It seems that every day there is new speculation over whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016. For the life of me I can't fathom what these folks are excited about. Don't get me wrong, as a feminist I've always celebrated the accomplishments of the superior sex but the inconvenient truth is that she's not that impressive. Bottom line: It's not your job title, it's your accomplishments that should matter to voters.
Let's look at Clinton's resume. A first lady who tried and failed to reform health care. A senator whose only significant accomplishment was to partner with Chuck Schumer to get $21 billion to rebuild the World Trade Center. And while there's no doubt that Clinton worked her butt off as Secretary of State, traveling to more than 100 countries, this job is relatively clout-less -- compared to when Henry Kissinger had it more than 30 years ago.
Take our policy towards China. As Nixon's National Security Adviser, Kissinger convinced then-Premier Zhou Enlai to create an "anti-Soviet alliance between China and the United States" in 1971 after "23 years of mutual hostility." Fast forward to today, when our ability to boss around China has basically disappeared, given that it skyrocketed to the world's second largest economy in 2010. So it's not surprising that China's bosses rebuffed a speech Clinton gave that year drawing analogies between the Iron Curtain and China's un-free Internet. Given that China is now our biggest foreign creditor, increasing its holdings of T-bills to $1.17 trillion last November, we should stop wagging fingers at it.
This whole Hill-Billy obsession reminds me of the public's adoration of Teflon Ron, aka Ronald Reagan -- one of many politicians who manage to "Photoshop" their reputations either because they are glib or can hire glib speechwriters like Peggy Noonan. As I pointed out in a previous post, Slick Willie's approval ratings are astoundingly high despite the fact that under his watch we saw the deregulation of banks, the rise of the housing and internet bubbles and the outsourcing of jobs to China and Mexico.
More importantly, let's compare Clinton's creds with those of Elizabeth Warren, who has spent most of career fighting for the rights of working Americans, not taking high-level accomplish-nothing jobs in Washington.
Warren has gained a national reputation as a bankruptcy expert. In 1995 she was asked to advise the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and worked for several years to fight legislation that severely restricts the right of consumers to file for bankruptcy.
According to an article in The Vancouver Sun, in 2005 she published a study showing that half of personal bankruptcy filers say that out-of-pocket medical expenses led to their financial hardship despite the fact that most of them had health insurance.
In 2008, Warren was appointed to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and released monthly reports that covered the impact of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) on the financial markets.
But her accomplishment that affects the most Americans is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Despite the fact that GOP sellouts not only prevented Warren from heading up the bureau but a judge ruled against the recess appointment of her substitute, Richard Cordray, the bureau is doing a remarkable job. It issued new rules last month that protect borrowers from many of the abusive lending practices that led to the mortgage crisis. For example, to get the "qualified-mortgage stamp of approval," a lender cannot make loans with balloon payments, terms longer than 30 years, or structures where the principal balance increases, commonly known as negative-amortizing loans. In addition, as Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post pointed out, the bureau offers a "Know Before You Owe" feature aimed at helping people understand the consequences of the overall debt they take on and is collecting public comments on a simplified credit-card agreement. It has also taken on one of the biggest sources of financial stress for Americans -- college debt, which now exceeds $1 trillion. It has joined with the Department of Education to draft a one-page shopping sheet to help students better understand the financial aid they qualify for along with helping them to compare college offers.
Bottom line: Our next president should be a woman with a solid track record of doing right for Americans, not simply holding jobs with impressive titles.