I’m thoroughly convinced that the Democratic power structure supports Hillary Clinton. They want to keep their modern-day record of groundbreaking candidates for the nation’s highest office intact. There’s already the first black president, Barack Obama (pure hell for the poor guy) who will be followed by the first female president, Hillary Clinton (more pure hell, if elected, from the same sources).
After all, Hillary has been through all this primary business before. She’ll hit the ground running (already has). She’ll announce mid-summer. Andrew Cuomo might jump in, maybe even Elizabeth Warren or possibly an unconnected interloper, but, by any definition, Hillary, at this point, has it sewn up.
The Republicans cannot find her distaff equal for the top of the ticket. There are a couple of strong lady prospects for the number two slot and I’m not talking about a repeat of the Palin embarrassment. New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez would suit the party just fine if Marco Rubio doesn’t capture the nomination (he won’t). She’s Hispanic and you know how Teapublicans adore Hispanics. The good governor may appear more moderate (expanding Medicaid) than she really would be in national office, given the blue nature of New Mexico.
Then there’s Condoleezza ‘Condi’ Rice. A dandy pianist and ice skater, she’s the right hue to connect with a few black voters, possesses a sparkling resume and has demonstrated the ability to flip-flop on certain issues. “YES, Iraq has WMDs.” ‘Er, NO, Iraq doesn’t have WMDs.” Iraq is SHOPPING for WMDs.” And I thought only John Kerry flip-flopped.
But we’re here to talk about Hillary and whether she should be president or even the Democratic nominee. I’m going to approach this from a practical progressive perspective of the pluses and minuses as Hillary Clinton seeks to capture the nomination this time around. There’s a big difference between running in a primary and actually winning a primary.
Ambition has consumed this woman’s life from the moment she set foot on the Wellesley College campus where she served as student body president and not incidentally, president of student Republicans early on. I’ve read several Clinton chronicles, for and against Hillary. Gail Sheehy’s “Hillary’s Choice” takes a chronological journey beginning with Hillary’s early exposure to issue politics driven by her father, a right-wing Republican ideologue.
Sheehy traces certain male influences impacting Hillary in her youth. Perhaps surprising to some, religion played a larger role in her young life than one would suspect. One of her male influences led Hillary to an eventual liberal epiphany in meeting Martin Luther King. The Rodham/Clinton print pilgrimage takes us from Park Ridge through Wellesley, Arkansas, Bill’s dalliances, her Rose law firm days and the ups and downs of being Hillary.
Sheehy is convinced that the one man who did and does matter politically, and in every other sphere that counts, is not MLK or a preacher, but Bill Clinton. Chaper 5, “Prude Meets Passion” is a bit tabloidish, but gives you a spot-on read of what made the relationship. If you are really into a possible Hillary Clinton presidency, I recommend a discounted Amazon visit or a trek to your local library for a copy of “Hillary’s Choice.”
You certainly don’t have to read the book to find info on the candidate-in-waiting. Type in her name and Google will spit out 170 million results. As for Hillary’s ambition, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; obsession is. Naysayers insist Hillary is obsessed with occupying the oval office. I’m not sure. Lord knows her life’s CV is a living testament to her extraordinary drive and intelligence. Entering her golden years, does she want or need more?
There are sacrifices inherent in an ascendancy to the presidency. Closest to home, it’s time away from the spouse. Laser focus on a goal can often leave the latter behind emotionally and otherwise. Repugnant as Bill’s sexcapades were, maybe there was just a sliver of wanting to be recognized and appreciated in the mix. There are also ethical sacrifices for intense resolve in any walk of life. This is where a Clinton candidacy is at least slightly worrisome.
The right-wing personal destruction machine will be cranked up full bore (they’ve always hated her) if Hillary captures the nomination. Sure to re-open old wounds is an issue that, by the 2016 election, will be over 37 years old. That won’t stop the Teapublicans from exploiting it. I refer, of course, to the massive good fortune of a complete commodities neophyte being able to drop a grand into the Cattle Future’s pot and, as she put it, “walk away from the table” $100,000 to the good. Two male friends actually set that table.
Then there are the Rose law firm questions and losing things that someone of Hillary’s intelligence and experience would never lose. The McDougal/Whitewater connection, now decades old, is also highly questionable. Let’s not even get started on the Vince Foster “suicide.” And for something just slightly more current, the matter of 4 Washington Post Pinocchio’s earned 12 years after the fact of her 1996 Bosnian hyperbole of being fired upon by snipers and running for safety with “our heads down.”
These ancient peccadilloes will be ballooned into multiple hundreds of millions of dollars worth of political commercials where Hillary will be condemned repeatedly and relentlessly in all critical media markets.
It’s odd that current events should have little impact on a Clinton run. Benghazi has no legs and everybody already knows that. In addition to the right’s genetic hatred of Hillary, they agree with nothing she supports anyway, so their attacks will be largely moot. That’s why Hillary has a better than even chance of capturing the White House.
What will lock the nomination and subsequent general election down are women, minorities and the poor and infirm who love her as much as her detractors hate her. You need only to visit this page of Clinton quotes and Senate votes to understand why.
The only real roadblocks are the limitations of the passing years and health. She’ll be the same age Ronald Reagan was when he first ran and sadly, by his second term, appeared to show symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Son, Ron, claims the first clues appeared even sooner, three years into his first term, fumbling and losing words in a debate with Walter Mondale. Michael Reagan, the political polar opposite of liberal Ron, is the adopted son of the elder Reagan and his then wife, Jane Wyman. Michael insists that his dad was in full possession of all his faculties throughout his two-terms as president. Most objective observers are not as charitable. Comparisons are inevitable, though Hillary remains highly intellectually active.
As for her physical health, Hillary had a fainting, concussion and blood clot scare in 2012 and even Bill has reportedly shown some reservations about risking a stroke or heart attack.
But Hillary will run and all the other stuff notwithstanding, her iconic 1995 First Lady speech at the United Nation’s 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing best defines the sum of her personal and political parts. It’s a brilliant and holistic recognition of women’s role in the U.S. and the world.
Warts and Halos; your next president!