By Peter Daou
Turmoil in the stock market got me thinking about investments. Investments of time, resources, assets, energy, political capital, reputation.
One of the biggest investments of my life has been the one I’ve made in Hillary Clinton. I began working for her in 2005 and in the decade since, I’ve devoted much of my time to defending her, supporting her, advising her, working to get her elected.
Just as parents establish funds for their children to provide financial security, my investment in Hillary is for my daughter’s future. It is for the things Hillary believes in and her capacity to get them done. And it is because she is a powerful woman in a world where women aren’t supposed to be Hillary Clinton.
Over the years, I’ve lived the peaks and troughs in Hillary’s support – times when she’s seen as indomitable, times when she’s seen as vulnerable, times when she’s portrayed as unstoppable, times when she’s portrayed as a failure.
The constants throughout those ups and downs are her inner fortitude, discipline, intelligence and dignity.
Her core is more solid than the core of her detractors, her perseverance greater than theirs, which is why she always prevails.
Betting on Hillary has always paid off, no matter what stage of her life, what the circumstances or the challenges. Now she stands on the cusp of an achievement like no other: smashing the ultimate gender barrier in U.S. politics. Because that achievement threatens those who have bet against her, she is being subjected to withering assault.
This is nothing new. In 2010, I took to the Huffington Post with a full-throated defense of her leadership and integrity during the 2008 campaign. The post I wrote was forwarded to the Secretary by Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff at the State Department, and found its way into the thousands of emails released by State on August 31st.
The piece is entitled, To Heilemann, Halperin and Politico: I'll Proudly Defend Hillary Clinton, On the Record. An excerpt:
This is not about psychoanalyzing Hillary Clinton or probing her personal attributes - others have made a living doing that. It's not about making her out to be a saint. Nobody is. This is about describing how she ran her campaign and how she treated her opponents when the cameras and microphones were off.
Was I on every call and at every strategy session? No. Can I vouch for every single thing said and done at the campaign. Of course not. But having participated in countless senior strategy meetings, crisis management and rapid response drills and emergencies, "war rooms within war rooms" (a term used by Heilemann/Halperin), debate prep, calls, emails and private conversations with the candidate, and having slept with my BlackBerry under my pillow and been stationed at the center of her communications operation for the duration of the campaign, I can confidently state that Hillary Clinton did not push for 'vicious' or dirty tactics against any of her opponents, nor did she encourage or 'cheer on' that behavior from her staff. The ethos of the campaign, which she conveyed in word and deed, was that she would win because she was best prepared, worked the hardest and had the most compelling ideas.
She was centered, dignified and focused throughout, although her frustration and pain did show through at some moments. She knew the media environment was stacked against her, against any woman. She knew what she was up against and drove forward into the furious headwinds of sexism and rightwing-fueled Clinton-hatred.
For Hillary Clinton, it wasn't about being a woman, it was about being the best.
That post presages the #HillaryMen project I co-founded with Tom Watson, an endeavor that has met with a very positive reception, to our great delight and appreciation. It gives us tremendous satisfaction to play a role, however modest, in electing Hillary America’s first woman president.
Tom and I and the #HillaryMen team have invested our time and energy into this because we believe Hillary will make an exceptional president and will (continue to) be a universal role model for girls and women.
Our view is echoed by Howard Dean, who articulates the case for Hillary as well as anyone:
I want her sense of justice, and policy understanding in the Oval Office when we face up to the fact that we have to forgive over half of our student debt, and fundamentally change educational opportunities for poor kids in America.
I want her compassion and leadership in the Oval Office when unarmed teens are killed in our streets because we have not been more forthcoming about race relations in America or done enough to overcome our divisions.
I want her as my president, and I trust her to do the kind of job that is necessary in a very tough world.
We’re betting on Hillary. Many insiders and political operatives are betting against her. Her track record gives us confidence that we’re on the right side of history.
Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.