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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WHY THE FASCINATION WITH HILLARY CLINTON?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- What precisely has she accomplished as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State?

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Without a doubt, the 2016 Democratic candidate for President of the United States will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. At age 66, she may have made token rumblings she will not run, but the temptation to become the first female president will be too irresistible for her to resist. In his book, "This Town," author Mark Leibovich describes how the press fawns over the Clintons and treats them like royalty. The media will once again go to bat for the Clintons as opposed to "Uncle Joe" Biden. Today, most people have forgotten her husband was impeached for sexual misconduct during his term as president. The Democrats have forgiven him, blamed the Republicans, and now treat him like as a rock star. Go figure.

After narrowly losing to President Obama in 2008, the presidency is now within Hillary's grasp, but you have to wonder if she is up to the task. Certainly her husband will become the Commander-in-the-Shadows, and will try to run things behind the scenes, but the big question is whether Hillary can stand on her own two feet. As a public office holder, she has served in various capacities, e.g., First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, but you have to wonder what exactly she has accomplished during this time.

There is no question, she is well educated, graduating with distinction from Wellesley College, and earning a law degree from Yale Law School. Her senior thesis at Wellesley was a critique of the tactics of Saul Alinksky, the well-known radical community organizer. It is during her years at Wellesley where she switched political philosophies and became a Democrat, and campaigned for George McGovern in 1972.
Professionally, she was the first female partner at the Rose Law Firm where her earning power sustained the Clintons for several years.

She served two stints as "First Lady", starting in Arkansas when her husband was governor, and of course in the White House from 1993 - 2001. During the White House years, her big initiative was the Clinton health care plan which failed to pass Congress, representing a major defeat. During this time, she was plagued by several investigations, such as the Whitewater controversy, Madison Guaranty, Travelgate, Filegate, and the apparent suicide of White House counsel Vince Foster. All of this, coupled with the president's Monica Lewinsky scandal, which led to his impeachment, left a dark cloud over the Clinton administration.

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Clinton replaced Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Senator from New York. She began her tenure by building relationships and serving on a variety of committees. Following 9/11 she voted to support military action in both Afghanistan and Iraq. She was also instrumental in obtaining funding for redevelopment of the World Trade Center in her home state. Domestically, she voted against President Bush's tax cut packages, which passed in spite of her objections.

During her second term she voted against the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, which was passed, and favored a war-spending bill that tried to set a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq, which failed.

In 2007 she campaigned for president and narrowly lost the Democratic candidacy to Barack Obama. Following this, she was appointed Secretary of State under Obama where she served during the president's first term. In the early days, she contacted several world leaders to inform them changes to foreign policy were in the offing, "We have a lot of damage to repair." This was tied to the perceived Obama "apology tour."

It was on her watch, in 2011, when the "Arab Spring" began which ignited political tensions and upset the balance of power in the Middle East. It also led to the Libyan Civil War where America was accused of "leading from behind" in deposing the Gaddafi dictatorship. Her career in the State department essentially came to an end following the 2012 9/11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi where four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

In the Benghazi aftermath, during the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, 2013, Mrs. Clinton was evasive and combative in her testimony, leading to the regretful comment, "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" This smacked of arrogance and defiance of Congress and will certainly haunt her on the campaign trail.

Mrs. Clinton may have had a colorful career in politics, but the question remains, "What exactly did she accomplish?" The Clinton Health Care program failed on her watch. She made no significant contribution as Senator, and her career in the State Department will forever be mired in Benghazi. I think the voters are looking for something a little more substantial than her book, "It Takes a Village," which she wrote as First Lady using a ghostwriter. After twenty years of public service, you would think there would be some major contribution she could point to with pride. Sadly, there is nothing. Her contributions can be described as negligible at best.

So, why the fascination with Hillary? Feminists will, of course, push for Hillary to become the first female president. The Democrats have alleged the GOP is conducting a "War on Women." This was likely crafted with Hillary in mind and, as such, it is intentionally fallacious.

There is an alternate reason though, the Democrats want to slip Bill Clinton into the White House through the back door. As much as the feminists love Hillary, the Democrats want to put a match set into the White House. So, Yes, Bill Clinton's legacy during his first term still matters, warts and all. However, one cannot help but wonder if the country can withstand any more Clinton controversies.

About a year ago, I heard comedian Jackie Mason make the comparison of Mrs. Clinton to an airline pilot's wife. He asked, if the pilot becomes indisposed and cannot fly the plane, does it make sense to ask his wife to captain the plane in his place? In the case of Mrs. Clinton, she may know the ropes, but she hasn't proven herself behind the wheel. She certainly hasn't delivered anything of substance which would lead us to believe she is qualified to be president. Then again, we elected a community organizer to the White House and we saw what happened to the country.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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