Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No water coming out of Hillary's firehose

I think people should know by now that I am not one of Hillary Clinton’s “fans.” In the June edition of Vanity Fair, there is a vanity piece on—who else—Hillary, the “most admired woman for the ninth year in a row.” There she is, Prometheus-like, holding the world on her shoulders in the midst of Dante’s Inferno. I’ve never understood from what basis this Hillary-worship legitimately emanates from; even pop singer Katy Perry, who’s on the cover of the magazine, has done more to make some people’s lives more tolerable. Polls showed that Bill Clinton lost his first re-election bid as governor of Arkansas in part because voters did not like Hillary. We were also supposed to believe that during her eight years as First Lady she was virtual second-in-command, even though her only notable policy endeavor—health care reform in 1993—was a complete disaster, and other than Whitewater and the Lewinsky scandal, she was virtually invisible. Despite her husband’s various tribulations, it was his name and personal popularity that was the wave she rode on into the U.S. Senate; on her own, she simply doesn’t have a likable personality that you instinctively trust. Her various bizarre comments during the 2008 primaries (particularly the Robert F. Kennedy headscratcher) showed that she did not respond well to pressure. It always seemed that the people most enamored with her were those with gender victim complexes (like Harriet Christian, and feminists generally), certifiable Clintonphiles, and people who have equally large egos who vicariously tied themselves to her, particularly in the media.

The book “Game Change” showed that diplomacy was not her strong suit, which made her appointment as secretary of state a political move and nothing more; even Colin Powell as a NATO officer and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at least had some knowledge of the critical issues underlying international gamesmanship. Hillary is all ego and bluster. As evidenced by her Congo trip and her reaction to that Congolese student, she has no natural diplomatic aptitude. While some of her apologists point to her gender “initiatives,” they ignore the fact that her predecessors Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice were also women, and had considerably more foreign relations acumen than Clinton; unlike the sacrosanct Hillary, Rice has been subjected to numerous and mostly unfair shots over the years—particularly from Donald Rumsfeld, who was forced to resign in 2006 after a “generals’ revolt” over his incompetency in running the Iraq war, and will be forever known as the principle driver of torture in places like Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. Hillary, on the other hand, has been mostly ignored by the usual suspects at Fox News. Of course, if she decided to challenge Barack Obama in 2012, that could change.

What has Hillary done? Besides logging in millions of miles on the taxpayer dime, making a few speeches and sitting at conferences, not much. In fact there is not one single notable diplomatic accomplishment in Clinton’s resume up to this point. All the world’s hotspots continue to be hot with no end in sight. Not in one single instance has she come close to getting people together and solving a problem. Why is this? Is it because while some Americans (principally in the media) have elevated her to at least troposphere heights, behind closed doors she is not respected or taken seriously by foreign parties? Is she only seen as a “celebrity” pretending to be important, like Angelina Jolie? That her lack of diplomatic skills has hampered trust between international partners? One thing is plain enough to see: It is Obama who must pay the political and propaganda price for her malfunction.

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