By Muhammad Sattaur
Hillary Clinton, once viewed as the inevitable Democratic candidate in the 2008 election, seems similarly poised to claim the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. Setting aside, for the moment, whether or not this assumed positioning will play out better for her than it did in 2008 – let’s start by taking a moment to consider her qualifications to the most prestigious office our country has to offer.
Hillary is a graduate of Yale Law School, putting her in the company of some of the greatest minds America has produced. She is also, of course, the spouse of former President Bill Clinton. While some would decry this fact as unimportant, I find myself respectfully disagreeing. Her husband’s experience certainly doesn’t carryover to her, but her role as the First Lady couldn’t have been carried out without learning many of the ins and outs of Washington DC. She continued on from her role as First Lady to that of a United States Senator representing my home – the great state of New York from 2001 – 2009.
While her 2008 Presidential Campaign fell short of claiming the Democratic nomination it must be conceded that she put up a valiant and close fight with now President Obama. Indeed, President Obama thought well enough of her to appoint her as the Secretary of State from 2009 until she she stepped down in 2013. Many right-wing voters will try and dismiss her effectiveness as Secretary of State, particularly by citing the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, but such attacks pay little attention to the Congressional findings regarding Benghazi after the fact. While concerns were raised by embassy staff, Congressional findings failed to lay the majority of the blame at Clinton’s feet.
Perhaps most important now, though, isn’t what qualifies her to run for President, but what priorities and policies she’d have if elected to that office. Hillary’s official website (www.hillaryclinton.com) outlines just that. She’s staked out four issues that she views as crucial and demanding of the utmost effort and attention:
1. Investment in infrastructure, research, and education.
2. Tax relief for working families who are overly burdened by existing policies.
3. Raising the minimum wage at the national level.
4. Protection of the right of workers to organize.
These positions map out well with the general Democratic platform, and may just be the source of support she’ll require to take the White House. Middle and lower income families are hurting financially, and while the Recession has passed there are still far too many still struggling to make ends meet. The income gap has grown so large that even Republican candidates feel the need to use it as a talking point, but Hillary seems determined to do more than simply talk if she’ll be given the chance.
The question that haunted Obama’s initial Presidential run was whether America was ready for a black President. The question now, it would seem, is if we’re ready for a woman President. The answer to that question, unfortunately, will only be provided with time.