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Sample Essay on Hillary Clinton's Political Career

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    Hillary Clinton has been a part of the American political scene for a quite long time, now; and her name has recently emerged in connection with the possibility of her being a leading contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The purpose of the present written sample essay provided by Ultius is to provide an overview of Clinton's political career. 

    The political career of Hillary Clinton

    The essay will have four main parts.

    1. The first part will describe her early days, up to and including her tenure as First Lady during the 1990s.

    2. The second part will then proceed to discuss her career as a Senator from New York and then Secretary of State under the Obama administration.

    3. The third part will reflect on the current e-mail scandal that is in the process of unfolding in the news.

    4. Finally, the fourth part will consider her future political prospects from this point onward. 

    Hillary Clinton's early days

    Interestingly, it would seem that Clinton originally began her political career as a young woman as Republican. As Biography.com has indicated:

    "Hillary was active in young Republican groups and campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. She was inspired to work in some form of public service after hearing a speech in Chicago by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and became a Democrat in 1968" (paragraph 4).

    Over the subsequent years, Clinton attended Yale Law School, worked on various legislative committees and presidential campaigns, and engaged in various advocacy projects within the State of Arkansas, including the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Her skills as a lawyer increasingly gained public notice and acclaim over this period of time. 

    In 1992, Clinton became the First Lady of the United States when her husband, Bill, won the presidency. Black has written the following regarding this period in Clinton's political career:

    "Her active role began in 1993 when the President asked her to chair the Task Force on National Healthcare Reform. She continued to be a leading advocate for expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring children are properly immunized, and raising public awareness of health issues" (paragraph 8).

    This role was clearly in congruence with her previous work over the course of her political career; and she continued to win a great deal of acclaim and prestige for her commitment to social issues, and especially those involving children. This was the primary role fulfilled by Clinton over the course of the eight years that she was married to the President of the United States. 

    Hillary Clinton's career

    In late 2000, Clinton was elected as a Senator by the State of New York. O'Shea has delineated some key points regarding Clinton's career within the Senate, including the following three points: she was

    "the first female senator from New York, and the first first lady to win elective office;" she "voted to support the Iraq war in 2002," but changed her policy position in 2007, at which point she "favored beginning the process of troop withdrawal;" and she "won attention for working with Republicans on a variety of issues, including some from the GOP who had been political antagonists of her husband" (paragraphs 1, 4, and 7).

    In short, then, Clinton continued to develop her political and legislative acumen, and also continued gaining attention for her remarkable success in her activities. In 2008, though, after losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama but then also being selected by Obama as his nominee for Secretary of State, she resigned from the Senate in order to accept the nomination. Thus began the next phase of her political career. 

    One of the main events that emerged during this phase of Clinton's political career pertained to the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. This embassy was attacked on the 11th of September, 2012 by terrorists and resulted in the deaths of both the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, himself and another official within the embassy. This event has cast a dark cloud over Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State as a result of questions over the potential role she could have played (and evidently did not play) in becoming aware of the danger sooner and preventing the attack from occurring.

    According to one report cited by Rubin,

    "Clinton personally sent Stevens to Benghazi to open a permanent consulate by the end of the year. If true, this suggests Clinton is guilty of at the very least willful ignorance of the circumstances into which she sent Stevens" (paragraph 5).

    The extent to which such statements are politically motivated is unclear. However, the broader point may simply be that the attack happened under Clinton's watch as Secretary of State, which implies at least some kind of accountability for the event on her part. 

    In any case, Clinton resigned from the post of Secretary of State in 2013. It would not seem that this had anything to do with the Benghazi affair, insofar as Clinton had consistently made it clear that she was only interested in serving one term as Secretary of State. Moreover, despite the Benghazi affair, it cannot be said that Clinton's tenure was fundamentally unsuccessful. As Parnass and Hughes have written:

    "Clinton broke national and global barriers during her tenure as secretary of state. She was the first wife of a U.S. president to serve in a presidential cabinet. She traveled to more countries than any other secretary of state before her. She also navigated the treacherous diplomatic relations of the Arab Spring"  (paragraphs 6-8).

    On the balance, then, it can be stated that Clinton's political career was in a good place by the time she resigned in 2013, and that she was well-positioned to contend for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2016 election.   

    The Clinton E-Mail scandal

    A more recent issue that has emerged as a threat to the continued success of Clinton's political career, however, consists of what can be called the e-mail scandal. This consists of the fact that over the course of her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton apparently utilized a personal e-mail account for her communications and not a governmental account. As Schmidt has succinctly put the issue:

    "Mrs. Clinton did not have a governmental e-mail address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act" (paragraph 2).

    In short, Clinton's electronic communications as Secretary of State are supposed to be a matter of public record; but they are not currently a matter of public record, due to the fact that Clinton used a personal server that did not back up documents in a publicly accessible database. 

    In response, Clinton's team has released tens of thousands of pages of e-mails as a means of demonstrating that Clinton had nothing to hide. However, this move has only managed to heighten skepticism, due to the fact that the records released by Clinton have been expurgated: it was found that she had simply deleted countless e-mails that she deemed to be of a merely personal nature. Of course, it is possible that Clinton is telling the truth; but on the other hand, there would clearly be nothing to prevent Clinton from simply identifying as "personal" any documents that she thinks might be of a politically compromising nature.

    This has led to calls for Clinton to turn over her entire server to public scrutiny, which has not been done as of yet. The upshot is that the public's trust in Clinton has been diminished by at least some margin. The fact that Clinton used a personal e-mail server constitutes a fundamental breach in the transparency that the American people expect from their public officials; and it also raises the question of what Clinton may or may not be hiding, or what her motivations were for using a personal server. 

    Of course, this has compounded previous concerns regarding Clinton's role in the Benghazi affair. There has persisted a fundamental uncertainty regarding what Clinton did or did not know about the potential dangers in Benghazi, and thus her culpability for the death of an American ambassador. It is quite possible that there are documents on Clinton's personal e-mail server that could shed greater light on this matter.

    After all, if one had access to Clinton's professional communications as Secretary of State, one could far more easily trace the chains of decision-making that surrounded the Benghazi affair and the knowledge that any given person involved in the affair did or did not have regarding potential dangers. Calls on these grounds for Clinton to disclose her communications have grown over the past couple weeks, and they show no signs of abating in the near future. 

    Future prospects for Hillary Clinton

    Clinton is currently considered the frontrunner in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. For example, according to polls conducted by Real Clear Politics, Clinton currently has a significant advantage over all of the major potential Republican contenders for the presidency, including Jeb Bush. Clinton already campaigned unsuccessfully for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination; and it would be quite logical for her to contend for it again in 2016.

    This would be the next step, given the arc of her political career thus far. She has already been a highly successful lawyer, the First Lady of the United States, a Senator from the State of New York, and the Secretary of State under the Obama administration. This is a highly impressive resume, to be sure; and in truth, there would be nowhere else for her to go from here except to the presidency itself. Although Clinton has not yet announced her candidacy, it seems inevitable that this will happen soon enough. 

    The recent e-mail scandal has admittedly dented Clinton's credibility among the American people. However, the polls do make it clear that she still maintains considerable support. It is also worth bearing in mind the fact that there is still a rather long time until the presidential election itself, and that any number of things could happen over the coming months that could cause the American people to almost entirely forget about the e-mail scandal.

    So, although the e-mail scandal is surely a significant problem that Clinton must deal with at the present time, it may be an exaggeration to deem it to be an insurmountable barrier. Unsavory revelations and gaffes are virtually an integral part of any presidential campaign; and whatever skeletons Clinton will have to contend with, it is not at all clear that any other candidate would have to contend with anything less significant. In short, it is important to maintain some sense of perspective and not give the e-mail scandal more weight than is due to it, especially in light of Clinton's impressive political career over the course of the last several decades. 

    Conclusion

    In summary, this essay has consisted of a discussion of Clinton's political career. It began with a discussion of her early days, proceeded to her later career, considered the recent e-mail scandal, and finally reflected on her future prospects. Ultimately, the conclusion can be reached that Clinton is quite well-positioned to campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

    There admittedly are challenges she will need to address regarding the Benghazi affair and the e-mail scandal. On the other hand, however, the arc of her political career thus far has been quite impressive, and the challenges are not likely to be serious or persistent enough to seriously cripple her chances of winning the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

    Works Cited

    Biography.com. "Hillary Clinton Biography." Bio. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.biography.com/people/hillary-clinton-9251306#related-video-gallery>.

    Black, Allida. "Hillary Rodham Clinton." The White House, 2009. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/first-ladies/hillaryclinton>.

    O'Shea, Jennifer L. "10 Things You Didn't Know about Hillary Clinton's Senate Career." 3 Dec. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2008/12/03/10-things- you-didnt-know-about-hillary-clintons-senate-career>. 

    Parnass, Sarah, and Dana Hughes. "Hillary Clinton Steps Down from State Department, Ending Three Decades of Public Service." ABC News. 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/hillary-clinton-leaves-state-department-decades- public-service/story?id=18377363>.

    Real Clear Politics. "General Election: Bush vs. Clinton." Real Clear Politics. 15 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_bush_vs_clinton-3827.html>. 

    Rubin, Jennifer. "Clinton's Role in the Benghazi Fiasco and Blame-Shifting." Washington Post. 21 May. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/05/21/clintons-role-in-the-benghazi-fiasco-and-blame-shifting/>.

    Schmidt, Michael S. "Hillary Clinton used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules." New York Times. 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/us/politics/hillary-clintons-use-of-private-email- at-state-department-raises-flags.html?smid=tw-bna&_r=1>.

     
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    Ultius, Inc. "Sample Essay on Hillary Clinton's Political Career." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 07 Apr. 2015. http://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-hillary-clinton-s-political-career.html

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