Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, February 02, 2013

You go, girl!

Okay, so she looks tired these days.

So would you, had you traveled to a record-breaking 112 countries in the past four years, spent 401 days on overseas travel and almost three months in the air.

No wonder she's earned the undisputed title of the hardest-working Secretary of State - evah!

She's also suffered from a nasty stomach virus while returning from a week-long trip to Europe, exhaustion, severe dehydration, a faint, a fall and a concussion that led to a brief hospitalization when doctors discovered a blood clot near her brain.

It was a rare sign of vulnerability from an otherwise seemingly invincible 65 year old woman. 

She roared back from that bit of a sideline, just as she had after a searing defeat for the 2008 election against Barack Obama, as well as the embarrassment of her husband's notorious infidelity with a young White House Intern, Monica "I Hate Linda Trip" Lewinsky," in 1998.

Some critics suggested she was faking a "diplomatic illness," as John Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador for President George W. Bush, put it, to avoid testifying on Benghazi.

Bolton seemed to be echoing columnist William Safire who famously labeled her "a congenital liar." Congenital. As in, she's a woman - a "daughter of Eve". We know what happened to "poor Adam" - and the whole world has been suffering for Eve's "deception" ever since. 

Le sigh! Can anyone say, "sexism"? Again!

Diplomatic illness, my left foot! I know it's hard to believe that Hillary was actually sidelined, but then again, John Bolton - or too many men - have never worked as hard - or as effectively - as Hillary Rodham Clinton.
On January 23rd, she endured not one but two Congressional Committee Hearings on the same day about her knowledge of the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi.

I think that's probably a violation of the Geneva Convention, but Hillary was at the top of her form.

I loved the quizzical look and the tone of incredulity when she responded to Republican Rand Paul's question: "Is the U.S. involved in shipping weapons out of Libya to Turkey."

Clinton's response: "To Turkey?" She seems stunned by the question - for a second, I wasn't sure if she was referring to the country or the Senator - but then simply, quietly and calmly responded that she'd never heard that.

And, then, of course, Rand Paul said, "People who make judgement errors should be fired and replaced. ... Had I been president ... I would have relieved you from your post."

Hillary just looked at him with the best poker face I've ever seen but you could tell she was thinking exactly what many of us were screaming at the television set, "You? President? Of The United States? And, Hillary? Working for YOU? Don't make me laugh."

I also loved it when she totally went off on Senator Ron Johnson,  and said, her voice rising and quivering in anger. "What difference, at this point, does it make?" she demanded. "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."

In her last one-on-one interview as secretary of state, she seemed to underscore that point: "There are some people in politics and in the press who can’t be confused by the facts. They just will not live in an evidence-based world. And that’s regrettable. It’s regrettable for our political system and for the people who serve our government in very dangerous, difficult circumstances."

Whatever the merits of the arguments, Clinton’s responses confirmed she had lost none of the vigor that had taken her from defeated Democratic Party presidential candidate to one of the world’s most popular and recognizable women.

Indeed, her popularity rating stands at 67%, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC survey, indicating that the polarization that marked her years in the White House, seen again in the 2008 campaign, has been overcome.

Indeed, no Democrat is better placed right now to unify the party. With instant national appeal and the highest approval ratings of her political career, she would also presumably have a head start on any Republican candidate in a general election. And at age 69, she’d hardly be too old to lead. She’d be five years younger than Vice President Joe Biden, a possible party rival.

She has a little over a year to rest up and make a decision about whether or not she'll run for POTUS. I imagine she and Joe Biden will need to have a serious sit-down-come-to-Jesus talk about this.  I'm thinking she has 18 months - tops - to think this through and make a decision.

She'll have to determine if it's worth the time coupled with the enormous expense and effort. That having been said, she'll also have the benefit of the backing of the Obama Election Team.

I'm hoping that the thought of become the first woman POTUS - never mind being the First Lady to become the POTUS will prove irresistible for her.  I know it will be irresistible for many voters - not just for the novelty, but because she is better qualified than anyone on either side to be Leader of the Free World - bar none.

The possibilities are enormously exciting, even though they are four years away, and we're just beginning to see President Obama coming into his own.  He's roaring through immigration, women on the battle lines, the debt ceiling, and a host of other social issues - like reversing DOMA - which he had put on the back shelf to the Affordable Health Care Act and the economy.

I keep thinking about that first debate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Marco Rubio, which - if her performance at not one but two Congressional Hearings are any indication - she will no doubt win with one hand tied behind her back.

As she prepared to leave office, she imparted some advice to anyone who might be considering a career in politics: "Get into the arena, stand up for what you believe and put together the arguments that can win the day."

"I am making no decisions, but I would never give that advice to someone that I wouldn’t take myself, she said. "If you believe you can make a difference, not just in politics, in public service, in advocacy around all these important issues, then you have to be prepared to accept that you are not going to get 100 percent approval."

Well, I'm only one person, but you've got my 99.9% approval. There are millions more of us, just waiting for you to make your decision to run for the White House.

But, no pressure.

So, rest up, Hillary. Take the time you need to do the things you want to do. Update your 2003 memoir, "Living History" - although I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment. Travel to the places around the world you'd like to visit as a private citizen.

You deserve the time off.

Just come back to us with your 'traveling pants' on and your running shoes laced up.

You go, girl!


Ann Markle said...

Beautifully said, Elizabeth. Thanks. I love her. When I was in seminary, she came to speak to us at YDS -- in the common room, not some big-deal venue. Bill was embroiled in the Lewinsky deal. You could see the lines and defensiveness on her face. When she realized she was among friends, you could see her face visibly relax and her speech became so much less guarded. I've loved her ever since.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I met her at NYU once, at a reception honoring Desmond Tutu. Imagine being in the same room with Hillary and Desmond Tutu.

For a minute or two, I think I got dizzy.

Sextant said...

Being in the same room with Desmond and Hillary is quite an honor and I imagine a memorable moment in your life of many memorable moments.

Hillary does look tired and that concerns me. I want very much to see a woman President before I check out and I would like to not be senile when it happens. So 2016 is important to my goal. Being a bleeding heart pinko, I probably would want a democrat.

I question Clinton's ability to do the primary and general election, and then eight years as POTUS. I am not saying that I don't want her run, just that I am concerned about her health and her ability to go the long haul. She does look very tired. She won't have the pressures of travel, but then again she will have a lot more on her plate.

The other thing that concerns me is the baggage that the Clintons carry. The goonies will start immediately:

--She murdered Vince Foster.

--White Water.


--Its really Bill's third term.

-- and now Benghazi.

I wish her all the luck in the world but I am hoping that Elizabeth Warren does very well, very fast and may be in the position to give it a go in 2016 in case Hillary decides not to run.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sextant - I'm sure her exhaustion is one of the factors she's weighing. She's in for 8 years. She'd be 77 when she finally "retires". That being said, Hillary at 77 could still run circles around 3/4 of the men in the Senate.

Interesting, but none of the stuff about Vince Foster, White Water, Monica or "Bill's third term" hurt her when she ran in 2008. Obama did. They can try Benghazi but it won't touch her.

As Hillary her self said, "Get into the arena, stand up for what you believe and put together the arguments that can win the day."

I believe she can do that.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

Tired or not, I can only hope to look that good in ten years. It's so inspiring to see a real woman with a real life and a real face.

Matthew said...

Although I supported Obama in the 08 caucuses, I desperately want Hillary to be the next president. And if she decides not to run, I really want a woman to run on the D ticket, and get the nomination. Maybe Dianne Feinstein?