Brian Birdnow

In order to illustrate this point we must take a stroll down memory lane. Hillary graduated from Yale Law School in 1972 and went to work as the associate counsel for the select committee investigating the burgeoning Watergate scandal the following year. She could not make up her mind over whether she should stay in Washington or marry her law school boyfriend, a fellow on the make, named Bill Clinton. Despite serious misgivings she married Mr. Clinton and, somewhat glumly, she relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1974. While her husband’s political career soared Hillary benefitted through association. She was named a partner in the Rose Law firm, the most prestigious legal office in the old southwest, largely because her husband was the governor of the state. Hillary found herself deeply enmeshed in the various Whitewater scandals, and, as the General Counsel for Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, she played a central role in the shady dealings surrounding an admitted criminal enterprise.

This mattered not a whit to Hillary’s media acolytes and her hired attack dogs, like James Carville. She was mentioned in the early 1990s as one of the best lawyers in America. She was reputed to be the most brilliant woman in the world and the “brains” behind the Clinton political dynasty. After a slip-up and a display of bad temper in a 1992 television appearance, media folks helped their heroine soften her image by portraying her as a doting mother and dedicated cookie baker.

As we all know, Governor & Mrs. Clinton went to Washington in late 1992 and took the Arkansas crowd with them. Rose Law associates Vince Foster and Webster Hubbell met sad fates, the “Travelgate” scandal ruined the reputations of innocent people, and James & Susan McDougal, the Clinton’s business partners went to prison. Hillary continued down the garden path, however, covering up the new Clinton scandals, apparently including her wayward husband’s extramarital affairs.

She schemed like Lady Macbeth, showed herself cold and calculating, and quite imperious when mere mortals dared to question her. Still, her cheering section never let up, and despite the fact that she remained fettered by marriage to a scandal-marred and impeached Administration, Hillary, incredibly was mentioned as a viable candidate for the highest offices in the land.

Mrs. Clinton bowed to the political advisers who warned her of “Clinton Fatigue” in 2000 and decided to sit out the Presidential race, acceding to Vice-President Al Gore. Hillary opted, instead, to run for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, despite the fact that she had never lived in the Empire State and had no connection of any kind with the province or its people. During the campaign she played the faux populist card flawlessly by campaigning against the power of money in elections. She did, however, accept large donations from PACS and mocked her opponent when he challenged her to refuse out-of-state contributions. In this campaign the media fronted for her once again with the increasingly bizarre late night television host David Letterman actively assisting her efforts. The mainstream media also ignored the part she may have played in the 2001 pardons scandal and the stealing of furniture and artwork from the White House during the Clinton-Bush transition.

After serving one term in the Senate, Mrs. Clinton decided that she did not like the legislative branch of government and declined a re-election bid. She had her sights set on bigger things, anyway, and duly declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States in 2008. This time, though, Hillary was up against another media favorite and did not automatically receive the benefit of the doubt. NBC television figure Tim Russert tripped Hillary up on a question about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, and some media members called her out over an untruth about herself being caught under sniper fire in Bosnia. Due to the fact that she had been a media darling for a score of years she didn’t know how to handle any media criticism, and the look in Hillary’s eyes in the winter-spring of 2008 betrayed the rage of a simmering volcano.

President-Elect Obama proffered the olive branch of peace to Mrs. Clinton in December of 2008 when he asked her to serve as his Secretary of State. This was clearly a case of Lincoln-like political maneuvering in keeping one’s most formidable enemies on one’s own team. The position was meant as a balm to Hilary’s wounded pride, and the offer of the undeniably plum position and a promise to retire Hillary’s remaining 2008 campaign debt sealed the deal. Mrs. Clinton has proved to be a somewhat credible Secretary of State. She has been a very recognizable figure around the world, even though she has, at times, snapped at questioners who ask her about her estranged ex-President husband. Her tenure at State has been marked, however, by the return of the sycophantic media, and the courtiers willing to do her bidding. The media are calling her the greatest Secretary of State since Dean Acheson, with some comparing her with the giants of the office like John Quincy Adams, William Seward, and John Hay. Mrs. Clinton’s frequent travels, all on the public dime, are explained away as a part of her indefatigable work ethic. Hillary’s shills attack anyone who points out the fact that President Obama has kept her on a short leash, and has not allowed her any real power.

Hillary’s own unappealing character traits have surfaced occasionally during the last four years. In addition to snapping at questions, she has been secretive, such as recently withholding information about her mysterious illness. She has parsed the truth somewhat, such as backing Susan Rice and the bogus tale of the Benghazi attack being the end result of Muslim anger over an obscure video. She has misled the public about her Presidential ambitions, saying last year that she would never again stand for public office, while she waited for the paint to dry on the “Hillary for Preident-2016” yard signs. Finally, her imperious nature was on display again in the Senate hearings when she shouted her response to Senator Johnson about the murders at Benghazi.

Now we can look ahead and contemplate America and President Hillary Clinton. No one can really expect the leopard to change her spots. As the Chief Executive of the nation we can expect that Hillary will be cunning and secretive, she will be scheming and imperious. In short, she will be the same person she has been since the 1970s. We will also be subject to a media living in an alternate universe who will tell us that she is the most brilliant person alive today, and that we are lucky to be experiencing her moment of greatness. These people have been fronting for Hillary for a generation and will not take their eyes off the prize. The politicians who have acted as her courtiers will fall into line once again, as they jockey for favors and positions, and they will act as her enablers. Much can and probably will happen between today and 2016, but the disquieting possibility exists that there is once again a Clinton in America’s future.


Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.