While California Dreams- Weekly Update Vol.2 No. 3

A weekly update on the goings-on in Sacramento
For the week ending February 2, 2008

Key bills and issues we’ve been following during the
Past week and beyond
Like most of you, we here at Speak Out California have been following the Presidential election campaign very closely. We hope you’ve looked at our Voter Guide for guidance on the ballot measures that are also on the ballot this Tuesday. (Click here for that information).
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In keeping with the importance of the coming election, this update is not our typical analysis of what has been going on in Sacramento. Until now, we haven’t gotten directly involved in the exciting and exhilarating Presidential campaign that will garner large numbers of important delegate votes that the remaining candidates will need going into what might very well be a brokered national convention later this summer in Denver, Colorado.
Since the Republicans can’t even pretend to have a progressive candidate on their slate, with each of their top-tier candidates emphasizing their so-called “pro-life” pro-war records, we won’t be referring to their beauty contest in our comments at all. They can’t seem to be running right hard enough to please themselves. This is not the America we want or need. It is devoid of the values and elements that have made our country great–vision, hope and opportunity. We will, however, remember their platforms and promises in the general election, lest we start forgetting who they really are and claim to be.
Like so many of you, we’ve been impressed by both Democratic candidates that are left standing as we head into “Super Tuesday”. There are only two now, after at least eight interesting and well-qualified candidates first threw their proverbial hats in the ring. For many, there is disappointment that their candidate did not catch fire and withdrew from the debate. For John Edwards supporters, in particular, it was a stinging disappointment when he dropped out this past week, leaving only two U.S. Senators to finish the race. But the country is stronger for their various positions and qualities. There is hope that we can turn our country around and proof that there are still fine leaders willing to step forward and offer their vision of the future to the American People.
While Speak Out California has watched each of the candidates articulate his/her vision for the future, we know that the party is quite divided between the two remaining candidates. Hillary Clinton represents an array of experience and knowledge about how the system truly operates. She has articulated with clear and impressive understanding, what needs to be done to return America to its greatness, a position that has been both squandered and recklessly destroyed by the current Bush administration. She perhaps sums up her candidacy best by her remark at the recent debate, “It took a Clinton to clean up the first Bush mess and it will take a Clinton to clean up the second Bush mess.”
Barack Obama represents the next generation of political leaders. While articulate and motivational, he sounds similar themes to those of his colleague and opponent. At the same time he has captured the imagination of a generation and roused them to political interest and action unseen in many years. In his stirring Convention speech of 2004 he defined his vision with the statement, ” We are not Blue States or Red States, we are the United States.”
It is unclear who will be the winner on Tuesday. Most pundits believe there will be no clear winner–that both will amass a large number of delegates for the final battle for the nomination at the Democratic Convention in late August. The talk on Tuesday and beyond will no longer be about who won which state, but how many delegates he or she will take from each.
Regardless of which candidate ultimately emerges, the victor will be making history as the first of either his race or her gender to be the nominee for President of the United States. It is truly a groundbreaking moment in which all can be proud. So, who will it be? Who is the best candidate? Which one can win in November and take our country back for the working people and the future?
Many of you have asked us who we endorse. From a progressive’s perspective, both candidates have positives and negatives and either one would be an enormous improvement over where we are today as a nation. We suspect you’ve seen lots of opinion letters by all sorts of people including endorsements for each of the candidates from the familiar pundits and politicians as well as spin and analysis from the major papers and supporters. What Speak Out California has done, instead, is provide you with the thinking of two women who have been long-time California activists committed to advancing progressive causes and candidates. They have agreed to share their reasons for supporting their respective choices for President. We present them to you (in alphabetical order of candidate’s last name). Please note that we also welcome any comments or opinions you may have as well…..and would appreciate your posting them on our weblog so they can be shared with our readers .

The first is Bettina Duval, President of the California List. Here is her take on the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
Why I Am Supporting Hillary Clinton
by: Bettina Duval

(cross-posted here at Calitics)
Super Tuesday is only a few days away when thousands of Californians will cast their votes in the Democratic primary. It seems this has become a race where campaign issues have become dwarfed by the diversity of the candidates themselves. Amazingly, the two most diverse candidates, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, are the only contenders for the Democratic nomination. It has made this election one of the most fascinating and inspirational elections in our history.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the work of The California List that I personally support Senator Hillary Clinton for president.
Yes, I support Senator Hillary Clinton because she is a pro-choice, Democratic candidate, but more importantly I believe she can potentially accomplish more than the other contenders in this presidential race. Senator Hillary Clinton has a plan and the experience to bring that plan to fruition.
I support Senator Hillary Clinton because she is tough. Working with women candidates here in California, I have learned that when a woman runs for any office she inevitably faces challenges because of her gender. During the recent presidential contests, some of these challenges made front page news – most topics have little to do with her ability execute the office for which she is running. We have discussed Senator Hillary Clinton’s laugh, her clothes and now her husband. She has been held to a much higher standard than her opponents and to her credit has risen to the occasion. Too bad we are not talking about the issues that really matter, because when you actually listen to her speak it becomes clear that she is knowledgeable, articulate and understands of the issues facing our country.
I know that women aren’t the only proponents for what we call “women’s issues”-issues of wage fairness and reproductive health and work/family balance. Thankfully the women’s movement has sensitized many men to these concerns and certainly men have taken up the gauntlet on such issues. However, by and large women still experience problems in these areas more forcefully than their men. In this particular instance, Senator Hillary Clinton’s gender and her focus have coincided. These are the issues of particular concern to me personally and to the California List , so her work and advocacy on them is another strong reason for my support.
If you doubt that a woman can win, just remember Senator Hillary Clinton won her Senate seat twice in a state where she was a first judged to have an unlikely chance of winning at all. She won both the Michigan and Florida primaries – two large, diverse states that are important to win in the general election.
And, maybe most importantly, I like Senator Hillary Clinton. In my role as the founder of the California List , I know that in politics, “likeability” counts. I find her warm, personable and funny.
According to a poll released by Field Research on January 22nd, Senator Hillary Clinton leads California with the largest margins amongst women at 43% compared to 24% in favor of Senator Barack Obama. (editors note: which has sinced closed dramatically) In a state where so many delegates are up for grabs, this is where the discussion among women gets especially interesting…because it calls into question whether, as a gender, we can accurately be considered a single group-or courted as a single group-demographically. As the CALIFORNIA LIST continues to work to elect women to government in California, we hope to capitalize on what we are learning to help build the pipeline of future women leaders.
Whether on the sidelines of the soccer field or volleyball court, at a Boy Scout dinner, or during my son’s sixth grade field trip, I have been so energized by the debate about the different candidates. For the past six years I have been traveling the state of California talking about the importance of being engaged politically. My personal life has always been divided between my political friends, my carpool mom’s and my social friends, until this primary season. I think that both Democratic candidates have equally inspired political activism.
While I support Senator Hillary Clinton, I also want to make it perfectly clear that I truly respect those who think otherwise. I believe in the Democratic process. I look forward to the day when all people have an equal voice – regardless of race or gender. We have come a long way. We have a long way to go. But, the most important thing is to make your voice heard and vote on Tuesday, February 5th.
Bettina Duval is the founder of the California List, a political fundraising network that helps elect Democratic women to all branches of California state government.
Women’s Vote
by Obama supporter Christine Forester from La Jolla, California

There is a powerful, constructive and compelling argument that, to my knowledge, has not been presented to women — particularly to older women who gravitate toward HRC:
Countless of us hit our head on the proverbial glass ceiling, and all of us have entertained dreams of electing The First Woman President in our lifetime — believing that we are not as bellicose as men and would be less prone to sending our young men and women to war, that we might be less linear in our approach to solving problems — and some of us, with less altruistic motives, just wanting to balance or reverse the male dominance in political affairs. We dreamed of a woman who, standing alone, would do us proud — all of us.
The chaos we are facing should wake up the many women who are still resting in the arms of Morpheus. Those of us who have endorsed Obama (or Edwards, for that matter) have done so after thoughtful soul searching, guilt tugging at our feminist dreams and edicts, and at our longing for equal rights.
We now need a President who can rally more than us, women Democrats. We need all of us plus Independents and Republicans — someone with a high approval rating who will deliver the Presidency in November. We can’t afford to nominate the candidate Republicans dream to oppose in the General election. We need someone who can win. Better, someone who can win with some cross-party mandate.
Electability is key. Another four years — let alone eight years — of Republican ruling would certainly allow for two or three new Supreme Court Judges to be elected and for every level of our judicial system to be equally and adversely affected. This alone should unite all women to vote for Barack.
Christine Forester has been a long-time progressive philanthropist in the San Diego area. She organized the first Barack Obama fundraising event in California . It was held in the San Diego community which had previously been previously been considered primarily a Republican financial stronghold.
We here at Speak Out California believe that this year, more than any other, we must recognize our responsibility as citizens to participate in the democratic process of deciding who will lead us over the next eight years. We hope that all of you who are registered to vote, and have not yet done so, will cast your ballots on February 5, 2008. There is far too much at stake for our communities, our state, our nation and the world to fail to exercise our most precious constitutional right–the right to vote. There are seven state ballot measures that accompany your ballot, in addition to the choice as to who will lead this nation out of the disasterous years of the Bush administration. Each eligible voter can help restore our position in the world and at home, and all it takes is the few minutes necessary to cast a ballot. Democracy is important and wonderful–if we just do our part!
The Rest of the Story
Our blogging offerings for the week:

“Speak Out wants to Reach Out”
“The Public Interest”

To read and comment on these entries just go to: www.speakoutca.org/weblog/
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As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions and hope you send this newsletter to your friends and other like-minded progressives. Urge them to sign up to Speak Out California, and keep the progressive voice alive and growing.
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Until next week,
Hannah-Beth Jackson and the Speak Out California Team