Dartmouth College students dish on Hillary’s White House hopes, saying ‘there was blood on her hands’ in Benghazi and ‘she wants the job more than she would be good at it’
From: dailymail.co.uk, by: David Martosko, on: April 20, 2015, see the article HERE. Bold Emphasis is Garnet92’s
If Dartmouth College students have the same inflated influence on presidential politics that they’ve traditionally enjoyed, Hillary Clinton has some long days ahead in New Hampshire.
Of a randomly selected group of 50 students who said they followed presidential politics enough to comment, just nine told Daily Mail Online that the former secretary of state would make a good U.S. chief executive. Seven of those nine said they knew little about her political baggage.
Hillary’s detractors were far more passionate than her fans – a potential problem since she needs a repeat of her grassroots-driven upset 2008 victory here in order to solidify her status as the Democrats’ standard-bearer.
Stacey Benton, a government major from Florida who leans Republican, said a President Hillary Clinton is ‘just going to continue a lot of things Obama has been doing.’ ‘There hasn’t been much good in Obama’s foreign policy,’ Benton added. She called Clinton ‘grizzled’ from a life in politics and said that ‘just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she should be president.’
Twenty-two of the 50 Dartmouth students interviewed on Sunday mentioned the deadly 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya as a black mark on Clinton’s record.
Many of them, like freshman Cameron Poole, weren’t old enough to drive when it happened. ‘I think there was blood on her hands,’ Poole told Daily Mail Online, referring to Clinton’s handling of an Islamist terror group’s military-style assault that laid waste to a State Department facility. He said he believes Clinton’s performance before, during and after should disqualify her from holding higher office. ‘I definitely do,’ he said. ‘It shows how she acts under pressure.’ Like most of his classmates, Poole was born during Bill Clinton’s second term as president.
Team Hillary is carefully cultivating his generation’s progressives and moderates, emphasizing her grandmotherly listening skills while papering over her liabilities.
Poole said he knows why Clinton isn’t emphasizing her eight years as a presidential spouse. ‘It almost seems like she tried to use the position of first lady to nudge her way into possessing political power,’ he mused, dropping hints about her ‘Hillarycare’ medical insurance overhaul proposal. ‘But I wasn’t too old at the time.’
New Hampshire election law allows college students to choose whether to register to vote at home or at school. Many of the students Daily Mail Online spoek with said they hadn’t decided yet; but all of those who had made up their mind said they would vote in the Granite State.
Most of the students who said they would vote for Hillary Clinton said they have little knowledge of her history before she led the State Department.
‘I don’t know that much about her political baggage,’ conceded San Mateo, California native Maya Poddar, 19. But she insisted that Clinton would make a strong candidate because of her support for liberal positions on social issues. ‘I think it’s ridiculous that we haven’t progressed to the point in society where things like gay marriage aren’t still questioned,’ Poddar said.
Other left-leaning students were lukewarm or directly hostile to Clinton.
Dartmouth College government student Stacey Benton said of Clinton that ‘just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she should be president’
Robin Jayaswal of Portland, Oregon, a budding economist, would say only that ‘she definitely is one of the more qualified Democrats for the position.’
Robert Stackhouse, a Fort Worth, Texas native, told Daily Mail Online that ‘she doesn’t look like that fantastic a candidate.’ Stackhouse has few quibbles about Obama’s foreign policy – ‘it was probably more positive than negative,’ he said – but isn’t reassured by the idea of one of his secretaries of state taking over the Oval Office. ‘It seems like she wants the job more than she would be good at it,’ said Stackhouse.
Dartmouth, the only Ivy League school in an early presidential primary state, is picture-postcard-beautiful but also isolated.
Hanover, New Hampshire is 80 miles away from the nearest commercial airport and more than a two-hour drive from Boston.
So political discussions happen in a vacuum. ‘We’re in a bubble here,’ one student nearing graduation told Daily Mail Online during a Sunday full of interviews in dining halls, academic study lounges and dorm rooms.
The entire Granite State is in some ways a closed information ecosystem, built half of Boston exurbs and half of towns best described as small, smaller and smallest. Manchester, the state’s biggest city, has a population that barely ticks above 100,000. Fully 70 per cent of New Hampshire towns are home to fewer than 5,000. But the first-in-the-nation primary state’s voters wield enormous influence every four years, and Dartmouth is their intellectual center of gravity.
Clinton is visiting New Hampshire on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since she launched her presidential campaign online a week ago. Her organization’s first seven days afloat were an experiment in rebranding a four-decades political veteran as a grinning grandma tuned in to the concerns of average voters.
It’s a farcical ploy that just might work, according to Julia Lau, a Dartmouth economics major from Honolulu, Hawaii. ‘Her life has always been in the spotlight,’ said Lau. ‘I think that’s why it’s really interesting that she tried to go with this “everyday American” campaign.’ ‘Everybody knows that her life has not necessarily been about the everyday American.’ Lau said if Clinton is the Democrats’ nominee, she would more likely than not vote for her anyway. ‘Any attempt at trying to reach out to the everyday citizen is always going to be a good thing … whether it’s just for show or if it’s actually genuine,’ Lau said.
A young woman seated next to her in a campus cafeteria listened intently and summed up the philosophy: ‘Fake it ’til you make it.’
Answers to two questions about Clinton seem to unite Dartmouth students: Neither her age nor her sex matters much to today’s collegiate elites. Clinton would be the second-oldest U.S. president, and ‘people are going to bring up her age, but that doesn’t really matter,’ said Kevin Muzzi, a Democratic-leaning upperclassman from Greenville, Mississippi who voted for President Obama in 2012.
‘Age is not a huge factor for me,’ added government student Alex Frye of New Albany, Ohio.
‘And I hope gender is a non-factor. I think it should be a non-factor.’
Jacob Cutler, a history major from Maryland, said, ‘It may be a historic thing, but it shouldn’t matter. I don’t really care what the gender of the person is. It’s whether their ideas are good.’ That’s the problem, Cutler added. ‘She obviously has a lot of experience in a lot of ways, but what might keep her from winning is what she did with that experience,’ he said. ‘Under Obama I really think we’ve made a lot of mistakes’ with foreign policy, he explained, ‘and some [were] under her tenure.’ ‘I don’t know what she would do to change things. I think that’s for her to clear up.’
It’s early in the 2016 race, and for every student who talked with Daily Mail Online another two said they wouldn’t start paying close attention until the fall.
In October 2011 Dartmouth hosted a memorable Republican primary debate that included now-forgotten names like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.
Four years earlier it was the Democratic Party that took over Hanover for a day, back when Barack Obama was just finding his voice.
But sometimes lightning in New Hampshire can strike early.
It was in May 1987 – almost as early in the cycle as today’s candidates find themselves – when Sen. Gary Hart’s campaign imploded during a press conference in the Hanover Inn, just steps from the Dartmouth College green. The pothole in his road to the White House was an affair with model Donna Rice. Their trysting spot: a boat named ‘Monkey Business.’ There’s not a single Dartmouth undergraduate today who was alive then.
‘Most of the things I know about her were during her time as secretary of state,’ said Alex Frye, a government major from New Albany, Ohio. ‘I don’t know much about what she did as a senator, or before that.’ ‘It’s hard for me to think of any particular accomplishments,’ Frye told Daily Mail Online. ‘I suppose – I know she visited the most countries of any secretary of state.’ ‘But when you see a bunch of messes abroad, you kind of think of who was – well, it falls under who was secretary of state at the time.’
Maybe … just maybe … there’s hope for at least some of this younger generation after all. Some of the quotes attributed to these college students show that they’ve been paying attention and haven’t been duped by the Clinton spin machine; frankly, I was surprised. If these fifty (randomly selected) students reflect the overall thinking among the student body at Dartmouth, Hillary may have trouble making the grade on campus. And I hope that you noticed that seven of the nine who thought that she might make a good president weren’t (yet) aware of her peccadillos prior to her Secretary of State gig.