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N.O.W. NYS attacks Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Obama

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Message Nicholas Smith

In an angry press release, the New York State Chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) has trashed Senator Ted Kennedy for backing Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

In part, the release reads, "Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard." It continues, "He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton. . ."

I think NOW NYS would agree that there needs to be a diversity of representation in the Presidency. However, there should be no litmus test (based on gender, race, or religion) required. It is not as important that our President be the white son of a mill worker, the wife of a former President, or a half-white, half-black Senator from Illinois. It is important that we have a President come January, 2009 that can heal the wounds inflicted by the current administration.

Make no mistake about it: Hillary Clinton deserves credit for working hard on the issues that matter, like on Iraq, Iran, bankruptcy laws, and trade issues.

However, her work on these issues is exactly why she should NOT become our next President.

ON IRAQ: Simply put, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Did she make clarifying statements about the intent of her vote? Yes. However, they don't change the fact that there are more than 3,500 Americans dead as a result of a war that should have never been authorized or waged. Obama got this one right.

ON IRAN: Clinton voted to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard as "terrorists." A Presidential candidate with superior judgement should know that this vote pushes a future war with Iran. Once again, Obama got it right.

ON NAFTA: Hillary has said NAFTA, of which she was a champion, has not worked as intended. The Economic Policy Institute says that this trade deal has cost the United States more than ONE MILLION jobs.

ON THE BANKRUPTCY BILL: Clinton voted for a bill that limits the ability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 allows consumers to pay off a portion of their debt after declaring bankruptcy. Instead, the bill pushed Chapter 13, which does not share this benefit. 

She now says she's glad that "it didn't pass," although she voted for it. If you're against something, vote no. Obama was right, again.

Let's not go into the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind. She got those wrong, too. So yes, she gets credit for her work on these issues, just bad credit.

Would NOW's NYS chapter vote the way Hillary did on these issues? Clearly not. Therefore, their steadfast support contradicts their own political compass. It is ridiculous to give Clinton a pass on these issues.

Just as Senator Obama's multi-racial background is an ancillary benefit to the office, Senator Clinton's gender is the same. NOW should have looked at Obama's positions before trashing Kennedy for his support. It turns out that Obama may even be better for woman than Clinton.

Consider his quote in response to Bush's final State of the Union address:

"[T]he American people can't afford another four years without health care, decent wages, or an end to this war. The woman who's going to college and working the night shift to pay her sister's medical bills can't afford to wait. . .And the woman who told me she hasn't been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq can't afford to wait."

This sounds like the judgment America needs.

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Nicholas Smith is a former Commissioner for the City of Berkeley, CA. He is currently a law student in New York City, and blogs about the day's headlines at
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