With the first Democratic Presidential Debates a few days away, I realized I had yet to make a formal endorsement for President even though for those who know me my preference has been clear for some time now.
I endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President not just in the Democratic Primary, but in the General election once she gets that far as I am confident she will.
Compared with the various other candidates running for President on both sides of the aisle, there is no one who can match Secretary Clinton’s knowledge, experience and character.
Speaking of her knowledge and experience, even Republican Senator Marco Rubio said:
"If this election is a resume competition then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President."
- From the first GOP Presidential debate August 6, 2015
While I rarely agree with Senator Rubio, other than his attempt at immigration reform which he subsequently repudiated, he was right in this one instance about Secretary Clinton. Having been a Senator and four years as Secretary of State, historically the second most important position in the US Government, there is no one currently running for President who can compare with her experience.
The other point I would make about that is that her experience as Secretary of State was a successful one. If we were going to make a job description about the position of Secretary of State, leading the diplomatic and foreign policy of the US, it would include something about cultivating a positive image of the US overseas, particularly among our western European allies. To be sure, Hillary had a challenge here. The administration of George W. Bush had decimated our relationship with our European allies and wrecked the opinion of the US with the populations of those countries. I’ve had numerous on screen and private discussions with Republican pundits and politicians who try to pooh-pooh this point but the data is clear. The administration of President Bill Clinton left the US with an excellent reputation overseas and that of George W. Bush threw that all away with the invasion of Iraq that most of the world viewed as unjustified.
That negative opinion was reversed under Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Barack Obama as President. While both deserve credit, the Secretary of State under such a performance deserves a lot of credit since, as I noted earlier it is part of what we all would agree to be her job description to lead the US’ diplomatic and foreign policy to cultivate a positive image of the US overseas and the numbers are dramatic. As we can see from the Pew Institutes report on the subject at http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2014/07/2014-07-14-Balance-of-Power.pdf,
opinions of the populaces of some of our most important allies in Western Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and many other countries like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, cratered during the Bush administration and rebounded during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.
Republican politicians and pundits who try to claim there are no major accomplishments during Clinton’s tenure at State willfully attempt to ignore this (as it is a triple headed problem for them, pointing out how awful the foreign policy of last Republican administration was and how successful not only the current Democratic administration is, but the leading Democratic candidate in 2016), but this is a better measurement of the success of US foreign policy and those who lead it than a treaty or other singular event.
This is all a long winded way of saying that Hillary Clinton not only has a great resume, but in the most important position she has had, one much closer to the duties and responsibilities of President than any other job held by any other current Presidential candidate, she excelled.
It’s almost laughable to compare her experience to that of anyone running against her.
The other interesting thing that her successful tenure as Secretary of State points to is Presidential demeanor. It’s impossible for a diplomat or foreign policy leader to be successful without having a level-headed personality and presence in your public persona and during important private negotiations. A President needs to be patient, strong but humble, positive and steadfast.
This is a clear advantage that Hillary has over rivals like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom have demonstrated anything approaching Presidential demeanor and in fact seem to have the opposite qualities in several cases (arrogance, irritability and impatience, just to name a few).
In analyzing this endorsement, some will no doubt point to eight year old articles of mine during the 2008 Presidential campaign where I endorsed Barack Obama. My criticisms of Hillary Clinton at the time were many and pointed.
The fact is, from the moment of Hillary’s concession to President Obama in 2008 at the end of their contest; I began to suspect my evaluation of her was incorrect. This is not a new revelation, I have said so many times to friends and in public appearances beginning in 2008, i.e. long before I thought of her as a Presidential contender in 2016. The grace with which she conceded the race to Barack Obama and endorsed him to include announcing the delegate votes from New York to be his at the Democratic convention made me realize my prior opinions of her, which had included attacks on her character, needed to be re-evaluated.
I’m sure critics of mine and of Secretary Clinton will minimize this, but I don’t think that I or many people would find it so easy to behave gracefully in a similar situation. Having poured your heart and soul in an effort for the better part of two years, working 14-18 hour days seven days a week in the effort only to fail by the slimmest of margins at the last minute I believe would make the vast majority of folks bitter at least in the short term and perhaps longer than that. It is under adversity that I think all people show their true character. This was a true moment of adversity for Hillary Clinton. She had lost in this effort and her character came through and we learned a lot about who she was.
During her tenure as Secretary of State, I and all of the country had additional opportunities to learn more about her. By the end of her first year as Secretary of State, I was convinced my previous opinions of her were wrong.
Regarding Hillary’s positions on the issues, much has been made of the idea that she and former President Bill Clinton were co-Presidents during his term. That is probably overstating the issue, but what is not overstating the issue is that they discussed issues during his administration and that he utilized her as a trusted advisor. That administration where she was a trusted advisor was one of the most successful in the last 75 years on all fronts, economic, foreign policy, etc. Sanders supporters can claim she is not progressive enough, and various Republican contenders and their surrogates can try to claim she is too progressive, but nothing makes a statement like actually being successful and few (as in none) of her antagonists can claim to have been part of (or support candidates who have been part of) a successful Presidential administration. In other words, their criticisms on her positions on the issues don’t mean a whole heck of a lot.
In terms of the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, in terms of the character needed to be President and in terms of being right on the issues I personally can’t see how anyone could come to any other conclusion. Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States and I heartily endorse her.