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Hillary Clinton

I was recently invited to attend a private event, a live interview with Hillary Clinton followed by her answering questions from the audience.

I had to think about it. I was never a huge fan of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and Hillary was a full partner in that.

I was also dismayed by some of her tactics during the 2008 Democratic primary against Barack Obama. Not just that she ran a very aggressive campaign against him, but that she seemed to take it very personally, and by all accounts (even hers) had a hard time getting over it afterwards. I always prefer it when politicians are like athletes who compete aggressively with each other in sports but don’t make it personal so they can be friends off the court.

I also lived in England during the time of Margaret Thatcher, and she always seemed to need to overcome any perceived female weakness by playing the roll of the “Iron Lady”, outdoing the men in aggression and warmongering. Hillary Clinton’s behavior during the primary reminded me of that, and I always worried that if she was elected, if she would do the same thing as president.

On the other hand, I am fairly sure that Clinton will be our next president (who else has any chance? And despite her coyness she is definitely running) so it would be a good thing to find out more about her. Plus I really enjoyed meeting Barack Obama and his wife Michelle (I even got to shake their hands, although I never got to talk with them personally).

So I went.

I’m really glad I did. I left impressed by her. She is not the same person she was when she was First Lady, nor the same person who ran for president in 2008. She is less ambitious and competitive, but more capable and statesmanlike. She answered every question thoughtfully (a few answers were a bit longwinded, but they were complex issues being discussed). I never felt, as I have sometimes in the past, that she was telling us the answer she thought we wanted to hear, or was giving us a politically expedient answer. The interview was almost completely free of sound bites.

I now think she will make a very good president.

If she had won the Democratic primary in 2008 I probably would have voted for her, but I think she will make a far better president now than she would have back then. She really seems to care more about the issues and about solving problems, than about political gain. She may be older, but she is definitely wiser, and she more easily commands respect. The occasional shrillness is completely gone, and she is more sure of herself.

Not only is Clinton more ready, I think the US is more ready. I think she has a much better chance of winning the presidency this time than she did back in 2008. Unfortunately, it is still more acceptable in our country to be sexist than racist, which worked to Obama’s favor during his presidential campaign. If Clinton had been the Democratic candidate, I think it would have been easier for Republicans to attack her all out. Plus they could attack her for the things they didn’t like about Bill’s presidency. And those attacks would have worked back then. However, the Republicans have been attacking everyone for so long and in ways that are so bat-shit crazy, I think most people aren’t listening to them any more. Especially the all-important independent voters; in fact pretty much everyone except for the die-hard Republican base, who would never vote for Clinton anyway. So I am confident she can win.

So that leaves one final question. We have never had a woman president before, so we don’t have a title for the First Spouse. Instead of the “First Lady” would he be the “First Laddie”? Or just “Bill”? Clinton admitted that she liked the term “First Mate”. Aye aye!

Mike Luckovich
© Mike Luckovich

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13 Comments

  1. Michael wrote:

    I wonder how much of her new persona is a result of her time as Secretary of State. I’ve very much admired the past several of them, especially Powell (despite that disastrous U.N. presentation) and Albright. I think the demands of State really force change the person for the better.

    I also thought it was interesting looking at who has served as State and President. In the early years, it was common (the 3rd through 8th Presidents all served). The only one since then was Buchanan (1845-1849). I wonder if our foreign policy stances would be improved if more Presidents had experience at State.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  2. David Freeman wrote:

    I’m glad to hear this from you, IK, because I had the same concerns. I was also concerned because her petty, irritated response to perfectly reasonable questioning by Terry Gross seemed like the old Hillary who I did not trust. I expect her to be an even more conservative wall street influenced president than Obama but I’ll campaign hard for her considering the Republican candidates make Richard Nixon look like a flaming liberal of high moral standing.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  3. wildwood wrote:

    “but that she seemed to take it very personally, and by all accounts (even hers) had a hard time getting over it afterwards. I always prefer it when politicians are like athletes who compete aggressively with each other in sports but don’t make it personal so they can be friends off the court.”

    Women often respond differently than men to the same situations, in case you haven’t noticed. Some women hide it better and can act “manly”, but some can not. Her loss was the only time I shed tears after an election in my long life and many elections. I would have voted for her last time, without reservation. I have more reservations now unfortunately. The country has moved so right of center that I find it hard to get behind almost anyone any more. Obama was, and is, a big disappointment for me and I really don’t want to see another right of center president in office, regardless of gender. To me, now, she is the best of two bad choices, unlike last time when I had such hope.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    I think we all had a lot more hope in 2008 than we do now. I understand and share your disappointment with Obama, but I don’t think it would have been any different if Hillary had been elected instead. There is a very substantial white Christian male demographic that feels threatened by anything that has the possibility of reducing their hegemony. Traditionally mainstream GOP leaders (e.g., McConnell and Boehner) cynically fed this fringe in the hopes of building their own coalitions. The only thing that would have made this strategy ineffective would have been to have a white male President. So, with either Obama or Hillary in office, I believe the same thing would have happened.

    The question now is whether or not anything can be done to kick the fringe elements of the GOP (which are now the dominant force) back out.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  5. wildwood wrote:

    Michael I agree that there would have been little different but at that time and in that moment, it was not what I wanted to see happen. Looking back on it, I realize that the results would have been similar, that’s why I wish there was a better choice this time than Clinton. I won’t be around much longer and would dearly love to see a woman in the White House, but not at the expense of the country as a whole. Maybe I can hang on a few more years and see Warren run and maybe win. That would be a happy day.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  6. Mike wrote:

    I’m sorry to say that I think there is a very substantial racial animus in the extreme right wing of the Republican party that made their reaction to Obama substantially more hostile than they would have been if Clinton had been elected.

    Clinton, at least (in their eyes), was Caucasian; Obama is a living, breathing demonstration that whites in this country are, or will soon be, a minority – something they see as the destruction of ‘Murica.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Clinton/IK

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    “The only thing that would have made this strategy ineffective would have been to have a white male President.” I totally disagree. The Republicans were all about attacking Bill Clinton, who I seem to recall is a white male. They will take any opportunity to attack the opposing party, regardless of sex, race, etc. Trying to appease them by removing anything offensive is a losing proposition. They will make up something offensive.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
  9. Jonah wrote:

    Romney may make another appearance and may stand a decent chance of winning. Sadly his poll numbers have risen by doing absolutely nothing. How fickle the american public is.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
  10. Michael wrote:

    Let me clarify: Yes, the GOP did attack Bill and they always will. But everybody expects politicians to be slimeballs. The difference is the effect on the base and those slightly right of center. Bill’s approval numbers rarely dropped below 50% and actually went up in his second term (mostly hovering around 60%). So while they attacked, it didn’t stick. With Obama, they just have to say “Hussein” or “Benghazi” and they all start foaming at the mouth. With Hillary, they just have to make any sort of reference to her emotional state to get the same effect. So, yes, the GOP leaders will always attack in despicable ways. But the effect is different for a non-white or female President.

    And I’m not suggesting that we should appease them in any sense. Rather, I think we need to stick to people like Hillary that appeal to that ever-shrinking population of what used to be called moderate Republicans. I do not see how a party so dominated by its psychotic fringe can last.

    And I second the Hillary/IK nomination. Perhaps you can help get Warren appointed as Secretary of State on her way to the 2024 nomination. ;-)

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think the difference in effectiveness of their attacks could be equally explained by the rise of right-wing talk radio and Fox News, the opening of special interest floodgates of money in politics, and the increasing number of attack ads from super PACs.

    Monday, July 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  12. ebdoug wrote:

    I just reread North and south/John Jakes. Seems back in the Civil War days all campaigns had terrible smearing which spread fast through flyers and newspapers. Nothing new and never will be.
    It is animal nature. I had a cat come into my house. I fixed him up and after a few weeks introduced him to my other used to be male cat. The older cat jumped on the new one. That was 2009. Since then the new one gets along with everyone but the old one. He actually intimidades the cat who jumped him. Rush Limbaugh/Karl Rove will go but there will be other critters to replace them.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  13. Han wrote:

    The term First Gentleman should be used for Bill Clinton. First Gentleman is already being used for husbands of state governors, and it was also used in the Fox show 24 when they had a female president.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

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