bring his message of colorblind opportunity to a prestigious group of African-American leaders.

In a rare gesture of bipartisanship, Mr. Bush even planned to warmly quote President Obama, usually the object of his derision.

Then Hillary Rodham Clinton stomped all over those plans.

In a biting surprise attack, delivered as Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, waited backstage here at the annual convention of the National Urban League, Mrs. Clinton portrayed him as a hypocrite who had set back the cause of black Americans.

It was an unexpected moment of political theater that seemed to presage what could be a bitter general-election rivalry between two of the biggest names in American politics.

Mrs. Clinton, a Democratic candidate for president, latched onto Mr. Bush’s campaign slogan and the name of his “super PAC” —Right to Rise, his shorthand for a conservative agenda of self-reliance and hope — and turned it into a verbal spear.

People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care,” Mrs. Clinton said to applause from conventiongoers, a dig at Mr. Bush’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

“They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on,” she said, a jab at his opposition to raising the federal minimum wage.

“They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education,” she said, a critique of Mr. Bush’s decision as governor to eliminate affirmative action in college admissions.

Mr. Bush appeared unprepared to respond, thanking Mrs. Clinton for joining him at the event but otherwise leaving her criticism unanswered in his own speech. 

[H]e did not directly address the rash of police shootings of unarmed black men that dominated discussions at the Urban League conference this week. Instead, he called more obliquely for rebuilding trust in “America’s vital institutions.”

Clinton took a more direct approach, ticking off the names of African-Americans who have died after interactions with law enforcement — including Eric Garner, Walter L. Scott and Freddie Gray — to knowing nods in the audience.

“These names are emblazoned on our hearts,” she said. “We’ve seen their faces; we’ve heard their grieving families.”  She spoke explicitly about racial discrimination, saying it still played a major role in determining “who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind.”

She added: “We can’t go on like this. We are better than this. Things must change.”

Toward the end of her speech, Mrs. Clinton turned to those who, in her telling, do not live up to their own words on the subject of racial injustice, singling out Mr. Bush, not by name but by implication, over and over.

Cherie LaCour-Duckworth, a Clinton supporter, said she had paid little attention to what Mr. Bush said. Mrs. Clinton, she said, “set the stage for him.”

Ben Carson, a Republican who was the sole black candidate to speak here, took a tough-love approach that seemed to inspire little enthusiasm from the crowd. Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, never mentioned the high-profile deaths of unarmed black men and women in police custody and held himself up as a model of how ambition and education could rescue poor African-Americans from poverty.  He called on black parents to talk to their sons “about how they conduct themselves.”

Herman Wallace, an attendee from Kansas City, Mo., was unmoved. “Carson,” he said, “talked about himself.”

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