2 february 2013, hilaryous

There's a lot of it around, but I'm going to have a go too. Bill was there when I was at my most intense political period (not least in israel, read christmas in bethlehem for the optimistic pax clintona period) and I have many times written that he was an exceptional president, at least from the waist up. The redoubtable madeleine albright was his (foreign) secretary of state, who lit the path. Then came hilary. They were always a double act, and even before the end of bill's time the baton passed as she easily won her senate seat, very effectively winning hearts and minds. 2008 then brought a dilemma: what to do as the eminently wonderful obama became a serious candidate, at hilary's expense. I must admit I was easily won over to him at an early moment, but to the end had deep doubts about whether, having won the nomination, he could actually beat the traditional white male he would face. Hilary, who was easily above the threshold, seemed a safer bet. In the end of course it all worked out, with hilary gracefully becoming secretary of state and making the role her own, even as the administration she was part of will hardly look back on foreign policy as either defining or transformative. Slips, like the killing in benghazi, seemed not her fault, as did vacuums in policy, like ducking entirely the israel-palestinian peace process. For a while it seemed she might stick around, becoming the first woman at defence, for example, but eventually it became clear she will retreat to consider a presidential run in 2016. If the chips sit well, the biggest thing against her will be her 69 years, the same age as reagan won his first term, so adroitly turning it to his advantage in the debate against walter mondale when he promised "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." It is not, I am sure, the last we have seen of one of the very rare women who doesn't even need a presidential surname attaching; happy hunting, hilary.