Here’s today’s assignment: Tell me what you most respect about your choice of presidential candidate, what you think are your candidate’s greatest accomplishments (please include specific examples), what you consider your candidate’s greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses, and why you think your candidate would make a good President. Avoid any reference to an opposing candidate (you will lose points if you do this) and personal attacks.
I will be voting for Hillary Clinton this election. Although I went to the Democratic caucus as a Bernie Sanders supporter, and would like to have seen him win the Democratic nomination, I have to admit that Hillary Clinton has won me over in the last month. The morning after the second debate I woke up realizing that I really WANTED to vote for Hillary Clinton. There was something about the way she handled herself during the debate that really impressed me. She was criticized by some for being too unemotional – but it occurred to me that if she’d shown emotion, she would have been criticized for being an “emotional female.” I liked, too, the way she talked to individuals in the audience face-to-face – I liked how she talked to the Muslim woman and addressed her concerns about discrimination.
What I most respect about Hillary Clinton is her commitment to doing what she thinks is the right thing to do – her “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” attitude about the issues that matter to her. She’s been demonized, threatened with bodily harm, lied about, and ridiculed – but none of it seems to phase her. She keeps her eye on the goal and keeps moving forward.
Her greatest accomplishments? As First Lady, her work in helping to bring health care to impoverished children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; as a senator from New York , her work to bring aid to the first responders who got sick after 9-11, and to bring $21 billion in federal aid to New York to help it re-build after the attack; and, as Secretary of State, her work in keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran, and in creating avenues for women, globally, to become empowered. Hillary Clinton has admitted she’s better at the “servant” part than the “public” part. She’s more a Clydesdale than a prancing Lipizzaner. She’s one of those people who has worked for years behind the scenes – forging progressive policies, working for children, the poor, and the disenfranchised.
This brings me to what I feel are her greatest strengths and her biggest weaknesses: She’s great at policy-forging, and at behind-the-scenes negotiations. She’s tenacious. When she sees there’s a need, she finds a way to meet it. But this also might tend to make her focus narrowed – I don’t know that she always sees what’s going on in the periphery – I think she was blind-sided, for instance, by the strong support Bernie Sanders amassed during his campaign. I wish she were as much “public” as “servant” – I wish she held rallies in football stadiums à la Bernie, and had the ability to rouse the troops. But if I have to choose between “public” and “servant” – the “servant” part of a politician is more important to me than the “public” part.
I think Hillary Clinton will be a good President. Maybe even a great one. I believe she genuinely cares about people, and wants to help. I believe she wants to leave the world a better place than she found it. I believe she has the intelligence and savvy and heart to do this.