Hillary Clinton, the “most admired woman in the world.” Photo courtesy of KOMO News
It’s not every day one is chosen the “Most Admired Woman in the World,” but winning the honor seventeen times in the last twenty years is a global accolade of unprecedented significance. As Hillary Clinton remains hospitalized for treatment of the blood clot discovered in her head after a fall and concussion, one bit of good cheer arrived in the form of a Gallup Poll on the topic of “most admired men and women.” In winning the honor she shares with her male counterpart, President Barack Obama (who was chosen as the “Most Admired Man In the World”), Clinton becomes the “Most Admired” more than any other woman in Gallup’s history:
Americans again this year name Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 11 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man five years in a row. First lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Condoleezza Rice are next in line behind Clinton on the Most Admired Woman list, while Nelson Mandela, Mitt Romney, Billy Graham, George W. Bush, and Pope Benedict XVI follow Obama as Most Admired Man.
Hillary Clinton’s first-place finish this year further solidifies her position as the most often named Most Admired Woman in Gallup’s history — a total of 17 times going back to her first year as first lady in 1993. Clinton missed being Most Admired in 1995 and 1996 when she finished second to Mother Teresa, and in 2001, when she was second to Laura Bush. Eleanor Roosevelt is second with 13 finishes as Most Admired Woman, followed by Thatcher, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Mother Teresa. [Source]
Graph of “most admired women” throughout time; courtesy of Gallup Poll
Clearly this past year has been a mixed bag of fortune for the outgoing Secretary of State. After an exhausting Asian tour with President Obama just before Thanksgiving, she was asked to intervene in the brewing crisis between Gaza and Israel. She flew directly to meet with Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, later to the West Bank to negotiate with leaders of the Palestinian Authority, then on to Cairo, where she met with Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi. It was a successful, if challenging, trip, resulting in a cease-fire agreement on November 21st. Clinton then arrived back in the U.S., scheduled to immediately testify in the Congressional Hearings on the embassy attack in Benghazi, but her testimony was postponed when she was struck with the flu, which kept her in bed and riled up the rabid opposition. Several in the right wing press, as well as political figures like Former Ambassador, John Bolton, and outgoing Florida representative, Allen West, sneered that the Secretary was “faking it” to avoid testifying. When later it was reported that she had fainted and sustained a concussion, which is believed to have played a role in the recently diagnosed cranial blood clot, those who’d made the accusations were roundly panned throughout the media.
Tina Brown at The Daily Beast made an interesting observation about Clinton’s appeal in her role not only as a powerful and effective Cabinet member, but as the country’s “matriarch” in a way:
The idea of losing Hillary has seemed especially unbearable at this political moment. It’s as if she has become, literally, the ship of state. She stands for maturity, tenacity, and self-discipline at a time when everyone else in Washington seems to be, in more senses than one, going off a cliff—a parade of bickering, blustering, small-balled hacks bollixing up the nation’s business. She’s a caring executive too, and that takes its own emotional toll. What a disgrace that John Bolton and his goaty Republican ilk accused Her Magnificence of inventing a concussion to get out of testifying at the Benghazi hearings. Bolton is not fit to wipe her floor with his mustache. [Emphasis added because Brown’s description of the cabal in Congress is one of the best I’ve ever read!]
Many are in passionate agreement with Brown’s take on “Her Magnificence,” clearly illustrated by her repeated placement at the top spot of “most admired women.” As the attention turns from the last election and starts – inexorably, if prematurely – to focus on the next presidential race in 2016, voices are getting louder in calling for a Clinton candidacy. While some on the right caterwaul that the 65-year-old Clinton is “is too old and has too many health issues to realistically serve as a two-term president were she elected in 2016,” a larger number in the country are very enthused about a Clinton run, proven by the poll of early December which showed astonishing support for the idea (even Newt Gingrich says Republicans have “no chance” if Clinton runs in 2016!).
But until she’s out of the hospital and fully back on her feet, “Hillary Angst” will continue. Her family, colleagues and supporters, however, will hopefully gain some comfort from the knowledge that, like them, the rest of the world also considers her “the most admired woman in the world.”
Congratulations to both Secretary Clinton and President Obama for the well-deserved acknowledgments!