Forget everything you’ve read about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Friday night appearance at Lisner Auditorium to promote her new memoir Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster). While Clinton’s conversation with her former speechwriter and communications director (now co-owner of Politics & Prose Booksellers) Lissa Muscatine was deftly staged, the real news wasn’t communicated verbally, but physically. Hillary Clinton may not yet have formally declared that she’s running for the presidency, but her body language and demeanor suggested that she’s more than ready.
When the two women took the stage (after an introduction by Bradley Graham, an author and former Washington Post reporter who is Muscatine’s spouse and co-owner of Politics & Prose), Clinton appeared happy and relaxed, dressed in black trousers, low-heeled black pumps, and a beautiful black-and-cream tunic jacket.
Her attire is relevant because it was the garb of a woman in full, a woman who has heard it all about her hairbands, pantsuits, and accessories. Clinton knows what becomes her best and she also knows what is most appropriate in all situations.
Knowing what’s appropriate is not enough to make a person “presidential.” Despite our national predilection for snark, most of us still believe that a national leader should combine experience, intelligence, common sense, and wisdom. Clinton’s DC book event was carefully crafted to display all of the above and more. When Muscatine moved on to the “substance” of the book, Clinton related the rescue of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, a story from her tenure as Secretary of State that showed her to dazzling advantage.
The phrases “carefully crafted” and “dazzling advantage” are not left-handed compliments. Not at all. It is fascinating and instructive to watch a politician who is also a woman use the tools at her disposal to shape her future. One of the (sadly, only two) audience questions Muscatine shared with Clinton was “What do you want your legacy to be?” Clinton answered, “I don’t think about my legacy. I think about my life!” Both temporarily quashing and fueling rumors about a presidential campaign, she added: “The future may not be clear, but it is full of promise.”
Fortunately, Clinton also mentioned that she believes in something “American’s don’t have enough of,” which is patience. She’ll need a lot of it, whatever her future holds–the only certainty right now is the birth of her first grandchild this fall.
What do you think? Is Hillary Clinton presidential material?