by Lanny Davis – 11/3/16
There are three simple facts about Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy that are not disputable — even by supporters of Donald Trump. There are undisputed facts about Trump as well — that he has used bigoted words about Mexicans, questioned the integrity of a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, mocked a disabled reporter, used misogynistic words while bragging on tape about conduct that is the functional equivalent of criminal sexual assault and recommended the spread of nuclear weapons — but these are for another column.
First, Hillary Clinton has spent her life involved in public service and has a public record and voting record that is progressive.
I first met Hillary at Yale when I was in my third year at Yale Law School in September 1969, and she was an incoming first-year student. I was standing in line to register for classes, and I turned around and saw her right behind me. I recognized her from her photo in a national news magazine that I had seen the night before about a highly regarded speech she had given at her Wellesley College commencement the previous June. I introduced myself and asked her whether there was any advice I could offer her about Yale Law School — what courses to take, what professors were best, how to read cases and study, etc. Her response: “You could help me — where is the nearest legal services clinic that I could volunteer for?”
When I questioned whether she would have the time, she responded:
“The reason I came to law school is to help me do public service.”
Wow, I thought. This person is unusual — she is going places. The more I got to know her that year, the more I thought she would someday be president. I kid you not.
Hillary’s life’s work has been devoted to public service and helping others, especially helping children and healthcare policy — that is a fact. Through the years as first lady of Arkansas and in the White House, as well as her eight years in the U.S. Senate, her position on all the major issues has been as a progressive Democrat with a reputation of working well with Republicans.
Her one mistake — shared by 26 other progressive U.S. Democratic senators, and many others — was supporting the Iraq War resolution in October 2003. She has since said she made a mistake. This contrasts with Trump, who never admits to a mistake even when he challenged the sincerity of a Gold Star Muslim mother.
Fact two is Hillary’s unquestioned superior experience and qualifications to be president. As President Obama said at the Democratic National Convention and many times since, there is no one who has ever — ever — been as qualified to be president of the United States in the history of our country, and he included himself and President Clinton on that list. Trump says his lack of experience in government and his experience as a businessman — including bankrupting four companies in two years — is an advantage.
Fact three is her compassion and empathy for those who are less fortunate than she. Hillary is a person who has spent her life helping children, the poor, those less fortunate, and those who are the object of discrimination suffering an absence of equal opportunity. In other words, she meets the definition of a moral leader eloquently defined by former Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey:
“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
That is the Hillary Clinton I have known for 47 years. That is the Hillary Clinton who I know — who I am certain — will make a great president of the United States.
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Lanny Davis, Yale College 1967, Yale Law School, 1970, served as chairman of the Yale Daily News from 1966 -67 and is a regular weekly columnist for The Hill. This column was also written at the request of and will be published on the Yale Daily News on Monday, Nov. 7. In 1996-98, Davis served as special counsel to President Clinton. He has remained friends with Secretary Clinton for over 47 years.
To read the column on The Hill, click here.