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.