THE BLOG
08/31/2016 02:10 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2017

Is Hillary Clinton Entitled To Be President?

I hear the word "entitled" quite often these days. I use it myself, too, mostly to distinguish the baby boomers, who felt lucky to come of age in an expanding economy, to the millennials, many of whom feel entitled to the same lifestyle, opportunities and luxuries their parents worked hard to raise them in.

It's when I hear it used to describe Hillary Clinton's attitude to the presidency that my hackles rise.

"Entitled" isn't the same thing as earned, merited, or deserved. A woman who has spent her entire adult life working for the common good -- who, as Barack Obama says, is more qualified than any other presidential candidate in history to lead the nation -- isn't "entitled" to do so. She was an activist before she became a governor's wife, with a notable record of achievement in college and law school; eschewing the affluent firms that courted her, she chose to work for underprivileged children instead. She came to public attention because of her marriage, but it's clear that a woman as talented, passionate, and exceptional as Hillary would have succeeded at whatever she did regardless of who or even whether she married. She got to the top because of her smarts, skills and drive, and also because she came of age just as women were starting to make those initial cracks in the glass ceiling -- the one she shattered when she became the first female presidential candidate.

Yes, she was lucky to be born at the right time, in the right place. But that's not the same thing as entitled. As Anne Richard famously said of George W. Bush, entitled is being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple. "Earned" is a whole 'nother thing.