I thought I would blog a thoughtful and heartfelt blog before it all goes mad tomorrow. I daresay that Messers Guise and Mason (and any other closet non-believers) may want to call me on this, but as we are a Labour Club with international interests – here we go.
Tomorrow, in a weird twisty sort of democratic vetting process, the Democrats of the state of New Hampshire will select their presidential nominee. I will comment later on the actual chances of my chosen politician, but I sincerely hope that they vote for Hillary Clinton.
Mrs Clinton has taken up more ink that any other female politician of the 90s and she spent exactly no time at all in elected office during that period. Since 2001, she has been the junior Unites States Senator from the state of New York and has, by all accounts, been dilligent, practical and successful. In 2007, she finally announced that she would be seeking to follow her husband’s lead and become President of the United States.
Now, President is a good title. It never looks bad on a badge or nameplate. But looking at why she wants to be President, I can’t see anything I disagree with and nothing I would prioritise differently. She talks about universal healthcare, early years education, women’s rights, ending the war, investing in science and technology, climate change and economic recovery. But these are fairly consensual areas of hope. What is special about Clinton?
Well, Bill Clinton famously left a town called Hope to go to the White House, but John Edwards and Barak Obama seems to want to go back there. They have amazingly articulate ways of saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if we had everything we wanted’ but are very hard pressed to follow that with ‘this is how we’re going to do it’ and reluctant to accept ‘sometimes a bit better is what we have to aim for’.
God knows that it would be nice if we all got along, the sun shone and ice cream fell out of the sky. But I think that in the middle of a viciously partisan America and dangerously unstable world, we can’t afford to have a President who expects people to bask in his sunny smile until its all better. I want respect, tenacity and – for want of a better word, that isn’t sexist or misapplied – balls. I want Hillary Clinton.
Her campaign rhetoric is a tad unsentimental – maybe even cold – but tax policy isn’t fun. The leadership needed to stop the planet burning, cure cancer and protect democracy isn’t necessarily the same person I’d want to drink with. And that isn’t to say that either Edwards or Obama aren’t more electable. I expect they are. They don’t have baggage of decades of press articles, controversial votes or unpopular policy stances to deal with. I would be perhaps a bit flippant and call this ‘a record’ but I fear the scorn of Peter Mason.
So, I hope that Hillary can weather New Hampshire and South Carolina because one of these is a hideoulsy rural and white state and the other horribly Republican and evil. I think she’ll do OK in Nevada, and then has the money and the determination to make it to California and New York and Massachussetts and so forth on 5th February. Let us not forget that she still millions in the bank and a lot of support from elected officials and the highest delegation count of any candidate. She is also the only candidate on the ballot in Michigan and that may be to her benefit.
So in short, rejoice. Dreaming will continue now, as it always has done. But I hope, soon, that someone who wors hard will make at least some of it happen.