Copyright © 2003 Henrietta W. Hay
June 20, 2003
Hillary Clinton is not too popular in our conservative enclave. But I
like her and have great respect for her. So there!
Senator Clinton's book, "Living History" hit the bookstores last
week. First day sales set a record for a non-fiction book, according
to Simon & Schuster, selling about 200,000 copies on Monday The first
print was a million copies, and they have already ordered another
What with Americans' obsession with sex, and curiosity about the
Clintons' personal lives, many of those copies undoubtedly were bought
in the hope of finding some juicy tidbits about the Clinton marriage.
Those people are going to be disappointed. Hillary feels, as do I,
that their lives behind their bedroom door are not any of my business.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Pat Schroeder, U. S. Representative
from Colorado for many years. "I have a brain and a uterus, and I use
them both." What Hillary does with her uterus is her business. What
she does with her brain is mine so long as she chooses to be a public
Why did she stay with him? She says, "I was always happier with Bill
than without him." She also wrote that "Bill Clinton and I started a
conversation in the spring of 197l, and more than 30 years later we're
There just one commandment for First Ladies, " Thou shalt keep your
mouth shut." Added to that, you must be a perfect hostess, have a good
hairdo and smile at the President (in public). Many Presidents'
wives have been highly intelligent, capable, outspoken and have broken
the rule to various degrees. Eleanor Roosevelt was a wonderful
But Hillary was the real pioneer. She was a professional woman with a
highly successful legal career, and she was an independent woman of her
baby boomer generation, and an outspoken feminist. She was under attack
from the day she entered the White House. In May of 1993 a Time cover
story said that "A Republican consultant told a network newscaster that
his job was to make sure Hillary Clinton is discredited before the 1996
Her book, "Living History" is not a defensive book, but rather a story
of her White House years, written with humor and passion and extensive
knowledge of the period. It tells of the years long battle with Starr
whose single minded ambition was to bring her and her husband down in
any way possible. She stood up with strength and dignity, however, and
today she is a United States senator and I had to go to the web to look
up Starr's first name (Kenneth, if you care).
The battle against her was so violent that at one speaking engagement on
the west coast she was persuaded to wear a bullet proof vest.
In spite of all the abuse she suffered for eight years, she comes
through as a dignified, strong, intensely human, compassionate woman.
She admits to her imperfections and her mistakes. Her humor is often
subtle, but very much a part of her. In fact, in her earlier book, "It
Takes A Village To Raise A Child," she says that her father had a big
booming laugh which she inherited. She says her laugh can startle
everybody in a restaurant or scare cats. Her experiences during her
eight years in the White House would have needed the ability to scare
more than cats.
Gloria Borger, who claims to have read all 525 pages in less than a week
said on Washington Week that the book is a political campaign piece.
That opinion has to assume that Hillary plans to run for President in
2008. Does she? Who knows? But if, by any wild chance she does and
by the even greater chance that I am still around at 94, I'll probably
vote for her.
Meanwhile, if I could choose a celebrity to have lunch with, I'd sure
like to buy lunch for Hillary Rodham Clinton.