Understanding Hillary Clinton


Reuters has a magazine article up on Hillary Clinton that is definitely worth looking at. This stood out:
the more Clinton waxed on about Suu Kyi, the more I thought that she was also talking about herself—a celebrity first lady with a troubled marriage who could have chosen to opt out of politics entirely but instead launched a whole new career as an ambitious United States senator turned combative presidential candidate before morphing yet again over the last few years into the most globetrotting top diplomat in American history. "When I was first lady," recalled Clinton, "I could say anything I wanted to say, and I often did." Here she stopped for one of her trademark deep laughs before adding, "for better or worse." It's a laugh that makes her very human—and also one that immediately calls to mind the many controversies of Clinton's long career. Remember "the vast right-wing conspiracy" that was out to get her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal? And her defiant taunting of Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries, when she said her future boss wasn't nearly experienced enough to take that 3 a.m. phone call? Now Clinton has a different role and a different set of dilemmas: If she speaks too forcefully about human rights, she'll be chided for letting wild-eyed activism get in the way of America's economic interests. But if she fails to bash the Chinese over their harsh treatment of dissidents and brutal suppression of free speech, then she'll be called a sellout. Her shape-shifting career guarantees that Clinton will be criticized at every turn, but it also gives her the opportunity, as she notes about Suu Kyi, "to put into practice everything she's been thinking about and working on her entire adult life."
The reason why it is so difficult for Clinton to speak about human rights is because few of her predecessors did enough on behalf of human rights to give her any room with which to work. Diplomacy is very much a game where you have to walk in the footsteps of your predecessors; for the entirety of the Bush Administration, Colin Powell and Condi Rice were de facto absent from any substantive discussion about human rights. The world suffered mightily for it.

Clinton will always be a victim of sexism and Republican hatred. They despised her then and they despise her now. On substance, she is better than all of them, and they know it.