I often wonder if we missed a potentially-dazzling era of American leadership on the international stage by not having Hillary Clinton in the White House in 2016-2020 (at least), and backed up by her ex-president husband Bill.

This is not a liberal vrs. conservative look-back. It’s just to examine the good and the bad of that Clinton duo and what their combined experience (she as Secretary of State) might have offered us.

Would they have made America great again?

We’ll never know. He’s badly damaged goods. She’s gone from star to an “untouchable” in the Democratic Party.

Historian Gil Roy, author of The Age of Clinton, reads the tea leaves this way:

“Since the 1990s, Bill and Hillary Clinton have faced what we can call ‘Clintipathy’—a pathological hatred for them rooted in their roles as symbols of the Hippie Sixties and Yuppie Eighties.”

There was the Whitewater real estate affair, asking wealthy Chinese and Indonesians for donations to a nebulous foundation, and even some White House furniture shipped to their two new houses at the end of Bill’s presidency.

It became unclear which speech fees on behalf of their foundation went to charities and which went into their personal bank accounts.

Megan Carpentier of The Guardian writes of Hillary: “Her links to Wall Street, her missing emails and her supposed responsibility for the security failures that contributed to the attack on the Benghazi consulate are the ostensible reasons for some deeply personal attacks in 2016. But the roots of hostility towards her go much deeper.”

She was a strong feminist out of Wellesley and Yale. She had kept her family name. People said she reminded them of mothers or schoolteacher they did not like. Many just did not like her pants suits at that time — note there’s no criticism of Kamala Harris in the same outfits.

Most often, people said she had “an attitude, like she was better than you.”

Historian Craig Shirley says when Hillary Clinton arrived in Washington DC as first lady “she came from Little Rock with a reputation already established as such a militant feminist, difficult to deal with.”

Finally, she turned out to be a weak campaigner and gets much of the blame for ushering in Donald Trump plus a GOP House and Senate in 2016. Some Democrats called her “the world’s greatest gift to Republicans.”

Note that neither Joe Biden nor any of the Democrats trying to unseat Republicans in Congress asked Hillary to campaign with them or for them this year.

You’ll not see her in the Biden administration, either.

She’s a goner, just like Bill.

It could have turned out differently. Two talented, politically savvy, intellectual, liberal-minded, internationally-engaged people with energy to spare.

Today, both are yesterday’s news.


Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

7 replies on “The Twosome That Should Have Breezed Back Into The White House: How Hillary Clinton Became Disliked, Defeated, And Now A Political Has-Been”

  1. Good morning Bob. A good friend of mine was an undergraduate at Yale when the Clintons were in law school there. He attended some seminar or class where they were and told me “you don’t want to be in a room with the Clintons… They suck all the air out.“

  2. I have spent time deciding which of the things you mentioned caused her demise, but I concluded these things may have mattered less if Hillary was just a bit younger and just a bit slimmer. I mean, she had great experience and she survived Bill’s womanizer reputation, didn’t she, while others would have much earlier been out of that marriage. I think for being first women running since Geraldine Ferrero back 36 years, she was just a bit too advanced in years for the American public.

    1. “A but younger and just a bit slimmer”? Oh, come on! Her attitude and corporate fundraising certainly didn’t help, but she had been the subject of a decades-long campaign of demonization by the Republicans, and their smears worked. Leaving us with four years of disaster with Trump.

  3. Well, Hillary also ridiculed Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” ethos, yet there she stayed with blue-stained-dress Bill for the power.

    Hillary was a fake holier than thou hypocrite. Remember when she claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary? Except he didn’t climb Everest until 6 years after she was born. Hanabusa also reminded many of the same type of person and was also rejected correctly by the voters. Nobody sane likes that type.

  4. I think that Bill beating an incumbent Republican president led to an insane amount of hate and demonization his way (think about what JFK did and what he did with Monica, and how everyone looked the other way for JFK), and yet Bill still won re-election. Hillary was the rights chance to even the score with Bill, and to a lesser extent Obama who they hate for being black. It had little to do with Hillary other than she wasn’t charismatic enough to overcome it. I also think a he wasn’t young enough for men to to want to rush to her defense in the same way they would feel about Harris. That’s why no one said a word about her pant suits or looks, not even Trump who never shies away from getting crass.

  5. Except for Brad’s, this is a rather kooky collection of letters. If Hillary was so bad, how did she get 3 million more votes than our soon-to-be-exiting president? I was quite comfortable with her because of her deep qualifications. Oh well, why should I revisit the depressing blunders by the American electorate which gave us the disastrous last four years? Something is really wrong with this country. Maybe we can now get back on the comeback trail.

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