The hidden hand of Hillary

posted at 9:51 am on December 26, 2007 by Bryan

As told in two MSM stories. The first, on MSNBC, says she was more of a sounding board than a policy maker in the Clinton White House.

Her time in the White House was a period of transition in foreign policy and national security, with the cold war over and the threat of Islamic terrorism still emerging. As a result, while in the White House, she was never fully a part of either the old school that had been focused on the Soviet Union and the possibility of nuclear war or the more recent strain of national security thinking defined by issues like nonstate threats and the proliferation of nuclear technology.

Associates from that time said that she was aware of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and what her husband has in recent years characterized as his intense focus on them, but that she made no aggressive independent effort to shape policy or gather information about the threat of terrorism.

The other, in Newsweek, seems to agree that policy wasn’t her forte. Gender politics was front and center, though.

Hillary oversaw the hiring of White House staffers and pressed her husband to fill half the top positions with women. In particular, she insisted he choose a woman as attorney general, which led to the derailed nominations of corporate lawyer Zoe Baird and federal Judge Kimba Wood. The president finally settled on Janet Reno, who had been recommended by Hillary’s brother Hugh Rodham. “I don’t think Clinton believed he had a choice,” recalled Dee Dee Myers, his press secretary. “He had painted himself into a corner, and he had to appoint a woman.” Hillary was equally adamant that the president appoint her friend Madeleine Albright as secretary of State.

So we have Hillary to blame for this?

jong-albright.jpg

And that note is reinforced by this.

Mrs. Clinton said in the interview that she was careful not to overstep her bounds on national security, relying instead on informal access. During the preinaugural transition, for instance, she sat in on some meetings about presidential appointments at the invitation of Warren Christopher, who directed the transition and became secretary of state in the first Clinton term. Participants recalled that she would mostly speak when Mr. Christopher called on her, and tended to make points about placing more women, minority members and allies in key jobs.

That’s a very shallow view of foreign policy, to say the least. If she had had more of substance to say, surely some of those who were there then and are supporting her now would recall it.

The two stories seem to agree on the obvious, which is that Hillary Clinton had no official role beyond First Lady during the 1990s, other than the failed health care initiative. The MSNBC story gives a glimpse of how she understands conflict around the world.

On other important foreign-policy decisions he took her advice, particularly when her suggestions focused on practical politics. In May 1993 the president wanted to intervene to stop the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. He initially agreed to bomb Serbian military positions and help the Muslims arm themselves, but quickly reversed himself when NATO allies balked. The key factor in the president’s shift was Hillary. She viewed the situation as “a Vietnam,” recalled a Hillary friend. But two years later, after more than 250,000 deaths, Hillary became “an advocate for the use of force in Bosnia,” according to one of the president’s advisers. Her change of heart was partly political. A senior State Department official convinced her that the bloodshed overseas could grow worse and become an issue for the president in his run for re-election in 1996. That summer, Bill Clinton finally took action, combining airstrikes against Serbian military targets with intense diplomacy that led to a ceasefire and the partition of Bosnia.

Hillary seems to understand real global conflict through the prism of Vietnam and through domestic politics. The latter is understandable as it does impact a president’s ability to lead, though it doesn’t ultimately speak well of her humanitarian principles; the former in the case of Yugoslavia is just about entirely wrong-headed. But it’s typical of Hillary’s slice of her generation, a group of people who seem to see in every single conflict everywhere in the world another Vietnam. To me, that by itself is enough reason to keep her away from presidential power. Every war isn’t Vietnam, but the fear of creating wars like that one will distort decision-making in unhealthy ways.

If you read the two articles, the picture of Hillary that emerges is of someone who exercised some influence and occasional power but without much in the way of direct responsibility, and who is pragmatic rather than principled, thin-skinned and difficult, and who puts her peculiar political priorities above the interests of the nation she wants to lead. Not serve, but lead. The idea of service doesn’t seem to be in her DNA. She wants to lead, but seems to be completely devoid of any guiding principles beyond the pursuit of power. That’s not a new critique of Hillary Clinton by any means, but it sure seems to be an accurate one.


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Comments

At some point someone has to ask her to specifically name one example of her “experience”, and keep pressing until she answers.

She’s been let off of the hook so far when asked as she replies in generalities rather than specifics. If I were Obama, I would hammer this point home every day. Be specific. Be specific.

BacaDog on December 26, 2007 at 10:03 AM

I agree with you BacaDog….if she can’t take the heat she should stay out of politics. I don’t care if she is a woman.

IMO, male or female, they are running for the office of the leader of the free world. Crybabies and gender whiners have no place in the Oval Office.

Pulchritudinous Patriot on December 26, 2007 at 10:07 AM

The first thing I recall of the Clinton legacy was trying to force the military to accept homosexuals. Amazingly, it turns out that they have been fighting in armies since the beginning of time, and they were part of the US services and just kept a low key.

The next eight years were spent trying to keep a happy face while we lowered our guard to all our enemies, stripped down the military, gave away all our technical secrets with all of the promises from their campaign never managed to achieve success. Never mind the girls of the Clinton regime that included the worse attorney general, secretary of state and surgeon general (all women) in the country’s history.

Bill gets impeached, and the two of them leave the White House with the towels and silverware, and their team leaves behind porno and trashes the Oval office for the incoming president, who wants to try and bring both parties together in order to cooperate and achieve great things.

Who in their right mind wants to go back to that?

Hening on December 26, 2007 at 10:10 AM

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!” No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor’s clothes had ever before received such praise.

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

“Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!” said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

“A small child said that he doesn’t have anything on!”

Finally everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.

The Emporer’s New Clothes

petefrt on December 26, 2007 at 10:13 AM

If you read the two articles, the picture of Hillary that emerges is of someone who exercised some influence and occasional power but without much in the way of direct responsibility, and who is pragmatic rather than principled, thin-skinned and difficult, and who puts her peculiar political priorities above the interests of the nation she wants to lead. Not serve, but lead. The idea of service doesn’t seem to be in her DNA. She wants to lead, but seems to be completely devoid of any guiding principles beyond the pursuit of power. That’s not a new critique of Hillary Clinton by any means, but it sure seems to be an accurate one.

Ah, you are talking about the Clinton legacy again. You see, this doesn’t just describe Hillary but also Billy Jeff and his whole Presidency.

conservnut on December 26, 2007 at 10:19 AM

Ah, the good ol’ Clinton days…dismantling democracy and capitalism, breaking down the rule of law, oral sex in the oval office, pot smoking in the White House. The lefties see these as evidence that Clinton was our greatest president!

stonemeister on December 26, 2007 at 10:20 AM

Didn’t Hillary play “Bionic Woman” in the 1990s? Where bullets were deflected off his bosoms?

Captain America on December 26, 2007 at 10:22 AM

pfft. I dunno. She’s been campaining longer than all of them and I still dont know a thing about what she’s gonna do to get this country back to the people.

johnnyU on December 26, 2007 at 10:30 AM

I still dont know a thing about what she’s gonna do to get this country back to the people.

johnnyU on December 26, 2007 at 10:30 AM

And you never will.

She has no intention of giving it back to the people. She’s going to give it back to the government.

BacaDog on December 26, 2007 at 10:33 AM

Bryan, you closing paragraph says it all. Their lust for power is focused on the power to lead, not serve. I do not want to be lead by such a shallow, corrupt politician.

Zorro on December 26, 2007 at 10:35 AM

Oh you whiners. Stop asking questions. Don’t you know you’re just SUPPOSED to vote for her. It’s preordained. Move along now.

Sugar Land on December 26, 2007 at 10:36 AM

You know one of the arguments I always used when debating my liberal friends about Bill Clinton vs. whomever was “when faced with a dilemma, when a decision had to be made about what was best for the country or best for Bill Clinton, he always chose the latter”.

Hillary is the same beast, there is no difference between the two on the matter of their decision making process.

One thing I can say about George Bush, (and this is the only reason I voted for him twice) however misguided (and he was on several issues) he always made decisions based on what he thought was best for the country.

conservnut on December 26, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Hening on December 26, 2007 at 10:10 AM

Spot on rehearsing of the 90’s.

The Dhimmicrats have got a huge problem with their two potential nominees. I know that we here have been focusing on the meanderings of the Republican party for the primary but c’mon people. Any Republican running will be able to thrash Hitlary/The big O in the general. America is not that stupid, just some of the coastal states.

Mojave Mark on December 26, 2007 at 10:43 AM

A thin-skinned, unprincipled pragmatist who puts her own desires to attain/retain leadership positions and power ahead of serving the interests of the nation she wants to lead… Yup, that about sums it up alright.

MT on December 26, 2007 at 10:45 AM

Any Republican running will be able to thrash Hitlary/The big O in the general.

You’d think. But, that’s not what the polls say.

BacaDog on December 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM

Interesting that none of the interviewers of Hillary Clinton, including the NY Times, asked Hillary Clinton the following questions: Did you suggest any names to Bill Clinton to add to the list of people being granted pardons right before Bill Clinton left office? Did you know about the list of persons that Bill Clinton pardoned before the announcement was made? Do you approve of the pardons that Bill Clinton issued right before he left the White House? Do you think it was appropriate for Bill Clinton to pardon a man (Marc Rich) who was under federal indictment and had skipped bail and fled to Europe to avoid a trial? Will you promise not to pardon persons who are under federal indictment and skip bail?
It is obvious that Hillary Clinton probably was intimately involved in the list of pardons that Mr. Clinton issued right before he left office. He probably shared names with her and she probably suggested names of her buddies. Yet she is never, never asked about this event. And it was one of the most controversial decisions of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Katie Couric instead asks HRC about her (HRC) general views on infidelity.

Larraby on December 26, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Hillary has no resume other then a footnote to Bill’s. All she has not done comes directly from not sleeping with Bill or having the moral courage to cut the balls off the howling dog he is. For her to now claim some sort of national/international experience is a nothing more then it appears – very crass politics. The MSM will not ask for specfics, she does not do interviews or press conferences except by roll over and play dead journalist who fear being denied future access. She has built a formidable team of apologist, statagist, lawyers and mouthpieces (thats reduncant) — that is the experience she has….

jimwesty on December 26, 2007 at 11:10 AM

So basically, she deliberately planted landmines around a man — who happened to be her own husband — who has no self control with women, also knowing she’d want to take the office herself in the aftermath. Sounds like a heckuva brainiac to me. A person who helps guide missiles to her own subs is just what we need in the White House.

Numenorean on December 26, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Fulfillment of the ego’s quest for power – that’s what both Clintons have always been about. Both are and were clueless when it came time to consider the path to long term solutions. Both live in the bubble “can’t we all just get along” mindset of the global social networking club.

From non-intervention (anti-war Vietnam/Iraq) to short-term gain, Cold War mentality and naivete about the growing Islamist threat, the Clintons and their cronies have been a disaster for the United States.

Good analysis, Bryan.

Connie on December 26, 2007 at 11:18 AM

Numenorean on December 26, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Hillary Clinton’s only “rational” war is one that pits women against men.

Connie on December 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM

The best book from the Clinton years: “Unlimited Access” by Gary Aldrich, an FBI agent who was stationed in the White House. As we seem to be in danger of suffering through another Clinton admin, I think I’ll re-read it today.

Doug on December 26, 2007 at 11:23 AM

Nice post, Bryan. None of us really need any more reason to oppose Hillary, but it’s nice to have facts like this at hand when liberal colleagues accuse me of just hating Hillary because she’s a woman (and I am one of those eeeevil red-state conservative males).

I usually just tell anyone who likes the “yay for women!” aspects of Clinton’s campaign that I can think of two women who were in support positions in the executive branch who have demonstrated enough grasp of politics and policy in their published writings that I’d trust them with the Presidency. One is Lynne Cheney. The other is Peggy Noonan.

Anton on December 26, 2007 at 11:25 AM

The president finally settled on Janet Reno, who had been recommended by Hillary’s brother Hugh Rodham. “I don’t think Clinton believed he had a choice,” recalled Dee Dee Myers, his press secretary. “He had painted himself into a corner, and he had to appoint a woman.”

P whipped, when your a womanizing, immoral dirt bag, other people have power over you but personal morals doesn’t have anything to do with the office of the Pres. yeah right.

He initially agreed to bomb Serbian military positions and help the Muslims arm themselves, but quickly reversed himself when NATO allies balked. The key factor in the president’s shift was Hillary. She viewed the situation as “a Vietnam,” recalled a Hillary friend. But two years later, after more than 250,000 deaths, Hillary became “an advocate for the use of force in Bosnia,”Her change of heart was partly political.

A textbook example of the liberal art of war.
Not enough stones to do the right thing, confuse multiple issues and conflicts, let people die and then make a political decision.

Speakup on December 26, 2007 at 11:46 AM

political priorities above the interests of the nation she wants to lead. Not serve, but lead. The idea of service doesn’t seem to be in her DNA. She wants to lead, but seems to be completely devoid of any guiding principles beyond the pursuit of power.

I have to disagree with you here Bryan. We all know what leaders are, and we all know people who serve, and neither is what the Seahag wants.

Her sole focus is to wield power over others.

91Veteran on December 26, 2007 at 12:03 PM

So, I guess we can assume, she was instrumental in the decision to turn down the apprehension of bin Laden?

franksalterego on December 26, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Great analysis, Bryan.

Harpazo on December 26, 2007 at 12:11 PM

“I was only a sounding board, unless I need to have been a policy-maker, depending on how I need it for 2008. I will be the next U.S. president”.

– – Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, or Hillary Rodham, or just Hillary, depending on what sells.

Entelechy on December 26, 2007 at 3:33 PM

bryan, could you save this stuff until after mrs. clinton has won the dem nomination? she’s the weakest condidate for president since mcgovern.

DrW on December 26, 2007 at 3:56 PM

I do remember seeing bumper stickers
during the Clinton Administration that read:

“Impeach the president, and her husband too.”

PaKeystoner on December 26, 2007 at 4:11 PM

yep. remember those things. remember them well.
I’d say Hillary already served her first term.

johnnyU on December 26, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Excuse me, two terms.
Now she’s going for her third and forth.

We need her as Pr. like we need the bubonic plague.

johnnyU on December 26, 2007 at 5:02 PM

Bryan:

“She wants to lead power, but seems to be completely devoid of any guiding principles beyond the pursuit of power.”

Fixed it. I’d peg the pursuit of money at a close second to power — and not in the sense that money = power, either, but in its own right. While Hill & Bill are not above a little insider trading or petty theft, those are the cheap thrills. In a big con, real players don’t have to steal the money, marks from Norman Hsu to John Q. Public just flat out give it to you. Because, of course, you’re worth it. With the Clintons, it’s about self-esteem, not principles.

JM Hanes on December 26, 2007 at 5:14 PM

I’ve always believed, and said publicly, that Bill Clinton may have been elected President, but Hillary actually made all of the policy decisions, not only from 1992-2000, but during the previous years in Arkansas.

Yeah, Bill likes the money and attention he got as President and now gets as the ex-president jet-setter, but I never believed that he wanted to lead a state or a nation or make any sort of policy decisions… That was always Hilary’s area, and Bill never was more than her sock puppet.

Other than the huge amounts of money they have stolen and scammed and the adulation’, I honestly believe that Bill would have been happy with a life as a trailer park manager in Hope Arkansas, maybe dealing some drugs on the side for extra cash.

LegendHasIt on December 26, 2007 at 5:37 PM

LegendHaslt

“Other than the huge amounts of money they have stolen and scammed and the adulation’, I honestly believe that Bill would have been happy with a life as a trailer park manager in Hope Arkansas, maybe dealing some drugs on the side for extra cash.”

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln….

I don’t doubt Hillary made a lot of the decisions (though claiming them now is a double-edged sword), but Bill is famous for keeping folks up all night in policy discussions. He’s the bona fide wonk, she’s the pragmatist. Trailer park security lights would never be bright enough for the likes of Bill — even now Hillary’s biggest problem is the limelight Bill just can’t help stealing. If he hailed from Possum Holler instead of “Hope”, he’d probably never even mention it.

On the slogan fodder front, there may be real potential here:

If you liked Janet Reno and Madeleine Albright, you’re gonna love the rest of Hillary’s Cabinet.

JM Hanes on December 26, 2007 at 7:48 PM

Bill is famous for keeping folks up all night in policy discussions.

Maybe I’ve been wrong about it, but just because a guy likes to hear the sound of his own voice and BS with others, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he actually cares about the subject being discussed oris willing to actually take responsibility for it.

And he quite obviously doesn’t care about the outcome of the decisions made in those all night discussions beyond what it puts in his pocket.

I see it as a social thing, NOT trying to be a leader or a desire to actually shape society in some particular political philosophy.

Trailer park security lights would never be bright enough for the likes of Bill — even now Hillary’s biggest problem is the limelight Bill just can’t help stealing.

Oh, I agree with that fully; But that’s a whole different set of psychoses. It has little or nothing to do with Hillary actually being the one who actually made most of the policy decisions. I’m a ‘truther’ when it comes to that. I doubt that any amount of evidence could change my mind.

LegendHasIt on December 26, 2007 at 8:16 PM

I can’t help but think “snake oil” after hearing Shillery talk.
There is just something seriously wrong with this woman.

leanright on December 26, 2007 at 8:26 PM

MSM Hill-fo-mercials

DANEgerus on December 26, 2007 at 10:10 PM

So she was involved with everything, but not, and don’t ask about it, because it’s private, but it’s certainly part of her resume’, as far as you know.

DANEgerus on December 26, 2007 at 10:10 PM

PHOTO CAPTION:

“I warned Bill to stay this far away from that woman!”

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on December 28, 2007 at 10:56 PM