A golden oldie | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 2, 2008

A golden oldie

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Just the thing for a slow Friday afternoon. I'm reminded that our Bob Lancaster was undoubtedly the first journalist -- mainstream, sidestream, slipstream -- to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. The date was June 2, 1994.

I checked. He stands by that endorsement. "I do stand by it. I think she probably ought to fire everybody she's got working for her -- excluding Martha Brantley, of course, but including Bill J. Clinton, whose weirding out in recent weeks is just a complete puzzlement to me."

Read on for a Bob blast from the past.

Lancaster column
June 2, 1994

Betsey Wright created a minor excitement with her recent prediction or assumption or announcement or wishing thinking that Hillary Clinton will seek the presidency when her husband is done with it.
I hope Mrs. C. does run for president and I hope she wins. Be good for Arkansas and good for the country. 
Good for Arkansas because it would give us two Arkie presidents in a row. This is much more impressive than one in a row. One in a row is no small deal--it's something most states haven't accomplished--but two in a row would have everyone harking back to the time of presidential giants, when Virginia sent Tippecanoe and Tyler Too to the White House, and before that, in impressive succession, for a full two terms each, Jefferson, Madison, and James Monroe. (It's hard to think of Madison, who was 5-foot-6 and weighed in at 90-odd pounds, as one of our giants, but he was.)
This record earned Virginia designation as the Mother of Presidents, an honorific that only Ohio has so far contested (vainly, of course, its emissaries all dullards and walruses) but that by all rights should devolve elsewhere in these latter-days when the Old Dominion presidential timber is reduced to  knotty chunks and sawdust piles--to the likes of Col. North, Bro. Falwell the Antichrist,  and the Rev. Robertson who turns storms and petitions God Almighty on behalf of somebody out there with hiney boils.
Two presidents in a row--especially with one of them being Hillary Clinton--ought to allay our centuries-old Arkansas image anxiety once and for all.
And good for the country. It's past time that we put a woman in the presidency, and it would be nicely symbolic--and an affirmation as well of our belief in progress, a commitment to that belief--if we elected to begin the new century with a woman president, having just concluded a century that started with women not even allowed to vote.
Women have earned the opportunity to lead the country. In the brief time they've been allowed to participate in the nation's public affairs, they've proved beyond doubt their superiority in the science of government. The point is not even debatable any more. Women already run most of our local governments--and it's no coincidence that the local level is where government efficiency and competency are most in evidence. Women are quietly assuming control too of the state governments, which have got proportionately better, and they're on their way to fair representation in two of the three federal branches. Half the members of Congress who count are all the women in Congress. And  with the next woman appointee the Supreme Court will have enough women to offset the more obnoxious half of the masculine element.
Of the recent presidents--going back to, say, Truman--it's obvious that their wives would have been better Chief Executives, and one of them, Nancy Reagan, actually proved this, assuming the burden as the 40th President drifted off into his amiable second-term senility. She moved into the breach before Haig and Regan and Meese and their unctuous ilk could ooze over into it, and she's never got the credit she deserved for doing so. She got only contempt and ridicule from this end of the spectrum, while the other end didn't even know--or wouldn't concede--that the Gip had gone off somewhere for the duration to sing "Daisy" with HAL.
Mrs. Clinton has more in the way of presidential credentials than perhaps than any of her First Lady predecessors. She has the smarts, the gumption, the moxie, and the interest. She has her own impressive political record (compare it with that of a likely competitor, the poor sap Dan Quayle, for instance) and she certainly seems tough enough to handle the job. She's already endured the full frenzy of the newly psychotic American press, probably the pre-eminent consideration for any presidential candidate any more, and you sense she could--and early on would--tie squirmy Newt Gingrich around Bob Dole's neck and dangle them both upside down from one of Strom Thurmond's drawn-out participles the first time they tried to gridlock her with one of their Republican wedgies.
A prospect vastly appealing. It might be a little too far in the future--at least six years off--to be mooncalfing about it just yet. But then again, that's assuming she'll be willing to wait that long.


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