The sight of former president Bill Clinton wiping away tears of joy while standing silently behind his wife as she was making her victory speech in the 2000 Senate elections in New York may appear a little melodramatic for some. However, when one considers the sacrifices and extreme loyalty that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton has shown to her husband over the previous 26 years, that gesture suddenly makes all the sense in world.
Secretary Clinton’s ascension to Senator, and thereafter, Secretary of State, is not something all that surprising for those that knew her, considering what a gifted child, student and political operative Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was.
Born in Cook County and raised in suburban Park Ridge just outside of Chicago, Secretary Clinton grew up in a loving middle class family. Her early years were shaped by her Goldwater-Republican Navy veteran and business owner father and his tremendous work ethic, balanced against her mother’s Democratic leanings and harsh childhood.
At an age where young girls and boys were still too preoccupied with watching cartoons on TV, young Hillary was already busy demonstrating her leadership abilities and initiative with backyard carnivals and cookie and food drives for charity. When others her age were engrossed with the challenges of school and growing up, young Hillary was busy with the post-election canvassing of Chicago’s south side for the Republican Party. When children tread lightly around their parents and elders, she was engaged in delightfully spirited political debates with her family during dinner.
Her star continues to shine brightly at Wellesley, where her commencement address drew a seven-minute long standing ovation, and at Yale, where she was paid to intern at Washington every summer. She was already an experienced Democratic aide before even graduating from Yale, and was headhunted to be part of the Watergate impeachment inquiry team counseling House Democrats months after finishing college.
She was never a radical, beatnik or hippie, but neither was she a middle-of-the-road moderate. She is, above all, an idealist – an intelligent, disciplined, driven and practical idealist. Despite her image of a strong and uncompromising woman, people who she’s worked with reveal her to be a polite, considerate, consultative, and perhaps most surprisingly, religious individual. The latter perhaps is due to the influence of her mother and grandmother, both strong-willed Methodist women. She is also an exceptional public speaker, and can speak for an extended period of time without notes – done without pauses and filler syllables.
Over the years, many negative epithets have been used by the press and political opponents to describe her. As many have learned however, pigeonholing or underestimating Secretary Clinton often comes at a great cost.
The key to defeating Secretary Clinton lies in winning over her core support base - women, baby boomers and minorities. Meanwhile, her weakest demographic is the millennials, and this is clearly reflected in her underwhelming support online. And yet, one gets the impression that her opponents simply do not get this very simple equation. Will this prove costly in the end?
Chris Keniston was born in Washington DC, but as a military child, he moved with his family a total of three times before finally settling in a small town north of Pittsburgh following his father's honorable discharge from the military. After graduating from high school, he immediately began working at a variety of jobs (sometimes several at a time), lacking the resources to continue his education. He joined the US Air Force in 1996, following in his father's (and grandfather's) footsteps, and worked successfully in various aircraft maintenance roles that won him many decorations. This improved his financial situation, and during his service he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His military career ended when, like his father, he was honorably discharged, after which he completed post-graduate work and earned certification as a Maintenance and Reliability professional.
Keniston is strongly focused on job creation, believing it to be essential to American economic recovery. He calls for the stimulation of businesses to hire more through extensive tax reform. Specifically, Keniston calls for the outright abolition of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which introduced the income tax, and replacing that Amendment with a National Consumption Tax on non-essential items to be imposed only following the income tax's repeal. He contends that this will address unfairness in the existing tax code by increasing the spending power of lower-income earners and ensuring that all people pay a fair percentage of taxes on the goods they buy.
Though he is running as the nominee of the Veterans party (an avowed centrist organization), Keniston is sharply critical of Democratic President Obama's budget plans, which he believes call for unsustainable levels of spending. He is also displeased with Democratic plans to pay for these excesses, specifically rejecting any notion of an increase in the gasoline tax which has been suggested as tactically advisable in the midst of currently low gas prices.
Most of Keniston's positions carry mild right-wing tendencies, particularly as they relate to tax reform and the avoidance of any tax increases. However, his positions are far from extreme, and true to the principles of his party, are mostly centrist in nature. Those who consider both Republican and Democratic platforms to be excessive are most likely to be attracted to his platform.