(This piece represents the views of the writer only…God knows what anyone else here thinks)
While everyone in the United States figures that they know who Hillary Clinton is, I’d like to talk about her as the Senator who represents my state. I want to talk about her “elect-ability” problems, about how Republicans hate her and about the kind of job she’s done here in New York.
For some reason that still escapes me, everyone loves to talk about the Washington outsiders, the people who don’t know anyone in DC, don’t know how the system works, don’t know how to make deals to get things done, people who’ll, if they’re elected, will come in and stand things on their heads and ‘change government’. Lovely thought, or a nightmare, depending on your point of view.
Well kids, either way, I hate to burst your bubble, but there are 535 United States senators and congressmen and women in Washington; in addition, there are two million civilian federal employees, excluding the postal service, and five out of six of them work in DC too. There is just no way hell that Barak Obama, Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee could ever ‘change government’. Sure, they might even try to do it- they could veto legislation, adopt an antagonistic attitude towards those that disagree with them and just do what they think is right no matter what the other branches of government say- oh, wait… that’s George Bush and we all know how well that’s working out. Or maybe you think they can reason with these roughly two million people and make them all change.
For my part, I want someone who knows how things work, has made friends on both sides of the aisle, is more or less middle of the road who may just be able to get this country back to square one, they way we were in 2000, before Bush. In other words, I want the Clinton years back. Sure the GOP hated Bill, but at least they hated him because he was successful and they only way they could hit him was by going after him because he tried to hide a consensual affair from his wife. And they hated Hillary because she tried to give the country a healthcare program, the very thing they’re all clamoring for now anyway. Hell, even Barak Obama says he wants a Clinton on his team.
Admitting that “there are few more talented people” than Bill Clinton, Barak Obama has already said that if elected he’d give Mr. Clinton a job- “in a second” is the phrase I think he used. And who knows, maybe he would. Or, as I believe, he could just be blowing smoke in an attempt to co-opt one of Hillary’s major assets as President. He’s assuring us, ‘you can still get Bill without Hillary, so don’t worry’. Whether Mr. Clinton would accept such a position is another issue entirely, but I doubt that even if he did, Bill and Barak would find themselves sitting together in bed at night discussing their next strategy for the Middle East, global warming or the economy.
Whatever their personal problems may have been, Bill and Hillary have always been a good team- the Franklin and Eleanor of our age if you will…better than that, even. In addition to twelve years as a governor’s wife and eight years as a president’s wife Senator Clinton is a tried and successful politician in her own right. And believe me, there are quite a few New York Republicans that agree with me. In 2000, she won her Senate seat with a 9% majority, by 2006 she took her second term with 67%.
I know, I know, everyone thinks New York is a Liberal Democratic state, but trust me, we aren’t. New York City is a liberal area, but New York State, an area the size of the country of South Africa, is actually pretty conservative. In addition to living and working for a decade or so in Manhattan and five years here in Syracuse, I lived for three years in the Adirondack Mountains and ten years in the Catskills. Trust me, rural New Yorkers are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, and I don’t mean ‘moderate conservative Republicans’ like Rudy Giuliani, I mean gun toting, church going, Hillary hating, red neck Republicans, god bless em.
Here’s some statistics: out of the 34 counties in New York, only 8 have a majority Democrat voter registration; in short, New York state has over a quarter million more registered Republicans than Democrats. Until Spitzer came in last year we had a Republican governor for the last twelve years and our state senate is GOP controlled. Yet by her second election Hillary pulled a fair amount of those Republicans into the fold. Sure, a lot of them could have been Independents, Working Families or even the one registered Rent Is Too High party voter (now, there’s someone I gotta meet), but a case can be made that almost a half million of them at least were from the GOP. In short, Hillary Clinton has been a damn fine Senator and even the Republicans here know it.
So you can bitch about her voting record on Iraq or Iran, you can bemoan the state of DC politics and call for a fresh face in Washington all you want. As for me, give me someone who’s been in the middle of it for decades and who can actually get something done, rather than sit around with some talk show host with weirdly close ties to the Bush Administration* and tell you about his hopes and dreams. I don’t want hopeful platitudes, I want Hillary Clinton.
*BTW- the ties I’m referring to are Oprah’s boyfriend Stedman Graham and his partner, Armstrong Williams. You remember Armstrong Williams; he’s the fellow who took a quarter mil from the Bush Administration to tout their No Child Left Behind program by pretending to just be a disinterested observer. It was just one more thing that the Bush Administration did that was against the law, but this time it happened to be with Stedman’s business partner. And Oprah has always been friendly with Laura…just watch her old shows.