After what she’s been through, who can deny Hillary her last moment in the sun.
It’s now official. Yes, we know – the Israeli/Palestine endgame looks as far off as ever, Afghanistan a deadly quagmire (plus ca change), Pakistan a teetering basket case, Euro nations are in crisis, Syria a bloodbath. But it’s now official. Hillary Clinton is cool. Cooler in fact than her boss. How did that happen?
The Seven Ages of Hillary has been one heck of a journey. Via Stand By Your Man (x2), Madame Secretary, Tears In The Diner, Glass Ceilings, HillaryCare, all the way to the current incarnation of Hillary, The Cool Aunt – responding to the Texts From Hillary meme with her own LOLZ!, drinking beer and waving her hands in the Colombian nightclub air like she just don’t care.
Obviously impending retirement can help – “what are they gonna do, fire me?” – but she is now officially the nation’s most favored politician, and this was even before the last couple of weeks of self-depreacting fun and drinks on the dance floor. Does it matter that you’d be hard-pressed to think of one major success in four years as Secretary of State?
Admittedly the job begins with low expectations – look at just who came before, Condi, George W’s little princess, Colin Powell, a starred general cowed by Rummy Rumsfield and reduced to ‘inadvertantly’ lying at the UN on Iraq, Maddie Albright hanging with Kim Jong-il, Warren Christopher watching as Rwanda burnt, Haig trying on a coup in the immediate aftermath of the Reagan shooting, and of course Kissinger – dear Henry – siding up with Pinochet in Chile, and Suharto over East Timor.
So perhaps we needn’t be too harsh on Hillary as Secretary of State. Unlike some of the above she hasn’t suffered the usual fate of either being pushed aside, or ego-explosion, trying to become a de facto President outside of US borders. And of course any success is instantly claimed as a Presidential success, any failure is purely Secretarial.
But she’s come a long way, baby. During Bill Clinton’s first tilt at President, she had to suffer the indignity of the network interview over Bill’s lounge room ladies. And backtrack over her cookie remarks, even though they were perfectly sensible things to say. The first of a thousand articles started comparing her to Lady Macbeth. First term, she got shafted by politicos as she over-reached with health care, then came second term and the Monica shame – the world’s most famously cheated woman. And even during her election bid, she was seen as stiff, humorless and still shrill. Mocked by just about all for her tears in Cafe Expresso in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she seemed to be hammered for both lack of emotion and being emotional.
Then came her concession speech; freed from electioneering she suddenly soared with her comments about the 18million cracks in the glass ceiling – bravely reminding all that though a black president was on the way, the top office still was a male preserve. And that is where she’s been ever since. Freed. Gracefully accepting the loser’s role, she has finally felt comfortable in her own skin, stopped been so careful, ridding herself of scars accumulated over all the campaign trails, where everything you say and do is viewed through the harsh prism of cynicism.
It would be nice to believe that politics could be this way – that being yourself would get the biggest prize. But it isn’t, and never will be. The Industry of Politics won’t allow it (which given the paucity of candidates- freaks, gun-nuts, flip-floppers and beggars - might be a good thing). But fair play to Mrs. Clinton, she deserves her last moments in the fading sun. She deserves to be cool, as everyone does, just for one brief moment.
Let’s just hope she doesn’t run for office again, and ruin all the fun.