Allow me to introduce myself. You may know me by many different names: Crooked Hillary, Hillary the emasculater, Hillary the email marauder, Hillary the ambitious, ruthless career woman, who seeks only fame and fortune.
To listen to the blow hards of talk radio, the Fox News blondes, and, of course to listen to Mr. Trump, you would think I should be called the wicked witch of the Mid West.
I hardly recognize those other women these people describe. I would simply prefer, "Hi, I'm Hillary Rodham Clinton, and I'd like to ask you to vote for me for President of the United States."
You know, among the many things people have complained about me is that I am rich. And they are right, finally I am rich. People pay me ridiculous amounts of money just to give a speech. I make no apologies for this. If they want a picture of me on their brag wall and are willing to pay for a photo op, I've got no objection to that. And whatever you may think about speeches to Goldman Sacks, there were no electricians or carpenters who didn't get paid, no unions got busted and nobody lost a job so I could get rich. Yep, I gave speeches and reaped the benefits of fame.
But I'm not now nor ever have been in anybody's pocket.
I like being rich. Wasn't always. We actually left the White House pretty close to broke.
The thing is, money never really meant that much to me. If it had, I would have taken any of those jobs people were throwing at me when I graduated from law school. That would have been an easy and comfortable life.
I guess I could have got paid the big bucks for advising real estate tycoons about building golf courses or casinos. But, you know, golf courses, casinos never seemed all that important to me. And hotels--I've stayed in enough hotels to know not a one of them is as sweet as what I've got back home.
Maybe I've got a big ego. Many, if not most Washington types have big egos. And, yes, I'm a Washington type, Heaven Help me. Not because it has ever made me feel bigger or more powerful.
I decided long ago I could either try to help get kids health insurance or I could get myself as much money as I could and let the kids fend for themselves.
And yes, I voted for the war in Iraq. I believed the generals and the Secretary of State that Saddam Hussein, who seemed perfectly capable of it, had stockpiles of Sarin Gas and other nasty things and I didn't think we could afford to be wrong about that, if he did have them. So, I was wrong and I learned from that mistake.
Turns out, the best learned lessons are often from our mistakes.
By that measure, I should have learned a lot over the past four decades and I think I have. I learned the essential truth of that old adage: If you're not failing, you're not pushing hard enough.
I tried to get Health Care passed in my husband's first administration, but we had too many people working on a plan which was too complicated. That effort went down in flames. I learned from that, too. I think President Obama learned from that, and from the ashes rose Obamacare, which Mr. McConnell and every Republican in Congress will tell you is a disaster. Oh, they hate Obamacare in Kentucky. They love Ky nect, of course, because tens of thousands who never had health insurance now have it, but they hate Obamacare, which is, of course, what Ky nect is.
Funny thing, though. The things which the loud mouths are loudest about are most often not the things I considered mistakes. Benghazi was a terrible loss. But diplomats die in the service of their country. We took a risk sending those Seals in to get Osma Bin Laden and every day as Secretary of State, I knew we had diplomats in places across North Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa and any one of those could be murdered on any given day.
A Congresswoman asked me if I went home the night of the Benghazi attack, when Ambassador Stevens and three others died. And when I said, yes, I went home around 4 AM, she asked me whether I spent the whole night alone, as if she were about to uncover some really scandalous indiscretion, and I laughed. And she protested she didn't see anything funny.
But I was laughing because it wasn't until that moment I realized how utterly clueless some people are about what really motivates another human being. Yes, I spent that night alone. I could not bear the idea of not being alone that night because I had to have a conversation with myself, without anyone else there to try to make me feel better.
That's the thing about being Secretary of State or President--most of what you do, most of how you really feel, cannot be shared with anyone. There is no cheering crowd. There is no adulation, just hard choices and defeat and if you are lucky, you move the ball forward five yards at a time.
People ask me all the time if Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell get me down. And the real answer is: No. Not at all. None of them are anything more than self promoters, trying to feel important, trying to get some attention. But the people you help, the people who couldn't get health insurance, the women who can't go to Planned Parenthood because the government got in their way, the people who are living on Social Security, the people who depend on Medicare, the people whose bank accounts are insured by the government, they matter. The suits and shills at Fox News do not matter.
My detractors say I belong in prison. They have never lived in the confines of public life.
I do plead guilty to one thing: I do believe in government. Yes, I admit, I believe government, while not the solution to every problem has been, is and can be a force for good, an indispensable element of American life.
No, the Fox News blondes, the talk radio ignoramuses, the bitter obstructionists of the Senate and the Tea Party House, they don't matter. If they really mattered, I'd have given up long ago.
What matters is "We the People" and this great experiment we call America, which, if we take care, will go forth boldly into a future which is better than yesterday and better than today.