I've been asked on television a lot about whether Bill Clinton will be a help or hindrance to his wife's potential run for president. Will Bill Clinton be an albatross around Hillary Clinton's neck? My answer: absolutely not.
Why all this talk when Hillary Clinton still has not confirmed a run for 2016? And why all this talk of the affair former President Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky? As a woman, the question reeks of sexism. Although her husband was president for two terms, and governor for two terms in Arkansas, Hillary has been much more than a first lady. We do not need to talk about what Bill Clinton did; we can look at what Hillary has done.
[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]
Although her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan failed, it certainly set the groundwork for the health care law we have today, the Affordable Care Act. And she played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides state support for children whose parents cannot provide them with health coverage. She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses. She also played a leading role in creation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act. She encouraged older women to seek a mammogram for early detection of breast cancer (which is covered by Medicare) and successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the NIH. She worked to investigate illnesses that were reportedly affecting Veterans of the Gulf War; now commonly known as Gulf War Syndrome. And she created an Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice. She is also the first first lady to hold a post graduate degree, and she traveled to more countries than any other first lady had at that time.
As a U.S. senator, she was the first first lady to be elected to this office. She was instrumental in securing $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site's redevelopment. She subsequently took a leading role in investigating the health issues that 9/11 first responders were facing.
After visiting soldiers in Iraq, Clinton noted that the insurgency had failed to disrupt the democratic elections held earlier, and that parts of the country were functioning well. Noting that war deployments were draining regular and reserve forces, she cointroduced legislation to increase the size of the regular Army by 80,000 soldiers to ease the strain and supported retaining and improving health benefits for veterans. She also she introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act.
That was just in her first term. She was easily re-elected and accomplished much in her second term as well. And who can forget her run for the presidency, receiving more than 17 million votes during the nomination process?
As our secretary of state, Clinton visited 112 countries, helping to repair a badly damaged U.S. reputation. She advocated an expanded role in global economic issues for the State Department and cited the need for an increased U.S. diplomatic presence, especially in Iraq, where the Defense Department had conducted diplomatic missions. Clinton unveiled the Global Hunger and Food Security program, prevailed over Vice President Biden to send an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, saved the signing of a Turkish-Armenian accord, and assisted the president with major decisions as to the U.S. position with regard to the revolution in Egypt and the decision to use military force in Libya.
Hillary doesn't need the merits of her husband; nor does she need to be attacked for standing by her man after his affair. That is her private and personal decision. And the fact that we are still focused more on Bill than Hil speaks volumes to why the United States still has not had a female president.
But I tell you America, that time is coming ... brace yourselves.