It’s important that one day we elect a woman president because I’d like my daughters to grow up in a country that has elected a woman to its highest office, but the fact that Hillary is a woman shouldn’t blind us to her shortcomings as a candidate, and potential president:
- She’s married to a former president, and electing her president smells of dynasty. What are we, Pakistan?
- She voted wrong on authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq. Worse, she won’t admit it.
- She’s a brilliant woman who has now been a professional politician for six years, but she still hasn’t learned to speak in public or use a microphone properly. (Nor has she learned not to constantly give her political enemies ridiculous facial expressions to play with.) Practice in front of a mirror, woman.
- She doesn’t know how to lose, or at least trail, gracefully.
- She appears to have no sense of decency, whether it’s accepting money from extremely dubious sources,
sending her daughter to date super-delegates,(Edit: this was misreporting) or reneging on agreements with other candidates and trying to make post-facto rules changes. OK, maybe it’s worth doing anything to prevent another warmonger winning the White House, but Obama?
There are no perfect candidates in this race. Ron Paul seems like a decent man with a completely impractical agenda (and no real support except amongst geeks). While he was still running, John Edwards was a millionaire trial lawyer pretending to be a born again Socialist. John McCain is a former POW (or “war hero”) who was tortured but voted on party lines to block a bill banning water-boarding. Barack Obama’s flaws are perhaps that he doesn’t really have policy details at his fingertips, but then who does except Hillary? And Huckabee seems to be a nice guy who is either a religious nut (bad) or someone pretending to be a religious nut (worse).
In the end, educated voters know that a president’s character is important. This is why, regardless of how I, among many, may have regarded Bill Clinton’s infidelities as irrelevant to his role as president, there is a certain validity to his fall from grace. Here he is, a guy who has worked his ass off to be president, who is going to have at most eight years doing the job, perhaps the most important job in the world, and he wastes his time, our time, and the world’s time, chasing tail and then trying to weasel out of the conseqences. At minimum, it shows a poor sense of priorities.
Hillary’s situation in some ways is similar. This isn’t her only shot at the presidency. And if she loses preselection she’ll still be one of the most powerful people in the country. Her conduct now tells us something about her character, and what it tells us is pretty depressing.
Three years ago, I was hoping for Hillary to run and win. A year ago I signed up with Barack Obama’s campaign (not that I’ve done anything, but that shows where my allegiance lies). Today, I’m wondering if I would vote for her if she wins the nomination. I probably will hold my nose and vote for her despite everything, but I doubt many “independents” will. And that’s why she should try to run the rest of her campaign with dignity and decency, and maybe even win. Fairly.