Politics & Media
Nov 03, 2014, 06:36AM

Brief Observations of Hillary Clinton

I’d vote for her more enthusiastically if she was nice and a lesbian.

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For a few months in early 1993, I worked at the White House. After college I was a medical billing and insurance manager at an orthopedic practice, and I saw something in the paper about the creation of a Health Care Task Force being formed under the newly elected President Bill Clinton; they needed billing/insurance volunteers from the medical field. I volunteered.

I was 24 years old, married with no kids, and lived close enough to take the DC Metro to Farragut West and walk the block to the Old Executive Office Building (later renamed the Eisenhower Executive Office Building). I was a volunteer versus an intern; an important distinction at a time when Monica Lewinsky walked the same halls as the very short George Stephanopoulos and myself.

During the presidential transition, the place was quite chaotic. Staff was being hired but teams weren't in place. I did whatever I was told: from envelope stuffing to once meeting with health care chief advisor Ira Magaziner to give him my thoughts on issues in medical billing and insurance (e.g. Medicare needs better technology and someone to answer the phone).

One day, a staffer stuck his head into the room I was in and asked, "Is anyone a writer?" I still hadn't written professionally back then, but hesitantly raised my hand halfway and offered that I'd been editor of my high school and college newspapers. "Good enough," he said, and I went to another room.

The next thing I knew I was drafting a health care speech to be given at a college by First Lady Hillary Clinton. I faked my way through it. The office I was working in was right across the hall from Hillary's in the traditional first lady's office suite; this was before she had her office moved to the West Wing (a controversial move).  One day, she came in to thank us. At that event and a few other times, I remember thinking she was not the warmest person I'd ever met. She posed for a photo with us.

Though seeing the 1876 grandeur of the Executive Office of the President Library was my favorite thing about the place, I attended the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn and a volunteer appreciation event at the end of my several-months long volunteer period. I met and liked Al (funnier in person) and Tipper (dynamic, personable) Gore. When I met the tall, jovial President Clinton for the first time, he took both my hands into his large hands and looked directly into my eyes. I remember him doing this because when Hillary met you, she didn't really look at you—she looked at the next person, or out in the crowd. I thought to myself that this was how he got to be President, despite his shortcomings, because of the way he looks directly at you as though he gives a shit about you. That must be politics, I figured.

The secret service guys would brag to the young, single interns (who weren't already blowing the Prez) about their interior working knowledge of the White House residence: whispers about the fact that the President and First Lady did not share a bedroom were popular. For a few days I ended up answering phones in Hillary’s office, which of course had little to do with health care but as volunteers, we pitched in where needed. My honest impression of her friends and staff was that they were cool, powerful lesbians.

I answered the phone one day: "Office of the First Lady."

"It's me," said the voice on the other line.

"Who?" I asked, genuinely curious.

"The First Lady," Hillary Clinton responded.

Well that was awkward. 

I did my service in offering what information I could about my five or so years' experience working in medical billing and insurance though I doubt any of it went anywhere (see: Medicare) in the chaos that was the transition to a new presidential administration.

My favorite keepsake from my time there is a nametag someone made one day as a joking reference to the fact that everyone around us was scrambling for White House jobs. Below a graphic of the White House, it reads, "Hi, I'm Nobody."

As for whether Hillary Clinton would make a good president, well, if Elizabeth Warren isn't available, of course I'd vote for Hillary over whatever idiot white male douchebag Republican is running. I’d vote for her harder if she was nice and a lesbian. Despite her myriad career accomplishments and closet or no closet, I think Hillary should work on the friendly-handshake element of her personality and that it’d be cool if she went back to the White House without the guy who won't even share her bedroom, though I bet she'd send his office back over to the other building anyway.

-Follow Mary McCarthy on Twitter @marymac.

  • Wow, that's quite a look at the Clintons. Bet you're right about the Bill handshake. Did you ever read "Primary Colors"? That opens with a great analysis of his shake technique.

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  • no! i should check it out.

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  • Doesn't matter if Hillary becomes nicer or comes out. She was the biggest loser in the elections last night. The Dems were so thoroughly slaughtered that the competition for the '16 prez nomination is all scrambled.

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  • Although I hope you are right, I'm afraid both parties ability to deny the obvious is stronger than you think. The repubs won by denying their past (Ernst and Colorado senator denying the meaning of their personhood positions) and Dems ran from Obamacare and Obama. Clearly the "positive" message sells better even when it ignores facts.

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  • Russ, what are you talking about? The Dems did about as bad as people thought they would, and not a ton worse. Nothing in the election is going to change the fact that Hillary has massive party support and is way, way out ahead for the Democratic nomination.// And she'll have a fine chance of winning the election if the economy improves, and not much chance of winning if it tanks. In terms of 2016 we're right where we were before this election.// The 2014 election doesn't mean the end of the Dems anymore than the 2012 election meant the end of the Republicans. It's still a two party system, like it was yesterday.

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  • Noah, I didn't say this election spelled the end of the Democrats. But it's not like Nov. 3. First, the final polls were proved to be wrong, in that the GOP far outperformed them. So, Nate Silver and his imitators have a few black eyes. Second, show me a pre-election prognostication from a Democrat or liberal pundit who forecast such a drubbing. Third, this wasn't like 2010, when the GOP elected a bunch of Tea Party types; it was a moderate bunch. And then, Hillary: of course she has the apparatus and $$$, and should she run (who knows), she's the favorite. But will Democrats want to pin their hopes on an older multimillionaire woman with ties to Big Money? Maybe, but it emboldens her potential competitors. I'd be amazed if Warren didn't run. And Warren's just a start.

  • What? All the predictions were that the Republicans would win, probably with 52-58 seats in the Senate. That's what happened. Most of the governors races were predicted accurately as well. It wasn't some sort of out of unexpected drubbing; it was about in line with the fundamentals; the Republicans did a bit better than expected, but not apocalyptically so.// That could well be because the GOP did better with candidate selection, though the woman in Iowa who won is still a loon. I do hope that that will mean better governance by Republicans and less concern about being primaried by whackos...we'll have to see if that's the case though.// Hillary is already running; she's been running for a while. The "will she run" thing is silliness. As for whether Democrats will nominate her — it sure looks like it at the moment. She polls well and has massive institutional party support. Her money will be a non-issue, as Romney's was for the most part (that is, it may be a campaign issue, but the vast majority of voters aren't going to care.) All candidates have strengths and weaknesses; Hillary's downsides aren't greater than any other candiates would be. The fact that I would prefer Elizabeth Warren has little to do with whether Clinton is electable (she is — though of course that doesn't mean she will be elected if the economy tanks.)

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  • The guy who's forecast model was way off was Sam Wang. But the Monkey Cage predicted that there was almost no chance of a Democratic win, I think. Republicans are going to end up with 53-55 seats, right? That's about what I was expecting (though I was hoping Dems might hold the chamber, of course.)

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  • Russ, please don't disagree with Noah. It is not worth the pseudo-intellectual tripe he will spew. That said, who would you name as the frontrunners, for each party, at this point in time? Then, who do you see as actual finalists?

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  • Noah, who predicted the GOP could wind up with 58 seats. Never saw that. Also, did anyone see Mark Warner almost lose his seat in Virginia? And, again, you're missing my point: this was a drubbing because of the margins in the races the GOP won, almost without fail larger than expected. I imagine Hillary will run, but until she announces, who knows for sure, unless you're in her kitchen cabinet. Yes, a strong economy would help the Dem nominee, but you have mentioned that it's infrequent a party takes three presidential elections in a row. Last time was Reagan/Bush; before that was the FDR/Truman string. Good that, as a "progressive" you're so sanguine about the results. Most of your comrades are not.

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  • Hillary *is running now*. She's doing everything she needs to do to run. Perhaps she'll drop out at some point. At the moment, she's in the race. It's called "the invisible primary." Treating it as if she's actually not running is just playing into her propaganda machine, which I presume you don't want to do.// I'm not happy about the results; it's just not the end of the Democrats anymore than 2012 was the end of the Republicans. GOP did slightly better than expected, but not enough to conclude that the Democrats did something apocalyptically wrong. // And yes, lots of people are freaking out. People freak out about these things and tend to see major trends where there aren't any. It's the nature of the beast.// 58 may have been too much, but 52 seemed like the most common suggestion, with 55-56 well within the range of the possible.// Warner's struggle was a surprise...but on the other hand Sheehan and Franken and others did better than expected. That's the way things go.

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  • Hey, thanks for telling me what the "invisible primary" is! Would've had no idea otherwise!

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  • I don't know if you're yanking my chain or not! I only learned that that was the term myself recently; I think political science folks have taken to calling it that. Defined here: http://politicaldictionary.com/words/invisible-primary/

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