Controversy checkered Hillary Clinton’s career for nearly five decades. From her time as First Lady of Arkansas to the White House to the Senate to the State Department, Mrs. Clinton attracted vitriol and served as a lightning rod. Some of the ill will can be ascribed to politics. On the other hand, Clinton courted controversy through her own actions. Beyond the scandals, former Secretary of State Clinton produced a seemingly brilliant resume. Beyond the titles, a closer examination of her record produces questions as to her competency. Throughout her career, in every instance, Mrs. Clinton created chaos for herself, her husband, her party, and her country.
Hillary Rodham graduated from Wellesley College in 1969, Yale Law in 1973, and married Bill Clinton in 1975. She dedicated her early career to children and families and became the first female partner at the Rose Law Firm in 1979. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters elected Bill Clinton governor. Around this time, Mrs. Clinton somehow managed to turn a $1,000 investment in cattle futures into $100,000. Also, she invested in a shady real estate deal that eventually led to her husband’s impeachment two decades later. Governor Clinton lost his re-election bid in a popular uprising against the state’s motor vehicle tax. Mrs. Clinton played a contributing factor in the loss. People questioned her influence as an unelected official, voters disliked her abrasive personality, and many did not like her use of her maiden name. Bill Clinton returned to reclaim the governor’s mansion in 1982. The campaign took special pains to feminize the former first lady. On top of this, she dropped the Rodham from her name and became Hillary Clinton or Mrs. Clinton as opposed to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Clinton retained the governorship for the next decade. Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton helped battle the teacher’s union to reform Arkansas schools.
In 1992, the power couple turned its attention to the White House. During the 1992 campaign, The New York Times discovered the old Whitewater land deal. Their partners, Jim and Susan McDougal, operated a savings and loan which utilized the Rose Law Firm and subsidized Whitewater losses. After Clinton’s victory in the presidential election, a special prosecutor investigated the Whitewater deal to see if the Rose Law Firm represented the McDougal’s before regulators appointed by the governor. The Whitewater Scandal led to the discovery of a myriad of scandals. In 1996, the prosecutor issued a subpoena to compel Mrs. Clinton’s testimony before a grand jury. Over time, the investigation led to Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, the House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. Essentially, the Whitewater land deal of the late seventies led directly to President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.
Clinton survived the Senate trial because the voters feared upsetting the tech bubble firing the U.S. economy. Despite impeachment’s unpopularity, Republicans retained control of Congress. In 1994, they conquered the House of Representatives for the first time in four decades because of Hillary Clinton. President Clinton appointed his wife to lead a task force on health care reform. The panel created the Clinton health care plan, or Hillarycare. The convoluted plan required employers to provide insurance through HMOs. As the public learned of the plan, they rose up to oppose it. In the end, a Democratically controlled congress failed to pass the health care initiative. The Democrats learned their lesson. Nearly two decades later, they hid the provisions in Obamacare from the public to ram it through before opposition could build. In the end, both Obamacare and Hillarycare cost the Democrats at the polls. In 1994, the Republicans gained 54 seats in the House of Representatives, reclaimed the U.S. Senate by adding eight seats, and added 10 governorships to the tally. It appeared Hillary Clinton destroyed her husband’s presidency.
The White House hid Mrs. Clinton as much as possible after the shellacking. She re-emerged during the Lewinsky Scandal to save her husband. While some criticized the first lady as an enabler, many felt sympathy for her. After all, the president had completely embarrassed her by engaging in an improper relationship with an intern. Mrs. Clinton’s support helped energize the Democrats who considered abandoning the president in favor of Vice President Gore. President Clinton survived the scandal, but it cost Gore the 2000 election.
While Vice President Gore lost his bid for the White House, Hillary Clinton moved her base of operations to New York and secured a seat in the U.S. Senate. At the time, people knew it was a transparent attempt to establish the basis for a presidential run in 2008. The Republicans expected to nominate New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but he dropped out following a cancer diagnosis. Instead, the first lady faced Congressman Rick Lazio. Despite being a carpetbagger, Mrs. Clinton won the election with 55% of the vote. During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Clinton did little of consequence. Her most noteworthy act was the vote in favor of the Iraq War.
The Iraq War vote dogged Senator Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Primaries. Most pundits assumed she would wipe out the competition on the way to the nomination. However, Democrats were leery of a Clinton restoration. The party had drifted exceedingly leftward since 2000, many disliked Clinton’s support of the war, and some remembered the Clinton scandals and its deleterious effect on the party and country. When Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed little known Senator Barack Obama, it signaled to the rest of the party they could abandon the Clintons. In the end, Senator Obama utilized the economic panic and historic nature of his candidacy to win the White House.
In order to heal the party divisions after a brutal primary, President Obama decided to unite Democratic factions by naming Hillary Clinton the new Secretary of State. Obama looked to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and then pivot to domestic affairs. Mrs. Clinton hoped to use the state department to advance the rights of women around the world and serve as a springboard to another presidential run. She visited 112 countries while in office, but Obama’s lack of concern over foreign policy undercut the state department. She left office without any noteworthy accomplishments. On the other hand, she helped destabilize Libya with the overthrow of Moamar Ghaddafi, birthed the ISIS threat with the American pullout of Iraq, allowed Russia to invade the Ukraine and return to the Middle East as a power player for the first time in 40 years, and did little to dissuade Chinese expansionism in the Far East. The world in 2016 entered its most dangerous phase since the darkest days of the Cold War and resembled the eve of World War I.
Hillary Clinton’s failures have hurt her husband, party, and country. As First Lady of Arkansas, she played a role in his 1980 defeat and laid the groundwork for his impeachment as President of the United States. As First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Clinton revitalized the Republican Party and cost the Democrats control of Congress. As U.S. Senator, she voted for the Iraq War, but did little else of consequence. In 2008, she failed to defeat an inexperienced, unqualified junior senator for the Democratic nomination. As Secretary of State, she oversaw the birth of ISIS, collapse of the Middle East, the rise of China, and the resurrection of Russian power. In the end, Mrs. Clinton’s failures dramatically outweighed her successes.