It is a stand-out record, one that makes her the equal of the likes of James Baker, George Schultz or Henry Kissinger among our leading modern secretaries of state. What is more, she achieved her success by promoting a more humanist international agenda than her peers at the first ranks of American foreign policy leaders. At the same time, she maintained a centrist course more comfortable with the appropriate use of force than many of her more liberal colleagues in the Obama administration. Maintaining such a balance requires exceptional skill. To do so for four years under the conditions she faced is among the reasons she is so widely admired.

Hillary Clinton is likely to be the next Democratic presidential nominee because she is the best-known active Democratic politician, because she has repeatedly triumphed over adversity, because she has made herself well-liked at a time that politicians are typically viewed with contempt.

But she is likely to be the next president, the first woman to be president of the United States, because of the quality of her character and her work on behalf of the American people. With some luck she will use the next two years to restore her energy and prepare for what lies ahead. Because regardless of what political party in which you may find yourself, it is hard to deny that she elevates our political discourse in ways that few, if any, others do on the contemporary stage.