Many are writing about Hillary Clinton and trying to parse the meaning of the early Hillary in 2016 movement. The let's-go-slow crowd says it is too early to be talking about this; maybe she is too old; could Bill Clinton cause trouble; and they bring up a myriad of other issues that are falling on deaf ears of those who are committed Hillary supporters and fans.
I am a committed Hillary supporter, was an elected delegate for her in 2008 and hope to have that honor again in 2016. Since he was nominated at the 2008 Democratic Convention I have been an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama, worked hard for his reelection, and believe he is doing a great job as president. But the overriding reason driving the early campaign for "Hillary in 2016" is, should she decide to run, Hillary will be the most qualified and prepared person ever elected president. The icing on the cake is that she is a woman.
An unapologetic feminist since working for the late Bella S. Abzug (D-N.Y.) my concept of feminism isn't that women are always better or smarter, but that women must be given an equal chance at everything they want to accomplish. Hillary has had that chance and proven that she is better than anyone else currently on the scene. There is that one last glass ceiling she needs to crack. She is smarter and clearly works harder than any person around. Over the years she has become a good politician as well. That wasn't always the case. Not every speech was greeted the way they are today. Her Human Rights Day speech in Geneva in 2011 was a landmark for LGBT rights and her recent speech at Lincoln Center to the Women in the World Summit was another landmark for women's rights and both were tour de forces. They were pure Hillary filled with facts and passion.
This was different from the first speech I heard Hillary give in Little Rock in 1990. A speech about education that was not a great political speech. It showed her smarts and hard work, but not her passion. She was still learning the art of connecting with people the way she is able to do today.
Hillary's life has led her to this time and place and prepared her to lead. From her Republican roots in Illinois to her college years at Wellesley and Yale; from her work for the Children's Defense Fund and as a legal counsel to the House Judiciary Committee to her marriage to Bill Clinton and life in the Deep South; she has experienced more than most of us. She lived Bill's first campaign loss in Arkansas and then wins and losses as governor, and became first lady of Arkansas. She was intimately involved in Bill's two presidential campaigns and had to deal publicly with his womanizing. Taken in totality these experiences have left their mark on her and have clearly led to a deeper understanding of people, and in the process one can see she has become a more passionate and compassionate person.
Hillary successfully revamped the education system in Arkansas but then failed in her attempt at health care reform on the national level. Again these efforts along with her work as first lady -- being a mother, and a breadwinner as a working lawyer, all play a part in who she is today.
Remember that all this was before she became a senator from the State of New York, ran a successful reelection campaign, and then a failed presidential campaign. These experiences all added to who she is. Then came the offer and her surprise acceptance to become Secretary of States and her million miles of travel to 112 countries where she represented the United States meeting and negotiating with the world's leaders. Then add to this her willingness and ability, no matter how tired from travel, to meet with students, dissidents and just plain folks wherever she went to understand who she is today. The successes, near successes and even the few failures in foreign policy have combined to make her for the 17th time in 20 years the most admired woman in the world.
Her life experiences have led to Hillary Clinton once again having the opportunity to mount a presidential campaign. This time she understands nothing is ordained but like everything else she has attained she will have to work hard for it. It seems nothing has ever been handed to Hillary on a silver platter but that has always made her stronger and because of that she will make an even better President if she decides to run. She will need to traverse the hills and streams; mountains and valleys; urban, rural and suburban areas of our nation and as the song says go "from sea to shining sea" if she is willing to lead our nation as president.
Taken together and in the context of politics in our nation this is the simple answer to "Why Hillary in 2016." But there is more. Her election would not only be the culmination of her career but of the lives and careers of so many others. Those of her generation and of countless other generations, older and younger, who have lived the ups and downs of our nation during the years that Hillary has led such a public life.
In all likelihood she will be the last baby boomer to be elected president. She encompasses many of our hopes and dreams. From those who took to the streets to fight for integration and civil rights; to stop the Vietnam War; to the women who fought for and lost the equal-rights amendment (ERA); to generations whose ancestors, their children and grandchildren fought as President Obama so eloquently said, "from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall." To all of us, a Hillary Clinton presidency will be the fulfillment of something in our lives not yet accomplished. Her election would complete so many of our hopes and dreams and finally move our nation another step closer to that "more perfect union."
That is the answer to "why Hillary in 2016."