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In Praise Of Hillary's Failures

 In its endorsement of Hillary, the Des Moines Register makes this point:

Unfortunately, for many Americans, perceptions of Clinton, now 60, remain stuck in a 1990s time warp. She’s regarded as the one who fumbled health-care reform as a key policy adviser to her husband, President Bill Clinton, or as a driving force in the bitter standoff between the “Clinton machine” and the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Her record in the Senate belies those images. Today, she’s widely praised for working across the aisle with Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham and other Republicans.

Determination to succeed and learning from her mistakes have been hallmarks of Clinton’s life. ...

Obviously, it's impossible to know to what degree Hillary has changed from her imperious, uncompromising days as Health Care Czarina. But her Senate tenure does indicate some evolution. And (for all those voters and journalists who obsess about overt mea culpas) Hillary has admitted--and her campaign is quick to reiterate--that she screwed up as First Lady and vows to do things differently as president.   

A frequent criticism of Hillary is that what little we know of her true nature suggests that she is prickly, defensive, and too often convinced of her own superior judgment. But experience matters--and not just the good kind. How a politician handles the experience of getting her ass very publicly kicked is also telling. The Register's editors are suggesting that, whatever her initial impulses, Hillary can be (and in some cases has been) taught. This certainly is something to consider after two terms of Bush and Cheney--two men so confident in their own intrinsic rightness that they cannot conceive of the possibility of having made a mistake much less accept responsibility for or attempt to learn from one.

--Michelle Cottle