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?
Terry Wayne Wheelock was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but he has lived in a number of states spanning both coasts. He attended Houston Baptist University from 1978 to 1979, the University of Illinois from 1979 to 1981, and the University of Oklahoma from 1981 to 1983. It was from the latter institution that Wheelock received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration, with a minor in Recreation. During and after college, he was a competitive gymnast, and has since worked as a gymnastics coach. He served in the US Air Force for four years, from 1987 to 1991.
Wheelock is running as an Independent candidate, and his platform borrows from both conservative and liberal ideas. He champions fiscal responsibility, promising that he will not raise taxes and that he will balance the federal budget. However, following a more leftist curve, he calls for Universal Health Care for all and says that he will get the nation on the road to healthy living. He also favors energy innovation as a national security issue, advocating for the use of solar, wind, nuclear, and other renewable power sources in order to end America's dependence on foreign oil supplies. He is opinionated on the issue of investigating space, believing that NASA has become a mere makework program and that it should return to its primary mission of exploring the universe. Among other goals, he hopes to make it possible for humans to live on other planets.
Wheelock contends that the sitting American president, Barack Obama, is ineligible for his office. While he does not assert the most typical claim of “birthers” - that Obama was born in the African nation of Kenya rather than the US state of Hawaii – he invokes the US Constitution's unelaborated requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen”, which he defines as any person having been born to two American citizens. This measure would indeed disqualify President Obama, whose father, Barack Obama Sr, did not retain American citizenship. Similarly, Wheelock challenges the legitimacy of Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Bobby Jindal.
Wheelock's platform is not strictly beholden to either left-wing or right-wing politics, creating opportunity for him to appeal to moderates on both sides of the spectrum. He is likely to have little success with the fringes, however, and his contention of Barack Obama's presidential ineligibility (with which the American public has largely tired) risks alienating still other voters. Still, he is nothing if not confident: He asserts that his election is “God's Will!”, and, perhaps more pragmatically, that he is “the Lesser of the Evils!”