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For Carib News 6/4/16

Hillary Clinton has been in public life shortly after graduating from law school.  While married to the Governor of Arkansas, as the First Lady of that state, she became involved in children issues.  At that juncture, Hillary Clinton had no interest in an elected career but devoted herself to her husband’s quest for higher office.

Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992, thwarting George H. W. Bush from winning a second term.  Hillary saw her role in the White House not just to select the china but as a professional woman to trumpet a cause greater than herself.  With her husband’s blessing, she undertook the gargantuan task of writing legislation that would provide Americans with universal health coverage. Once the proposed legislation was revealed, she was immediately demonized for bringing socialized medicine to the bastion of free enterprise.

The election of Bill Clinton to the Presidency of the United States in 1992 marked the end of Republican dominance of the Oval Office.  Clinton’s election also marked a turning point in American national politics.  The sense of decency became non-existent.  Politics was exemplified by a scorch-earth-policy.  Rich conservatives like Richard Mellon Scaife used their wealth to pay reporters to dig up dirt on the Clintons.  Once the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives in 1994, a full scale witch-hunt of the Clintons was underway.  Special prosecutors were appointed to look into every aspect of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s life before they entered the White House.  The aim was not only to discredit the President of the United States but also to find some dirt on his wife, the First Lady.

The Special prosecutor, Robert Fiske, was succeeded by the more aggressive Kenneth Starr.  Starr stumbled on Whitewater, a real estate investment deal that Bill Clinton as the Attorney General of Arkansas had invested in and lost his pittance.  The prime mover of the scheme, James McDougal, who also owned a Savings and Loan Association, was convicted of fraud.  His wife was also sentenced for shenanigans in their business dealings. Neither Bill nor Hillary was found to have engaged in any nefarious activity.

Not satisfied, Kenneth Starr started to scrutinize the billings of the Rose Law Firm where Hillary Clinton worked as a lawyer while she lived in Arkansas.  Hillary was given a clean bill of health but Starr turned his investigative powers to unlock the private dalliances of Bill Clinton.  Eventually the Monica Lewinsky affair came to light and the President was indicted for obstruction of justice and impeached by the imprudent Republican House of Representatives.  The Senate tried the President and the trial failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote for removal from the Oval Office.

Bill Clinton was elected for a second term based on the 23 million jobs that were created during his two terms in office.  This was not an easy time for Hillary Clinton.  She had to deal with the extra-marital affairs of her husband.  Hillary Clinton remained devoted to her husband and the marriage survived those trying times.  Bill alighted from the White House in 2000 with a budget surplus that George W. Bush squandered once he took office.

Bill had achieved his political desideratum.  It was now time for Hillary to seek her fortunes in the electoral arena.  Encouraged by Congressman Charlie Rangel and others, Hillary opted to run for the Senate seat in New York.

Hillary Clinton was not just a First Lady but one who had a keen interest in the nuances and details of public policy.  She won the Senate race convincingly.  Her Senatorial colleagues were subsequently impressed by her capacity to work and to craft legislation.  Hillary Clinton excelled as Senator and won re-election by a larger margin than when she was elected in 2000.

After being elected for a second term in the Senate, Hillary chose to run for the Presidency in 2008.  She was the favorite for the Democratic Party but ran into the charismatic Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.

Hillary lost her bid to be the first woman to be elected President of the United States.  Although the race between Obama and Hillary became tempestuous at times, she was willing to bury the hatchet and serve as President Obama’s Secretary of State.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton served with distinction and stepped down after Obama’s first term to prepare herself for another Presidential run. When she left the position of Secretary of State, her approval ratings were high.  The same was the case when she completed her service in the Senate. Then how this unwarranted stigma of being untrustworthy came to be associated with Hillary Clinton?

The contemporary Republican Party developed dexterity at smearing long before Donald J. Trump became their Presidential nominee.  Republicans, recognizing that she would be a formidable opponent, began the conspiracy to discredit her integrity as a public servant.  They ran with Benghazi where four Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists.  Somehow the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. was blamed for the tragic loss of life in Benghazi in the chaos that ensued after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi.  Investigations in the House followed investigations and when nothing miscreant was discovered, the House Leadership appointed a special panel to again rehash what happened in Benghazi.  Hillary Clinton spent painstaking hours testifying before a witch-hunting Republican majority inquisition that amounted to a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The four years after leaving the State Department the fact that she used a private e-mail account was dragged out for most of the primary season.  An Inspector General Report reprimanded her for not using the archaic e-mail system that was extant in the State Department. Her predecessor General Colin Powell had also resorted to using a private e-mail account.

Thus where is the legitimacy of this concocted smear of untrustworthiness?  It is clear before the rise of Donald Trump that American politics as practiced by conservative Republicans had become nasty and brutish.  What is amazing is how so many Americans have bought into this abandonment that has taken on a more vulgar form with Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is superbly qualified to be President of the United States.  Her time in the White House, in the United States Senate and her service as Secretary of State constitute invaluable experiences that prepare her for the grueling task of President of the United States of America.  Her public career has been exemplary and her trustworthiness is unquestioned.  A certain segment of the American electorate has succumbed to mad dog politics.  Perhaps a female President is needed to straighten out crooked America. The political smear tactics began with the election of Bill Clinton to the Presidency.  It should end with the election of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency.

Dr. Basil Wilson