Thursday, January 10, 2008

Original Hillary

The Associated Press reports: "Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest to win renown as one of the 20th century's greatest adventurers, has died, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced Friday. He was 88."
I wonder how Hillary Clinton feels about the death of her namesake. Well, maybe her namesake. In other words, sort of her namesake. But actually, probably not her namesake.
You see, like many things involving the Clintons, it's a somewhat complicated story. And it all has to do with the name Hillary.
Hillary (with 2 ls) is a variant of Hilary, a name used by both boys and girls. The name means cheerful. Yes, I did say cheerful. Hillary Rodham Clinton was born Hillary Diane Rodham. Was she named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the man who conquered Mt. Everest? At one point Mrs. William Clinton claimed that her mother named her after the famous explorer. This would account for her name’s distinctive spelling.
But Sir Edmund didn’t climb Everest until 1953, more than five years after Hillary Rodham was born.
Hillary Clinton has a history of nebulous name play. She didn’t adopt the Clinton name until some time after she married William Jefferson Clinton. In the beginning she still called herself Hillary Rodham. Later, it was Hillary Clinton. Still later, it became Hillary Rodham Clinton. Call it evolution.
Anyway, for more on the candidates' names see my op-ed on that subject from the Courier-Post.

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