My head wanted to explode when I clicked on The Daily Beast and read Democratic political operative Paul Begala’s article raving about how great Hillary Clinton would be as a presidential nominee in 2016 – if she could just avoid the mistakes she made in her “disastrous” 2008 presidential campaign. Yes. Disastrous. In Begala’s words:
“…her last campaign was a mess. It was riven with rivalries, some of her people were deeply disloyal, and the dirty laundry was aired in public. Hillary herself hates such behavior—and yet it flourished on her watch and under her nose.”
So the two scholarly studies which just concluded that it was sexism which truly doomed her 2008 bid have no merit?
People like to pretend that the presidential nomination was hers for the asking until she blew it. Just because her name is Clinton. They seem now to conveniently forget what a double edged sword it is to be married to “Mr. Monica.” Or that a she is not a he. A woman being Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and leader of the free world? Does anyone believe that in a macho country such as this one, that would not have given anyone pause?
Before Hillary, no woman had ever won a binding presidential primary. The closest anyone came was Shirley Chisholm, who won a non-binding primary in New Jersey in 1972. That’s it.
Their sexism rampant, the majority of mainstream media unearthed unfathomable reasons as to why we should nominate a neophyte with barely two years in the Senate. This gentleman actually stood up before an audience and declared that living in Indonesia as a child qualified as foreign policy experience. And people voted for him. What woman could possibly have made such a statement and not have been laughed off the stage?
Hey, I can see Indonesia from my house!
Not only did Hillary Clinton make history by being the first woman to ever win a binding presidential primary, she won 22 of them: all the large states, save her opponent’s home state; the majority of the Democratic base; all the battleground states, not to mention that regardless of the Rules and ByLaws Committee’s Michigan and Florida shenanigans, more American citizens stepped up to ink the dot for her than for Barack Obama.
She accomplished this despite the media’s constant electioneering while voters were going to the polls. The misogynist media boyz treated her like garbage daily. Her own party backstabbers are now legend. She was outspent by a margin of 3, 4 or 5 to one in every single state while being called witch, bitch, domineering mother, hag, yapping troll and inauthentic; simultaneously battling both Clinton fatigue and Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Yet, only her “disastrous” team’s “infighting” is mentioned by Begala, in a feeble attempt to provide cover fire for a bereft leadership team, excusing all the 2008 culprits from any responsiblity for shafting not only one of their most valuable assets, but disrespecting her 18,000,000 supporters to the bargain.
I guess the fight for women’s votes in 2012 is taking on more urgency by the day.
Begala finds ample space for praise in his article:
Hillary must understand the paradox: the less political you are, the more popular a politician you become; the less you yearn for the presidency, the more the country yearns for you….
Hillary has managed to be strong, forceful, independent—and yet completely loyal. If she runs the state department so flawlessly, the thinking goes, surely she can run a campaign—and the country.
Then there’s her portfolio as secretary of state, which is not exactly easy. WithIranmoving toward a nuclear weapon andIsraeltalking about a preemptive strike, it is Hillary who must defendAmerica’s ally and interests. WithNorth Koreaagain rattling the sabers (in this case an ICBM), it is, again, Hillary who’s responsible forAmerica’s response. Same with the mess inSyria, the crisis inSudan, instability inEgypt, and every other global hotspot. What could be a better preparation for sitting in the Oval Office than serving on-point for the hardest issues in the world?
Tough issues come with the territory, but Hillary is widely recognized to have done an excellent job against difficult odds.
Despite his glowing words, once again, another bone is being thrown to Hillary’s “bitter” supporters: If Hillary is a good little girl, plays her cards right and pretends that 2008 was all her fault, 2016 will be a walkover.
Nonsense. Condescending, placating horse hooey. In 2016, we will see if the same power players and ladder-kickers in the Democartic Party are still present to again undermine the woman they say they now find so appealing.
None of this is to say that parts of her team were not detrimental to her. Patti Solis Doyle and Mark Penn come to mind. Her husband had his destructive moments on the trail as well. I will leave it to the reader to determine whether any of his unhelpful statements came from a subconscious ego need not to have his own wife surpass him, or if Bill was just being Bill. And yet, she was able to overcome so many ridiculous obstacles, along with the DNC’s cute habit of constantly moving the goal posts. Mr. Begala has just made all of that evaporate into thin air by using the word “disastrous.”
Shame on him.
Shame on them all.
We would be so much better off had we had a courageous leader like Hillary Clinton. And if there is even the slightest chance she will run in 2016, I sincerely hope she will not let disasters like Paul Begala anywhere near her campaign. With friends like him…
Anita Finlay is the author of DIRTY WORDS ON CLEAN SKIN: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary supporter’s rude awakening, now available on Amazon as a print book and Kindle. Please visit her website: www.anitafinlay.com.