My complaint can be broken down into three parts:
1. a lack of political skills
2. a lack of administrative skills
3. a lack of people sense
Today let’s look at #2. The most important skill needed by a president is to be a decent administrator. Clinton, (Bill), had that down pat, after a rather rocky start. Ask any of his former Secretaries. Even Reagan (1st term) and Bush (1) knew about the administrative requirements and did them relatively well. (We are NOT discussing whether the direction they chose was good, just whether as administrators, they were competent) Eisenhower was a talented administrator, and even now, historians are pleasantly surprised at how good he really was. FDR? Superb at picking good people. A natural. Which is why he won four terms.
Let’s start with the most obvious issue no one seems to want to mention. Hillary has little administrative experience and even worse, no administrative talents.
Ordering White House staff around, having law clerks serve you hand and foot in a law firm, and being one of the be-knightedly special “100” inside the Bloatway – this gives you an opportunity to tell people what to do, but it hardly qualifies as honing or even learning a critical administrative skill. To the contrary, too much power without much responsibility explains why so many of our senators are such assholes. It also explains why so many of them on the dark side are leaving.
There was one occasion that Hill had to exercise her administrative skills. She was asked (or she demanded the opportunity to manage, in order to cement her own presidential plans) a project, a complex, difficult and important project. She failed. Miserably. Embarrassingly. Totally. COMPLETELY. She was hardly the picture of professional competence, administrative skills, or politically savvy.
When the USA rejected four more years of Bush 1, it was really a statement about both Bush and the ill, scary president who came before him. Years of increased spending on war toys, coupled with an attack on the middle class, AND a growingly intolerant approach to race/social/sexual/class issues, made most of America nervous. Until the Neocons started their “Rebuild Reagan’s Reputation” program, the vast majority of Americans were simply glad to see the end of Reagan.
Clinton’s election was, more than anything, a rejection of Reagan/Bush policies, and a clear call for a new approach. This supremely talented politician offered a new way. In some ways, he was captivating, in others, his triangulation made progressives check for their wallets and watches. Still, he was a solid president.
Bill Clinton, whose personal foibles led his wife to demand from him an important “Domestic” task once in office, was more than willing to give her that chance, while he picked up the reins and fixed the mess left by 12 years of GOP hell. In many ways, he did it, he fixed some of the most outrageous excesses by Reagan/Bush. The task he granted Hill? Health care for America.
Long before the days of Reagan, people knew that our medical programs were not just inefficient, but potentially deadly. Heck, FDR, Truman, Ike, even Nixon, toyed with the idea of a national health care program FOR EVERYONE. Nixon, according to some witnesses, came close to flipping a coin – the creation of the EPA on one hand, and a Brit styled national health system on the other.
Hillary got her wish. Even though she had no experience in formulating, organizing, operating, fixing, adjusting, or correcting health care policy on a city, county, state or national level, she suddenly became in charge of the biggest social project and experiment since our last major military conflict Viet Nam. (Despite the cost of the Viet Nam war, Nixon still manage to push through a reluctant congress our current EPA – something that has probably saved millions of lives, and trillions in health care issues. Now, THAT is administrative ability.)
Hill gathered a few old friends, held hidden meetings with what remains to this day a secret agenda. (I wonder where Cheney learned that approach) You really have to wonder how bad things were, if she still refuses to produce any documents from that time.In the process, she managed to piss off every constituency available. Even the unorganized ones like patients.
The insurance industry had one small opportunity and they leaped at it. If they could take the “high ground” away from Hill’s secret team, they might just confuse the issue enough to prevent anything from taking place.
Once she began her pet project, Hillary viewed all questions, even from well-meaning, curious, and obviously interested doctor and nursing groups, as an attack. In response, she held her cards even closer. The idea that the AMA, the Radiological society, numerous OB/GYN groups, ortho and neuro surgical groups, dermatologists, podiatrists, proctologists, urologists, and infectious disease specialists were not important to a conversation about the future of medicine in America was not just stupid, it was asinine and arrogant beyond all imagination.
But Hill knew better than anyone. Especially doctors. Nurses. Hospital administrators. Patients.
By the time that the health insurance industry got organized, and started their attack on HillaryCare (even before we had a clue of what it contained) it was already too late. What was painfully clear to growing numbers of people, even supporters of hers, even people involved in her experiment, was that Hillary had absolutely no clue what she was doing. She simply liked the idea of being in charge. Worse yet, some groups that were involved in the secret meetings, came out shaking their heads, upset at the lost chance for real change, real progress.
Had Hillary invited the key players, and not simply her friends and supporters, if she held an honest, open, and straightforward conversation with everyone concerned, the insurance industry would have caved in like a house of cards. Injured people, poor people, the directors of GM, Chrysler, and Ford, members of the SBA, a growing number of self-employeds, the chronically ill, EVERY doctor, nurse, and rehab therapist and health specialist, all had the same goal: TO FIX WHAT WAS BROKEN.
Had she had any administrative ability, any talent in organizing a health care discussion and program, all of those different interests would have realized that they all had the same goal.
But she didn’t. Her ego interfered with any possibility for success. Her secretive (successful) approach told others that government never has to share information about new ideas.
Administrative talent is an absolute necessity in a president. Hillary had a chance to show off those skills. She failed abysmally. That should serve as a warning about just how she would act in the Oval Office.
Hillary claims to be progressive, yet all too often, the details are lacking. She claims to have 35 years of experience, but hates the idea of anyone taking a close look at what that experience entails. If she was so proud of her experience, her White House Docs would be published and copied for review in every primary. Instead, she hides the facts, yet makes unprovable claims that only she could support. Her tenure in the Senate has been noticeable for the total lack of legislative successes. (Abraham Lincoln, JFK, FDR, and at least 12 other presidents had about the same, or less, experience inside DC, as Barack Obama, just for comparison) Worst of all, rather than take a leadership position on progressive, Democratic issues, she lays back, and waits for others to go first. Hardly the mark of a leader with experience.
We have three other serious, committed and talented democrats running: Edwards, Obama, Richardson. No one of them is perfect, to the contrary, they are all human. Oops, I forgot Dennis Kucinich, probably the bravest soul in the race. When Dennis cries, it is no rehearsed beforehand, it is not done on Penn’s orders, it is not timed to be on TV. When he cries, he cries for the dead and dying in IraqNam.
That, in a nutshell is the major problem with Hillary. She did not, does NOT know what she was doing. yet her health care program’s failure was other peoples’ fault. Her secrecy (and the litigation and claims that resulted) led to Cheney’s currently successful defense of his similar energy fiasco. Her total lack of administrative skills killed off health care reform and as a result, we have suffered from 7 years of Bush. Had a true administrator, a true leader, a talented professional, been in charge of health care reform, I submit that the Democratic Party would have been in control for the last two terms, and conceivably, far into the future. But, no, Hillary’s egotistical demands, caused problems for us all.