This is the second time Hillary has been the prohibitive
frontrunner for her party’s nomination for president. This
time (in contrast to 2007-08) she seems even stronger in the
polls. Moreover, this time she does not yet seem to have a
significant challenger, and most commentators on both the
left and the right seem ready to concede her the nomination.
And yet, there is a recurring and very persistent negative
aura about her candidacy, based on her record, her health,
and most importantly, her performance so far as the putative
choice of the national Democratic Party.
Her new book, and its accompanying book tour/appearances,
have been a public relations disaster, the exact opposite for
which it was intended. Rumors, and I stress that they are so
far just rumors, about the state of her health abound in the
media, and not just in the hostile conservative media.
It is not even an unspoken truth that the primary force of
her candidacy is that she would be the first woman president.
That is certainly not a bad motive; in fact, it is a good thing
that we break down barriers to the highest office in the nation.
We have already had the first Catholic president and the first
black president. It is only a matter of time when we have the
first woman president, the first Jewish president and the first
Hispanic president. But surely, religion, race or ethnicity
should not be the primary or only qualification for president.
I will not here enter a detailed discussion of the quality and
performance of her experience and preparation for the
presidency. It is unquestionably much greater than that of
the current White House occupant. On the other hand, it is
also very controversial.
As for her health, she must convincingly persuade the
public that she is able to endure the punishing pressure
and schedule of the presidency. The days of hiding health
problems of presidents and those who seek the presidency
surely must be over. Going back to President Grover
Cleveland’s secret cancer operation in the late 19th
century, President Woodrow Wilson’s dehabilitating stroke
early in the 20th century, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s
rapid physical decline twenty years later, President John F.
Kennedy’s fatal case of Addison’s Disease forty years later,
and President Reagan’s perhaps onset Alzheimer’s at the
very end of his second term, these pathologies did nothing
but diminish their presidencies.
Since that time, the daily demands of the presidency have
only increased manifold. Whatever one thinks of President
George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, each of them
were vigorous and in good health. For the period from
January, 2017 to the next four and eight years, the executive
challenges to the next president will likely be even greater.
Hillary Clinton has no visible individual challenger in her
party with a year and a half to go before the actual next
presidential contest begins.
Her primary opponent so far seems to be herself.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.