It seems that many Democrats think that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a slam-dunk for the Democrat Presidential nomination in 2016. According to their narrative, it’s time to clear the field of all other pretenders to the throne of Obama and begin the coronation. How ridiculous. What has she done during her long time in the arena of ideas?
Let’s start at the beginning with her early attempt at HillaryCare, known officially as the Health Security Act. Proposed by the new administration in January 1993, it was a comprehensive plan to provide universal health care for all Americans. Bill Clinton quickly set up the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, headed by his wife, to come up with a comprehensive plan to provide universal health care for all Americans.
This sparked the first controversy when their opponents sued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over her participation. Although the Clinton’s won in court it set the stage for the rest of the controversial proceedings.
After 18 months of hearings, negotiations and compromises, the attempt failed when Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell announced that their weren’t enough Democrat senators supporting the bill. This was followed by the disastrous 1994 mid-term elections where the GOP seized control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time since the 83rd Congress of 1953–1954.
Then, of course we had the TravelGate scandal in May 1993. Critics contended the firings were done to allow friends of the Clintons to take over the travel business and that the involvement of the FBI was unwarranted. It sparked a cascade of events that began with the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster on July 20, 1993.
Then the Whitewater land deal scandal erupted and sucked all of the oxygen out of the Clinton administration. The appointment of a special prosecutor guaranteed that the investigation would be never-ending. Mrs. Clinton was believed to have had a central role in the land deals although she did avoid prosecution.
In 2000, Clinton was elected to the United States Senate from her newly adopted state of New York. During her first term she had very little impact as a very junior senator. She was a reliable vote in the Democrat caucus who caused few waves in the chamber.
In fact most of her impact was outside the boundaries of Congress. Looking to establish a “progressive infrastructure” to rival that of American conservatism, she played a formative role in the 2003 founding of former Clinton administration chief of staff John Podesta‘s Center for American Progress; advised David Brock‘s creation of Media Matters for America, and following the 2004 mid-term elections, successfully pushed new Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid to create a Senate war room to handle daily political messaging.
During her shortened second term, Mrs. Clinton began to sharpen her approach in order to establish herself as the leading contender for the Democrat Presidential nomination. She opposed the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and voted against it in a cloture vote that failed in the Senate. In fact, she became an ardent critic of the Iraq War, voting against a number of measures.
Who can ever forget her attack on General David Petraeus during Senate hearings in September 2007, when she said, “I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.” She then added to the insult by voting against a Senate resolution condemning personal attacks on Petraeus, which passed 72-25.
Once she began to campaign for the nomination, Mrs. Clinton’s appearances in the Senate became spotty. She missed several important votes in the chamber. Although her approval ratings in New York were very high, it was to be expected from a deep blue state like New York.
Once thought to be the odds-on favorite for the nomination, Mrs. Clinton was beaten badly by Barack Obama. Although she won the popular vote during the primaries primarily due to large pluralities in several states, Obama won where it counted and took the delegate count by a margin of 2,285.5 to 1,973.
Although that seems close, let’s put the results into perspective. Mrs. Clinton was a veteran of the campaign war with eight years as First Lady and eight years in the Senate. Barack Obama was a first-term Senator who gave a good speech. And yet, Obama won the nomination going away.
Mrs. Clinton’s consolation prize was her appointment as Secretary of State. Brit Hume of FoxNews called her tenure at State as “competent” but not great. Hume opined on the following.
Are Arabs and Israelis closer to peace? How about Iran and North Korea and their nuclear programs? Have they been halted or seriously set back? Has the reset with Russia, which she so famously introduced with the photo-op in Moscow with the reset button, has they lead to a new and more cooperative relationship? Is there a Clinton doctrine that we can identify that she has articulated and formed as secretary of state? Are there major treaties that she has undertaken and negotiated through to a successful conclusion? I think the answer to all those questions is that she has not.
Her final act as Secretary of State was her complete failure to lead during the Benghazi crisis. Remember her commercial in 2007 about the 3 o’clock phone call? Well, Mrs. Clinton failed the one time it was necessary to answer that phone and four Americans died in Benghazi. There are no explanations that she can make to excuse that dereliction of duty.
Mrs. Clinton then avoided the press and Congressional questions by sending out U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice with a set of ludicrous talking points blaming everything on a badly-done video that few people had even viewed. She was certainly not a Profile in Courage. When she finally did testify months later, she more than likely perjured herself on the issue of supplying arms to Syria via Turkey.
Four years from now, Mrs. Clinton will be approaching 70 years old. In an age where politicians seem to be getting younger, she will be in the evening of her life. By comparison Marco Rubio will be 45, Paul Ryan 46 and Rand Paul 54. We have no idea how good or bad the U.S. economy might be in 2015. We have no idea what crises might occur between now and then. Let’s deal with what we have on our plate before we begin thinking about the next President.