Two leading DFL women; two very different views of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy

REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Hillary Clinton talking with reporters at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, earlier this month.

Former Minnesota secretary of state Joan Growe and former state Sen. Becky Lourey have many similarities.  Both are DFLers. Both have been candidates for higher office (Growe for the U.S. Senate, Lourey for governor).  Both are considered groundbreakers among women in politics.    

But they have one striking difference. Growe supports Hillary Clinton for president. Lourey does not. And they are equally passionate about their positions.

“I’m just very worried about her being our commander in chief,” Lourey said of Clinton. 

Specifically, Lourey objects to Clinton’s vote as a U.S. senator in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq. Lourey had been an activist against the war. Her opposition strengthened after her son Matt was killed in 2005 when his Army helicopter was shot down about 35 miles north of Baghdad.  

“If I could read the back pages of the New York Times, and read the articles that said there were no weapons of mass destruction, why wasn’t this senator doing that? Why wasn’t she looking at that documentation and examining it harder?” Lourey wonders.  “She should have been a voice for the truth.”

Her doubts about Clinton actually go back much further. As a state representative and state senator, Lourey represented the dairy farmers of Kerrick who objected to the use of the bovine growth hormone, first developed and marketed by Monsanto.    

The Clinton administration approved use of the hormone in 1993 in an FDA decision that critics say was influenced greatly by Hillary Clinton’s work with Monsanto during her days as an attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Lourey has no doubts about the Hillary Clinton clout.  “With her connection and her family’s connection with the Rose Law firm, whose clients were Monsanto and Wal-Mart, under the Clinton administration they benefitted greatly on public policy,” Lourey said.

Lourey persuaded the Minnesota Legislature to pass a law allowing farmers to label their milk as hormone free but, she recalled, “Monsanto fought us hard.”

Growe is equally ardent in backing Clinton.

“She’s strong and knowledgeable about foreign policy issues. She knows leaders, she knows staff,” Growe said.  “On domestic issues, she’s been in the Senate.  She has a good sense of what the middle class needs and wants.”

And Clinton is a woman. 

“In my mind, it’s a plus that she’s a woman. Statistically, it’s been proven that the more women gain top positions, the more other women are inspired to do the same,” Growe said.  “I think she really, really cares about women and children.  I think she’s a terrific role model and that will help in those nations where governments have oppressed women.”

Does it bother Growe that, as secretary of state, Clinton had to pacify some of those governments?

“That’s part of being the secretary of state,” she replied. 

What about the Clinton power plays?

Growe shrugs off these concerns.  “Anyone who is successful is self serving. Don’t we all use our contacts to get ourselves ahead?”

Does the Iraq war vote concern her?

 “I didn’t agree with her on the vote but I’m not going to hold that against her,” she said.

But while Growe sets asides concerns in favor of what she calls “the bigger picture,” Lourey cannot walk away from Clinton’s past.

“These things aren’t old to me; they are as new to me as ever,” Lourey said.  “These things never fade for me.”

And that is the crux of the divide between two of the state’s most visible women leaders about the woman who may be the next leader of the United States.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by jody rooney on 04/30/2015 - 11:21 am.

    I hope the Dem’s get it together and find someone else

    I am with Becky Lourey on this one.

    Anyone who uses her private email for government business has no business in government. That is clearly someone who puts her own ego before being a public servant. Her judgement is clearly flawed. While most presidents have an ego making it their priority is not what I want to see in the White House again.

    I will not vote for Hilary Clinton and she will bring down the rest of the ticket.

    Is it too early to start the Draft Amy movement?

  2. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 04/30/2015 - 12:12 pm.

    My guess…

    is that she will be unopposed for the nomination. Anyone thinking of challenging her has been ordered to stand down. The only one with the guts to challenge the Clinton machine is Bernie Sanders.

  3. Submitted by Lora Jones on 04/30/2015 - 12:21 pm.

    I, too, want someone else

    Not because of the e-mails, which is a ginned up distraction so far as I’m concerned, but because there’s nothing in her record that makes me think she’s any more progressive than her husband — who’s pro-multinational trade policies and welfare “reform” deal continued us on the disastrous course laid out by Reagan. I, frankly, don’t think Amy would be any better in that regard.

    That said, given the clown car that is the republican field, I know I won’t be voting for any of them. We MAY be able to survive a Clinton presidency — Walker Cruz Rubio or Bush, not so much.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/30/2015 - 04:47 pm.

    Give me Clinton, or…

    …give me Sanders, or give me someone else.

    I don’t see any perfect candidates on the political horizon. Labeling the Republican field as a “clown car” is, sadly, accurate, but the lack of multiple candidates on the Democratic side is almost – not quite, but almost – as much of a concern. Hillary has a trainload of baggage, and is far too cozy with Wall Street to suit my tastes. There are Republicans who will happily jump on that flaw, but they’re arsonists warning us against someone whose lit match is at least obvious. The GOP is an entire political party devoted to Wall Street interests, from deregulating the stock market to eliminating the estate tax to pressing for tax cuts for both wealthy individuals and multinational corporations who often pay no taxes to begin with – they’re getting refunds.

    I really, really don’t like Clinton’s Senate vote for the Iraq war, but, as an old person, I decided a long time ago, in other campaigns, that I had to make up my mind about a candidate based on his/her record in toto, and not just on a single vote. She gets an F for that one, an A or B for some others, and a lot of C’s. As Secretary of State, I thought she did a fine job. Most of the hoopla over Benghazi is Republican cocaine-sniffing – part of the overall GOP strategy of finding fault with everything and anything done by the Obama administration about any topic you might care to name.

    So, I can’t vote Republican, given their current field. I’m not especially enthused by Hillary, and a part of that reluctance stems from the aura of “dynasty” that hangs around her. That said, it seems important that a capable and seasoned woman be treated as a serious candidate. She has served honorably and successfully in government much of her life, from the state level through the White House as First Lady through the Senate, then as Secretary of State and now striving for the White House again in a different capacity. A fair case could be made that – far more than any of the GOP hopefuls – she has earned the top job.

    I’d like Elizabeth Warren much better in terms of domestic policy, but Warren has no more experience in foreign policy than I do, and I don’t think that’s enough for a President. Bernie Sanders’ straight talk also appeals to me, but I’m waiting to hear more from him before I make up my mind about support, Quixotic or not. At the moment, at least, and with the aforementioned trainload of baggage and some other flaws, Hillary is simply the most viable candidate.

    I certainly understand Becky Lourey’s opposition, and she’s not alone in wanting Clinton to atone for a dreadful mistake, but I think the satisfaction she seeks is unattainable.Her son isn’t coming back, no matter what happens to Clinton’s political fortunes. It’s one more in a host of reasons not to support military action unless it’s truly the only viable option. That has definitely not been the case since the Korean cease-fire.

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