Vote for her or not. Agree with her politics or not. Love her or loathe her. Take your pick, but the one issue beyond debate is that Hillary Rodham Clinton is qualified to run for president of the United States. Actually, I mean QUALIFIED. Simply being constitutionally qualified means being a natural born citizen, a resident for 14 years, and being at least 35 years old. With her, that issue is resolved in spades. Senator/Secretary/FLOTUS Clinton has a broader scope and longer span of public service; elected, appointed, and voluntary, than anyone who has ever sought the office.
Prior to adding “Clinton” to Hillary Rodham in 1975, she was already fast tracking to be an impressive politician. We have public records for Mrs. Clinton dating back to before Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were born.
She first showed up in 1969 when she became the first ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. We have the account of her going off script to take the preceding speaker, then Senator Edward Brooke, a moderate Republican from Massachusetts, to the woodshed about being too general in his remarks. It seems that we have access to every word she’s uttered or written since.
She has proven to be a much better lawmaker than a campaigner. A recent “Making Sentences” column described the differences between campaigning and governing and Mrs. Clinton is definitely in the “better governor” column. Her campaign speeches are clinical, factual, informative, but often end up sounding like your mother telling you to “eat your broccoli.” We’ve learned not to expect any “Ask not” or “Four score” pearls from her talks.
Going to work, not public speaking is her forte. She has been steadfast on improving the plight of, particularly, women and children from the time her political career was just a sprout.
She cofounded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977 and since has been responsible for a river of new laws and regulations that help secure children and families.
In 1993 she famously failed at her attempt to change how healthcare is paid for in America. It took over 15 years for Hillarycare to morph into Obamacare. The headlines at the time were all doom and gloom, claiming she wasn’t ready for prime time politics. But, behind the scenes, she did not waiver. She figured out what could be done and went to work to get the State Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program (SCHIP or often CHIP) enacted into law. She understands our American history of slow and incremental change. So, after a stunning defeat and public ridicule, went on with her important work and quietly succeeded in getting government-monitored healthcare delivered to many more children. During that same period in the late 1990s, she pioneered and saw enacted the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Act.
Is Sec. Clinton too cozy with the banking industry? Did she did work with Wall Street? Yes. She was supposed to. That was her job. She was Senator from New York and they were part of her constituency. That said, the record shows that she was not blind to their antics and that she warned and chastised the industry when it became apparent that they were causing problems with American finances. Her efforts pro Wall Street were directed toward protecting our financial industry from foreign challenges, not insulating them from Americans.
It was a political mistake to take large speaking fees from Wall Street firms. But, like Donald Trump’s bankruptcies and Mitt Romney’s low tax payments, the speeches were all done legally. The act is noteworthy because so few are in the Venn diagram overlap showing those who can legally charge speaking fees and those in whom big companies are interested. Elected and appointed officials cannot be paid for speeches. Only retired, inactive public servants can do so. Hillary Clinton was, arguably, the most knowledgeable person in the country over the last three years who could deliver a paid speech. That made her a prize catch for companies interested in what she had to say about the state of the world.
The Benghazi, Libya consulate attack is an issue adjudicated. The mishandling of her communications as Secretary of State, while wrong, was not criminal. And, the charges of being a liar and untrustworthy are strictly politically motivated and have become trite.
Love her or loathe her, vote for her or not, warts, battle scars and all, Hillary is supremely qualified for the presidency.