My love/hate relationship with Hillary

Hillary 3Take a yellow legal pad. Draw a line down the middle. Put Hillary Clinton’s pluses on one side and minuses on the other. The symmetry is disturbing.

Let’s start with the good stuff. I confess to a sense of pride that a fellow alumna of Wellesley College could become the nation’s first woman President (as she put it in her rally speech on Saturday, she may not be the youngest candidate, but she would be the nation’s youngest female President.) First Lady. Senator. Secretary of State. The pressures of the White House wouldn’t be her first rodeo. She is very smart, experienced and tough as nails, which, of course, a President must be.  And, at this point, she’d probably make better Supreme Court appointments than any of her Republican rivals.

Her commitments early in her career (Children’s Defense Fund activist and prominent education booster from her days as First Lady of Arkansas,) speak to longstanding, authentic values.  So, too, with her prodigious support of women’s empowerment around the world.

The  times I have interacted with her (including her appearance at a Wellesley College 125th anniversary celebration and a 2011 State Department briefing for editorialists) I have been impressed by her sparkle, intellect and charisma.

Then there’s the baggage, everything from the early Whitewater deals and her “misremembering” landing under fire in Bosnia when she was First Lady to the recent, highly questionable financial relationships of the Clinton Foundation to optics-challenging donations by foreign powers even when she was Secretary of State.  Throw in her opacity in conducting State Department business by emails on a personal server based in her Chappaqua home, then deleting tens of thousands of them to avoid public disclosure.

Poll-driven, she’s been slithery on policy as well, most notably on the Trans-Pacific Pact, which she unequivocally boosted as Secretary of State but has dithered on as a candidate. She has also been AWOL on how best to deal with ISIS and related issues. It’s ironic that, despite her Foggy Bottom experience, only three percent of her kickoff speech yesterday was devoted to foreign policy.

Hillary calls herself the champion of  ordinary Americans, those who play by the rules and work hard to get ahead, but the Clintons have made clear by their behavior that the rules were made for other people and not for them.    The first stage of her campaign comprised a series of “listening events,” in which she talked to “ordinary people,” pre-selected and stage-managed.  (There have also been fund-raisers, three in Massachusetts last weekend, and the price to participate was pretty steep.)

Particularly offensive has been her near refusal to answer news media questions.  It’s more than aggravating and seems related to what Nixon biographer Evan Thomas on Meet the Press this morning called her chronic “sense of aggrievement.”  Remember her conviction that she and her husband were the target of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”  She seems to share this attitude with her husband, and, despite his political agility and seductive charm, who really wants him back in the White House?

We are months away from the first primary vote. Right now, the Democrats are talking more about jobs and the economy; the Republicans, national security.  The issues of 2016 are complex, and likely will comprise both foreign and domestic.  In a world of problems not given to easy sound-bite answers, no pundit or so-called expert has the answers – or even perhaps the questions.

Likability may be overrated as a prerequisite for a President.  George W. started out eminently likable, and look where he left us.  When you don’t know what issues may arise, character is paramount, and things may boil down to whom do we trust to do the right thing.  Hillary has to worry that a recent poll showed 52 percent of the people find her untrustworthy.  Still, at this stage, a majority of people would still vote for her, even if they don’t trust her.

As the presumed nominee, she will be a better candidate against whomever the GOP taps if her Democratic challengers make her really work for that nomination. I’d like to see her get a lot better.

I welcome your comments in the section below.  To be notified by email of a new posting, click on “Follow” in the lower right part of the screen.


8 thoughts on “My love/hate relationship with Hillary

  1. Agree with you on the importance of the Supreme Court. Not trying to bring her down but would like her to engage more with voters and the media. She is starting to do that a little more, and it’s going to be a long campaign. Thanks for writing.


  2. Reagan Gray

    Respectfully, I don’t think there is anyone who could say Hillary needs to work harder for the nomination. Her lifelong career in public service is enough for me. And her resilience in times of adversity is unprecedented. Hillary is going to get it right. Give her a chance. I don’t know your political affiliation but, if a Republican wins in 2016, I dread to think what the Supreme Court will look like. Especially for women. We need her. Why try and bring her down?
    There will be enough people doing that for the next 18 months. Thank you for allowing me to post on your site.


  3. peg scully

    Once again, you hit the nail on the head in describing Sec. Clinton. But who else? No one for me at the moment. Thanks for your lucid evaluations.


  4. Pingback: | My love/hate relationship with Hillary by Marjorie Arons-Barron

  5. Carolyn Hoffman

    Sounds like there are more minuses than pluses when it comes to her political ethics and views (in my opinion) . She does however look like the best of the democrats !.


  6. Reagan Gray

    Sounds like you more “hate” Hillary than “love” Hillary. My yellow pad must look a lot different than your yellow pad. Thanks for doing what women keep doing, throwing Hillary under the bus. Do you really think Hillary just threw away important emails? She is under more scrutiny than any other public figure I have ever seen. 1. All her emails to government officials were sent to government addresses, therefore they are recorded in a government email account. 2. Look what has been happening with government email accounts. They have been hacked. Not so with the Hillary’s private account. Gosh maybe that helped with national security. 3. It was LEGAL at the time she was Sec of State. LEGAL.


    1. I don’t hate her more than I love her, and I absolutely positively, by doing a clear-eyed assessment, am not “throwing her under the bus.” Maybe I just want her to stop disappointing, to live up to her potential. I don’t expect her to be perfect. None of the candidates is perfect. I just want her to stop messing up gratuitously,


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