Down with the Men’s Club

Hillary Clinton appears to be the Democrat’s top choice to run for the presidency. There are no serious rivals anywhere on the horizon. She has announced her candidacy with a clever and surprising video: No details, no attacks but rather a portrait of an idealistic multi-ethnic America made up of all ages with strong women, optimistic in tone and bearing the message, “I will fight for you, the average citizens.” America’s permanent political campaign is all show and theater. Ronald Reagan understood that concept with his “it’s morning again in America” slogan as did Barack Obama with his desire for a better America. Now, Clinton’s team has apparently learned a lesson from that play book and their 2008 drubbing against Obama. Money should be no problem this time thanks to supporters in Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Wall Street.

Yet Clinton is still no shoo-in. Of the 15 Republican candidates at the starting line, Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and third in line for the Bush dynasty, appears to have the Republican pole position for now. But even he faces a primary election jungle where conservative credentials are examined with a critical eye and those who don’t pass muster are punished by their own party.

Will November 2016 be a choice between two dynasties? The former first lady, Secretary of State and ex-Senator Hillary Clinton has been at home in the penthouse of establishment power for decades. A millionaire who gets $100,000 a speech will have difficulty when she tries to identify with the middle class. Whatever this Democratic politician might call herself, she has never been a liberal — whatever that means in the United States these days. But it will naturally make a difference whether she or Jeb Bush — or whichever other Republican — occupies the White House after November 2016. The Republican majority in Congress already has given a foretaste of what to expect: Conservatives want to do away with the Affordable Care Act and enact tax laws more favorable to the most wealthy. The nuclear agreement with Iran is already being demonized and will be done away with entirely. Republicans want to send arms to Ukraine and are against the change in American-Cuban relations. Clinton’s opposition shows no sign of ever changing.

Prior to Obama’s election, many of his supporters, especially those in other countries, believed he would bring about change. Socially, he succeeded; economically, he failed. The poverty rate is higher today than it was in 2008. The hopes for Hillary are more modest. Her supporters expect steps toward social equality to be smaller and more measured. On the global stage, one can only hope that her reticence and basis in realpolitik will be accepted by a world that doesn’t expect the United States to continue in its role as the world’s policeman.

Clinton reflects conditions in a nation where only 6.5 percent of the employed workforce in the private sector belong to a labor union and where progressive groups complain every four years that they have no “realistic alternatives.” But then again, they never do much between elections to rectify that failing. Still, apart from that, an America governed by a woman is as long overdue as the dissolution of that elite boy’s club in Washington. It’s not just Barack Obama who is convinced Hillary Clinton would be an outstanding president.

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