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Tommy Carcetti

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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
Number of posts: 42,263

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My 3-second interaction with Hillary Clinton, and why I said everything that I needed to say to her.

If you only had literally a couple of seconds to speak with someone important who you've long respected, what would you say?

I had to think about that question a few weeks ago when I watched Hillary Clinton meticulously work the line at a rally where I attended.

It's not the first time I've asked myself that question. It's not even the first time I asked myself that question about someone with the last name of Clinton.

A few months ago, I met former President Bill Clinton at a rally for Hillary. Well, technically I shook his hand, but that constitutes a meeting in my book. The still frame screen capture of our handshake from the news footage confirms this. President Clinton was the president in my formative years, and I've long been fascinated by his life story, so needless to say, it was a huge thrill to shake his hand. I believe I said something to the effect of, "Thank you for being my president," but honestly, I can't say for sure. The adrenaline rush I got from the encounter sort of clouded my memory.

I had a little bit more time to plan things out with Hillary. Unlike with Bill--where I had arrived long before the doors opened to guarantee I'd have a front and center spot for his speech--I was way back in the line to get into the Hillary rally. When I finally entered the venue, it was packed 3,000 strong, with more in an overflow venue. I was about 20 feet behind the stage and figured I wouldn't be shaking anyone's hand this time. Which was fine--I honestly just wanted to see her speak.

But as more people came in, the closer and closer I was pushed towards the stage. And by the time Hillary was done with her speech (which was great, by the way), I was only about 5 feet from the rope line between the crowd and the stage.

As I waited patiently to see whether Hillary would make her way to my side, it gave me some time to think about what I could possible say to her with full knowledge that dozens of other people were waiting for that same interaction.

And at some point, it dawned on me--I thought of my two elementary school aged daughters. They're too young to understand the intricacies of partisan politics, but when they heard that there could be a "girl president", they couldn't help contain their excitement. They knew that there had never been a female president before, but that there could be one in the near future. So their preference this election was unanimous, needless to say.

So as her detail finally moved in front of me and I saw her face to face, I reached out my hand and told her, "Hillary, my daughters are so excited about you!"

And she smiled her huge Hillary smile as she shook my hand and said, "Oh that's great!"

And that was it. She moved onto the next person in the throng, and I retreated from the line with glee. I don't think there was anything else I could have said or done that would have made the moment any better.

While meeting someone who will likely be our next president is undeniably a thrill, that's only part of it. I met someone who will be remembered forever in the history books as our first woman president. And that's a huge and momentous occasion. And for my little three-second interaction where I let this historical figure know the importance of what she's doing for my own girls....there's no other way I would have wanted to plan it.

And yes, my girls were super-excited when I told them I talked about them to the next "girl president", and that she knows who they are.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Oct 24, 2016, 10:40 AM (17 replies)

If I recall correctly, the whole "Lock her up!" thing began in earnest during Trump's Manafort days.

Namely, that bizarre mob mentality faux show trial thing that Chris Christie lead at the convention. The "Lock her up!" chants became common place at Trump rallies at that point.

Notably, this was all after the FBI issued its report saying that Secretary Clinton had not done anything criminal. So it was all just a matter of wish fulfillment of Trump supporters of something they knew actually wasn't going to happen, at least with an independent Justice Department still intact.

It's very interesting that this movement saw its birth during the time Paul Manafort was leading the campaign.

Why is this interesting?

Because as we all know, Manafort used to be a key advisor to former Ukrainian strongman President Victor Yanukovych. Ultimately, Yanukovych--who much to the ire of the majority of Ukrainians sought ties closer to Russia and Vladimir Putin and away from Europe--would sick his special police force on protesters, killing dozens of them. It did not dissuade the protesters, however, and rather than stick around for a Ceausescu-like fate, Yanukovych packed up his truckloads of belongings at his gaudy palatial estate and hightailed it to Russia, where he was welcomed with open arms right before Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean province and helped stoked armed uprisings in the eastern part of the country that remain active to this day.

But back while Yanukovych ran Ukraine with a corrupt fist with the assistance of Mr. Manafort (who apparently was paid in cash for much of his work), he felt the need to settle scores with his political adversaries (many of whom were involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution, where a prior election of Yanukovych fraught with fraud and abuse was overturned and Yanukovych was temporarily left out of office). Arguably, Yanukovych's most popular opponent was Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. After a fracture in the alliance of Yanukovych's political opponents, Yanukovych won back the Ukrainian presidency and defeated the still-popular Tymoshenko.

Yanukovych was not done with Tymoshenko, and decided to prosecute Tymoshenko on charges of fraud and embezzlement, charges which international observers viewed as unfounded, vindictive and politically motivated. She was ultimately sentenced to seven years in 2011. However, she was freed in 2014 after Yanukovych abdicated the presidency and fled to Russia.

During this entire ordeal, Mr. Manafort did not stay out of the Yanukovych-Tymoshenko fray:

Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.

It is unclear if Mr. Manafort’s activities necessitated registering. If they were limited to advising the Party of Regions in Ukraine, he probably would not have had to. But he also worked to burnish his client’s image in the West and helped Mr. Yanukovych’s administration draft a report defending its prosecution of his chief rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, in 2012.


So while Paul Manafort may no longer officially be involved in Donald Trump's campaign, clearly he has left his indelible imprint on the candidate's mindset, and we saw that front and center on Sunday night. Trump's mind has been shaped in the vein of authoritarian strongmen who seek to quash all opposition with any and all means possible.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Oct 11, 2016, 09:17 AM (0 replies)
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