Commentary: The Most Qualified Candidate For President In Our Lifetime

Hillary Clinton in November 2014 (AP File)
Hillary Clinton in November 2014 (AP File)

Suppose I told you about a potential candidate for president, not now running, who had this background:

  • Spent eight years in the U.S. Senate on the Armed Service Committee
  • Served on other committees on the budget, the environment, transportation, health, workplace safety, pensions, and children, families and the aging
  • Was honored as “a tireless voice for children” by the nation’s leading child advocacy organization
  • Was called by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham “one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012
  • Was named by Time magazine one of the 25 most powerful women of the past century

That last one gave it away.

It’s Hillary Clinton, and if she runs she may be the most qualified candidate for the presidency in a generation.

Despite ceaseless attacks on her that continue to this day, in 2014 she was named — for the 13th straight year and 19th time overall — by the American people as the most admired woman in the world, according to the Gallup organization.

Forbes magazine ranked her as one of most powerful people in the world nine times. She has been named eight times to Time magazine’s most influential 100 people on the planet.

In her first campaign for public office, she won a seat in the U.S. Senate from New York; the state’s first female senator, she defeated a popular New York politician 55 percent to 43 percent. She quickly established herself as a hard-working, respected U.S. senator, earning praise from Republican colleagues John McCain and Orrin Hatch, among others.

A graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she has worked with organizations dealing with the plight of migrant workers, indigents needing legal help, distressed children and families, and increasing educational opportunity. She helped run the western presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. George McGovern, and served on the legal staff on the U.S. House committee that impeached Richard Nixon.

As first lady in Arkansas, she chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital, Legal Services and the Children's Defense Fund.

Ms. Clinton headed a task force that fashioned the country’s first national health care measure, which the Republicans in Washington vigorously trashed, inducing so much fear that it was scuttled.

As secretary of state, she met world leaders from Russia's Vladimir Putin to Germany’s Angela Merkel to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. It’s hard to imagine Republican Gov. Scott Walker intimidating Putin with stories of how he faced down striking state workers, or North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un fretting over Gov. Chris Christie’s bluster, or Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei staying awake at night over Sen. Marco Rubio’s name on that borderline traitorous letter sent to Iran by 47 GOP senators, or Cuba’s Castro brothers losing sleep over a third Bush in the White House, or Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorists who have kidnapped young women and beheaded enemies, worrying about the fiery speeches of pediatric surgeon Ben Carson, a leading Republican presidential candidate in several states.

Rand Paul? He doesn’t even believe we should have a foreign policy.

When the national Children’s Defense Fund honored Hillary Clinton in 2013, the group’s president said: “She’s brilliant. She cares deeply about children. She perseveres. She’s an incredibly hard worker, and she stays with it.”

“She would be the most qualified person to enter the White House in modern history,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared. “She’d be the best qualified person we’ve seen — with all due respect to President Clinton when he went in, President Obama and President Bush and everybody else.”

Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR

Correction: An earlier version of this post said Clinton served two full terms in the Senate. She served eight years. We regret the error.

This article was originally published on March 19, 2015.


Dan Payne Democratic Political Analyst
Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR.



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