The 14 Most Insightful Things We’ve Read About Hillary Clinton in 2016

Here is our editors’ selection of the most revealing observations from writers across the spectrum.

01-hillary-clinton-quotesJason Seiler for Reader's Digest (Illustration), CHRISTOPHER LANE/GETTY IMAGES

1. Clinton is a working dog
In New York, Rebecca Traister wrote: “Clinton self-identifies as a worker more than as a speechmaker. When I told her during one of our conversations that the comedian Samantha Bee had described her to me as ‘a working dog; you’ve got to give Hillary a job,’ her eyes lit up. ‘When I got to the Senate, I said I was not a show horse!’ she reminded me. It seems the thing Clinton is proudest of in the world.”

2. Clinton is a lover of generals

In the New York Times Magazine, Mark Landler wrote: “The Afghan troop debate … is typically framed as a test of wills between the Pentagon’s wily military commanders and an inexperienced young president, with Joe Biden playing the role of devil’s advocate for Obama. While that portrait is accurate, it neglects the role of Clinton. By siding with [former defense secretary Robert] Gates and the generals, she gave political ballast to their proposals and provided a bullish counterpoint to Biden’s skepticism … For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.

3. Clinton is her own worst enemy.
On, Hillary Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein said: “You can talk about her enemies and the damage they have done to her, but there are so many of these self-inflicted wounds that come from an unwillingness to be truthful at various important times. The vast right-wing conspiracy did not tell her to put a server in her basement … This goes to her, not just to enemies. And it may be the question that ultimately will be the answer to whether she will be the president of the United States. Because she is up not just against Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. She is up against herself.”

02-hillary-clinton-quotesEmma Kapotes/, iStock

4. Clinton is ready when we are
In the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada wrote: “The final clause [in one of Clinton’s books, which comes from a favorite Methodist lesson]—’as long as you ever can’—is telling. It embodies the Clinton of her memoirs: familiar, enduring, scarred, but eager and available, if we’d only choose her. Even her Secret Service code name, ‘Evergreen,’ is apt, the perfect label for a candidate whose principal qualification for the presidency is her eternal readiness for it.

hillary-clinton-buttonJackson Abatemarco for Reader's Digest

5. Clinton is a master listener
On, Ezra Klein wrote: “The first few times I heard someone praise Clinton’s listening, I discounted it … After hearing it 11, 12, 15 times, I began to take it seriously … [When she was a senator,] in her travels [she] stuffed notes from her conversations and her reading into suitcases, and every few months she dumped the stray paper on the floor of her Senate office and picked through it with her staff … These notes, [former staffer Laurie] Rubiner recalls, really did lead to legislation … Her process works the same way today. Multiple Clinton aides told me that the campaign’s plan to fight opiate addiction, the first and most comprehensive offered by any of the major candidates, was the direct result of Clinton hearing about the issue on her tour. ‘Her way of dealing with the stories she hears is not just to repeat the story but to do something about the story,’ says John ­Podesta, the chair of Clinton’s campaign.”

6. Clinton really does lack charisma
In the New York Post, Kyle Smith wrote: Is Hillary Clinton more qualified than Donald Trump to be president? … Of course she is. But if getting elected president were about presenting the better résumé, John McCain would have clobbered Barack Obama. Becoming president is about capturing our imagination. Hillary may deserve it, but that doesn’t mean we deserve her. The president is the person who appears in your family room more than anyone else outside your family. Can the republic endure four years of her every night? … Ten minutes of any Hillary speech and it’ll be, ‘We’re bored as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore!'”

03-hilary-clinton-quotes-2Emma Kapotes/, iStock

7. Clinton has a history of not connecting with the public
In New York, Jason Zengerle wrote: “She is an introvert by temperament, surely traumatized by the invective thrown at her during her time as first lady, consequently terrified of spontaneity, and insufficiently skilled at pretending otherwise. Still, genuine cautiousness can also be off-putting, and by the time of Clinton’s last presidential run, her opacity and rigidity had morphed into what looked like haughty entitlement. She seemed either unwilling or unable to campaign in a way that allowed voters to feel they got to know her personally.

hillary-button2Jackson Abatemarco for Reader's Digest

8. Clinton will not make left-wing women proud
In The Nation, Liza Featherstone wrote: “A Clinton presidency would be symbolically uplifting, even as it slammed the door on the possibility of genuinely improving the lives of most of the world’s women … ‘We’re not Denmark,’ she said [in a campaign appearance] … With this bit of frankness, Clinton helpfully explained why no socialist—indeed, no ­non-millionaire—­should support her. She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark—yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way.

9. Clinton is a woman of faith
On, Hillary Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein said: “When [Clinton] was in the White House and being vilified by particularly conservative Republicans, she was going to prayer breakfasts with the wives of many of those far-right conservative Republicans. And she never let it be known that she was going to those prayer breakfasts. The same when she became a senator … Her Methodism is absolutely essential to understanding who she is. She carries a Bible with her and reads it in cars and on planes … She knows it.”

04-hilary-clinton-quotes-2Emma Kapotes/, iStock

10. Clinton is a deal maker
In Foreign Policy, James Traub wrote: “[Jeffrey] Bader [Obama’s chief national security aide for Asia] had supported Obama during the campaign, and he subscribed to the collective view of the Obama camp that Clinton was petty and vindictive. He was startled to find … that she was considerate and warm. He also realized that she thought about diplomacy largely in transactional terms. ‘She’s an immensely pragmatic person,’ Bader says. ‘She’s a deal maker. Her attitude is: How can we get this done?’

11. Clinton has very mixed feelings about the life she’s chosen
In the New York Times Magazine, Mark Leibovich wrote: “She reminisced about her early days in Arkansas, back when she drove her own car and took Chelsea to ballet class. She betrayed an almost wistful longing for that time, contrasting her energy and freedom then with the exhaustions of her public life today—’the level of relentless scrutiny that now stalks not just people in politics but people in all kinds of public arenas,’ in her phrase. ‘It gives you a sense of being kind of dehumanized, I guess.’ The starkness of this language jumped out at me—’stalks’ and, especially, ‘dehumanized.’

hillary-clinton-button3Jackson Abatemarco for Reader's Digest

12. Clinton is less accomplished than she seems
On, Ted Rall wrote: “We’ve seen what happens when we elect a president with charisma but minus a résumé … Obama’s signature/single accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, embodies design-by-committee conception and autopilot execution. Hillary’s admirers have conflated her impressive list of jobs with actually having gotten things done … How has this career politician changed Americans’ lives? Not in the least.”

13. Clinton knows her flaws as a campaigner
On, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman wrote: “For much of her career, she has remained publicly unwilling (and, former advisers say, at times even privately incapable) of differentiating between malicious, coordinated political attacks and the legitimate scouring of her record undertaken by responsible reporters. In 1996, she laid down this marker in a letter to her best friend, Diane Blair, according to recently released papers. ‘I’m not stupid; I know I should do more to suck up to the press, I know it confuses people when I change my hairdos,’ Blair quoted Clinton as saying, after Blair suggested she ‘fake’ a ‘friendly’ attitude toward the media. ‘I know I should pretend not to have any opinions—but I’m just not going to. I’m used to winning and I intend to win on my own terms.’

05-hilary-clinton-quotes-2Emma Kapotes/, iStock

14. Clinton is an optimist
In Esquire, Tom Junod wrote: “She is the only candidate with a chance of winning the presidency—from either party—who speaks of preserving what we have rather than tearing it down and starting over. She is the only one who rejects the language of radicalism in her speeches. She is, indeed, the only instinctive moderate, left-leaning though she may be. The candidate who has a chance to become the first woman president turns out to be the last optimist at the apocalypse.”

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