When Hillary Was Popular With Republicans

There are a few of these stories floating around, and we should remember them during this election season. On more than a few occasions, Republicans had a lot of praise for Hillary Clinton:

For the better part of a quarter-century, Hillary Clinton has loomed over American politics as a hate figure for many on the right—and she seems poised to re-assert her dominant position in right-wing demonology in 2016. But there was a time, stretching roughly from her concession of the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 to the Benghazi attack in 2012, when conservatives changed their tune on Clinton. In fact, plenty of Republicans even said nice things about her.

Benghazi was an attempt to use a foreign policy disaster to defeat President Obama in the November, 2012 election. Hillary was right in the middle of it because, as soon as she stepped away from being Secretary of State, she was gearing up for a presidential run.

Here are the highlights:

Dick Cheney: “I have a sense that she is one of the more competent members of the current administration, and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president.”

Paul Ryan: “Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles as chief of staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now,” he said. “That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now.”

Gordon Smith: "I was in the well of the Senate, had just cast a vote, and Hillary approached me and asked to walk back to our offices together. We walked around the Russell Building several times talking about my son, the difficulty of raising children in this confusing time and the state of mental health law in our country. She revealed to me by that unselfish outreach her humanity and her decency,"

Orrin Hatch: “I happen to like Hillary Clinton; I think she’s done a good job for the… secretary of state’s position, and I have high respect for her and think a great deal of her.”

John McCain: In 2011, at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, McCain praised Clinton as “an international star” who has done “a tremendous job” as secretary of state. He also later told to CBS News, “I respect Secretary/Senator Clinton; I respect her views.”

Judd Gregg: "I found her to be easy to work with, smart and willing to reach agreement on complicated issues," And Gregg believes her "approach to governing, of seeking principled compromise" could break the logjam between the Congress and White House.

Lindsey Graham: “a good role model, one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012. The Republican also went out of his way to praise Clinton to The New York Timesthree months later, saying, “She is extremely well-respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way, and has a work ethic second to none.”

Where did all of these reasonable people go? And here's one anecdote that is linked above:

A 2006 profile in The Atlantic describes how Clinton stunned GOP colleagues by showing up one day in 2001, shortly after being sworn in, for their weekly prayer meeting. Then-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas was so moved by her appearance that he asked her to forgive him for having hated her. Clinton became a regular at the meetings and partnered with most of the regulars there on legislation.

In her maiden speech as a senator 15 years ago in February, Clinton described how her failed effort as first lady to convince Congress to pass a sweeping overhaul of the country's health care system had changed her. "I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation, and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done," she said.

 Yeah, she sounds like she's trying to rival Jimmy Carter for the title of history's greatest monster.