Can a relationship survive cheating? Americans that consider themselves to be one half of a couple that has experienced the heartbreak of infidelity waver on this answer. Some say yes, some say no way, others look to the couples that came before them to be inspired by their examples of true forgiveness that can only come with unconditional love. One of those couples and the many public bumps their relationship has experienced is one of the reasons. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are certainly not the first White House couple to escape divorce after infidelity. So how did they do it? It's not the "big" question most Americans are asking Hillary today, but it is certainly one in the back of their minds as they consider who they may want to elect as President next time around. The Washington Post reporting today said that when it comes to the "big" question, Hillary Clinton is a "McDonald's candidate" and suggested that yes, all facets of her life will be meticulously analyzed if she decides to run. This report follows a round of interviews with both parties in this relationship where, reading between the lines of the soundbites, it appears that both Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton feel that hard choices and big secrets are the keys to their marital bliss. CNN reported on July 21 that not only is Hillary a stand by your spouse kind of American, but so is her husband.
In the political circuit she is known as one of the straightest shooters out there. So to be referred to as a "McDonald's candidate" by the Washington Post strikes some as peculiar. On noting Hillary Clinton as a McDonald's candidate, the Washington Post said today,
"Clinton is the McDonald's of the Democratic field: ahead of the competition and not willing to make any mistakes. But who tunes in to watch a McDonald's ad?"
McDonald's would probably answer, a lot, actually. As do millions tune in every time Hillary Clinton speaks. Even so, as sharp shooting as she is, she's still being described as timid when it comes to discussing personal matters. In her interviews and book signings, as well as at a recent Twitter chat with Twitter employees, Hillary Clinton reportedly exhibited a "weird timidity" to some of the more serious and personal questions posed to her, according to the Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported today that she "stumbled over questions" about her family's financial status, and other important questions, like the "big" one. It's being viewed by some as a reluctance to appear transparent to the American people. Others, like New York Times writer Lynn Vavreck say she has all but said "yes" out loud to the "big" question, but because she is not speaking platform or policy yet, America is looking for those answers in her finances and personal life.
"People are not evaluating her for the party nomination; they are sizing her up as a president. They evaluate Mrs. Clinton on what they think life would be like under her presidency, but she's actually giving them very little domestic policy information to go on. In the absence of policy statements to guide the thought experiment about life under President Hillary Clinton, voters gravitate towards personal traits and characteristics."
Did both of the Clintons see that before they took to the interview circuit this week? In doing so, both of the Clintons offered answers about those personal traits and characteristics that could qualify them for the White House again. One thing is clear after hearing from both Bill and Hillary about their marriage, they love each other deeply, and the key to their success appears to be some hard choices in the midst of some big secrets.
It was Bill Clinton first that took to the public airwaves to discuss his marriage openly this week with CNN. Due to Hillary's perceived "weird timidity", CNN decided to pose the "big question" to Bill Clinton. The sacrifices that Hillary Clinton made way back in the day when Bill Clinton was in office came up, and Clinton's comments on those sacrifices reveal the true strength of their marriage.
"She is the ablest public servant I have ever worked with, even if she is my wife. She's smart, but she's also uncannily able to move from A to B to C. She gets things done and she is strong, she's just good, she is just really good. She would be really good. But it's a decision that only she can make, and I'm not going to try to jump the gun and if she decides not to do it, I'll be happy too. When I left the White House and Hillary went into the Senate in New York, I told her, I said, 'For 26 years you have made a lot of sacrifices for my public life. So I'll give you the next 26 years and if I'm still around we will fight about what we are going to do after that.' So, we are just over a little halfway trhough the second 26 years and whatever she wants is fine with me."
Any American that has been of voting age for more than 20 years will remember that the first couple of decades in the Clinton marriage were managed with a very "stand by your man" approach from Hillary Clinton. Many American wives today even tout her as being responsible for that American marital mindset. By 2000, after serving 5 terms as the First Lady of Arkansas, and 8 years as the first lady of America, she made history by becoming the first first lady to win an elected spot in New York's Open Senate.
Will she make history again? That people are even talking about the fact that it is possible, means she already has. But she certainly could not have done any of that without her husband, in fact, her husband's widely publicized affair with Monica Lewinsky, some are saying even empowered her to blaze trails politically, first in the New York Senate, then as the Secretary of State, and next, maybe as the first woman president?
In Hilllary Clinton's book "Hard Choices", just released, she talks about the hard choices that led her on those trails she blazed today. But she doesn't open up too much about her personal life. The "Monica Lewinsky" questions in particular she curtly curtails whenever possible. But once in a while a pearl of wisdom about personal triumphs escapes from the infamously aloof Hillary. And it is those pearls of wisdom that those that are struggling with infidelity can learn from a woman who may one day be their president.
Hillary Clinton recently released some of those pearls of wisdom when talking with the Telegraph this week. The "Monica Lewinsky situation" was one she clearly stayed away from in "Hard Choices", but she acknowledge with the Telegraph, there were some hard choices in that situation as well.
Her most common response to any question about Monica Lewinsky is, "I've moved on." It's not enough of an answer for Americans struggling with the same problem. How? How can one "move on" from an impeachment, a national scandal, and public humiliation?
Many women that have found their husbands or lovers with another person are quick to name call all parties in the situation, nobody is saved. Hillary Clinton is the bigger person, and that is a personal trait that Americans may want to remember when it comes to voting in 2016. On Monica Lewinsky, Hillary told the Telegraph,
"I think she is someone who has to express her own feelings. I can't characterise her, that wouldn't be right. I'm just grateful that I made the choices that I made, to move forward and from that I've had an extraordinary set of opportunities and experiences."
Did Hillary Clinton really just….move on? Was she really strong enough to just….be the bigger person?
The answer is yes. That and, love, actually. That she acknowledges that this step was critical to her own life, peace, and happiness is an incredible testament to her as a woman in itself. To her, it was not just a matter of putting it behind her and pretending it didn't happen. It was a hard choice, and a secret she was not, and is still not, very vocal about in public.
"Forgiveness is a hard choice. It's liberating to be able to reach the point in your life where you feel you can forgive. Everybody feels they have been trespassed upon, and nearly everybody has trespassed on somebody else, maybe not intentionally."
This hard choice is a choice that she credits for the many blessings in her life that have followed. Would Hillary have experienced any of them if she had chosen not to forgive Bill, as many were expecting her way back in the day?
Learning how to forgive a husband who had publicly humiliated her, and a woman who, by all accounts, would have loved to steal him from her, is not the only secret that Hillary has kept in her marriage. The other big secret of course is one that she had to keep from the world, even her own husband who was once in the Oval Office making decisions just like her.
The day the world changed with the bin Laden operation is the biggest secret she has ever kept from her husband, and one that she feels strengthened her own empowerment in the field of politics, but also her relationship. On that secret she told the Telegraph,
“It was hard in two ways. Hard because I had to keep it from everybody. I had to do the work, the analysis and the recommending based on my own efforts, and I had to keep it from my husband because of the admonition we couldn’t tell anybody. I’d have loved to have talked it over with him because I value his advice and experience, but I didn’t. And when President Obama called him and the other living presidents about what had happened, he said to Bill, ‘I assume Hillary has told you.’ He said, ‘No, she hasn’t told me anything.’ I laughed about it with him later and he said, ‘Well good, people will know you can keep a secret.’ ”
If Hillary is running for president in 2016, Americans can feel confident that they will have a strong woman to look up to, and a strong marriage to be inspired by. Even if it has a few bumps, or perhaps, because that relationship has experienced a few bumps. It is something that Americans will certainly think of at the polls, if the answer to that big question is yes.
As she and Bill look forward to enjoying their first grand child this summer, she feels all of the hard choices and secrets were worth it. She also told the Telegraph about her marriage,
"I feel that we always had a close relationship. It doesn't mean that we haven't disappointed each other or fallen short in some way because, of course, we each have in everyday life. There are things that you do or fail to do. I feel very blessed to have a partner in life who supports me, who is enthusiastic about what I want to do, who has been a great father and who will be a fabulous grandfather."
Former President Bill Clinton has certainly made it clear that he is enthusiastic and supportive about whatever Hillary wants, even if the world considers her to be a "McDonald's candidate", all talk and no substance. And at the end of Hillary's day, maybe that is all that matters to her personally.
It could be all that matters to America as well, if personal traits are a key factor when it comes time to….making a hard choice of their own in 2016. This is a woman that can clearly make some pretty fabulous lemonade after life hands her some rotten lemons. Not only is that a great trait of a future president, but on the personal level, may even give some Americans hope when needing relationship advice after infidelity.
Do you think Hillary Clinton's personal choices have any effect on her ability to run for president? Has your relationship been impacted by infidelity? What is your biggest challenge in moving on and making the same hard choices that Hillary has made?