I first met Hillary at the beginning of the 1992 Presidential campaign. I went very early to an event where she was to appear and got a front row seat. I was absolutely blown away. She spoke without any notes, yet there were no "ums" or stumbles. The breadth of her knowledge was incredible, and she spoke about substantive issues. She answered questions authoritatively. That's when I became a Hillary girl, and in 1992 and 1996, I voted for Hillary's husband.
Later that election, my daughter had a friend tell her that Bill & Hillary Clinton and Al & Tipper Gore were going to be eating at a restaurant where he worked, but the public didn't know it. My daughter arranged to be eating dinner there that night. When she told me, I told her it was Bill Clinton's birthday, which was not widely known. When they walked in the restaurant, she wished him a happy birthday. Bill was thrilled, and my daughter got to talk to them and got all four autographs on a napkin from the restaurant. That's when my daughter became a second generation Hillary girl.
And just recently, I went with my daughter and her husband to our courthouse, so they could vote absentee. When we walked in, my three year old granddaughter announced to everyone, "We're here to vote for Hillary Clinton!" Thus, we have our third generation Hillary girl.
I've been closely following Hillary ever since I met her, and I've read everything I can about her. When she declared she would run for President, I was thrilled. On behalf of my daughter and my four granddaughters, I believe it is very important that a woman becomes President of our country. Women have been second class citizens throughout our history. Although we have made great advances, we still have a long way to go. No one thing would further that cause more than electing a female President to serve as a role model for young girls.
However, since women have always had to do a job much better than a man to get any credit, that woman must be an excellent President - and I believe Hillary will make an excellent President.
There are several issues that concern me, but the most crucial is the role of our country in the world. The current President has single handedly destroyed our reputation worldwide, and Hillary has the knowledge and experience in foreign affairs that will be essential to restore our image abroad. Plus, she is one tough cookie and will not be taken lightly by anyone - and we can trust her to be our Commander in Chief.
Another Bush legacy is the financial disaster that is our economy. Bush inherited an unheard of surplus, and he has turned it into an unheard of deficit. We are indebted to China and other scary countries. The dollar is no longer respected abroad. The income gap between rich and poor is larger than it's been in this country since the age of the Robber Barons, and the middle class is disappearing. One of my favorite Hillary quotes goes something like "It took a Clinton to fix the economy after the first Bush. It may take another Clinton to fix it after the second Bush." It will take an experienced person to pull off this challenge. There's a reason why the working class is voting overwhelmingly for Hillary - they are the ones suffering now. The wealthy and the young can afford to vote for charisma - the rest of us need solutions.
Without a doubt, the biggest immediate crisis in our country is health care. Not only is it devastating for individuals, but it is breaking the finances of local, state, and national governments. It is bankrupting businesses and keeping American companies from being competitive with foreign ones. Also, it keeps untold people from going into business for themselves because they can't give up their health benefits. Those who are knowledgeable about health care can tell you there is a world of difference between the two Democratic candidates on this issue. Hillary, a real expert, is the only candidate that will provide universal health care - that means everyone has coverage. Anything less is just a band aid and will not work.
Finally, Bush has destroyed the regulatory system of our federal government, so that we can no longer depend on the safety of food, drugs, bridges, etc; no longer expect the federal government to be able to respond to a disaster; no longer believe the research coming from federal agencies; no longer trust the words of the CIA; and no longer provide health care and support to the veterans who sacrificed for us. A President must understand how Washington works in order to repair our dysfunctional bureaucracy. By that I don't mean corruption and cronyism, but understanding the protocols and rules that have been in place for years. Hillary understands it well, especially as she suffered from her naivete when she first tried to reform health care.
Obama is a very impressive candidate. My concern with him is that he is an unknown, and I don't think we can afford a gamble right now. I much prefer that he runs as Vice President with Hillary, where he can gain experience and we can get to know him.
Hillary is the best choice for Mississippi Democrats on Tuesday, March 11.
(Cross posted on the Cottonmouth Blog.)