Madam Secretary

Hillary’s Senate career gets a New York eulogy

Hillary’s Senate career gets a New York eulogy

Elizabeth Moore at Long Island’s Newsday has a rather eloquent eulogy to Hillary Clinton’s Senate career, with quotes of praise from some of Clinton’s most vociferous former enemies. I have to say: Guys! She’s only just getting started!

She was nothing short of phenomenal," says former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, one of the first lady’s chief tormentors during the 1990s as chairman of a Senate committee that held hearings on the Whitewater scandal.

"She was at first viewed as a celebrity dilettante," D’Amato says now. "By dint of her absolute total dedication, she made New Yorkers believers."

If you don’t know why it’s a big deal for D’Amato to call Clinton a phenomenal senator well in advance of an actual eulogy, you might want to hearken back to those aforementioned Whitewater hearings, in which D’Amato accused Clinton of being a pathological liar involved in Vince Foster’s suicide. Oh, and lying under oath. D’Amato hopes you don’t dig up those transcripts, though.

Moore recalls the worst slurs against Clinton, including the mean-spirited obsession with her hairstyles (we mostly just want to know if we could ever afford her colorist!), the infamous cookie-baking gaffe, the utter failure of Hillarycare, and the somewhat blind loyalty that allowed her to discard Occam’s razor in L’affaire Lewinsky and blame the "vast right wing conspiracy" — which, having been subjected to it for the past eight years, most people would agree is giving the right far more credit than is deserved. But Moore also notes how Hillary managed to turn it all around in time to make 18 millions cracks and ascend to the Secretary of State perch more popular than ever.

Clinton’s coiffure found peace in the Senate, a chamber where she carved out a reputation as a collegial centrist who could pray over breakfast with men who’d voted to impeach her husband, vote to authorize an invasion of Iraq, and be counted on as the best-prepared person at any meeting. Here in New York, that "listening tour" presaged a tenure that would carry the motorcade to an estimated 4,600 events around the state’s 62 counties, including 96 visits to Long Island – a schlepping record respectable even compared to her Senate colleague Charles Schumer.

And although Moore picks at the edges of Clinton’s ultimately unsuccessful quest to be No. 44, she ends her eulogy to Clinton’s career much as Hillary herself did: looking forward to what she’s doing next.