Hillary's orbit, whose in it and what it all means, including the entry of Chelsea Clinton, who'll play a leading and powerful role in any 2016 campaign.

Hillary’s orbit, whose in it and what it all means, including the entry of Chelsea Clinton, who’ll play a leading and powerful role in any 2016 campaign.


THE NEW YORK Times Magazine on Sunday should sell out. The Hillary planet graphic is one reason why. The story of how it came about an interesting peek into process.

Long-time Clinton reporter Gene Lyons had this to say on my Facebook page: “She’s been the subject of more bizarrely edited photos than any US politician I can think of.”

The cover is controversial, but that’s the nature of trying to sell magazines, especially these days. Another commenter said it was “disturbing.” One subscriber to TM, secularhumanizinevoluter, said, “LOVE the poster!”

It’s asexual, which may actually be a big step forward for Hillary, as she gathers more supporters and the most successful Democratic Super PAC signs on to help her. Jim Messina has come on board Priorities USA, just in case anyone thought the Obama machine won’t be spread out widely in any effort to elect the first female Democratic nominee in history.

A battered Hillary after the 2008 election was hard to take for many.

A battered Hillary after the 2008 election was hard to take for many.

As for the Times cover, when my book The Hillary Effect landed, the incoming complaints about the cover hit my inbox by the dozens. Hundreds of comments on our choice came in, which I didn’t support at first. However, it has stood the test of time, even if it ruffled feathers. After the 2008 election season, Hillary Clinton’s image was beat up, like the cover represented, with the best contrast of who she was at the end of that campaign, compared to how she’s seen today, seen in the cover of the new HRC book due out, which I wrote about.

Amy Chozick’s article in the New York Times Magazine is good, and I’m as critical as you can get on these things, while believing a critical view of the history Clinton has made is of the utmost importance, which is what I did in The Hillary Effect. A brief excerpt of Chozick’s piece is below, which should be read in its entirety to understand a bit about the media’s relationship with the Clintons, as well as Hillary and Bill’s relationship to the people around them, even at a furtherest reach:

…but one theory about why they have amassed such a wide network over the years is that, unlike political dynasties such as the Bushes or the Kennedys, they did not come from money. They learned how to keep aides loyal the old-fashioned way, by doing the kinds of thoughtful things that anyone who has worked with the Clintons for any amount of time will tell you about: countless handwritten thank-you notes, remembering staff-member birthdays and letting them bask in their reflected glory. Over the years, it has proved remarkably effective. To mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the first Clinton-Gore campaign, Paul Begala, Carville, John Podesta and Vernon Jordan, among many others, joined Bill and Hillary in Little Rock for a raucous, self-congratulatory reunion weekend. Al Gore called in remotely.

This loyalty that Chozick writes about includes people in Hillary’s orbit staying well away from commenting for authors like myself. People who write bluntly about Hillary Clinton, as I do, which is done with the utmost respect, because of who she is and what I know she’s worthy of withstanding. A rare exception for me was Ambassador Joe Wilson, who did the blurb for The Hillary Effect (a man I’ve met and interviewed, as I have his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson).

All important public people, no matter the field, deserve an unsparing portrait that’s also fair, because greatness is built into the flaws and mistakes, with the recovery from downfalls part of how we assess the exemplary from the ordinary. Life is very rarely if ever one long ascendency without setbacks, especially in politics.

As a testament to the Clinton style, I still have one of those personal thank-you notes on my mantel piece, not sent from the State Department, signed simply Hillary. The stationary embossed at the top with only HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. The occasion was when, as a leading independent writer on HuffPost, with my pieces regularly featured on the front page, I took Arianna’s team to task for an atrocious blaring headline, which is below.

Hillary HuffPost headline in 2006, which I criticized on HuffPost and received innumerable pages of supporting comments.

Hillary HuffPost headline in 2006, which I criticized on HuffPost and received innumerable pages of supporting comments.

Chosick’s article emphasizes a changing of the guards as well, with Chelsea a new power in the Clinton pyramid, including why she is so important to a potential Clinton candidacy.

“The challenge is to create ways for people to help but also to figure out who the next generation is,” says Steve Elmendorf, deputy campaign manager on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run. “Even David Plouffe is a generation removed. Who is the 32-year-old version of David?”

Having seen Chelsea Clinton in action during the ’08 campaign, up close and personal at the Honoring Generations of Women event at the end of the 2008 campaign, it was clear the younger Clinton was on the precipice of stepping into her own power, which she now has done. Assuming leadership at CGI in 2013, Chelsea Clinton’s hand print will almost certainly be all over any 2016 campaign, which will not represent 2008 in any of the old ways, of that I’m certain.

All of the early support for a Hillary run for the presidency reveals that though the adventure to become the first female president will not be easy or certain, one thing won’t happen. Hillary Clinton will not run out of money this time around, nor will she have to write a check to herself after losing a key early state in the primaries to a candidate who comes out of nowhere.

The uninitiated and neophyte Hillary fans may scoff at the importance of this obvious shift in her supporters, believing that money always comes easy for someone named Clinton, especially Hillary. However, as old hands of Hillary’s first and failed campaign can attest, running out of money so early was the foreshadowing of a problem that was unimaginable could happen to the Clinton machine.

The onslaught has not even started yet, the media, traditional and new, just gearing up. It’s not the same sexist atmosphere that we once had, with Clinton battling the old boys club as a simple senator from New York and former first lady, whose husband is seen as key to her campaign.

The landscape has changed for Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’ll get hit from all angles at home, but in the world of presidential politics that reaches out beyond our borders, Hillary remains queen of the world. The most respected female on planet earth, whose orbit at this point in her life defies gravity.