Why I Like Hillary In 2016

by George Kennedy on November 16, 2012

I like Hillary Clinton for 2016 for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, she is a well-seasoned, savvy leader with a spine of steel forged under adverse personal and professional circumstances.  She can take the well-calculated, well-delivered “political punch” and then counter-punch with the best, including President Barack Obama.

Second, I like her because she brings a resume worthy of respect.  You don’t have to like her but shrewd and vital leaders are seldom the most popular because they are at home in the school of tough decisions.  Franklin D. Roosevelt was deemed a traitor to his social class but he embodied hope and brought the country through the Great Depression and the Second World War.  And, Lyndon B. Johnson  had the albatross of the Vietnam War around his neck but he had the courage of his convictions to sign the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  For these acts of greatness, he earned the permanent enmity of the Old Confederacy.  Both did the right thing, not the easy thing.  I am comfortable associating Hillary Clinton with giants of American history because I feel she would earn her place among them.

Hillary matured in the trenches of the Watergate hearings as a staff attorney and through the rough and tumble of “good-ol-boy” Arkansas politics right along with husband Bill.  From there, it was the view from the rarified air of the White House; a bruising attack from insecure Congressional leadership fearful of a White House spouse treading on turf well-financed by Big Pharma, the Healthcare Industry, and the Insurance Lobby.  Imagine if the spouse of a Democratic president despised by Republicans had achieved success in broadening the public debate over our lack of universal healthcare.  Further imagine the possibility she might have produced a menu of viable options to address our healthcare crisis worthy of consideration.

Hillary Clinton survived the public humiliation and sting of personal betrayal following the impeachment of her husband with aplomb.  (Who can forget the photo of Hillary, Chelsea, and a chastened Bill Clinton walking across the South Lawn of the White House to Marine One during the high of the Lewinsky scandal?)  A concurrent development was the disgraceful, $50 million dollar, multi-year investigation by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr which produced no evidence of wrongdoing on her part or that of the president in the Whitewater Affair or the death of Clinton advisor Vince Foster.

The ever resilient Hillary became a U.S. Senator, lowered her profile, even with a Secret Service detail in tow, and became a quick-study respected by the galactic egos of Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Motivated, but not obsessed, she launched a well-coordinated, focussed, and popular campaign to succeed George W. Bush, arguably the worst president in living memory.  She generated a level of enthusiasm and popular support for her candidacy Mitt Romney -with his billion-dollar backers – could only dream of.

Her tenure as the current secretary of state completes a resume of self-sacrifice, leadership and public service worthy of respect from her most ardent critics.  They won’t, of course, should she decide to run.

No one earns the presidency, as some in the GOP have presumed, but you do qualify for it beyond the requisite minimum age and citizenship requirements.  Should Hillary run in 2016, she would be unmatched in experience and mental toughness by any Republican considered a likely candidate for their party’s nomination – and the Republicans have a deep bench of likely contenders.

I also believe the tides of history compel her candidacy.  Hillary is on the strong side of the issues that galvanize women into action:  healthcare, the health of the economy, the state of public education and the affordability of higher education.  Then there is the issue of preserving a woman’s right to choose and control over her healthcare.  Hillary understands and has directed policy regarding issues of war and peace.  She knows it is the sons and daughters of mothers – and fathers – who volunteer (often compelled under George W. Bush during the Iraq War) to sacrifice personal treasure in the defense of national security and American ideals.  She has welcomed home the caskets of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Hillary Clinton is the one Democrat tough enough to withstand the well-financed, histrionic, and mendacious juggernaut we have come to expect from a Republican Party desperately seeking relevance for a changing demography in a new century.  Bookending her campaign would be the current president and her husband, the last Democratic president whose record of job creation and budget surpluses is the stuff Republicans can only continue to misrepresent.

A Hillary Clinton candidacy would have the effect of building on the momentum that lifted President Obama into his second term.  Her candidacy would likely cement the bonds among the coalition of African Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, women, and young voters, currently the majority of the Democratic Caucus.  This is a first for either party according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Hillary’s candidacy might ward off the complacency that is the eventual plague among Democrats after a presidential election.  The formidable Obama campaign machine is in place and, when juxtaposed with the Clinton machine, the foundation for a Hillary victory may well be in place.

I’ll stick my neck out on this one but, here goes.  Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ “heir apparent’, the “legitimate” successor to President Obama because she and her husband, Bill Clinton, are prime contributors to this president’s success.  Yeah, I said it but, that assertion also withstands scrutiny.

There would be a policy and program continuity between the Obama Administration and a Hillary Clinton Administration we can ill-afford to break at this point in history.  We experienced such a break after the Clinton presidency and the consequences were disastrous for this country and the world.

Peace, prosperity, and a renewed national confidence, combined with a strengthened middle class can take root under this president.  Hillary Clinton offers the best prospects for continued success going forward.

Yes, I like Hillary Clinton for 2016.

George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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