• Hillary: Giving Hagiography a Bad Name

    June 12, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Post-Constitution America




    I suppose I have to get this over with. Sigh. Hillary’s book, Hard Choices, is out this week. As I write it is ranked Number 5 on Amazon.

    The main theme of the book echoes the current media meme around Hillary: that her successes and accomplishments as Secretary of State make it almost mandatory that she be elected president in 2016.

    For that to snuggle even close to truth, there must be successes and accomplishments that rose to the level of being the president. These must be real and tangible, not inflated intern stuff gussied up to look like “work experience.” The successes and accomplishments should not be readily debatable, hard-to-put-your-finger on kind of things. Last time around we bet big on just the two words hope and change, so this round we probably should do a little more due-diligence. And we need to be able to do that. It will not be a good thing heading into an election cycle unable to talk about Hillary except in ALL CAPS BENGHAZI RETHUGS!!! or ELECT HER ‘CAUSE SHE’S A DEM AND A WOMAN!

    So, Can We Talk?

    Let’s start with Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times. Nick pulls no punches in a column headlined “Madam Secretary Made a Difference.” He frames his argument:

    Clinton achieved a great deal and left a hefty legacy — just not the traditional kind. She didn’t craft a coalition of allies, like James Baker, one of the most admired secretaries of state. She didn’t seal a landmark peace agreement, nor is there a recognizable “Hillary Clinton doctrine.” No, her legacy is different.


    The Clinton Legacy Difference

    Specifically, Nick offers the following examples (all quotes from his article):

    — For starters, Clinton recognized that our future will be more about Asia than Europe, and she pushed hard to rebalance our relations. She didn’t fully deliver on this “pivot” — generally she was more successful at shaping agendas than delivering on them.

    — Clinton vastly expanded the diplomatic agenda. Diplomats historically focused on “hard” issues, like trade or blowing up stuff, and so it may seem weird and “soft” to fret about women’s rights or economic development. Yet Clinton understood that impact and leverage in 21st-century diplomacy often come by addressing poverty, the environment, education and family planning.

    — Clinton was relentless about using the spotlight that accompanied her to highlight those who needed it more… On trips, she found time to visit shelters for victims of human trafficking or aid groups doing groundbreaking work.

    — Clinton greatly escalated public diplomacy with a rush into social media.

    — So, sure, critics are right that Hillary Rodham Clinton never achieved the kind of landmark peace agreement that would make the first sentence of her obituary. But give her credit: She expanded the diplomatic agenda and adopted new tools to promote it — a truly important legacy.

    Um…
    First up, Nick used the word “agenda” three times. Not sure what that means really. Also, I am not sure when and where diplomats historically focused on “blowing up stuff.” I also think issues such as “poverty, the environment, education and family planning” were in State’s portfolion pre-Hillary. But matter, we move on.

    A read of Kristof’s article (which mirrors Clinton’s own self-written list) begs the question: What really did Clinton accomplish as Secretary of State? Even her supporters’ lists make it seem like her four years as Secretary and nearly endless world travel were little more than a stage to create video footage for use in the 2016 campaign.

    Here’s Clinton talking about a pivot to Asia (that never happened); Here’s Clinton talking about all sorts of soft power issues (that little was accomplished on; readers who disagree please send in specifics, with numbers and cites and do not try and get away with the cop-out of “raising awareness,” that’s what Bono does); Here’s Clinton visiting shelters and all sorts of victims (whose plight seemed to drop off the radar after the brief photo-op; hey, how’s Haiti doing these days?); Here’s Clinton making her whole Department do social media (without any measures or metrics accompanying the push to see if it helps in any way other than generating hashtag mini-memes and please, let’s not go on about how Twitter changed the world ) and so forth. Clinton’s State Department did spend $630,000 of taxpayer money to buy “likes” on Facebook, so I guess that is one metric.

    The many lists of Clinton’s accomplishments that trailed her departure from State are not very different; here are some examples.

    What’s Missing

    Missing are things that in the past have stood out as legacies for others, history book stuff like the Marshall Plan, or ending a war we didn’t start in the first place, or saving something or advancing peace even a little in the Middle East or opening relations with China to forever change the balance of power in the Cold War. And for the purposes of this discussion we will not get into Clinton’s mistakes and no-shows on important foreign policy issues.

    Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State does not show she is a leader. She showed no substance. She focused on imagery. She remained silent on many issues of import (the aftermath in Libya and Iraq stand out.) Her time at State was more of a reality show many Americans seemed to enjoy, projecting their own ideas about women’s empowerment and modern social media onto her willing shell. We deserve all that we get– and are going to get– enroute to 2016.



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  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      IF..she does elect to declare her candidacy ..god do I dread the prelude to election day. 2 years of seeing her daily on her campaign trail is almost enough to make me puke. Tell you the truth though, at this point I don’t even care who becomes the occupier of the White House. The path of ruling class Empire destiny is already written in blood. All that is left is 2 years of bla bla bla lies upon lies upon lies ..from EVERY candidate. The only thing I wonder should Clinton choose to run(hahahaha!) ..is what her campaign “hope and change” euphemism will be? God…I can see the stupid bumper stickers everywhere already.

      06/12/14 1:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Stephen said...

      2

      Dear Mr. Van Buren,

      I’ve had a thought, a prediction if you will. Please critique it as necessary. The Hillary campaign will pretty much ignore the Obama presidency much as the Republicans in 2008 ignored the Bush years. The “press” will go right along, that quick, down the memory hole.

      06/12/14 2:31 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      3

      I suspect you’re right. I think Hillary will only reference the Obama years in relation to her time as SecState, basically showing how she agreed with him on things that sort-of worked, claiming as much credit as she can for bin laden, and then quietly saying she disagreed (always behind the scenes of course) with everything else that did not work out.

      06/12/14 2:34 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      4

      candidates? elections? voters? running for office?

      We haven’t had a for-real election since before the year 2000.

      06/12/14 3:48 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      5

      She showed no substance. She focused on imagery.

      That pretty much covers entire political class in Amerika. Then doing whatever their puppet masters want and the hell with those on Main Street.

      pitchfork said… 1, Thanks for the vision that will stay with me for the day:)

      06/12/14 4:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      6

      Did anyone hear her interview today on NPR’s “Fresh Air”?

      Interviewer Terri Gross asked specifically and repeatedly if Clinton had always been behind gay marriage, and simply failed to advocate too strongly in the past because the electorate was not ready for it, or if she has flip-flopped and, in her current enlightened state, now sees it as the only way to go.

      After five evasions, Ms. Gross said, “I’m pretty sure you haven’t answered my question,” to which Hillary became shrill and charged Gross with bad faith, and I could empathically feel Bill’s pain at being yoked to her, and why even Monica might seem a respite.

      “Hard Choices” — we all know Hill doesn’t choose for the hard things ;)

      06/13/14 5:05 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      “Hard Choices” – out of the mouths of idiots.

      We should all tell Hillary what Bill told her: BLOW ME.

      06/13/14 10:44 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      “BAG-GAG”

      06/13/14 10:46 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      Ooops, I meant “BAG-HAG.”

      Speaking of BLOW ME, MCGURK, here’s looking at you:

      http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/re-invade-iraq-the-us-has-been-here-before-280006723593

      06/13/14 10:53 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      06/13/14 11:04 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      Now that that her BAG-HAG can’t hide from the Baghdad disaster that rivals Sai-gone, here’s hoping the Bitch has to answer this question over and over: “Why was Peter Van Buren punished for telling the truth?”

      06/13/14 11:18 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      12

      Peter- If she keeps talking nonsense on her book tour she will lose the nomination and thus you and I may not end up in the Susan MacDonald work camp sharing a bowl of gruel with a single round in a revolver to end our misery (if we so choose) along the bank of the stream that runs through the Vince Foster estuary.
      The more Hag Hillary talks the more unattractive she appears except to her hard core lesbian supporters.

      06/25/14 9:52 PM | Comment Link

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