Hillary Clinton: loved and loathed

by Ivan Couronne Hillary Clinton, the first woman to represent a major US political party as its presidential nominee, evokes strong feelings, even on America's political left. Some people love her. Others cannot stand her.

The following explains how Clinton is seen through the eyes of three female Democratic activists:

– Dyana: convinced -Dyana Forester, 36, backed Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, and it took her some time to come around to the Clinton camp.

But this year, she was elected to be a Clinton delegate from the nation’s capital at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. For Forester, Clinton rival Bernie Sanders was too much of an idealist.

“She’s smart, she is great at seeing both sides of things, in coming up with a balance, striking a balance,” Forester told AFP in the US East Coast city.

Clinton’s supposed compromising of her principles, denounced by her detractors, is for Forester just the proof of her pragmatism — essential when trying to navigate hyper-partisan Washington.

“Bernie has very strong values but how much can he actually get done in a divided house? We want a president who can actually move things and come to a compromise,” Forester says.

The black labor organizer highlighted Clinton’s experience as a senator and secretary of state, and even as first lady from 1993 to 2001 when her husband Bill Clinton served as president.

“I believe she was the force behind him. I think she’ll be a better president than him,” Forester said.

– Paula: disgusted – Those on the far left of America’s political spectrum look at Clinton’s CV and come to the opposite conclusion.

For 61-year-old Paula Iasella, Clinton’s political staying power just shows how corrupt she is. The semi-retired online seller of vests for dogs from New Hampshire is part of the Bernie or Bust movement.

“They’ve been grooming Hillary for years,” she says, referring to Democratic Party heavyweights, while holding a sign with a picture of Sanders.

Does Clinton have no redeeming qualities?

“I really don’t see it,” Iasella says.

“I know supposedly she has done good work for women’s rights but then she’s accepted money from all these different Middle Eastern countries that are terrible on women’s rights. It’s all about money for her,” she notes, referring to donations made to the Clinton Foundation.

While Clinton favors an increase in the national minimum wage, Iasella fears she only means to do it incrementally — between now and, say, 2025, not next year.

Like many Sanders diehards, Iasella isn’t all that concerned with the fallout should Republican Donald Trump defeat Clinton in November.

“Honestly, sometimes you have to throw the baby out with the bath water to make things right,” she said of the Democratic Party.

– Patricia: an admirer – For decades, Clinton has counted on a strong base of hardcore, tried-and-true fans like Patricia Acosta, a delegate from California who spoke to AFP outside her Philadelphia hotel.

She recalls seeing Clinton in Los Angeles when she was campaigning for her husband in 1992.

“I really felt along with my friends that she was going to be a true leader and that she could definitely be president of the United States,” the 50-year-old Acosta says.

“She had a reputation of being very smart, very determined and educated.”

Acosta notes that Clinton has “always been strong on education,” going all the way back to her days as the first lady of Arkansas in the 1980s, when Bill served as the governor of the southern state.

The Hillary Clinton of today is a more refined version of her 1992 self, as she has learned from the various trying times over the years, Acosta says –- from the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals of the White House years to working across the aisle with Republicans in Congress.

“She is a much more polished professional in our government system,” Acosta says with genuine admiration.


© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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