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Zaman, Turkey

Teflon Hillary Clinton

By Ali H. Aslan

It is difficult to imagine a valuable and seasoned politician like Hillary Clinton retiring. The possibility of her being elected president is an exciting prospect for both America and the world.

Translated By Dayla Rogers

7 January 2013

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

Turkey - Zaman - Original Article (Turkish)

A few days before Hillary Clinton's Dec. 15 hospitalization was announced, Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza bestowed upon her the title “Teflon Clinton.”

The term “Teflon” was previously used to refer to Bill Clinton, who seems to land on all fours and maintain his popularity despite crises that have come his way. Was it an effect of the evil eye – who can say – but Hillary Clinton became dehydrated due to a stomach infection and fainted, hitting her head. Last week doctors detected a blood clot in her brain.

Thankfully, Clinton's situation is not life threatening. It appears that Madame Secretary truly deserves her “Teflon” title, as she is expected to return to work within a week. Despite her current pallid condition, she is one of the Democrat's top contenders for the 2016 presidential race, and she clearly makes the Republicans uncomfortable.

During her four years as Secretary of State, Clinton has demonstrated amazing energy, trotting around the globe with political strength as unbreakable as Teflon. Public approval of her performance is around 60 percent. This high rating changed little after she took responsibility for the results of the bloody terrorist attack on the embassy in Benghazi on Sept. 11. Her strong performance keeps speculation about her candidacy in 2016 alive. If she maintains her health, it is not out of the question that she could be America's first woman president at age 69.

For those on the right wing, Bill Clinton, who occupied the White House for eight years and still contributes significantly to the efforts of the Democratic Party, is a merciless enemy. Their most terrifying nightmare is to have Lady Clinton again plant her family's standard on the bastion of the White House. Her first attempt at this was thwarted by the wave of enthusiasm for Barack Obama in 2008. Her providential selection as the Secretary of State by her former competitor, however, gave her an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the American political memory. In this way she was able to transform defeat into victory. While she was at it, she also proved her resilience of Teflon...

Opponents seeking to use the incident in Libya to hurt Obama's national security image tried to hit two birds with the same stone by targeting Clinton, as well. I believe that the reason for their continuation of the discussion around this incident was to ensure sufficient damage to Clinton's resume. In fact, a few particularly savage Republicans accused her of exaggerating her illness in order to avoid testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For instance, a ringleader of the neocon gang named John Bolton, who is the former Ambassador to the U.N., suggested that her illness was “diplomatic” in nature. A few major figures in the right-wing media flapped their lips in a similarly tactless manner. When Clinton was taken to the hospital, however, these conspiracy theory attacks proved baseless. Besides, Clinton had already promised to testify before the Senate Committee before leaving her position. The rescheduled session is expected to take place soon.

The greatest compensation for her exposure to the vagaries of partisan politics must be the adoration that people around the world show toward her. She was voted number one in International Gallup Poll's category of “Most Liked Women.” In fact, there is quite a clear gap between herself and her first runner-up, Michelle Obama. What is more, she came in first place in the poll 17 times in the last 20 years. Her efforts in support of women, children, the ill and other disadvantaged members of society have won her special honor. During her tenure as Secretary of State she was helpful in promoting Obama's attempts at peaceful engagement. She took special care not to offend or hurt other nations while defending her country's interests abroad. She adopted a particularly sensitive and respectful posture when dealing with the Muslim world and Turkey. As First Lady it was she who began the tradition of holding Iftar dinners at the White House and she called the recent video insulting the Prophet Mohammed “disgusting.” She even took care of the Turkish population in her constituency while Senator of New York. For these reasons, she deserves to be commemorated as a person who lived by our standards of fidelity.

It is difficult to imagine a valuable and seasoned politician like Hillary Clinton retiring. The possibility of her being elected president is an exciting prospect for both America and the world. What is more, her closest adviser will be the still-active Bill Clinton. The former president can give fine definition to her time in the White House. Political experts, however, do not expect her to make her decision clear at this stage, even if the answer is “yes.” We wish Lady Secretary health and happiness...



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