As soon as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the presidency in 2016, Republican voters, pundits, and legislators alike took to the airwaves and social media to smear her as “unqualified” to hold the Oval Office. There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate to lead America through uncertain waters and keep President Obama’s legacy alive. From attorney to First Lady to Senator to Secretary of State, more than fifty years of experience in politics has given her the tools and the wisdom necessary to hold back the malicious influence of the Republican agenda at home and the machinations of our enemies abroad.
She began her public life as a lawyer and has been involved in politics since 1964, when she worked on the campaign of Barry Goldwater, going on to work with George McGovern and Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaigns. In between, she made her name in children’s law and family policy, publishing articles and working pro-bono in child cases, so effective that historian Garry Willis would laud her as “one of the more important scholar-activists of the last two decades”. She became a partner at the Rose Law Firm while working in numerous nonprofits and children’s advocacy groups, and served some time on the Wal-Mart board of directors, gaining an insider’s perspective on a multinational corporation while working to better the lives of Arkansas children.
Bill Clinton knew his wife’s razor-sharp intellect and driving ambition were a valuable asset, declaring that a vote for him was “two for the price for one”; she made good on that promise, playing a historic role in her husband’s administration. In 1993, she headed the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, and played a pivotal role in crafting the Clinton health care plan, which was unfortunately sunk by Republicans and the health insurance industry until President Obama managed to resurrect the issue in 2009. She spent the rest of her time as First Lady engineering legislation to improve the lives of American women and children, all the while traveling to 79 different countries and establishing the relationships she would use to her advantage as Senator and Secretary.
Following the end of the second Clinton presidency, she won the 2000 Senate election for New York’s 2nd Congressional district, again making history as the first female senator elected there. She would go on to spend eight years working on the Armed Service committee as well as countless others, using her votes to oppose the George W. Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans and the right’s efforts to repress LGBT rights. Her voting record was the 11th most liberal, further to the left of even President Obama, and played a key role in keeping the liberal agenda alive during the Bush years.
After a protracted primary battle with President Obama, she lost the nomination but became the Secretary of State, shaping America’s “quadrennial diplomacy”, a pragmatic and non-ideological based combination of hard and soft power tailored to suit a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape. Her tenure as Secretary of State has allowed her to cultivate her personal relationships with international leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel; her election would give America a leverage position and the benefit of the doubt that no Republican leader could ever come close. They’ve even praised her for it; Lindsey Graham said in 2012 that “I think she’s represented our nation well. She is extremely well respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way and has a work ethic second to none.”
While the GOP field is awash in upstart junior senators and governors who barely have peach fuzz on their political cheeks and have never looked at a picture bigger than their local constituency, Hillary Clinton has seen and experienced every level of American government. Imagine Lindsey Graham and John McCain at a meeting in Brussels, accusing their European counterparts of “appeasing” the Russians and offending them with their ignorance? Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has remarked that Hillary “would be the most qualified person to enter the White House in modern history.” She brings too much to the table for America to pass up, and we owe her one more chance.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.