By Thom Palme
What makes you think Hillary is more qualified than Trump?
Amazingly, this question has been asked of me several times over the last few months in one form or another. Public perception driven by the “right-wing factory of disinformation”; in order to counter the extreme recklessness and lack of qualification of the GOP nominee, is that Hillary is dishonest and lies. Polls tell us that Independent and right-center voters are leaning toward Hillary, not because she’s that good, but because Trump is that bad. Mainstream media has been doing a very bad job of covering the 2016 election, allowing equal time to this “factory of disinformation” in order to tighten poll numbers, and increase TV ratings. If truth were allowed to prevail, this thing would be over. This article clears up a few things regarding the level of competence and qualifications of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State with a 66% approval rating. Since announcing her candidacy for President, conservative media has been throwing dishonest and misleading information at the electorate about her in wave after wave of fake scandals. Even when the scandals are debunked, they continue the same narrative in the hope that they can hold her approval rating down through the election. Win or lose, the “Crooked Hillary” narrative will cease to exist after November 8th, because the slanderous attacks, which actually cross the line on abusive behavior, will no longer be advantageous.
I have added a single list compiled by DailyKos a while ago to this article. I suggest everyone copy and paste the list, and share it, along with portions of the “Defending Hillary” series with those who still believe there’s little difference between these candidates. Then we go into a deeper dive into the life’s work of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
First ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College;
Distinguished graduate of Yale Law School;
Editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action;
Co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families;
Former civil litigation attorney;.
Staff attorney for Children’s Defense Fund;
Faculty member in the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville;
Former Director of the Arkansas Legal Aid Clinic;
First female chair of the Legal Services Corporation;
First female partner at Rose Law Firm, one of the largest law firms in Arkansas;
Twice named by The National Law Journal as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America;
Former First Lady of Arkansas;
Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983;
Chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession;
Created Arkansas’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth;
Instrumental in passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program;
First Lady of the United States;
Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses;
Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health;
Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome);
Helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice;
Initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act;
First FLOTUS in US History to hold a postgraduate degree;
Helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries;
Two-term New York Senator and the first ex-FLOTUS in US History to be elected to the United States Senate;
Served on five Senate committees: Budget (2001–2002), Armed Services (2003–2009), Environment and Public Works (2001–2009), Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001–2009) and the Special Committee on Aging;
Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe;
Leading role in investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders;
Worked with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York on securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment;
Former United States Secretary of State;
Brokered a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in 2012.
If Trump’s dismal business record of is to be used to determine his qualifications, or lack thereof, then we are fully justified in using Hillary’s Clinton Foundation record, which flies a thousand miles above Trumps record.
Let’s examine some of the highlights of Hillary’s life so far. A life with a path that has led her to this time and moment. By examining the past, the present makes more sense, and the future is easier to extrapolate. Her place in history has been designed and written, engineered, and has been tested and put on trial by fire, honed, tempered, and refined over the last six decades…by HER.
She was a favorite among her teachers. Active in sports, Brownies and then Girl Scouts, she moved into her teens with a higher level of drive than most pre-teens seem to feel. Her parents were conservative Republicans, but advocated for Hillary to be independent and to not be limited in what she decides to do in life by her gender, so in her mind, there was no difference in what a woman could do versus what a man could do in life. In 1961, at age 13, she sent a letter to NASA, asking them what steps she could take in order to be an astronaut someday. They responded that “No women were being accepted into the space program”. This must have had quite an impact on her, since her mother had always told her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grows up. I would imagine that, from everything I know about Hillary, that this irked her first, and then this hard headed Republican kid got mad. As the 60’s rolled on, she watched as women began fighting for equality and respect.
Never afraid to fail, get back up, dust herself off, and try again. In High School, she was in the Student Council, National Honor Society member, and lost her bid for Class President in her Senior Year to a boy who told her “You are really stupid if you think a girl can be elected President.” I would love to hear the conversation with this boy, now a 67 year old man after Hillary is elected 45th President of the United States of America.
Because her parents were Republican, and they were her biggest influences, the young Republican’s political career began at just 13 years old, when she helped canvass neighborhoods in Chicago for Republicans and Richard Nixon in 1960. At age 17, she actively campaigned for failed Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. Her youth minister introduced her to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1962. It appears that the stage was set for young Hillary to begin making a difference.
COLLEGE YEARS and POST COLLEGE
What does a highly driven girl do when she loses her bid for High School Class President to a misogynist? She dusts herself off and runs for Class President in college and wins, of course. Wellesley College, Massachusetts, graduating in 1969. By then, having been around politics a while, Hillary realized that her ideals were more closely aligned with the Democratic Party, and she broke with her parents and registered as a Democrat, having seen the Republican party become less and less a party of the people, and more the party of big business. She saw President Johnson follow through with President Kennedy’s goals of improving civil rights, and she was very moved by the speeches and peaceful protests by Martin Luther King, Jr. Hillary felt that the best way to improve things in the United States was to become a part of the solution, so, she attended Yale Law School and graduated with Honors in 1973. She then did one year of post-graduate study on children and medicine, which as you’ll read later suggests that many of her bold goals had been set, and she was taking the steps to implement them at just 27 years of age.
In 1970, after graduating from Wellesley, she secured a grant and first went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. In the summer of 1971, she went to Washington and worked on Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee on migrant workers, housing, sanitation, health and education. It was here that she was introduced and became involved in George McGovern’s 1972 Presidential bid, working on western states. Once more, she lost (McGovern lost), and once more, Hillary would dust herself off and keep on going.
At Yale Law School, she volunteered in their Child Study Center, studying new research on early childhood brain development. She also volunteered at New Haven Hospital, where she took on cases of child abuse, providing free legal service to the poor. After graduating from Yale, she served as staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1974, she was hired as one of the 44 lawyers to investigate Watergate. Hillary was one of the people in the room listening to Nixon’s Watergate tapes for the first time, and advised the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives. In the fall of that year, after Nixon’s resignation, she was hired at the University of Arkansas Law School, where her boyfriend from Yale, Bill Clinton was also a Professor. They would marry shortly thereafter.
FIRST LADY OF ARKANSAS
In 1975 after four years of dating, Bill and Hillary tied the knot. She was appointed in 1978 President Jimmy Carter to the board of Legal Services. The same year, husband Bill won bid for Governor of Arkansas, the first of five terms as Governor before winning the Presidency. Hillary was hired and then became a partner in the Rose Law Firm, served on the Board of Directors for Arkansas businesses such as TCBY and Wal-Mart, where she fought for equal opportunity for women as well as environmental issues pertaining to business. This gave her a needed and comprehensive insight on economics and business. She chaired for the Arkansas Education Standards committee and co-founded Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Legal Services and the Children’s Defense Fund. She wrote a weekly newspaper column titled “Talking it Over”. Talking it over appears to have been a prelude to her ability to go into the community and discuss and learn about issues affecting everyday Americans. She was twice named to the list of The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.
FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES
At age 45, Hillary became the First Lady to the 42nd President of the United States. After nearly two decades of doing good work in Arkansas, Bill won his 1992 bid for the Presidency. In retrospect, it is highly theorized that this was Hillary’s first and second term as President. I do not believe Bill could have done it without her and the active role she played and good work she had done in Arkansas, combined with one of Bill Clinton’s campaign slogans “You’re getting two for the price of one” tells me that she served side-by-side, more than likely advising Bill on a daily basis. By the end of the Clinton Presidency, our economy was booming, we were running a budget surplus, and the world at relative peace.
Within five days of taking over the White House, Bill named Hillary to head the President’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. Her efforts raised national awareness on the problem of millions of uninsured Americans. While her objective of transforming heath care failed, her efforts gave way to later compromises, which led to the Affordable Health Care Act passed in 2009, allowing millions of Americans to gain health insurance, allowing students to remain on their parents insurance policies through age 26, and forbids insurance companies to deny or drop people for pre-existing conditions. Since passing ACA, the rate of inflation of insurance premiums has been at the lowest level in decades.
In addition, Hillary worked on many other health care issues, such as initiating the Children’s Health Insurance Program, increases in funding for prostate cancer, childhood asthma, assistance for Gulf War Veterans who had been suffering the toxic side effects of the chemical “Agent Orange” used in that war. She is credited with the Adoption and Safe Families Act, helping orphaned children, rallying support from private foundations who helped lobby for the Act’s passage in 1997 and then the Foster Care Independence Bill, helping unadopted children transition to adulthood. She held and hosted numerous White House conferences that related to children’s health, school violence, reading development which pediatricians provided free books for new mothers to read to their infants, which in turn nurtures their rapidly developing brains. She pushed for annual mammograms for older women, covered by Medicare, in order to reduce the rate and survival of breast cancer. She was involved in many decisions made by the President, such as Welfare Reform, violence Against Women, and continued her work for gender equality in economics, employment, health care and education.
On the international stage, Hillary spoke out against abuse of women by the Taliban and other oppressive groups. She helped form Vital Voices, an international effort to promote participation of women in their nation’s political process, which is something very impressive, as we see more women at the higher ranks of politics world-wide today as a result. Vital Voices also played a role in the “Good Friday Peace Agreement”, which ended the civil war in Ireland. Her own candidacy today is testament to the success of her efforts. She actively supported the USAID, which awarded loans to small businesses begun by women. She openly challenged the Chinese government in September, 1995, when she spoke at the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, a controversial and effective speech.
Regarding traditional First Lady roles, she initiated the “Save the Treasures” program, to rescue national sites and items from deterioration and neglect, National First Ladies Historical Site, Millennium Project, Sculpture Garden artwork, Restoration of the Blue Room, State dinners and other traditional First Lady duties. She hosted the Bicentennial State Dinner, which hosted more Presidents and First Ladies than any other time in history.
On November 7th, 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first First Lady ever to be elected to public office, winning the U.S.Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Patrick Moynihan. Just as President Bill Clinton was ending his political career as an elected official, Hillary’s was just beginning.
Hillary served as Senator for three weeks while also serving as First Lady. She served on many Senate Committees and sub-committees, including:
- Armed Services;
- Readiness and Management;
- Environmental and Public Works;
- Clean Air;
- Private Property;
- Nuclear Safety;
- Waste Control;
- Risk assessment;
- Senate Health;
- Children and Families.
She has been a very busy woman indeed. She worked to secure a $21 billion fund to assist in the clean-up and recovery following September 11th WTC, and to provide health tracking for first responders and volunteers at Ground Zero. She issued two studies in 2005 which examined disbursement of federal Homeland Security funding to local communities and first responders. She visited and spoke with American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, continued work on heath-care and other benefits for Veterans. In addition, she won the extension of the Unemployment Insurance benefits for those who lost their jobs in the 2008 financial crash. She was arguably the most active and hardest working Senator in Washington, working with Republicans to get things done for the American people, and protecting the middle class.
VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS
Serving in the Senate Armed Services Committee, she introduced the “Heroes at Home Act” to help family members care for Veterans with traumatic brain injuries, She increased the military survivor benefit from $12,000 to $100,000, in order to help families whose loved ones were killed in action. She worked hard for Veterans during her time in the Senate. She saved 800 jobs in New York by working across the aisle to keep the Niagara Falls Air Station open while the Pentagon was shutting down bases.
Hillary racked up quite a lot of major achievements during her time in the Senate. From expanded health care for National Guard members and reservists, fighting hard to secure funds 9/11 rescue and recovery volunteers, immigration reform, health care, stockpiling of vaccines for public health emergencies, No Child Left Behind, Prevention First Act, designed to decrease abortions and increase access to family planning, and much, much more. Looking at Hillary’s voting record in the Senate, she constantly pushed for the middle class, and pushed to reduce poverty and hopelessness. There is way too much to outline in this article.
Hillary’s time in the Senate, serving on the Armed Service Committee seemed to fill in the only missing link in her current experience level, which millions feel surpasses the experience and insight of any candidate that has ever run for President, man or woman. Foreign policy experience. She went on to lose her battle to win the White House in 2008, but made such a huge impression on President-Elect Barack Obama, that he simply couldn’t blow the chance to have such an experienced, intelligent and well-rounded Secretary of State behind him in Washington.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Another trail-blazing accomplishment, Hillary became the first First Lady turned Senator turned Secretary of State in history in January, 2009. Hillary’s responsibilities as Secretary of State were to serve as the primary adviser on foreign affairs to the President, to enact Presidential policy decisions through the State Department. She was also responsible for negotiating with foreign leaders on treaties, passports, and in advising the President on individuals for the post of Ambassadors and consuls, etc. She used what she viewed as “smart power”, or strong diplomacy efforts combined with military “hard power”. With global economic and social issues, “soft power” was used to improve global economics, developmental aid, technology, creativity and human rights advocacy.
Hillary visited 112 countries during her tenure at the State Department, where she also worked on the empowerment and welfare of women and girls world-wide. What has come to be known as The Hillary Doctrine”, she viewed improvements in women’s right as playing a critical role in U.S. security interests by linking the level of violence against women and gender inequality within a state, and the instability to international security of that state. Time magazine stated that “Clinton’s endurance during her time as Secretary of State is legendary”. She held town hall meetings, speaking with leaders, press as well as the public in 40 countries, learning, answering questions, and promoting her peace platform and human rights agenda.
According to President Obama, Hillary was a huge player in the decision to send in helicopters to Pakistan to kill Osama Bin Laden. She advocated and encouraged taking the risk, stating that the goal was worth the risk in light of the superior talent of our Seal Teams, military power, combined with the evidence at hand. She showed strong leadership in the situation room, and helped the President get over the top on the decision to invade. It turned out pretty well. Her ability to calmly assess a bad situation and make an intelligent decision is second to none.
She lobbied for the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution, and declared that gay rights are human rights, creating a huge shift around the world and at home as LGBT employees had a safer, more stable place to work. Negotiating the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, Hillary took to the air as rockets rained down on Israel. One day after she landed, a ceasefire took effect, and things have been mostly quiet ever since. Whatever she did over there was amazing.
The list goes on and on. Under the Clinton State Department, exports of products made in the U.S.A. to China increased 50%. She negotiated with United Nations on putting sanctions on Iran, forcing them to the table to negotiate an end to their nuclear weapons program. The result of her efforts was that Iran came to the table, destroyed or delivered all of their enriched uranium to the United Nations, and agreed not to work on a nuclear weapons program. U.N. inspectors are now able to go into Iran and verify compliance, and the world is a much safer place as a result of her hard work. She worked her tail off as Secretary of State.
PERCEIVED TRUSTWORTHINESS ISSUES
Back in the mid 1990’s, David Brock, a conservative Republican writer, known as a right-wing political hit man, attacked the Clinton’s with fake scandal after fake scandal. Brock’s articles were designed to discredit Bill Clinton and de-legitimize his Presidency, as well as quash any political aspirations of Hillary Clinton, as her path was becoming evident. He later recanted his own articles, is now a Hillary Clinton supporter. He is also the founder of “Media Matters”. Brock now admits that he was part of a right-wing conspiracy to smear Bill and Hillary with false information. In his book “Killing the Messenger,” Brock admits the Republican conspiracy in what he describes as “a steady infiltration of mainstream by the right-wing factories of disinformation”.
The false scandals are so plentiful, the attacks continue and are sold as fact to the public, with the objective of creating a plausibility in the minds of the electorate. Each and every fake scandal has been debunked, but as Mark Twain stated, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. But in the digital age, a good lie can permeate through cyberspace and be shared millions of times before the truth has a chance to begin to fight back.
Edited by Mary Ann Boulette