President to address convention Wednesday

BY DONALD GILLILAND  dgilliland@yahoo.com

President Barack Obama will headline the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday.

He will have do well indeed to top the bar set by First Lady Michelle Obama Monday night; her speech won plaudits from Republicans as well as the Democratic faithful.

Vice President Joe Biden will also address the convention, as will vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine; other speakers include former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, retired Navy Rear Admiral John Hutson, and Jesse Jackson.

Actress Sigourney Weaver will speak, as will Angela Bassett, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. Lenny Kravitz will perform.

The theme for the evening is “Working Together: A Clear Choice.”

The roster of non-celebrity speakers includes Erica Smegielski, whose mother was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary and was killed while trying to protect her students; Felicia Sanders & Polly Sheppard, two of the three survivors of the Mother Emanuel Church shooting; and Jamie Dorff, whose husband – an Army helicopter pilot – died while on a search and rescue mission in northern Iraq.

This story was posted Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 10:37 a.m.

Sanders supporters in Ohio boo Obama & Clintons over trade

US presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally March 14, 2016 in Youngstown, Ohio. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally March 14, 2016 in Youngstown, Ohio. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

YOUNGSTOWN — A crowd of several thousand Ohio voters at a Bernie Sanders rally here Monday morning booed mention of President Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The downtown event was held at the Covelli Center, which sits on the site of a former steel plant.

“Nearly 7,000 people used to work in a steel plant that sat right here,” IUE union representative Bob Sutton told the crowd, laying the blame for the plant’s closing on former President Bill Clinton.

“We supported him, and then in his second term he puts together a trade deal that hurts the working man,” Sutton said as the crowd booed the mention of Clinton.

The crowd continued to erupt into boos at the mention of Hillary and President Obama as Sutton reminded them that both supported Obama’s new trade deal.

“Look, the trade deals hit the working people hard out here,” said Albert Mixon president of the Teamsters national black caucus.

“I understand why they booed, they are unhappy with the policy choices that they have made that have impacted the working men and women.”

First posted 1:25 p.m. Monday, March 14, 2016

End of Jeffersonian & Jacksonian Democrats?

President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande  walk in before speaking to members of the media following their tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s estate Charlottesville, Va.
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande walk in before speaking to members of the media following their tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s estate Charlottesville, Va. (AP)

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

During the Cold War, one could tell when someone had fallen out of favor with Soviet apparatchiks when their image started being airbrushed out of old photographs.

Is removing former Presidents Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson from the Democratic Party’s heritage any different?

For the past 150 years, established politicians, grassroots activists and those seeking office as a Democrat have clamored to get a seat or a speaking position at local “Jefferson Jackson” dinners across the country: it’s where rubber chicken dinners got their name and politicians got their fame.

While the removal of the Confederate Flag from outside the state capitol in South Carolina grabbed all the headlines, the removal of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as the historic heads of the Democrat Party has not.

Yet in state after state, the new racial and identity politics of the modern Democratic Party is erasing them from its history.

Georgia, Connecticut, Missouri and Iowa have already removed Jefferson and Jackson’s names from their dinners, and several more states are considering it.

Andrew Jackson, founder of today’s Democratic Party, was once considered one of the five best presidents in history.  As Progressives have gained a stranglehold on his party, Jackson’s fortunes have declined among the experts who periodically rank the presidents.

Depending on who one asks, Jackson is now considered somewhere between the 9th and 14th best president.

Dr. Curt Nichols, political scientist at Baylor University and expert in analyzing presidential ranking polls, suggests that “Old Hickory”, as Jackson was known to soldiers he led, now suffers because evaluators have changed their criteria.

Jackson was a democratic populist and “man of the people” rather than a progressive Universalist who sought “justice for all.”   Statistical evidence from analysis of ranking surveys suggests that scholars no longer give Jackson credit for being a small d- democrat, while penalizing him for not being a progressive.

Nichols said that the shift in priorities within the presidential ranking game has come as priorities have shifted within the Democratic Party, whose leadership is now dominated by progressives. “Despite rhetoric to the contrary, no longer do progressives favor ‘man of the people’ Presidential candidates (like Jim Webb), rather they support Universalists like Bernie Sanders,” he said.

Both Jefferson and Jackson were complicated men who most historians believe should be viewed in both today’s light as well as the prism of their times.

Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, owned several hundred slaves. So did Jackson, who also removed thousands of Native Americans from their homes in the South to the West, a death march for many known as the Trail of Tears.

In December of 2007 then-candidate Barack Obama said at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa: “the party of Jefferson and Jackson, of Roosevelt and Kennedy, has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we led, not by polls, but by principle; not by calculation, but by conviction; when we summoned the entire nation to a common purpose — a higher purpose.”

It would be interesting to know how the President feels about the modern airbrushing of two of his predecessors, men whose values he embraced to win office just a few years ago.

Watch Obama’s 2007 speech here: