Clinton candidacy comes with strengths, doubts

Hillary Clinton finally announced that she is running for president. As a die-hard Democrat, I’m trying to get excited about her.

However, I’m still struggling with my reservations.

Hillary Clinton hasn’t driven a car in 20 years, as she herself declared in front of the National Automobile Dealers Association last year, according to a NPR story published April 2014.

Clinton also made an infamous gaffe last June when she claimed that she and Bill were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House. Though this may have accurately reflected an account balance, the comment brushed aside the fact that the Clintons had never faced the financial hardships that most Americans endure.

These bizarre comments highlight how out of touch Clinton might be. She has been a prominent public figure for so long that she has been quite literally insulated from everyday Americans since 1994.

This scares me.

This fear is exacerbated by the fact that Clinton isn’t a very liberal Democrat. The Clinton duo is famous for taking politically convenient moves instead of acting on a core set of principles.

An NPR interview from June 2014 questioned if Clinton’s flip-flop on marriage equality was a true evolution on the idea or political pandering.

Indeed, as she points out in her memoir, Clinton used to be a Republican, a self-proclaimed “Goldwater Girl.” If voters don’t know what Clinton truly believes, they won’t know what to expect in her policies.

Because of her isolation from everyday American life and her uncertain policy goals, the Clinton candidacy underwhelms me. I’m not as fired up and ready to go as I was during the Obama campaign.

Nevertheless, many of the concerns Democrats have about Clinton also contribute to making her a great candidate.

A common complaint about President Obama is that he didn’t spend enough time in the Senate to gain the effective political capital. Though Clinton has been separated from the experience of average Americans for quite some time, she spent those 20 years in politics building relationships both domestic and abroad that will allow her to cause more effective change.

The fact that she enacts politically attainable policies instead of holding steadfastly to her principles speaks greatly to her level of savvy. After all, Clinton launched her campaign with the clear message that she would be the champion for “everyday Americans,” knowing well that one of her greatest weaknesses is her perceived disconnect from average citizens.

Clinton didn’t necessarily find some profound humility never before seen in a presidential candidate. Rather, she recognized that opening her campaign with standard rhetoric wouldn’t be as effective and acted upon it.

Clinton is a double-edged sword. On one side, she changes her beliefs based on political whims and is out of touch. On the other side, she exhibits a great deal of political savvy and has many years of experience.

The good comes hand-in-hand with the bad, but in the end, the need for a candidate with her strengths overshadows the faults that come with them.

Annie Cappetta is a freshman majoring in political science.

Featured image courtesy Flickr user Keith Kissel