16 years … Still Waiting for Hillary

By Bob Gaydos

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Back in 2000, I was writing editorials for The Times Herald-Record, a daily newspaper based in Middletown, N.Y., Daniel Patrick Moynihan was getting ready to retire from an illustrious career in the United States Senate and Hillary Clinton was packing her bags to move out of the White House.

My activity was part of a well-established routine. Moynihan’s was the logical culmination of a long career in public service to the state of New York. Clinton’s, in a way, was both. Her bag-packing was part of a well-established career plan and the culmination of eight adventurous  years as First Lady. And, the story goes, it had nothing to do with any questionable behavior on her husband’s part.

It turned out the Clintons, in looking for a place to live when Bill’s final term as president ended, had found a cozy, little 11-room château in Westchester County, in New York. It was perfect for the ex-prez and the soon-to-be-junior senator from the state of New York. That was the next step in the well-established plan. Fulfilling the residency requirement.

The fact that neither Clinton had ever lived in New York was never a major problem in Hillary’s senate campaign since New Yorkers had famously welcomed that carpetbagger Bobby Kennedy when he decided he would like to be United States senator from New York before running for president. Now, I saw and heard Bobby Kennedy and trust me, Hillary Clinton never was and never will be a Bobby Kennedy. Nevertheless, the Clintons were warmly welcomed in New York and Hillary was accepted as a candidate for the United States Senate. Her credentials as soon-to-be-former First Lady were enough.

Funny, in many ways that hasn’t changed in 16 years. Her campaign for president today relies to a large extent on a hurry-up resume that sounds a whole lot better than it really is. It’s not for nothing that the words “entitled” and “inevitability” are frequently attached to Clinton’s name.

In any event, there I was, pounding out editorials on a daily basis, there went Pat, as he was called, holding farewell audiences with newspaper editorial boards, and here came Hillary. Except that she never came. If you think elephants have long memories, beware of editorial writers who feel snubbed.

As part of her introduction to New York, Clinton conducted what was called a listening tour. She would travel across the state, she said, to find out what was important to people in the state she knew next-to-nothing about, but which she longed to represent in the United States Senate.

A routine element of most political campaigns is meeting with editorial boards of newspapers, to hear what’s on their minds, to get out the candidate’s message and maybe get an endorsement. In 2000, I had numerous telephone conversations with a woman in Clinton’s campaign who politely assured me, every single time, that “Mrs. Clinton definitely wants to meet with The Record. We’re just figuring out the scheduling.” Or words to that effect.

They’re apparently still figuring it out.

In a major break from the paper’s liberal tradition, The Record wound up endorsing Clinton’s Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, whom she soundly trounced in the election. (Lazio replaced Rudy Giuliani, who withdrew because of marital problems and prostate cancer.) The editorial board’s thinking was that: 1.) Lazio took the time show up; 2.) he answered all our questions apparently as honestly as possible and; 3.) as a member of Congress already, he knew he state’s issues and was capable of handling the job.

Then there was 4.) If Hillary was too important to meet with The Record, how could we be sure she would have the best interests of the residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskills in her consciousness. After all, we were the largest circulation newspaper in the region.

I can already hear the cries of “sour grapes” and that’s OK, because this is not about 2000. It’s about 2016 and the still overwhelming impression in much of the news media that Hillary Clinton regards having to answer questions and explain herself as a major insult, never mind inconvenience. You can be sure her meeting with our editorial board, had it occurred, would have been respectful, but not fawning. Indeed, if her crack staff was as good as advertised in doing its homework, I would not be surprised if they discovered a piece in the New York Post in 1990, in which a former gubernatorial candidate, Pierre Rinfret, called us the “most rude, obnoxious” group he had ever encountered. Or words to that effect.

That’s because Rinfret had no idea what he was talking about and was constantly asked to explain or clarify his remarks.

Hillary Clinton, in my experience, does not like being asked to explain herself. She appears to want to be accepted as is simply because she is. Has she changed sides on an issue? Don’t ask.

A major talking point among her supporters in this presidential campaign is that she knows how to get things done. (The implication being that Bernie Sanders, with a lifetime in government and public service, does not.)

Well, as First Lady, she totally blew Bill’s attempt at universal health care. She supported his tough anti-crime bill, which she now take pains to point out was signed by him, not her. Welfare reform? Same thing. As secretary of state, she helped Barack Obama make Libya a mess, but again, he made the decisions, she reminds us, not she. That Pacific trade bill, Madame Secretary? Barack’s baby.

Which brings me back to New York state, where I still live and write, though not on a daily basis any more. Hillary Clinton served one six-year-term as senator and two years of a second term. Then she quit to run for president because, well, there was a timetable to honor. (Obama messed it up. Now Bernie’s trying to do the same.) But, unless I was in a blackout for eight years, I cannot think of a single major “thing” she “got done” for New Yorkers in that time.

And to this date, I’m not aware that she has ever set foot in Middletown.



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8 Responses to “16 years … Still Waiting for Hillary”

  1. Sherry Svec Says:

    Good column, Bob. I lost faith in Hillary when she backed GW in 2003. For her constituents who were stunned she sent an apologetic 8-page self defense that did nothing for me. She didn’t do squat for us while Senator. She has revealed herself to be as hawkish as Dick Cheney. I sort of think she goes that way to preclude any of her contemporaries of thinking she was soft, or weak.

    Contrast her performance with that of Kirsten Gillibrand, who has thrown herself into a number of great causes. She is a real patriot.

    The old ‘I deserve this’ attitude from Hillary rankles. I have to admit that in the beginning I thought Bernie’s purpose would be to pull Hillary in the right direction. I now have hope that he has a chance. He has been on the side of morality since a young man. He has a lot of integrity.

  2. BobGaydos Says:

    Jim Bridges via e-mail: Very nice article, Bob. Unfortunately, although I like Bernie, I think the criticism of him is accurate – that he is good with slogans, but has nothing substantial behind them. On the other hand, I think much of the criticism of Hillary is accurate as well.

    That leaves us with three Republican candidates whom I describe as terrible, horrible, and OMG.

    So I’ll probably vote for the Democrat, no matter who it is.


  3. BobGaydos Says:

    Debra Conway on Facebook: Excellent.

  4. BobGaydos Says:

    Kevin Swanwick on Facebook: Bob, excellent. Thank you for that little history lesson. The no-show has eluded me.

  5. BobGaydos Says:

    Raymond Bally Jr. on Facebook: The left has ingested the Clinton hate machine founded and run for years and years by the envious idiotic right wing bankrupt gang of self serving men. What sickens me most is the the lefts lame stance based on conservative hate & loathing.

  6. Ernie Says:

    Well presented as usual Bob. Being unable to avoid over hearing many political conversations I often hear; ” We know ALL about Hillary “. Your missive clarifies why I hear it so often.

    Bernie’s ideas are great but the likelihood of an non sympathetic congress is worrisome.

    On the Republican side I do feel Cruz IS the Antichrist. Trump is so sociopathic, religion is non-issue for him. Kasich…who cares? Well he could very well be the Republican nominee by default. The other two are so polarizing I fear someone will take into their hands to eliminate them.

    Good thing I observe from a distance.

  7. Lee Steup Says:

    A good…well, ACCURATE trip down memory lane, Bob. I’d love to see a woman president, but Hillary’s not it.
    Just to get all apolitical for a moment, here’s some speculative food for thought:
    Bernie refuses to take superPac money, and Trump already has more money than God. If they both somehow get nominated, who will the billionaires pay for their endorsements and favors? And what of Congress, if voters decide to clean their clocks and vote in a lot of newbies who also reject superpac monies? What will happen to our American tradition of having the best politicians money can buy?

  8. BobGaydos Says:

    Ed Moltzen on Facebook: “…I would not be surprised if they discovered a piece in the New York Post in 1990, in which a former gubernatorial candidate, Pierre Rinfret, called us the ‘most rude, obnoxious’ group he had ever encountered. Or words to that effect.” — Bob, that was one of my career highlights…

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