For the first time in my voting lifetime, the New York Democratic presidential primary actually matters. My vote counts. But here's my problem, I hate Hillary Clinton. OK, maybe hate is a strong word. But I seriously dislike her. To be honest, we're on the same side of the aisle on almost every major issue from women's rights to education to health care, but I just can't get over a few glaring issues that I have with her. Yes, I resent being told as a woman and a mom, I should be voting for her, but there's more to my dislike than that.
One of my first political memories is of the Clinton White House and the many scandals associated with it. Can you say Whitewater? How about Gennifer Flowers? And don't get me started on Monica Lewinsky. Actually, let's get started on Lewinsky. As someone raised by a strong feminist, Hillary Clinton's whole stand-by-your-man shtick totally grated on me.
Here was a brilliant woman in her own right, and her dog of a husband had internationally humiliated her. With a freaking intern. At least Flowers was an alleged model. Lewinsky looked like all my Hebrew School classmates. Soon, Hillary was a punch line, a joke for late-night comics. No one remembered that she went to Yale Law School, her pro bono work in child advocacy, or even that she was a partner in a major law firm. Nope. Around the United States, and even abroad, when people thought of Hillary Clinton, Tammy Wynette began playing in their head.
As a young girl, this astounded me. How could Hillary stand it? All of her accomplishments disappeared. Even the most uninformed citizen, if they knew anything, knew about the cheating scandal. I was embarrassed for her. If that was me, well, I hope my husband never finds out how I would react. It won't be pretty.
As Clinton's second term ran down, I definitely expected the Clintons to fade away into the political sunset. No such luck. Before Bubba's term was even up, Hillary had set her sights on the New York Senate seat vacated by our bow-tie loving senior senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan. This seriously pissed me off.
The Clintons had zero ties to New York. Like none, nada, zip. So they went and bought a house in Chappaqua, north of New York City. Suddenly, they were New Yorkers. Sorry, Arkansas. And just so you know, Hillary is from the Chicago area, so screw you too, Illinois.
To be honest, as Senator she wasn't all that memorable. Or maybe it was because I left the state for college outside of Boston (to major in Politics) that I have no real memories of her time representing me. Apparently, she built political bridges, worked across the aisle, got money for New York after September 11th, all that good stuff. And while I did vote for her twice, I seriously have no recollection of anything she did while in Congress.
But New York wasn't enough for her. Nope. She had her sights set on The White House, which we all should have seen coming. While she did stand by Clinton all those years, it should have been clear that this woman was the brains behind the man. I have to admit to being a little peeved that our great state of New York was just a stepping-stone to grander ambitions. Weren't we good enough for her?!?
A week before the 2008 democratic presidential primary, my mom wasn't sure whom she was voting for between Hillary, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Edwards was about to implode with his owning cheating scandal, and to me, Hillary wasn't a viable candidate. Was the country ready for a woman? And while Hillary ended up taking the New York primary, Obama took The White House and eventually made Hillary his Secretary of State.
In recent years, it's less Hillary's politics and more her sense of entitlement and speaking gaffes that have set my nerves on edge. When she said in a 2004 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer that she and Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House, I nearly fainted. Broke? With speaking fees, book royalties, and potential board positions, this claim sounded absolutely ludicrous. And while she may have been trying to portray how she and Bill were just like us, all her comment did was make me feel like she was a big phony.
Since she announced her recent presidential candidacy, and even before that actually, there's been this feeling of inevitability. This is her destiny. Guess what? It doesn't work that way. Maybe she thought she'd coast to the Democratic nomination, and eventually The White House, but we want our candidates to work for our love, to prove they deserve our votes, and to actually be likable. At least I do.
Maybe after eight years of a charming president, I'm a bit spoiled. And I know it's not a prerequisite for the office, but I want a Commander in Chief who'd be as comfortable at a baseball game as he or she'd be with the leaders of the free world. Again, I know, this isn't really mandatory for a President.
Finally, there is one thing that, on a legal level, annoyed me. A lot. Her email recent email scandal. She used her a private email server instead of the State Department server when she was Secretary of State. If at my job, whatever job, I used my Gmail instead of my work email, pretty sure I'd get fired, or least totally yelled at. Again, this just seems entitled to me. Most of us would never dare, but for Hillary, well, that's another story.
Listen, I totally recognize that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate. Besides her legal and political background and her experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, she also just comes off as the most presidential of all the candidates left, both Democrat and Republican. Which I may add, isn't hard to do with this bunch. But that doesn't mean I'm happy.
Her Democratic opposition, Senator Bernie Sanders, is from New York (albeit like a million years ago), is full of grand ideas, and reminds me of my great-Uncle Sy, all blustery and angry. But there's little substance behind his proposals. And while I do love some of his big ideas, I don't think he could feasibly get any of them done. College for free? On what planet?
But just because I'm not #FeelingtheBern also doesn't mean #Imwithher. But I'm not telling who gets my vote. That'll be between the State of New York and me. And I'm not sharing.