A Thing of Beauty

Yesterday, we posted a longish piece about the Richardson, Edwards, and Obama campaigns in a munificent, yes, bighearted, attempt to help them. We did not discuss the Hillary campaign in that piece.

Today we discuss the Hillary presidential campaign.

Recently we have witnessed a movement towards Hillary in the polls. CBS News gave her a 22% lead nationally and the ARG polls which came out this week have Hillary leading in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Of course she has been leading just about everywhere else. Why is this movement towards Hillary accelerating?

Look at what has happened recently.

This week “Hillary Clinton laid out her progressive vision for strengthening the middle class in the face of rising income inequality and globalization today. In a speech at the Manchester School of Technology in New Hampshire, she called for a return to shared prosperity and tax fairness, while expanding access to quality education and healthcare for all Americans.” Her plan is:

1. Leveling the playing field and reducing special breaks for big corporations. That means scaling back oil and gas subsidies; allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with big drug companies; and requiring big oil companies to either invest in alternative energy or pay into the Strategic Energy Fund to spur clean energy research and development.

2. Eliminating incentives for American companies to ship jobs and profits overseas. Specifically, the tax code rewards companies for offshoring jobs by enabling them to defer paying American taxes for as long as they hold the money abroad. The current policy puts companies that create jobs in America at a competitive disadvantage. We must pursue tax policies that reward the decision to create jobs in America, rather than abroad.

3. Reforming the governance of corporations and the financial sector.It is inconsistent with our values to allow CEO pay to skyrocket while workers’ wages and benefits are under threat. There needs to be greater public scrutiny of CEO pay, and more independence of Boards of Directors.

4. Restoring fiscal responsibility to government. That means balancing the budget; saving Social Security; reducing our dependence on foreign creditors (e.g.China); returning high-income tax rates to the 1990s levels; reforming the AMT; and ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

5. Give every young person an opportunity to attend college, and ensure that education starts early in life and continues into adulthood. College should be made more affordable so that students of all backgrounds can attend. Also, every child should have ready access to high quality pre-K.

6. More support for community colleges and alternative schools.We should expand regional skills alliances to ensure workers have the valuable skills they need.

7. Help working people earn enough to support their families and help them save for the future. That means simplifying and expanding the EITC; overhauling the unemployment insurance system; and making it easier for workers to join unions.

8. Ensure that every American has quality, affordable health care.It is intolerable that 45 million Americans are without health insurance, particularly considering that we are spending nearly $500 billion on the war in Iraq.

9. Make investments necessary for creating new jobs.New job sources are needed to preserve and expand the middle class. Investments in alternative energy can create new jobs for the 21st century; expanded access to broadband will bring opportunities to underserved/disadvantaged communities; the manufacturing base can be re-energized through creative partnerships; and innovation-with increased government support for R&D-will help us find and develop the jobs of tomorrow.

[[Read the full plan here.]

Today, the Progressive Agenda leads to a major political endorsement.

“Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have delivered another one-two punch that reflects their combined political power: corralling the endorsement of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, one of the most powerful Democrats in California and among the most influential Hispanics in the nation.”

“With the endorsement, which is to be announced today in Los Angeles, Mrs. Clinton has outflanked her Democratic presidential rivals — including Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the first Hispanic to seek the party’s nomination — in a crucial primary state with a large number of Hispanic voters and Democratic convention delegates.”

“For several of the Democratic candidates, the Villaraigosa endorsement was pursued as a huge political prize, which it may turn out to be. The California presidential primary has taken on new importance with its move to Feb. 5 from June. Mr. Villaraigosa, the mayor since 2005, has a network of supporters as mayor of the nation’s second-largest city and as a former speaker of the State Assembly, and he is widely seen as a rising star in the party and a national spokesman on Hispanic concerns like immigration and education.”

The Hillary campaign quickly followed up the prized Villaraigosa endorsement with a strategy memorandum [PDF file] about the Latino vote from Mark Penn.

The detailed Penn memo points to the big lead Hillary enjoys with Latino voters and then discusses the pivotal role Latinos play in Nevada, California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey. George Bush had 40% of the Latino vote in 2004. With Hillary as the presidential candidate in 2008 Ripublicans will be deprived of the Latino vote and this will lead to great Democratic victories.

Notice the progression of events this week. Last week there was the big NO vote against the Iraq funding resolution. Voters who want the Iraq war ended now, know for sure that there is a candidate with experience who will end the war. Then last week too, Hillary gave a healthcare policy address to be followed up with her Progressive Agenda this week. Immediately the progressive agenda presentation is followed up with a major Latino/California endorsement and a Latino vote strategy.

In addition, last week the Hillary campaign got ahead of the cash for rehash attack books by exposing the contradictions and “preposterous” claims made in them. Further, the campaign opened 10 new Iowa offices, and is maximizing use of surrogates like Vilsack stumping on Hillary’s behalf. The Hillary campaign is running on full cylinders not only in the policy arena but in the political arena as well.

The Hillary campaign is like an unfolding flower. A Thing of Beauty.