She is authentic. "Will the real Hillary Clinton please stand up?" is a question that many are asking. "Show us the real Hillary!" the Washington Beltway is yelling. Well, I counter that this IS the real Hillary. She writes in "Living History," "In high school, I ran for student government president against several boys and lost, which did not surprise me but still hurt, especially because one of my opponents told me I was 'really stupid if I thought a girl could be elected president.'" An ironic foreshadowing of her future, but in 2016 she can rewrite history.
When a person has been running a campaign for elected office since high school, I accept the fact that this is who she is: A consummate politician rooted in strategy, thoughtful word choices and crafted optics. And I consider such traits as assets for a president inheriting a Congress that is dangerously divisive. She knows defeat, but is not afraid to get back on the field to run the ball. As a United States senator and a cabinet secretary, she has learned to compromise and work with her rivals. With Hillary, we know what we are getting – authentic experience.
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She'll really fight for the middle class. Growing up middle class, I was able to witness the value and rewards of my parents' hard work, while simultaneously being sensitive to the notion that others weren't as fortunate by circumstance. They pushed my siblings and I to aspire for more, beyond our class, through education. In voting for a president, I don't care if the candidate is of economic means. What I care about is if he or she has the moral compass to understand that classism exists, the desire to help others advance from their current station in life, and the sense to support the industries that keep America working.
In "Living History," Hillary says, "On that first day (at Wellesley College), as my parents drove away, I felt lonely, overwhelmed and out of place. I met girls who had gone to private boarding schools, lived abroad, spoke other languages fluently and placed out of freshman courses because of their Advanced Placement test scores. I had been out of the country only once – to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. My only exposure to foreign languages was high school Latin." This is the type of person I want in the oval office. One who sits in a seat of privilege, but can remember, when creating policy, what it felt like to feel overwhelmed and out of place.
She understands foreign policy. The world has changed, period. Our enemies are now our partners. ISIS is on Twitter. Cuban cigars are THISCLOSE to becoming sold in local stores. And I know more about Greek ATM transactions than I care to. So it's easy to build a case for Hillary, as she served as secretary of state while the world was shifting its axis of influence and evil. Hillary traveled to 112 countries, making her the most widely traveled secretary of state in history. She attended 306 diplomatic meetings and spent the equivalent of 87 full days on airplanes. By these stats alone, she is ahead of any of her Democratic or Republican challengers on familiarity with world leaders, their allies and agendas.
What's more, she views women's rights and human rights as critical for U.S security interests — a sophisticated understanding that our national security has to be about more than military might. We need a leader who understands nuanced diplomacy and who can build on Obama's legacy. Hillary is that leader.
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She has the qualifications. There is no college degree or career that can possibly prepare one for the responsibility of becoming the most powerful person in the world. Therefore you have to have the audacity and will to believe you can make a difference. It became clear to me that Hillary had this mix when she recalled, in "Living History," the story of how, as an eighth-grade supporter of Richard Nixon's presidential campaign against John F. Kennedy, she showed up at a downtown hotel in her hometown of Chicago (unbeknownst to her parents), "went off with strangers" in a car to check voter lists against addresses to uncover (alleged) voter fraud in Chicago.
Today, she's just as bold. She was one of the first presidential candidates to talk openly about race and the issues regarding the Black Lives Matter movement after the church shootings in South Carolina. What's more, she supports Latinos and other immigrants' path to citizenship; she believes that women's rights are human rights, that global warming is real, that affordable health care isn't optional and that the minimum wage needs to be a livable wage. You know, just the basics.
And for me, that's more than enough to say, I am ready for Hillary.
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Commentary by Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings. Muse has served on President Barack Obama's National Finance Committee as well as finance committees of Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill de Blasio. He is currently serving on the Democratic National Finance Committee and Hillary Clinton's Finance Committee. He was recently appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve on the Board of Advisors for the Mayors Fund to Advance New York City. Follow him on Twitter @IamMikeMuse.