"I have to be better than everyone, I have to work harder," Hillary Clinton said recently in an interview printed in the New York Times on November 16. "There's no margin for me when others have so much leeway. It's a pressure cooker all the time."
Oh, Hillary -- please. If any woman in the world has had protection and leeway, as well as unfair advantages over other contenders, it was she. All her life, she has lived in a hothouse, protected and helped by a masculine presence who gave her more help, aid, and comfort in all that she did than most male politicians could possibly hope for. And that is, or course, her own husband, Bill.
Yes, Bill, if she can recall him, the man whom she met and hooked up with when she was in law school, who later had some success in politics, the one who was elected Governor of Arkansas at age 32 and then served five more terms before running for president. Bill is the one who put her into the charmed circles of the political elites before she was thirty, and who made her world-famous at age 46 as a "new kind of first lady," an instant celebrity, and a heroine to uncounted numbers of feminists seeking a symbol and figurehead.
Bill was the man who broke all the rules to give her control of health care reform, the jewel in the crown of his domestic agenda. He stood by her when she blew it so badly that in the midterm elections of 1994 he lost his majorities in both Houses of Congress, and was forced for the rest of his terms to curtail his ambitions. And Bill is the man who revived her career in the strangest way possible, casting her as the woman wronged in the great intern scandal, making her popular for the first time to the public in general, and paving the way for her rise.
Bill made her the woman with whom people sympathized, whom they saw as the victim and not the aggressor, and to whom they were willing to give a seat in the Senate. Bill is the man who ran her campaign from the White House, used it as the backdrop for all her endeavors, and diverted most of the funds and influence at his disposal in her direction, at the expense of his vice president, heir, and presidential nominee of his party, the extremely resentful Al Gore.
Whether his heir or his victim, Hillary Clinton won her Senate seat because of Bill Clinton, and for no other reason at all.
Bill was the man whose connections and money made it possible for Hillary to enter the presidential races as the prohibitive favorite in 2008 and 2016, though she would go on to lose both of them; Bill who cleared the field so effectively in 2016 through pressure and threats (and campaigning against prior defectors in intervening elections) that only a 74-year-old socialist was willing to challenge her.
That she struggled to put even him away is not a case of Hillary being "better" than others or her being a weak candidate who needed a man to protect her -- whatever she or her fan base may say.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."