Hillary Clinton 2016?

April 19, 2014

Chelsea Clinton announced she’s pregnant on April 17, a few days ago. Mazel tov to her, her husband, and their families!

Within hours of the announcement there were at least two pregnancy-truthers, here (Steve Malzberg) and here (Andrew Ross Sorkin). Their comments followed by several days the claims from shoe-truthers—here (Herman Cain and Rush Limbaugh)—that Hillary Clinton or her people staged the thrown shoe event on April 10 in Las Vegas.

So the show—excuse me, the 2016 campaign for President—has begun. We don’t yet know whether Hillary Clinton will run, but the comments from the crazies may provide the best case for nominating and electing her.

For entertainment, nothing will beat four or eight more years of Clinton-phobia from the Wingnuts. More Whitewater! More Travelgate! We don’t focus so much on the claims from the 1990s—because of, perhaps, the passage of time, or the fact that the made up stuff about President Obama offends us in the here and now—but we saw some pretty crazy sh*t 15-20 years ago. We had only recently retired Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) testing his “not a suicide” death of Vince Foster with a handgun and a watermelon in his yard, and as recently as 2005 Rush Limbaugh was still hinting at Mr. Foster having been murdered on orders from the then First Lady. I’m sorry, and this is all pre-House of Cards, but accusing the First lady of a murder for hire plot is far out!!!

(For the young, the old who forget, and anyone else who may not have been a Clinton scandal junkie, Mr. Foster had been the First Lady’s law partner in Little Rock. He worked as Deputy White House Counsel and killed himself six months after President Clinton was sworn in. Conspiracy claims abounded!)

All of that noise generated bucks. The Whitewater/Monica scandals created something more than cottage industry for publishers, attorneys, agents, etc. Many people would be nobodies if not for the wild and crazy Clinton years! So maybe having Clinton redux would not be so terrible, and it would surely prove wrong old Thomas Wolfe’s claim that “you can’t go home again.”

Alas, for several reasons I find supporting Hillary Clinton in a Presidential run difficult, notwithstanding how batshit-crazy I know her running, and especially her getting elected, will make certain people I know, and the hoards of Clinton-haters with whom I will not likely ever break bread. My reasons are several. Here goes:

The notion of political aristocracies leaves me cold. I hate the fact that on all but three of the 14 presidential election ballots between 1952 and 2004, Nixon or Bush (H.W. or W.) appeared. I go nut-so, without regard for person or party, when a Senator dies and his widow gets appointed to hold the seat. And while I am presently supporting the son of old friends—the candidate has political genes like few others anywhere—in a gubernatorial run back east, I don’t love the primogeniture thing, either. We’re a country of 330,000,000+ people. Surely we can find a leader for ourselves who will need a tour, and won’t be on a first name basis with most of the household staff, when she moves into the White House. (Please note the use of the feminine pronoun; more on that in a moment.)

Separate and apart from the dynastic notions attendant to another Clinton presidency, I worry about a co-presidency situation. President Clinton has been a remarkable former president, and he more than adequately demonstrated his ability to separate himself from his wife’s work at the State Department. Still, I can’t quite picture how it all works if she’s elected. I know we live in interesting times—I think that really is a Chinese curse, placed upon us as a reminder that we owe those folks a fair chunk of change—but for this old guy, it may be just a bit too much. In case you’ve forgotten, he’s a force of nature! (By the way, I know we have a recent precedent with the Bush family. True, for sure, although I think father-son and husband-wife relationships differ significantly. Further, H.W. was 76, retired, old when W. was inaugurated, and not a force of nature. President Clinton will be 70 when his wife gets inaugurated, he won’t likely be retired from anything, he’s simply not old, and he is a force of nature.)

I’m also not sure Hillary Clinton has the right skills to be president. She’s clearly smart enough, and she demonstrated a willingness to listen to constituents and learn from her peers when she ran for and served in the Senate. She also knows how to make a deal, and work with those who don’t like her. On the other hand, she motivates me not at all. Senator Barack Obama had me believing we could change the world.* Sadly, I don’t have any sense that President Hillary Clinton can inspire that esprit de corps from the masses.

So, back to gender! I really do believe we need a woman as our leader. Not because it’s time (it is), and not because women are entitled (probably true, but it’s a bad reason when it trips off the lips), and not because—and I have heard this—we want and need Hillary. I think we need to elect a woman, ideally in 2016, because a woman in office will bring new approaches to problem solving and leadership, and every other aspect of being President of the United States. Plain and simple, we’re not getting it done!!! In any failing organization change must come, and while it must come at all levels, “bottom up” change won’t happen if you have a bunch of “same old, same old” at the top.

In sum, I’m not sure Hillary Clinton should be our next president, but I’d like to see a woman in the Oval Office as soon as possible. To be clear, I’m not prepared to vote for a woman because she’s a woman. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Sarah Palin (the almost half-term former governor of Alaska) will never get my vote. But I’d work my backside off for Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a scary-smart woman who has endured plenty of hardship, has succeeded, and gets the message about what ails us. I know Senator Warren generates lots of strong feelings, and the powers that be really don’t like her, but I take comfort in those realities. (Senator Warren does sound pretty definite about not running, and that may be to her credit, but hope also springs eternal!)

Several other women in the Senate—Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar, and Jeanne Shaheen—are bright and talented. They do not, however, have any sort of “presidential profile.” That must be, in whole or in part, because they are women and because they do not mouth off on cable television like some others whose names appear in this paragraph.

I wish more names were being discussed. Partly, we’re all playing “what will Hillary do?” and that’s not a game we should be playing. We need a woman in the Oval Office, soon, and we need for that person to be the right person. Ideas? Comments welcomed, too! I’d be hard-pressed to name 10 non-Wingnut friends who express negatives thoughts about Hillary Clinton as our next President of the United States. So, if I’ve changed your mind, speak up. And if you think I’m wrong, please show me the error of my ways.

*Yes, we’re still mired in muck, but we’ve got one heck of a start on solving health care, we’re a long way from the ditch in which we found ourselves in the fall of 2008, we’re in only one soon to be over war, and whatever has happened over the past five-plus years has happened without any—no, not “not much,”—help from Republicans. And while everything I read tells me President Obama may not be the best dealmaker out there, he’s dealing with people who simply aren’t interested in any deals. At. All.

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