Do we really need another Hillary Clinton book? Until this time last week, I truly had my doubts. My advance copy of Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox sat on my coffee table, touched in a desultory fashion at quiet moments, but largely neglected as I obsessively pursued the mad drama of the race: tweeting and retweeting during debates and posting, on various social media platforms, the rallies and serial interviews.
I had my doubts until last week. When the campaign teams and their press corps flew to New Hampshire before the flakes of the blizzard flew in Iowa, Hillary’s hair-breadth victory in the caucuses slid into the rear view mirror. The press hit the tarmac running, and suddenly the New Hampshire voters were under the microscope.
Many maintained up through the last moments that they were undecided – some undecided about even which primary they would choose to participate in. But some, a dedicated and enthusiastic contingent, confidently stated that they would vote for Bernie Sanders even when they were unable to articulate what socialism is. Most were young, and their reason (singular) was his plan for free college as often as not. As Tuesday, primary day, drew near, the determination of that demographic to back Bernie was clear, and the negative comments I heard regarding Hillary were often flimsy at best and ill-informed and incorrect at worst.
So we do need another Hillary book. Joanne Conrath Bamberger has gathered a collection of essays by a variety of women of who speak from a broad swath of generations and experiences. They represent a kind of examination of conscience vis-à-vis Hillary and her candidacy. Speaking from many points of view, they present their personal experiences of Hillary Clinton.
The essays are concise, you can read one in a short sitting and needn’t go in any special order. They are honest, reflective, and reasoned. In many ways they remind me of my Facebook friends during the 2008 primaries who would say: “Hillary is just like me.” They would proceed to list things they had in common with Hillary, and everyone had different things in common with her. Hillary once said she is a Rorshach Test. People look at her and see something of themselves or their attitudes. This is what we see in these essays along with excellent reasons for standing firm behind Hillary Clinton.
Why we need this book has become clear in the wake of the New Hampshire primary this week. It was not only the young who turned toward Bernie. Mothers and grandmothers did, too. This book has reasons for everyone to look again at Hillary and to recommit.
If you know a young millennial person who needs to be better informed, there are essays here for her. If your sister or neighbor has been swept onto the Bernie bus, there are essays for the lapsed Hillary supporter too. It goes without saying that this is also an excellent book for fence sitters.
So, yes, we do need another Hillary book right now, and this is the one. I recommend it as a great gift for Presidents’ Day!