A case can be made that the best person to have had in the White House in these perilous Covid-China-Russia-Korea times would been Hillary Clinton.
She was a skilled manipulator of power levers and might have been the best president since FDR and LBJ. She knew how to gun things through the political messiness of Congress. Roosevelt had that skill and gave us Social Security. Johnson had that skill and gave us the Civil Rights Act.
Many people didn’t like FDR and LBJ but those two wooed them aboard. Many people didn’t like Hillary and she did not woo them aboard. She was a policy wonk and could not talk like a regular person. She seemed too focused on raising money for the Clinton Foundation. And like Melania, she stuck with her man in spite of ugly, public fidelity issues.
She did get 3 million more votes than Donald Trump but only the Electoral College votes count. She lost them where she needed fans to win them. She didn’t have fans. She only had hard-core Democrats.
She had promised to make the biggest investment in jobs since World War II and proposed immigration reform with a pathway for citizenship. She had a plan to end the Syria war.
The Washington Post columnist Max Boot wrote of her: “I found her to be a charming conversationalist with a lot of interest in learning about defense issues. I did not detect her peddling any ideological agenda; she simply wanted to figure out the best course of action. The Hillary I met doesn’t match the ogre of Republican myth.”
But then she had those email problems, the Benghazi debacle — and Bill. And that wonky way of talking.
And she was dogged by writers such as Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of the Public Policy and Ethics Center, who said “There’s no polite way to say this: Hillary Clinton is corrupt. There’s no other way to describe her speech-making and foundation fundraising from major corporations and foreign governments. In goes the cash. Out go the favors.”
Columnist Lisa Schiffren of the New York Daily News trashed her for “incessant lying to the public; vast personal greed leading to corruption in high office; abuse of power on behalf of herself and against private citizens and political rivals; disregard for the law, and the very idea of the Rule of Law; disdain for the ‘deplorable’ half of her opponent’s supporters, and the confession that she typically offers one position on policy and politics in private and another, often very different one, for public consumption.”
One day recently, my wife and I caught a rebroadcast of a Hillary interview on some current late night show and we were stunned. It was Hillary being a real person and talking like a real person. A thoroughly likable Hillary that even a Republican might be forgiven for voting for her.
But that wasn’t her during the 2016 election, and now her time is gone. Just Hillary and Bill living out what’s left in their New York house and about to be forgotten except for a big funeral when Bill dies.
It’s too bad. I can’t really see Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren or AOC, and certainly not Tulsi Gabbard in the White House.
Hillary, however, quite likely would have made it a beacon of good judgment, great alliances, and the muscle behind groundbreaking social legislation.