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Susan Estrich
25 Jul 2014
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One Great Dame

Comment

As I write this, the last voters in the last states in this seemingly endless primary process are heading to the polls, even as various news organizations have already announced that Barack Obama has reached the shifting magic number to claim a majority of the delegates.

There will be many days ahead to write about Barack Obama, who deserves enormous credit for his success. Most people who run for president with far more experience than he has in the national circuit have far more difficulty, and it wasn't so long ago that the rule of thumb was that almost no one made it to the nomination on their first try. He has. Four years ago, he was the unknown keynoter at the Boston Convention. This year in Denver, the Convention will belong to him.

But tonight, at least, before the political obituaries are written and filed away, before all the mistakes and missteps of her campaign are dissected like the bones of a day-old turkey, I want to pay tribute to my old friend and new hero, to a woman who showed both how far women have come and how far we still have to go, and did it with energy, intelligence and integrity. Here's to Hillary, one great dame.

It turned out to be much harder than she or anybody else probably expected when she entered this race. She ran to win, and she didn't. She knew there would be resistance — because she was a woman, and a Clinton, and the wife of Bill, because of the legacy of Monica and the legacy of Clinton-haters and the vote in favor of the authorization to use force in Iraq. Whatever she expected, reality was worse.

The supposed genius in the family, the former president, made mistakes. The supposedly well-oiled machine was not so well-oiled. Things that should have been doable — running an effective caucus strategy to win delegates even in states she couldn't have won — weren't done.

She was the candidate of experience running in the year of change, the candidate who had paid her dues in Washington running in the year of the outsider.

For a while, it has seemed that Hillary was getting clobbered whichever way she turned — by the media, by old friends, even by her own husband. She made mistakes; the biggest was probably the easily taken out of context reference to Robert Kennedy as a reason for staying in the race, coming on the painful heels of his brother's cancer diagnosis. She was damned if she did (show emotion, show cleavage, trot out her daughter) and damned if she didn't.

But a funny thing happened on the way to defeat. She won, over and over. I'm not just talking about contests and delegates. I'm talking about who she became as a candidate and a symbol.

Hillary Clinton was attacked in this race, but in the end, she was no victim. Women who started out feeling distant and unconnected from the ambitious frontrunner ended up seeing in her survival as a candidate and in her determination not to be counted out a mirror of our own struggles. She became a symbol not for the discrimination we all know is there, which oozed from so much of the media coverage and infected the punditry like a virus, but of the strength and courage of first women and put-down women and working women everywhere to persevere against the odds. She won respect not because she was shoved down, but because she kept standing up. It was that determination, that courage, that can't-put-me-down can-do spirit that turned a losing campaign into a personal victory.

She may never make it to the White House, although I wouldn't count her out. But she proved that women of courage cannot be stopped just because the game isn't fair or the obstacles are great or their competitors have karma and the press corps on their side. It may not be as good a lesson for our daughters as seeing a woman take the oath of office, but it's not a bad one.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

10 Comments | Post Comment
sometimes how we lose says more about who we are than how we win. Hillary showed no class last night. I understand your connection to the Clintons but they have shown over time that they live in another world.
I have never heard them admit to a mistake
It's always someone else's mistake
blame the media
The Obama campaign has gone out of their way to complement Hillary. It's sad the same was not done by Hillary
The Clintons need to go home now. Please go home "We can't mis you unless you leave"
Comment: #1
Posted by: isitoveryet
Wed Jun 4, 2008 7:32 AM
Thank you for writing this, Susan, and I agree wholeheartedly! I understand that newspeople can never be totally unbiased, although that should be their aim; however, the doting on and fawning over Obama by the toadying press became very hard to stomach. SNL was right on the money with their parody of these sycophants, who played a key and unjust role in this primary. Hillary was and is one tough fighter and I wish her even more success and greatness in her future!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Julianne
Wed Jun 4, 2008 12:03 PM
Re: isitoveryet
And even more importantly, how we WIN speaks to who we are. You have won, since you obviously rooted for the other candidate, and yet instead of wearing that victory with pride and civility, you immediately rush online to spew your virulent wrath upon someone who has suffered defeat. This type of behavior is boorish and, in sports, you would have been penalized, ejected, or both, for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Julianne
Wed Jun 4, 2008 12:22 PM
WAAAAAYAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY...she lost because she is a woman...WWWAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY

Baloney. Obama was the better cadidate and ran a better campaign. Trust me Susan, most people are really sick of the self pitying Clintons. It's always some Vast something or other that is trying to keep them from getting something they are entitled to. Baloney.

And quit blaming the media. You sound like Rush Limbaugh. Are you not aware of the Pew Research Center and Harvard Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy study on the media coverage of the two candidates? The result was that coverage of Clinton, Obama ‘Almost Identical'.



Comment: #4
Posted by: Jen
Wed Jun 4, 2008 1:05 PM
Re: Julianne

"virulent wrath" Wow, you must not have listened to many of Hillary speeched if you think what I said was so terrible. And no I didn't rush on line. I read as much news as possible every morning so I can be as informed as possible. This allows me to see ALL sides
Comment: #5
Posted by: isitoveryet
Thu Jun 5, 2008 7:41 AM
Hillary lost because she is Hillary. I feel she stayed in the race to help herself in the next election. John McCain will be to old to run again and if Barak gets in she will lose her chance in 2012 due to age. If Obama picks her as vice president I would watch my back if I were him. She is desperate to be president and would have him assassinated.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Kathaleen McCausland
Thu Jun 5, 2008 11:15 AM
Susan talks about Hillary in the classic way that a campaign staffer would, but for all her experience, Susan never won one so her views aren't infallable, and her view of Clinton omits her unmistakable disrespect shown to Obama. A lot of mud was thrown in this one, and Hillary did her share via proxies, and she's being an ungraciouis loser now. Susan likes Hillary and it shows, and that's OK, but the better candidate won, and he played by the rules, unlike his opponent who kept trying to move the finish line. I'm sure it will go on and on, the arguing, but those who do will find that events will move on and the complainers will either become irrelevant or have the honor of being called the Nader's of 2008.

Al
Comment: #7
Posted by: AL HANDA
Thu Jun 5, 2008 11:17 AM

I started out as a Joe Biden supporter and after he dropped out, it was obvious who was the better candidate. but things happened in the caucus states that derailed Hillary Clinton's candidacy. The final ten contests were very telling. The public has definately turned away from barack Obama. I believe that it is unlikely that he can turn enough of the disillusioned voter back to vote for him. The brutal manner in which the Obama campaign was run, all the while with Obama keeping his hands in white gloves, did not set well with many Hillary supporters. We are not a dumb as that campaign thinks we are and we will not vote for Obama. I for one, will stay home. I have better things to do in November than vote for a person who ran the kind of campaign that Obama put forth especially with respect to engineering the Michigan Compromise in the Rules committee. Stealing delegates won by a candidate and getting the Rules committee to go along with his proposal was morally bankrupt. Not with my vote.
Comment: #8
Posted by: robert lipka
Thu Jun 5, 2008 7:45 PM
Hej, Sue!

Tuesday was Barack's night, not Hillary's. Congratulate her on Monday.

//P
Comment: #9
Posted by: Penman
Fri Jun 6, 2008 1:47 AM
Thank you for your thoughts. I think you said it all. You got her and that has been rare.
Comment: #10
Posted by: D
Mon Jun 9, 2008 3:46 AM
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