Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hillary Rodham Clinton: In the Arena

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, if he wins, knows the thrills of high achievement, and, if he fails, at least fails daringly greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”--John F. Kennedy speaking about Theodore Roosevelt

Although it appears that Hillary Rodham Clinton will fail to gain the Democratic nomination for President, she has done more to advance the cause of women in national politics than any other female politician. Her campaign destroys forever the sexist notion as to whether women can endure the rigors of presidential campaigning. What has been forgotten amongst the endless prattling on prime-time political talk-shows is that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign managed to endure this long and this far despite the disadvantages she had to cope with along the way. She was forced to handle the excess baggage of her husband’s past personal misconduct; her own Senatorial vote approving the second Persian Gulf War resolution; Barack Obama’s oratorical skills and charismatic personality and the key fact that as an African-American he siphoned off millions of votes that would have gone to her otherwise (Clinton backer Geraldine Ferraro was not being racially insensitive when she told reporters that Obama’s race was a key factor in his successful campaign. She was speaking a well-based truth but in this hyper-sensitive politically correct atmosphere it brought her into disfavor. If Obama were white he would not be in the lead with regards to the delegates) and last, but no means least, the antiquated hostility towards her candidacy based on her gender.

Three times in the 2008 campaign her candidacy was written off and the post-mortems were being read and three times she came back and won key states which sustained her effort. What the pundits keep forgetting is that her persistence reveals the enormity of character and strength that Hillary Rodham Clinton has embodied all her life. Her persistence and refusal to surrender (when others were preaching surrender) or shrink in the face of adversity shows that she does indeed to possess the desperately needed qualities that America must always need for its next President.

Again, she will not gain the 2008 Democratic nomination for President but she should not be deemed unworthy of a future try for the Presidency. People forget that Ronald Reagan failed to win the G.O.P. nominations in 1968 and 1976 (being a very close defeat) and yet Reagan came back, defying the questions regarding his age and his hip-shooting rhetoric and won two terms as President while forever altering the American political landscape. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political journey is not finished.

We will see more of her…and we will.

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