There isn’t much Hillary Clinton does these days that doesn’t come under scrutiny for how it potentially impacts her possible 2016 presidential campaign. Last week she stoked the fires by having lunch with President Obama and breakfast the next morning with Vice President Biden. Many would have liked to be a fly on the wall at those meals.
Having made no bones about my desire to see Hillary run I was pleased to read the Huffington Post story by Steve Peoples that reported the super PAC “Ready for Hillary” raised more than $1.25 million just this spring. But even more exciting was hiring whiz kids, including Jeremy Bird who developed the Obama field operation and then founded 270 Strategies to get ready a volunteer and field operation should Hillary decide to run.
Why all the continued excitement about a woman who has been in the public eye since Bill Clinton was elected Arkansas attorney general in 1977? A woman who received her baptism by fire on the national level when she appeared on “60 Minutes” doing her so-called “stand by your man” appearance? Clearly there is something about Hillary that intrigues people and makes them want more.
No other woman in America has had more press, both good and bad. There are two projects — a TV mini-series about her and a documentary film on her life — currently in the works. The appetite to see and hear more about her seems insatiable. Organizations that have hired her to make a speech have reported huge increases in attendance at their meetings. The American Society of Travel Agents said its keynote in 2012 drew 800 people and more than 5,000 are expected to come hear Hillary speak at their 2013 meeting in Miami. Another group in Chicago reported long lines at the convention center with more than 17,000 coming to hear her. She can command more than most former presidents for a speech and is only matched by her husband in what people will pay to have her speak.
A recent invitation for a Clinton Foundation reception and dinner at the Italian embassy on Sept. 9 listed $1,000 for the reception and $25,000 a couple for dinner. And that’s cheap when you consider that for that amount you get Bill, Hillary and Chelsea. Beginning in 2015 if Hillary announces, it will be at least $37,500 a couple to attend a dinner and that will be with just Hillary.
What makes her potential presidency so exciting is the depth of passion she brings to the causes she cares about and the scope of her knowledge and understanding of what can be done to make a real difference in our world. Her intellect goes without question but she also has a work ethic that surpasses anyone else’s. She is now a recognized expert on foreign affairs but maintains her razor focus on issues that impact children, women and girls, and families. She has it all and if elected would be the most prepared person ever to enter the White House for a first term. She won’t need that first term to find the levers of power as she knows where they are and how to use them. She has seen the operation of the White House in person and also spent time in Congress. She knows what makes people tick and even what ticks them off.
By her actions and positions Hillary Clinton is a moderate. A moderate who supports national healthcare; marriage equality; a woman’s right to choose; promotes a pathway to citizenship for those immigrants who came here illegally to work and find a better life for their families. But she takes second place to none in her belief that we need to maintain a strong national defense. Her positions over the years have gotten those on the left and the right mad at her. Somehow that makes her the candidate I can support. She understands and believes in the separation of church and state and fights for children because she knows that the future success of our nation depends on them.
Speaking as a Democrat it is important to keep together the coalition that elected President Obama. That includes the middle class, young people, minority voters, and LGBT Americans. Hillary speaks to those voters but she also speaks to women across the political spectrum who can rightfully say, “It is our time.” Hillary has the ability that no other potential candidate has to change the political landscape and win not only the Northeast and West but to add states like Texas, West Virginia and Arkansas, among others, to the Democratic column. Those are some of the reasons so many are “Ready for Hillary.”