Some say Hillary Clinton was too “hawkish” in 2008. Some say she is too warm and fuzzy for 2016. What’s a girl got to do to convince voters she’s ready for the White House?


Hillary Rodham Clinton learned during her first presidential run that, at least until we elect the first female president, there is no getting around the gender issue. She tried to ignore it in 2008, and we all know how that ended. So she’s owning it for the 2016 campaign, but with the world situation, she has to find a way walk a line between a softer, kinder Hillary and the strong, determined commander in chief she tried to convince us she could be eight years ago.

Early on in her campaign, Clinton dialed back the so-called hawkish Hillary, but that’s now no longer an option for any presidential candidate. It is more difficult for Clinton, because she must find a way to thread the needle on these issues because her Republican opponents are on the lookout for any advantage, and that advantage just might be exploiting voters’ feelings on women, power and leadership.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and a presidential candidate, has said in his criticism of Clinton’s plan that she doesn’t have the qualifications to be making this kind of commander-in-chief decision. (This ignores that her plan includes a diplomacy aspect missing from the plans of her opponents.)

While I don’t expect Graham to sing Clinton’s praises, he is on the record as having said she was more than qualified to be secretary of state. So one has to wonder — what other resume bullet point could there be that Clinton is missing that makes her unqualified (other than her political affiliation)? Was Graham’s comment a coded message that a woman, no matter her political pedigree, isn’t qualified to sit behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and direct our military?

Read the rest at the San Francisco Chronicle!