THE PHANTOM PRESIDENCY
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s satire about a personality, maybe even a Cult of Personality. The personality being housed in the body of one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Say what you want about the woman, but you can’t say she isn’t smart. I think she’s way smarter than many of us gave her credit for.
I have no evidence to back this up, but it’s an interesting thought experiment for me.
Hillary had an appetite for politics since her middle teens, active in young Republican groups. Her world was rocked by MLK and she changed to the Democratic party by the time she had graduated college. Picture a young, ambitious woman turning twenty-one in 1968, the most incredibly dynamic social and political year in modern history. The world was changing and she could feel it in her bones, but it wasn’t yet time for a woman president. She wouldn’t be thirty-five for fourteen more years. And yes, society was changing, however, it probably still wouldn’t be ready in 1982 for a woman president. But what if … what if she could find the right man to polish?
Enter William Clinton. He’s brash and full of energy and has political aspirations of his own. He’s someone she could use to her advantage. He had great potential. He wasn’t perfect, but she could fine-tune his lesser qualities, groom him for greatness. Law School and introductions with the right people put her into powerful circles of influence, and not by chance, but by subtle manipulation.
Her machinations worked maybe better than expected, with Bill getting elected governor of Arkansas in 1978 at the young age of 32. And then I can only imagine what it must have been like in that household when he lost re-election in 1980, nearly derailing her plans. Bill redeemed himself, winning three more terms as governor. In the meantime, she had risen to be considered one of the most powerful attorneys in the country by 1991.
When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992 I had to admit to grudging admiration at his political savvy. He was the shrewdest politician of his generation without even a close second. On hindsight, I have to wonder how much of his strategy was Bill and how much was the grand manipulator, Hillary. Actually I’m giving her the credit. He was her mouthpiece, her surrogate.
The Phantom Presidency had come to fruition. She was this close to reaching her dream. As close as one can get, without being the actual one who signs the documents. Is there any real doubt she had a hand in policy decisions? But once again, Bill almost tubed her plans with the Lewinski scandal. It may have actually worked to her advantage in the long game, making her look sympathetic. Who knows; maybe it was a truly Palpatine-like scheme from the beginning.
On to the next phase of the great plan. She was the first former first lady to be voted into political office. She found a big state with a senator that was retiring after four terms. Despite accusations of carpetbagging, she was the first woman to be elected to the U. S. Senate from the state of New York. The times had truly changed. The country might actually be ready to elect a woman as President of the United States. Her first run didn’t pan out, but she secured a cabinet post, legitimizing her on the national scene in a way that senator hadn’t.