The Concord Monitor has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
This is a tremendous win for Hillary, especially considering the Monitor’s non-endorsement — an attack, actually — on Mitt Romney on the Republican side.
The Monitor editorial staff knows its stuff. Over the years some of its members have interviewed and seen “up close and personal” hundreds of serious primary candidates. Given their close scrutiny and experience with candidates, their endorsement of Hillary is truly meaningful, and one that undecided Democratic voters will certainly consider on January 8.
I might also mention that Concord, New Hampshire, home of the Monitor, is also the birthplace of the Hillary Clinton Quarterly. In fact, many of our original articles also appeared in the Monitor. I think the editors took some pride that Concord was the home of the first and only publication devoted to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Usually, I would just link to the Monitor endorsement, but it is so timely and important, you can either read the entire editorial here or go to their web site to read it. You can reach their primary blog here.
Immediately after taking office, President Hillary Clinton would begin preparations to withdraw American troops from Iraq.
She would send a message to world leaders that the United States intends to rejoin the community of nations.
She would make clear to federal employees that they must heed the Constitution.
She would reverse Bush-era policies that have harmed the environment.
She would quickly sign legislation supporting stem-cell research and expanding children’s health insurance.
She would lift the gag rule prohibiting international family planning programs from counseling poor women about abortion.
Many White House administrations start off slowly, as green presidents fumble through their early months, unsure how to bend Washington to their will. Come 2009, America will be unable to afford such squandered time.
Clinton’s ambitious to-do list for her first few weeks in office gives us confidence that her priorities are right and that she would act swiftly to make a positive difference. She is the Monitor’s choice in the Jan. 8 Democratic primary.
New Hampshire Democrats and independents are blessed with a strong field of presidential candidates at a time when a change of course is desperately needed. We have been impressed by Joe Biden’s pragmatic foreign policy and by John Edwards’s insistence that we pay attention to the poorest Americans.
Barack Obama, more than most, has the power to inspire. The positive tone of his campaign is not a gimmick. He is a serious candidate with sober ideas. For reasons symbolic and substantive, he would also be a nominee Democrats could feel proud to vote for.
But Hillary Clinton’s unique combination of smarts, experience and toughness makes her the best choice to win the November election and truly get things done. Before embarking on an agenda of her or his own, the next American president will be forced to undo the damage of the Bush years: ending the war in Iraq, restoring habeas corpus rights, ending the use of torture, healing New Orleans, restoring America’s moral authority around the world.
A tall order – but not nearly enough. The next president must also take the lead on a serious effort to slow global warming, a rational policy on illegal immigration and a plan to provide health care to all Americans.
Clinton knows what she wants to accomplish. She knows how Washington works. She has forged alliances with unlikely political partners, and she has waged partisan fights on matters of principle. Her years as first lady and as a U.S. senator have put her at the center of key policy and political battles for a decade and a half. She is prepared for the job.
As first lady, Clinton acted as an American diplomat, meeting with foreign leaders across the globe on behalf of her husband and advocating for human rights. She was influential in shepherding the Family and Medical Leave Act into law. Her fumble on health care reform taught her much about the ways of Washington – and it is to her credit that universal health care remains her signature issue.
As a senator, Clinton has earned a reputation for pragmatic and sometimes creative hard work. She forged a bipartisan plan to expand health coverage to military veterans and their families. She helped secure critical federal assistance for Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks. By stalling the confirmation of President Bush’s FDA appointee, she gained over-the-counter access for the morning-after pill. Her work with Senate Republicans, including the leader of the impeachment prosecution against her husband, gives us confidence that the cartoon version of Hillary Clinton – as a leading actor in an exhaustingly partisan Washington soap opera – is a 1990s anachronism.
As a veteran of her own campaigns and her husband’s, and as a favorite target of Republicans, she has become a tough campaigner. Unlike John Kerry, she would not dither when the inevitable attacks came.
There are Democratic voters in New Hampshire and beyond who wish for a little more poetry from the guarded and highly disciplined Clinton. She can, after all, seem a relentless policy wonk, rather than an inspirational leader. But consider this: American men gave up their monopoly on the right to vote and hold public office in 1920. In the intervening 87 years, progress for women has been slow and uneven: A wage gap persists; reproductive freedom is constantly at risk; and in the 21 presidential contests since then, Americans have never even given serious consideration to voting for a woman.
The election of America’s first female president will show more than half the population – including millions of young girls – that their futures are not limited by their gender, that America has moved a little closer to its ideals of liberty and justice for all. There is plenty of inspiration in that.
In a talented field, Hillary Clinton has the right experience, the right agenda and the know-how to lead the country back to respect on the world stage and meaningful progress on long-neglected problems.