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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dinowitz: Bronx 'Just As Good' as Iowa, NH

I spoke with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz yesterday about he presidential nominating process and his support for Hillary Clinton. Here's the short piece I wrote about it for the Norwood News (on the Web later today).

Leading up to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, two prominent Bronx pols campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Manchester. Assemblymen Jeffrey Dinowitz and Jose Rivera were in the Granite State last weekend.

And despite polls on Tuesday that predicted an Obama win in New Hampshire and additional bad news for Clinton in South Carolina and nationally, Dinowitz said he was standing by his candidate.

“I’m with Hillary. I believe in her,” he said.

“I’d rather support someone who’s actually talking about issues,” Dinowitz added, comparing Clinton’s policy prowess with what he described as Obama’s soaring, yet vague, rhetoric of hope and unity.

Dinowitz didn’t want to criticize Obama harshly (he admitted he’d be a supporter if the Illinois senator prevails), but he did offer a gentle gibe. “Where’s the beef?” he said, echoing Walter Mondale’s famous quip criticizing Gary Hart in the 1984 race for the Democratic nomination.

Dinowitz also offered a critique of the nominating process, particularly Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s outsized role in the selection of nominees. “To have a couple of states have such huge influence on the process is just crazy,” he said. “A voter in New Hampshire has 100 times the weight, than a voter in New York. People in the Bronx almost never see the presidential candidate. We’re just as good and just as important as people who live in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Dinowitz also pointed out that in Iowa, just as many independents voted for Obama as Democrats. The same might prove true in New Hampshire. “The people who should pick the party nominee should be members of the party,” he said.


  1. Since you made reference to Sen. Hart in the context of the "Where's the beef?" cheap shot, I thought your readers would value more to that story, as follows:

    Denver Post

    Where's the beef?
    By Dan Haley
    Article Last Updated: 01/05/2008 07:18:54 PM MST

    Shuffling through some old files in the office last week, I stumbled upon a yellowed clipping from The Futurist that someone from The Past had tucked away in a manila folder.

    The piece was titled "The Future of the Democratic Party," and was dated December 1981. Democrats had just weathered the Reagan Revolution. Not only was a Republican elected president a year earlier, but Democrats lost their generation-long grip on the Senate.

    They were searching for answers.

    "Democrats need . . . to regain their own positive political vision," wrote then-Sen. Gary Hart, who was settling in to his second Senate term and scratching out the first of two presidential bids.

    "Clearly, we can't do this by focusing first on the Republicans and then designing our own agenda in reaction to them. The party's future lies in the creation and articulation of a positive - not reactive - agenda."

    Sounds like good advice for today's Democrats and Republicans.

    The Hart piece was a fascinating read, given that we're now officially mired in high political season, where too often glitzy campaign ads, celebrity stumpers and soaring rhetoric substitute for substance and new ideas.

    His piece was incredibly prescient, predicting exactly the issues we're faced with today.

    The essay dropped, literally, onto my lap on the eve of the Iowa caucus. Ironic, since it was in Iowa 24 years ago that this unknown senator gained a national foothold by finishing a surprising second to front-runner Walter Mondale.

    He did it by pitching new ideas that he thought would drive the country forward - an ingredient too often missing from today's Iowa debates.

    With more than four days between Iowa and New Hampshire back then, Hart was able to use that momentum to upset the veep in N.H., shaking up the race for good. Mondale, though, somehow got away with criticizing Hart's ideas as empty, vague rhetoric. "Where's the beef?" Mondale deadpanned, proving, again, that easy slogans can win over substance.

    The beef was there, had anyone looked. Hart outlined three issues in his essay that the United States would face in the 1980s: national defense, energy and economic revitalization.

    While he whiffed on defense, considering how the Cold War would end - "We must never cease reminding Americans that an unrestrained nuclear arms race makes us weaker, not stronger" - his words on energy and the economy were striking.

    He called energy independence a national security issue: "We cannot regain a clear vision of America's role in the world until we free ourselves from dependence on oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region," he wrote. "Until then, we risk being drawn into a vain, futile war for oil."

    He backed an aggressive conservation program, and investment in renewable energy sources.

    He also spotted the rapid growth of the country's high-tech sector: "We have concerned ourselves with shoring up aging industries . . . Our tax policy rewards investment in physical equipment, yet offers no similar incentive for investment in the human capital that drives our 'information economy.' "

    Reading it begged the question: Is there a candidate out there today with such a clear vision of the future? And could he or she even articulate such a vision in our world of sound bites and slogans?

    Hart couldn't do it 1984, but at least the more drawn-out process then allowed him to campaign all the way to the convention floor, where he would seal his front-runner status for a later bid.

    Today's front-loaded caucus and primary system seems only to benefit the candidate with the money and organization, not the big ideas.

    Where's the beef?

    We may no longer have the time, or patience, to find out.

    Editorial page editor Dan Haley can be reached at dhaley@denverpost.com.

  2. the only candidate talking about issues for real is Ron Paul. Hilary is just another CFR/Bilderberg hack who has no qualifications to be President other than she obediently does the bidding of her globalist masters.

    I keep trying to tell Jeff this, but he doesn't want to listen. the country cannot afford another mainstream Democrat or Republican. while the illegal Federal Reserve simply prints fiat money to prop up the bankers, the economy is going down the toilet. Ron Paul is the only one who seems to get this.

    and I verified actual vote fraud in NH today against Ron Paul. As much as i hate Obama, chances are he was cheated out of 1st place by the diabolical Diebold machines.
    Manny G
    Not writing as a Riverdale Press reporter.


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