We’ve come to know her and love (or hate) her. She’s been an inextricable part of American politics for nearly 25 years, and has held just about every job besides dog catcher and president. And after all that time as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is the proverbial elephant in the presidential election room: everyone knows she’s there, but does anyone dare acknowledge her?
She’s been the person everyone loves to hate at just about every job she’s held, but I don’t think anyone can question her capabilities. After a rough start (anyone else remember the cookie joke during the 1992 election?), she became an active First Lady, helping push what Barbara Bush began in making the role less about appearance and more about substance. Wonks and even the electorate questioned whether she could be an effective Senator for a state she hadn’t lived in for very long, and yet she quickly and quietly used her name and reputation to serve effectively. And while there have been issues during her time as Secretary of State, I don’t think anyone could say she wasn’t a well-respected representative of this nation.
The bonus is that she knows how to run an email server in her home. There’s a skill we’ve never had from any prior President.
She’s been a radical, a lawyer, a feminist, a professional, a mother, and a centrist. She’s known for being outspoken and for her pantsuits. And remarkably, in a business rife with people tearing down others, she has never even begun to crack under whatever political pressures are brought unto her. Though to be fair, she’s had more than her share of large-scale controversies dog her.
So heading into the 2016 campaign, she’s the presumptive Democratic nominee at least in part because she has become such a strong political figure. Now she just needs to run a better campaign than she ran in 2008, when she really should never have been out-run by Barack Obama.
Clinton has supported the Affordable Care Act, after watching her own health care reform plan fail in 1993.
She initially supported the Iraq invasion and later the invasion of Afghanistan, but then opposed troop build ups in Iraq, but as Secretary of State, supported and argued for a build up in Afghanistan.
She’s a supporter of same-sex marriage, abortion rights, and other women’s health issues. As First Lady, she was involved in a committee that helped recognize Gulf War Syndrome, later identified as part of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder spectrum.
She has changed her views on a few issues, but more from a pragmatic position than one of trying to chase votes or popularity. This has been particularly true during her time as Secretary of State, when she both represented the Obama administration, but also spoke out against some of the policies when she found them to be a problem.
From here on out, unless the Democrats offer up any real alternatives, you can assume that all Republicans will be running against her. Which may just strengthen her case.