Edited by Frank Marafiote for the Internet. With Hillary Clinton likely to pursue the Democratic nomination for president inquestions about her intellectual and moral education abound. One of the major intellectual influences — perhaps an emotional one was well — was radical social philosopher and activist Saul Alinsky.
Already, many people saw her as a person outside the First Lady mold. Many reacted to her as people did in Arkansas, though now, the reaction was on a national scale.
The fact that she tried to make concessions -- including changing her name from Rodham to Clinton -- shows willingness to compromise. Unfortunately, she once again slipped in later interviews, remarking that she should have "stayed home and baked cookies" further served to remind many in the public that she was "not one of them.
Unlike her predecessors, Clinton was granted her own policy staff. As a Yale-educated lawyer, she had the intelligence, the confidence and now, the contacts, to be able to lobby Congress on many of the issues that she held important.
One of these early issues was a bill for universal health care, a program that was soundly defeated. Her policy work and political activism raised charges that she was "interfering" with the chain of presidential power, making her the most-criticized First Lady in history.
That one massive failure, however, was followed by several other, lesser-known successes.
Among the campaigns that she actively spearheaded or supported include mandating partial health coverage for uninsured children, reforming current adoption laws and increased research funding for diseases like epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
After all, most first ladies have worked on campaigns that were calculated not to cause controversy, like education and literacy. However, Clinton also played a balancing act by being active in several other, more high-profile campaigns.
For example, she lobbied the International Monetary Fund to provide rural villages in developing countries with loans. These funds were then channeled to provide education for the mostly illiterate women.
During this time, Clinton is bouncing back from her earlier failures and is learning to cultivate a stronger leadership presence. Her growing list of achievements marked the emergence of a new, charismatic Hillary, one who was suddenly on magazine covers as diverse as Ladies Home Journal to Vogue.
It is at this stage that Clinton embarks on a new phase towards transformational leadership, where she is able to inspire others to want rather than fear change. Instead of appearing "feminist" by saying she is not merely standing by her man, Clinton instead focused on working women and families.
Her intuitive ability to identify issues that would matter to working women, combined with her legal training and her political connections, thus began to bear fruit. Northouse writes that ethical leadership is based on values. An ethical leader is focused on a moral goal.
Furthermore, ethical leaders listen to and respect their followers. More accurately, they are complicated by her refusal to conform to the social constructions regarding her gender. Many of her tasks, for example, are complicated by what Dayle Smith in Northouse observed as gender difference in communication and leadership style.
For example, while a strong leadership style would usually be viewed as "decisive" and therefore in a favorable light for men, such "aggression" is generally frowned upon in women.
Clinton herself discovered this early in her political roles. Another key difference is that while men tend to lead from top-down, many women leaders approach leadership from the center. From there, they build connections and create loyalties. Because she could not do the former, Hillary Clinton has proven very astute in building connections from the middle.
Learning from her previous mistakes with the Tammy Wynette response, Hillary first stood by her husband, announcing she believed his innocence. When she was proven wrong however, she chose to keep silent. This image, more than any words, helped foster a sympathetic public air, even empathy from many women who she previously alienated.
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