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home : opinions : opinions   May 25, 2016

10/30/2013 9:13:00 AM
Column: In 2016? Not Hillary

Tom Collins
NT Senior Reporter

As much as I love to issue snarky and sometimes snarly Twitter posts, there was one pointed missive that I felt obliged to pull.
The post was for Oct. 26 and I wrote: “Hillary Rodham Clinton is 66 today, which means she’d be 69 years old on Election Day 2016. Too old to be prez?”
I wasn’t worried Hillary supporters would chafe at the notion that a woman’s age would be perceived as a strike against. The reality is all aging presidential contenders, male or female, have to contend with Father Time. Ronald Reagan comes readily to mind.
No, the problem with my Tweet had more to do with the fact that Hillary’s many negatives cannot be encapsulated into 140 characters.
Simply put, the “oppo” book on Hillary has grown too thick for her to have a realistic shot of making it to the convention. From her polarizing years as first lady to Benghazi, she has attached herself to too much documented controversy to be a unifying force within the Democratic Party, much less the U.S. electorate.
The birthday girl has thrown herself headlong into the 2016 campaign and is, for now, the Democratic frontrunner. My crystal ball hasn’t worked well lately, but it’s difficult to picture Hillary Rodham Clinton becoming the 45th president of the United States.
Here, I must pause for a seemingly unlikely admission: I’m actually an admirer. I followed the 1992 presidential campaign with much interest and took note of the future first lady and her (for the time) eyebrow-raising declarations about her role in public life.
“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life,” she said.
Her candor and self-assertion were admirable; but soft-pedaling a message, I saw, would never be her strong suit.
It thus came as no surprise when she was elected to the U.S. Senate and performed brilliantly there. Her directness, legal training and formidable intellect established her as a legislative force. The Senate was the perfect place for her. She should have stayed there.  Instead, it was on to the presidential campaign trail and then the State Department, where she left a questionable legacy. She left her mark in the legislative branch, not the executive.
A friend of mine saw it coming. A former legislative aide, my friend met Bill and Hillary Clinton on several occasions and he affirmed Bill Clinton’s palpable magnetism. She, on the other hand, was poised and courteous but shared none of her husband’s people skills or charisma.
The final verdict: “She’s not Bill.”
All of which raised a question still not answered: Would she even enjoy being a president? So much of the job calls for showmanship for which she’s never mustered any enthusiasm.
Anybody remember her grimacing through Christmas carols at the White House or forcing a smile when Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray planted a surprise kiss on her cheek?  She is what she is: A towering intellectual who can broker deals, craft thoughtful legislation and be a force for progress. A charismatic woman of the people she ain’t.
None of this is to say the ’08 stab at the presidency didn’t bear fruit. Hillary put it best:
“Although we were not able to shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it has 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time, and we are going to keep working to make it so, today keep with me and stand for me, we still have so much to do together, we made history, and lets make some more.”
In short, she may have accomplished for women what Jesse Jackson did for African-Americans. The civil rights leader made runs at the Oval Office in the 1980s and, in falling short, made it possible for Barack Obama to become president. It’s difficult to imagine an Obama presidency without Jackson’s having cracked the same glass ceiling.
So it could be with Hillary Rodham Clinton: Someday, thanks to her, there will be a female president of the United States.
That historic first should not be her.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: CRobinson

MW, Bill owned up to his gaffes, Hil didn't and won't. When you lead you have to be responsible and saying "what difference does it make" is not what we deserve. She'll run because there is no shame in that family and "money talks and BS walks".

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Interesting article, even from you. It, however did not state what your objections to Hilary, except that she was married to Bill and chose to remain with him, are.
The one thing you say is that she is not a showman, no flair, perhaps not some one you want to have a beer with.
Now, I under stand this is a column and by its very nature can reflect your hatred and bias for some one or something. And so it does.
As far as showman ship goes you mentioned Reagan. Good choice, a showman he was. An actor to the end, albeit not a good one. Gonzo, the Chimp was considered for an Oscar though not Mr. Reagan, ever.
I did not vote for him.
We have 43. A playboy, want AWOL, was a drunk, ran a baseball franchise into the ground, charismatic he was, a person one would like as a wingman in a bar though not in a dog fight.
I voted for him, twice and have asked why many times, many times.
I assume U did also and U would never vote for a women or Demo., correct? In retrospect how did that work for you?
You did mention Benghazi. I was in the Air Force, six years, you? What branch and what have you done that you can second guess what was or wasn't done? Would you have grabbed your trusty six shooter, swam several thousand mi. and shot the bad guys, rendered first aid and then rode of into the sunset.
Is that all that is expected of a reporter now days ? Just find fault, lay blame and never stand up like a man or women and do it? Just do it?

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