She won’t have to pass herself off as 'nice' any longer — but she will have to have a good crisis manager.
In the past, they’d been young, good looking, ambitious and formidably successful; the latter of the two aforementioned characteristics are now carrying Hillary Clinton — who turned 69 years old on Wednesday — once again to the White House, barring either some catastrophe or the greatest electoral reversal in recent American history.
The scandalous nature of her adversary, Donald Trump, helped accomplish what had initially seemed impossible: to obscure Hillary’s long and troubled years as a public figure from sight.
Barely 100 of the 325 million people living in the United States were born when Bill Clinton was elected president the first time in 1992. They don’t have a direct point of reference, therefore, about the time period during which Hillary Clinton had a slender waistline and combative, almost unfiltered personality.
They don’t remember in detail how her curly brown hair became increasingly straight and blonde, finally culminating in the headband, as seen in the accompanying photo. This hair accessory was considered the strongest symbol of middle class women who’d given up working to stay at home and take care of the kids. This same demographic became offended en masse when Hillary said that she would have never stayed at home “baking cookies and having teas,” as she instead pursued her own career as a lawyer.
The fact of the matter is that her professional career had long been directly tied to the political ascension of her husband out there in the far reaches of Arkansas, where he was first attorney general and then governor. It was here that the first of her many ethically questionable actions took place; that is, the case of her investment of $1,000 in the futures market.
She bet on cattle, and in just one year, achieved a return of $100,000. To give a bit more detail, she received counsel from a friend who was a lawyer and who, by incredible coincidence, had also been providing advice to Tyson Foods, the frozen foods giant headquartered in Arkansas. At first she said she’d studied the stock market and invested her money on her own; later, she admitted to receiving insider advice from her friend.
It was yet another example of how easy it is for people holding important political positions to make rich friends. Even when the Clintons lost money, they kept up appearances. The Senate investigated the Whitewater scandal when a banker from Arkansas, who was later sent to prison for some time, said he’d been pressured by Bill Clinton to provide a fraudulent $300,000 loan to a failed furniture company with a name precariously close to that of Watergate.
Scandals accompanied the Clintons until their very last day in the White House when a financial crook by the name of Marc Rich, sought by the FBI on 65 counts of criminal conduct, received a presidential pardon. The reaction to this action by President Clinton was so negative that Rich was unable to benefit from his amnesty, and instead continued to live in Switzerland until his death.
By incredible coincidence, Rich’s wife had made a contribution of $1 million to the Democratic Party, $450,000 of which went to the presidential library and $100,000 to Hillary’s senatorial campaign. During the move from the White House, ahead of President Bush’s arrival, the Clintons also took furnishings and other objects with them from the White House, something for which they later had to pay an indemnity.
Hillary’s position on these and many other scandals was made explicit in an interview with her in 1999: all of this was part of a “vast rightwing conspiracy.” More specifically, she spoke of the case involving Monica Lewinsky, the intern with whom Bill Clinton had had an affair, which was expounded upon in embarrassing detail, even more so than Donald Trump’s current vulgar remarks.
This logic isn’t at all strange to Brazilians: kind and noble politicians want to do good deeds for the people, while evil reactionaries make up scandals that function as traps which prevent these same good deeds from coming to fruition. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton weathered the political trial — also called an impeachment — leaving Hillary finally able to pursue her career on her own.
On top of this, overtly or discretely, the Clinton Foundation was the subject of intense suspicion on the issue of influence peddling once Hillary became secretary of state, having been nominated to the post by Barack Obama, the man who defeated her as a contender for the White House. Nothing about the suspicion concerning the Clinton Foundation has been proven, but any theory based in fact has indicated that providing a good-sized donation to the Clinton Foundation would open doors to the Department of State.
A future President Hillary will always have to live under the shadow of new revelations surrounding her emails, as well, which were hacked into quite easily as a result of her improper use of a private server during the time she was secretary of state.
Perhaps it’s for this reason that the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, appears to be the leading candidate to fill the role of her White House chief of staff. In the United States, this office is equivalent to Brazil’s chief of staff of the presidency of the republic, the individual responsible for daily oversight of various executive branch agencies.
Podesta, an able crisis manager within one of the world’s oldest professions — lobbying — also dealt with crises during the height of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals.
More reassuring is the certainty that under a future President Hillary, no vulgarities such as her husband’s sex scandals will occur. Neither will Hillary have to wear a headband nor give a disingenuously “nice” impression. And at some point, stories will begin circulating like the one from the State Department’s security division, which maintains that when Hillary slipped and broke her elbow, her oppressed bodyguards started laughing among themselves. Or could it be that people from the vast right-wing conspiracy also made this up?
Speaking under the false illusion of privacy during a private conversation, Colin Powell, former secretary of state during the second Bush Administration and an accomplished general during the Persian Gulf War, enumerated the reasons that he would prefer not to vote for Hillary, whom he described as a friend.
“A 70-year-old person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still dicking bimbos at home,” he said.
Last Tuesday, Powell announced that he would be voting for Hillary. As a political professional, Hillary ignored his email that talked about “bimbos,” instead announcing that she was “proud to have the endorsement of Gen. Powell, a decorated soldier and distinguished statesman.” That professionalism is sure to be the hallmark of her presidency. Nevertheless, should any emergency arise, it will be good for her to have Podesta nearby. And to have her husband on a tight leash, evidently.