When we turn our eyes to Hillary Clinton, we see the exciting prospect of our first woman President. We see someone who has the upper hand, with a husband who served two terms in that office and knows how to win it. We see an established states-person, who has already been an activist for various causes, and is even known world-wide. But now we must ask ourselves, what kind of President is she going to make?
In her first term as Senator, she has taken on a wise choice in committees, because they played to establishing a well-rounded portfolio of work, beefing up her weaknesses and keeping up her strengths. We already know that she’s a dervish for the home-front domestic agenda, so the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, with subcommittees on Aging and Children & Families, and the Committee on Environment and Public Works, with subcommittees on Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property, Nuclear Safety, Fisheries, Wildlife, Water, Superfund, Waste Control, and Risk Assessment, should come as no surprise.
But the Committee on Armed Services, with subcommittees on Airland, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and Readiness and Management Support, is a refreshing change in her focus. This is the concern that many voters will have about her qualifications: dealing with other countries, some of whom don’t like you. She was also briefly on the Committee on Budget, so she boned up on fiscal matters, and she joined the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, so she will have at least a clue to what the names of European countries are, unlike some Presidents we could name.
Now, can she get things done? Well, she was quick to secure $21.4 billion in funding for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. On the other hand, she was booed at a New York audience at the 2001 Concert for New York City shortly after, even though her husband was applauded. This tells us that she can take action, but still has a struggle with her public image. After she fired off an investigation into the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders, she earned new respect from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, which shows she knew how to fix that, or else shows that everybody loves a fighter for public health. She also sought to form a panel to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina.
She supported and voted for the PATRIOT act, but then the only Senator to draw a Nay there was Russ Feingold. She is one of the “Iraq war wafflers”, who first supported it but later reversed her position and now favors a phased withdrawal from Iraq. Strange for a Liberal Democrat with a focus on civil liberties, she is against gay marriage, but she is in favor of same-sex civil unions. She did vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have made gay marriage prohibition a matter of Federal control, however. She was one of the Senators calling on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign.
She has opposed irresponsible tax cut bills when they’ve come along, citing that it was fiscally irresponsible to reopen the budget deficit, and has voted with an eye towards keeping the budget surplus from Bill Clinton’s administration; however, we’ve managed to plunge back into debt anyway. She has also lobbied to bring more jobs to her state of New York, and has worked to bring broadband Internet access to rural communities and cosponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. So she’s aware that the U. S. needs jobs and to beef up its scientific development.
Hillary Clinton has demonstrated active awareness of matters beyond her usual domestic home front agenda. Partisan critics may feel that her solutions are more “old-school liberal” than what today’s political landscape calls for, while hard-line Democrats may say that she is not nearly Liberal enough. However, between her experience as one of the most politically engaged First Ladies this country as ever seen, combined with a highly conscientious Senate career, she has more than proven herself to the voting public as a viable, even preferred, candidate for the Presidency.