Don't panic. Most of my blogs are about other things, but I did offer comments on Trump, and said that a future blog on Clinton would be coming after the DNC convention. Incidentally, those Trump comments generally were well received, even with his supporters, and generated a lot of feedback. I'll try address Hillary Clinton in a similarly balanced way.
First off, as we are seeing in Trump's campaign, politics is a profession. Or not. People do it over a lifetime and get experienced in the field. Some people might eschew that approach, desiring a house-cleaning and a "throw the bums out." But that rarely happens. Incumbents in Congress get re-elected at a more-than-ninety percent rate. While it's appealing to want a fresh approach, our system of government is designed to move with a deliberate speed and with checks and balances.
Hillary Clinton is not new on the scene. In fact, she's been a high-visibility person in and around government for thirty years counting her time as First Lady of Arkansas (1979-81 and 1983-92) and of the United States (1993-2001). In both cases, she was active in policy in certain areas. In addition, she was elected as Senator of New York, replacing Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where she served two terms (2001-2009) before agreeing to leave the senate and join President Obama's administration as Secretary of State between 2009-2013. She grew up in suburban Chicago and attended Wellesley College and the Yale Law School. Whether you like her or loath her, and there are plenty in both camps, her achievements in life are remarkable, including her nomination as the first woman candidate for president by one of the two major political parties
Ms. Clinton is said to be very warm and compelling personally in private, but she does not project those qualities in the public space. She is known to be hard-working and a policy wonk, but one who appears cold and calculating, parses every word, and is surrounded by a super-loyal team that is as protective as any mama bear. Her hyper-kinetic husband, former president Bill Clinton, is quite a contrast, has a track record of sleazy personal actions to go with an outstanding record as president, and connects well as a speaker.
Her track record would seem to make her the most, if not one of the most, experienced and qualified persons ever to compete for the While House based on her record as a former secretary of state, senator, and prior to that. She is said to know nearly every world leader. As former first lady, she tried (and failed) to create a unified payer health care insurance system. As senator, she voted to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, and has been in favor of most trade agreements as both senator and cabinet member. That is, until recently, when she has reversed herself on the TPP based on the traction that both Sanders and Trump generated. Now she is against the TPP as written.
She is running, more or less, on the Obama policies (TPP not withstanding). Looking back at "five thousand feet," the Obama term (with Clinton as a key player) will be remembered for withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, then re-engagements when the replacement leadership was missing or unsustainable, a failed (non)policy in Syria, and another dangerous vacuum in Libya (when these "bad guys" are removed, it's important to understand what replaces them, and it often ain't what we would like). A long, somewhat languid but solid economic recovery has taken place since the two Bush 43 recessions: the dot com and real estate bubble in late 2000; and the very dangerous world-wide financial melt-down in the fourth quarter of 2008. Overall, the employment numbers (see the interesting Wall Street Journal article of March 5, 2016) have recovered nicely, but slowly, to numbers reflecting virtual full employment (it's true, read the article), the best since just before the late 2000 bubble burst, as well as record stock market valuations. Of course if you were a twenty or thirty year employee of some company in the Midwest who just saw his/her job moved to China or Mexico or somewhere else, you aren't impressed with this overall economic recovery. And if you are like a large swatch of Americans living from paycheck to paycheck at a near-minimum wage, the rosy stock market numbers are not much of interest and don't do a hill of beans for you.
The social climate has changed as well. The "secularization" of the country, especially with younger and urban Americans, along with the LGBT legal rights movement, have not set well with rural and older Americans. With these changes, along with rapidly increasing ethnic diversity, there is a head wind, or a tail wind depending on whether or not you see "your country" as coming or going. Hillary Clinton has embraced the social changes for the most part. Many citizens are fearful and have not. Yet like it or not, these demographic changes are permanent in the U.S.
So we have a candidate who has a great deal of experience, with a measurable track record. She has the laurels and bruises of many years in the public arena. She should be better than Obama at negotiating across the aisle, which I think is needed.
You can make a case that Hillary Clinton is experienced, smart, hard working: the perfect candidate, or a curse upon humanity who makes big picture errors, conceals her thoughts and makes stupid decisions like setting up a private email server in Denver, Colorado. She is almost as headstrong as Mr. Trump in never admitting to mistakes when most can see them from a mile away. Frankly, one question is whether her close advisers, those super-loyal and trusty aides, are too obsequious; whether Hillary Clinton allows real input to which she listens. No one thinking several steps ahead to a possible presidential campaign ever would have counseled her to set up an email server in that manner.
All in all, we have an experienced and smart woman running for president. She is a talented but flawed candidate who does not transmit warmth and a comfortable relationship over television. She has made major errors in judgement. She seems to be able to reverse her course when needed. Personally, I think a woman will govern a bit differently than a man, and this may be good.
But bottom line, she is not considered in a vacuum. She is running against god's gift to the Democrats, an inexperienced politician who appeals to those who view things are dark and dangerous, and who clearly has demonstrated that he is a classic authoritarian narcissist. She may not be a choice that people like, but she is the only choice. I think she has the tools to be president. Hopefully a good one.
Please comment in the "comments" space below, or respond to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your support of both "Contact Sport" and "Reunion" are much appreciated. If your book club within two hours of Austin selects either, I will be glad to attend your book club to discuss the selection and answer any questions.