All the “Hillary for president” you can possibly handle

November 19, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

To all the soldiers in the sad, seething army of perpetually acidic (male) conservatives who openly despise Hillary Clinton and don’t care who knows it: Rough news cycle for you, yes? You poor dears.

Indeed, your party’s latest, perhaps greatest attempt to destroy Clinton (again, for the 8th time, or was it the 800th?) not only failed spectacularly, it quite thoroughly backfired, and now the nightmares are back and that weird genital rash still won’t go away. Thank goodness you still have Trump, right? Or, you know, perhaps not.

Conversely, if you were already a Hillary supporter, well, your estimation of her has just been fantastically validated, if not amplified, all due to her stellar, galvanizing marathon appearance at the latest Benghazi battering – AKA 11 hours of shamelessly partisan, entertainingly inept, savagely single-minded bile aimed solely at bringing Hillary, once at for all, to Republican heel. Whoops.

That Clinton calmly held her own for the entirety of the rather sickening, epic assault isn’t the most impressive part. It’s the other thing, how Clinton essentially showed America and the world exactly how she’ll respond – with what level of class, calm and intelligence – when she’s faced with this exact level of GOP venom and ineptitude nearly every day of her stewardship, should she become president.

In short: She’s ready for them. More than ready. Obama-level ready. She can take the “worst” the GOP has to offer – their most calculating buffoons, their nastiest pile-on tactics, their months of savage preparation, their inbred misogyny – and leverage it to her/our advantage, all without even breaking a sweat.

But it’s not just the GOP. It’s safe to translate that skill, that temperament straight over to how she’ll deal with all those other supposedly tough-minded, troublesome, macho world leaders, from Putin to Netanyahu, the U.N. to King Salman. “Reassuring” doesn’t begin to cover it. “Totally in control and sort of badass?” That’s more like it.

Eleven hours of relentless Republican baiting, badgering and mansplaining, and she emerged smiling and stronger than ever. Role model, what?

Eleven hours of relentless Republican baiting, badgering and mansplaining, and she emerged smiling and stronger than ever. Role model, what?

But there’s an even larger upshot: No more lukewarm liberal support. No more tepid fence-sitting for the large chunk of Democrats who’ve long been wary of Clinton, who’ve complained that, despite her obvious smarts and tenacity, she’s far from an ideal progressive candidate, for all the reasons you already know: too hawkish, too front-loaded with political baggage, too friendly with Wall Street, and so on.

Well, enough of that. If you weren’t much impressed by her before, it’s downright impossible not to be, now. Yes, Bernie is engaging, too. But Hillary just took it all to the next level – the truly presidential one.

But don’t just take it from me. Donations to Hillary’s campaign just surged to record highs, immediately after Benghazi committee chairman Trey Gowdy’s sweaty gavel closed the sham hearings. Her poll numbers are way up. Ten million skeptics have been instantly converted. The GOP is, naturally, equally furious and dumbfounded, all over again.

It’s as though everyone suddenly got the same memo, all at once: Here’s your undeniable proof, doubters. Here’s the clearest snapshot yet of what we can expect from a Hillary presidency, of how she’ll handle the right’s sexism, their outright hatred of both the Clinton name and the idea of a female American president, not to mention how she’ll deal with Congress, with world leaders, with her gnarled past and our even more gnarled future.

Which is to say: With class, with calm intelligence, with a bemused, wary understanding of the cruelest workings of the DC’s inbred political machinery.

She’s still far from perfect – hell, she’s a big part of that machinery herself – but once you throw in some Zen meditation and a little yoga, the truth becomes even more undeniable: This is the most powerful, badass, superhero grandma we could possibly ask for. Doubt her at your peril.

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Mark Morford

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