IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Let Me Finish: The "Grandmother" Strategy

Let me finish with Secretary Clinton's role in life.

Let me finish with Secretary Clinton's role in life.

Many people pull back from the title of "grandparent." They come up with nicknames.  My wife Kathleen likes to be called "Mah-gay." I'm "Bah-bay." Both are Swati names I brought back from my two years in Swaziland.

Hillary Clinton is going with the more traditional.  She's a "grandmother" and has no problem with the name, and, I presume, the idea.  It's where she is in life and wants the world to know there are certain strengths, and a serious amount of wisdom that comes with being the parent of a parent.

I think there are good politics in the position she's proudly claimed, that of "grandmother." By my lights, it puts her out there looking over the horizon to the world her grandchild is going to live in. Rather than make her someone holding on when another generation is pushing to take over, she is leapfrogging to the future by talking about the world that's coming for, in her case, granddaughter Charlotte.

Look, we never know how much thought goes into a comment from a politician. Sometimes they speak without deliberation and say something brilliant. Sometimes they speak without thinking and say something we call a "gaffe."Having paid attention to Secretary Clinton over these recent months, watched her discipline, seen how she keeps her own counsel on the preparation that I assume she is making for a presidential run, I don't think she made this "grandmother" reference blindly.

Someone smart once said that if a politician doesn't define himself early, his enemies will.

Secretary Clinton is letting it be known that she is proud of her position in her family and in her generation and in her country -- and she knows its strengths. I take what she said very seriously.

I mean that in a "political" sense.