A clear example of political nepotism is that of Hillary Rodham Clinton. This “icon” has been a lawyer, governor’s wife, First Lady, Senator from New York, US Secretary of State, and presidential candidate. Although initially appearing on the national stage because of marriage to Bill Clinton, Mrs Clinton has since sought to establish her own legacy, and gain support and praise for individual pursuits.
In the 1990s, Hillary Clinton was the much-more-vocal-than-usual kind of First Lady, whose own polarising presence left an impression. Since leaving the White House though, she has parlayed her last name into a thriving political career. Since the race box has been checked in the list of things to conquer politically, the gender box is next, at least to liberals. Being a female, and wife of liberal idol Bill Clinton, is a cocktail too wonderful for the left to resist. Yet even while some say Hillary’s dynastic turn has most assuredly come, others see Elizabeth Warren as the probable female Democratic frontrunner.
Despite all the praise given Hillary, especially by feminists, for “breaking the glass ceiling”, the truth is that her last name, gained upon marriage, has propelled her. She would certainly not be where she is today had she remained Ms Rodham. This truth is not factored in by those who would rather not attach the root of a politically successful woman’s legacy to a man, especially not one whose liaisons outside of marriage have been well publicised. Beyond that, a female candidate who is supposed to be waving the banner of feminism is required to be a self-made woman with a relatable history. This can’t be said for Hillary Clinton. While surveying her campaign in 2008, popular feminist Anna Holmes remarked: “The gender discrimination experienced by a First Lady and the first viable female presidential candidate…is not the same as the gender discrimination experienced by a single mother in Wichita or a high school student in Watts. She also needs to be honest in a way that she hasn’t been lately: about the uncommon privileges she has been given.” It appears that this feminist figurehead is even questioned by many for her own privileges, and lack of shared struggle.
Hillary’s supposed inevitability in 2016 faces opposition from her own side, and the disconnect is apparent: “With antiestablishment fervour running rampant, Clinton would do well to stop reminding the populist base that she’s such an entrenched establishment figure, especially as Elizabeth Warren keeps reminding that same base that she’s one of them.” Combine her charmed life and marital status as one-half of a political power couple, and the idea of her breaking that glass ceiling seems less of an actual revolution and more of the regular.
Beyond the superficial estimation that Hillary delivers more mediocrity than anything for her base is the very real, and substantive, issue of her ability to lead the nation. Her experience as a US Senator and Secretary of State has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Americans. While her turn as Senator was what you’d expect from an establishment Democrat, her tenure as Secretary of State, not as transparent as desired by the the public, was marred by Benghazi and its aftermath. The main Hillary soundbite taken from Benghazi hearings: “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?” presents an unconcerned diplomat bothered by questions of events that lead to the death of four Americans. Events in which she was a central figure. This is how many remember her most recent appointment. The last glimmer of her is that of a frustrated politician, fed up with investigations into her job performance. Needless to say, this, and her extensive, play-by-the-book liberal track record, does not read as attractive material for a candidate for the highest office in the land.
Declaring “it’s time” when discussing Hillary Clinton and the presidency is not nearly enough of a reason to pursue said path. The disturbing popularity of the push for a female president – solely based on gender – is as sexist as any misogynistic filled rant feminists seek to shame. There is nothing specific in gender, neither male nor female, which qualifies one to lead a country. It is nothing short of regressing back to an age when gender or race awarded privileges based on these superficial traits. Ushering in a female president to complete a quest firmly to plant one’s self on the “right side of history” says nothing of actual importance. It the pushing of a narrative which pursues the opposite and seeks to divide.
It remains to be seen if Hillary Clinton will in fact run for president in 2016. Obstacles such as other possible contenders, like Elizabeth Warren, and unpopularity, as seen in her abysmal book sales this summer, are new to the table this cycle. What isn’t new is the establishment mindset of Mrs Clinton or her padded history of opportunity aided by marriage to Bill Clinton. If Hillary pursues the presidency once again, she will have to contend with these truths that continue to swirl. Despite many declaring that the counting down of the clock signals we’re ready for a Madam President, this could not be further from the truth. If anything, the current national and international climate calls for a leader whose independence has been a hallmark of their history, and whose praise is not secured by their gender. For these reasons, Hillary Rodham Clinton is wholly unqualified.