Those of you who know me know one thing: I love Hillary Clinton. I have (and wear regularly) a Marc Jacobs-designed Hillary T-shirt, and I founded a facebook group called “Hillary Makes All the Haters Drink Haterade in 2008.” If you’re unlucky, you may have heard me rant about Hillary. If you’re really unlucky, it’s been several times.
So in an act of sheer benevolence, I thought I’d offer the reasons why I want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States.
First, I am a feminist. That means I believe that when we add women to an equation they have been left out of for the bulk of human history, a whole lot changes — socially, economically and politically. It means I believe that women are not only entitled to be, but must actually be, full and equal participants in society. It means deconstructing gender roles and reconstructing notions about public and private that for centuries have confined women to the “sphere of domestic life.”
Hillary Clinton is the most public of women. She has been publicly assaulted with some of the most vicious misogyny in American history, only to become one of the most powerful people in America. And let’s face it, that’s what scares people. People are terrified of a woman who is smarter and more powerful than they are.
Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is smarter than you are. I, for one, am happy about that. I think Hillary Clinton is the most intelligent elected official in America. She is easily the most qualified potential candidate for president, with eight years of White House experience that no other candidate can claim.
She also has some of the most committed and capable people in American politics working for her. People wanted to work for Bill, but he wore them out. Hillary takes care of her people, and they will fight for her. And many of them happen to be seasoned veterans of presidential campaigns.
And don’t forget Bill. He is still the best political strategist the Democratic Party has, and the best campaigner in the country. He will stump for Hillary until he needs another bypass. If anyone can win those should-be Democratic states like Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas and Missouri, it’s Hillary with Bill at her side.
Hillary is remarkably politically adroit. The January abortion speech that people flipped out about was an honest attempt to discuss the issue from the perspective that the vast majority of Americans (including the pro-choice ones) view it — that is, morally. And it worked — conservatives saw her as moving to the center, while pro-choice voters realized she hadn’t ceded an inch on policy. Put Hillary Clinton in a room with any 50 people, and she will blow you away. She listens, and she understands. I’ve seen people who thought they hated Hillary after hearing her talk: They look mesmerized.
Get this: She’s popular, too. When Hillary came to New York in 2000 (and I remember, I volunteered for her), everyone said she couldn’t win. Well, she won. Granted, over an unknown Congressman, but she won upstate, and if you know New York politics, that’s an accomplishment for a Democrat. With her approval ratings having skyrocketed, she will win her Senate campaign in 2006, unscathed, with 70-plus percent of the vote, and she will have between $40 and $60 million in unspent campaign funds left over. She raises money like it’s her job — for herself, and for every other Democrat in the country.
So why shouldn’t we support the smartest, most powerful, most experienced, best fundraising, most politically skilled and most empathetic candidate? Because people just don’t like her, you say. The preceding should show how absurd a comment like that is now. But I’ll say two things to put that view to rest. First, you’re thinking of First Lady Clinton; Hillary runs in 2008 as Senator Clinton. That’s the real her. She knows how to win elections, she has won the respect of all of her adversaries on Capitol Hill, and she has the Republican Party terrified. Second, look at every poll taken, and Hillary ties or beats every single potential Republican nominee, including McCain and Giuliani.
Take a giant step back, look at the things you dislike about Hillary Clinton, and ask yourself, “If she were a man, what would I think of him?” The answer, I can almost promise you, is “He’s a gifted politician.” But when it’s Hillary, you say “She’s too ambitious.” See? Anyway, you’re damn right she’s ambitious, and I for one am glad. Let’s once and for all proclaim that we do not fear women, that we have the courage to say that if women are full and equal members of this society, then they can, and should, be powerful. If you’re willing, then I’ve got a facebook group that’s waiting for you to join.
Ted Fertik is a junior in Trumbull College.