An item running in today’s LU Web Crawler asks the million-dollar question: Why does Hillary Clinton want to be president?
The questioner, David A. Graham, does a pretty good job of teasing the query in The Atlantic. He notes, for example, that anyone who has ever aspired to the Leadership of the Free World has had a fallback answer along the lines of “well, just because.”
He also emphasizes that Hillary Clinton has had a rough time of it because she is going one-on-one against such an unconventional opponent. Graham writes that ahead of her return to the campaign trail following last week’s physical setback because of penumonia, Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri said:
Our campaign readily admits that running against a candidate as controversial as Donald Trump means it is harder to be heard on what you aspire for the country’s future and it is incumbent on us to work harder to make sure voters hear that vision.
But what is that vision? You can’t judge from Clinton’s TV spots, all of which, as far as I can divine, are hit jobs on Donald Trump, emphasizing that he is “unfit” for the job. For someone with chronic health issues, that seems as ill-advised as returing to the stump after doctor-ordered bed rest to the strains of “I Feel Good,” a classic by James Brown — who died in 2006 of complications from pneumonia.
Graham further observes that Clinton in her first public reappearance in Greensboro, N.C., had “no sweeping new message,” instead assuring the crowd that she has “38 separate policies laid out on her website.” And KFC used to advertise 11 herbs and spices in its secret seasoning recipe, but what of it?
Yes, Donald Trump would probably be equally hard-pressed to explain why he’s running for the highest office in the land. But one key difference between him and Clinton is that — unlike her — he hasn’t been running for president for the past quarter century.
Hillary’s first foray into the world of president-style policy-making was her rollout in 1993 — from her very own office in the White House, no less — of her signature health care program. When that bombed bigtime, Mrs. Clinton assumed a more advisory role to Bubba, biding her time patiently until his second term was up. She then embarked on her first actual presidential run, which included a brief remedial detour through the U.S. Senate (as a representative of a state she had never lived in), to acquire her bona fides as a lawmaker.
By 2008, she felt ready. But her dreams of becoming the first female president were dashed by the ambitions of a fellow U.S. Senator who packaged himself — despite the white blood coursing through his veins — as black. After a bitter battle that included inuendo and name-calling, he edged her out for the Democratic nomination and went on to win the White House.
The loss was crushing. When asked by NBC’s Ann Curry in 2009 whether she would run for president again, Clinton “responded with that hearty Hillary laugh we’ve all come to know, and said: ‘It never crosses my mind … ‘No no no — No. This is a great job. It is a 24/7 job and I’m looking forward to retirement at some point.’”
By now, everyone in the U.S. is aware of Clinton’s penchant for lying, so it should have surprised no one when she reversed herself and threw her hat in the ring for a second time in 2015. And how badly does she want it this time? Badly enough to conceal repeated health crises, culminating last Sunday with her collapse into her campaign van in front of a curious public, then re-emerge from her daughter’s apartment two hours later with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Soon after that, she was home and resting in bed, where she had belonged from the beginning.
As I wrote the day after her embarrsassing collapse, we may be witnessing some perverse bucket list goal by a woman who intends to run until she wins or until — like the first Marathoner — she drops.