Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hillary Dons Her Coat of True Colors

I heard on the radio this morning, and the New York Post reports, that the Hillary campaign has thrown cold water all over a children's summer event in Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, New York, later this month -- Imagination Playground. In fact, the event has been canceled "to accommodate the Democratic front-runner for president." A blood drive is also looking at some major inconvenience. It seems that The Hill needs to have a campaign rally there on That. Very. Day. One resident expressed his frustration by noting that the campaign's failure to consult with residents about, or even to give them notice of, the rally, was "tone deaf."

Yep. That's our Hillary. Always thinking of the children. And people in need.

Do you remember the post I wrote way back during the 2012 elections? It started off complaining about how rude and clueless the Obama campaign was, and birdwalked into a true encounter I had with Bill Clinton when his campaign totally tanked an activity my summer-enrichment high school students were to perform:

Way back in 1992, when then-Governor Clinton was kicking his run for the Oval Office into high gear (after having told his Arkansas constituency in 1990 that he no longer had much "fire in his belly" to think about seeking the presidency, so please re-elect him to the Governor's Mansion and don't worry about him abandoning you in mid-term), I was teaching a grant-funded Summer Enrichment program for high school students at the UALR School of Law entitled, "L.R. Law."  (Remember the old tv series, LA Law? Yeah, bad pun.)  My staff (of one) and I had two weeks to immerse the kids in the legal system of central Arkansas, teaching them and exposing them to a little bit about trials, evidence, courts, and the criminal justice system.  The capstone activity of the program was Mock Trial, in which teams of students prosecuted a made-up civil lawsuit in teams -- the Finals were to be held in the rather impressive, refurbished Art Deco courtroom in the law school, and judged by law school faculty.  The kids were really excited about it and we practiced in the courtroom often so they wouldn't be quite so nervous.

Three days before the Finals, the Dean contacted me with an unexpected opportunity for the kids -- Bill Clinton was making a campaign stop in Little Rock and wanted to address a group of high school kids.  Since school was out of session, we were the logical go-to group.  Not being a huge Clinton fan, I must say that I wasn't exactly excited about the prospect.  After figuring out how to re-schedule the opening morning session the next day, while acknowledging that this could be a once-in-a lifetime chance for many of those kids to rub elbows with national figures, and knowing that "Clinton Time" was not called that for just any old reason -- he notoriously ran late to almost any event -- I gave in and told the kids about the opportunity to hear and ask questions of the sitting Governor and potential President of the United States.

He was in rare Clintonesque form and didn't disappoint -- the students were amazed when he called me by name as he was performing the ol' handshake/pat on the shoulder maneuver, and he asked how Pepper was doing.  (They both grew up in Hot Springs, and had also had some -- encounters -- during Pepper's National Guard service.  But that's another story).  He was charming and engaging and charismatic, listening to the mesmerized kids express their hopes and dreams for the future ("Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" was played to accompany the local tv news pieces on the campaign stop -- of course).  

He also ran 1 1/2 hours late while I tried to figure out how to entertain 24 high school kids in the Law Library chosen by the Campaign for its scholarly appointments and commanding view of the Arkansas River, but not very conducive to conducting classes/exercises.  All in all, it was probably a good experience for the kids, even if it did frazzle me to the Nth degree.  

But, we were able to get in one final practice in the courtroom before the kids departed for the day.  
And, then, the Big But happened -- as I was kicking off my shoes in my office and preparing to tweak the next day's closing events, the phone rang.  On the other end was someone from the Campaign Scheduler's Office.

They wanted to use the law school courtroom the next day as a legal-ish backdrop for some nitpicky policy announcement to be made by Candidate Clinton.  And they needed it all afternoon in case they had to do several takes.  And they were very sorry about my kids, but were sure that, since the Candidate had spent time with them earlier, the kids would understand why they would now be performing their mock trials in the classroom instead of the impressive courtroom, replete with bench, witness stand, counsel tables, and jury box.  The Candidate would provide autographed photos to each child to assuage his disappointment.

And they left me to tell the kids.  Let me tell you what a roomful of deflated, dressed to lawyer-ize, high school kids looks like.  No, you don't want to know; it's too painful.

Then, the Candidate only used the courtroom for 30 minutes and I didn't find out about it until it was too late -- I could've juggled the schedule around that brief interlude and the kids could've had a much better experience.

And I've had little to no trust in the sincerity of any political candidate's expression of genuine support for education, and helping the little guy, and sharing the "stuff" with the common man ever since.  The expression "ringing hollow' doesn't come close to how those words echo in my ears.

So, yeah. It runs in the family. True colors, folks. True colors.


  1. The Clintons and Obamas show their true colors, but the Dems seem to be color blind.