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Those of you who have been following threads on this website will know that I have been a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. My support stems from reading every word of her extensive list of proposals in her websites. Problems, issues and proposed solutions. They resonate with me. They make perfectly good sense to me. She refines them as needed based on new information and critique. Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk, and I love her for that. But still I have had to acknowledge that in public many of her speeches come across as scripted and perhaps less sincere.
Ezra Klein has done an extensive piece on Hillary Clinton, revealing one of her strongest assets and why her staff loves her. She listens! That's right, she f**kin listens, something unheard of in presidential politics where politicians talk over each other or filibuster the pundits.
Ezra Klein, Vox, July 11, 2016: Understanding Hillary
Ezra Klein's article is excellent. I now understand better why her website and proposals are so well thought out and on the mark. They are a result of countless hours of listening to people on the campaign. Remember that she embarked on her campaign with a "listening tour", and what she learned has been brought into her proposals, while tempering her proposals with a sense of reality. And it's not something that she recently just started. It goes back all the way to the days as the 21 year old student body president at Wellesley College. It's in her blood...her DNA. Her staff says it is the one quality that really defines her. She listens.
As Secretary of State she visited 112 countries...not to bully those countries into another brand of "American style diplomacy", but rather to listen. As Eleni Kounalakis, United States Ambassador to Hungary, wrote in a 2015 about her:
“Wherever she went, Clinton was met as a peer by the world’s most powerful leaders. But she also got out of the capitols and inside the countryside. Along the way she regularly met with small business owners, community activists, students, home makers, and other regular citizens. Diplomatically, and without bluster or bullying, without stealing headlines or focusing on her own legacy, Hillary Clinton rebuilt the network of American relationships around the globe. This is certainly her most important legacy and fundamental to the future of American leadership in the world.”
In other words, it was another listening tour. She listened to what ordinary citizens in foreign countries were saying as well as diplomats and sought common ground on their concerns...thus plowing new ground for policy making. In this current political climate of competing ideological worldviews, I find it refreshing that a candidate for the office of the presidency will seek that common ground and make progress by listening. I therefore give Hillary Clinton another title: Listener-in-Chief. This election will really be about electing the listener-in-chief versus the bloviator-in-chief.
Thank you Ezra Klein.