This is from Hillary Clinton’s appearance on This Week, Dec 30th. She gets nearly everything about the Pakistani political situation and upcoming elections wrong. And by wrong, I am not saying that she’s a little wrong. She’s totally wrong. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Let’s take this piecemeal. The Pakistani People’s Party, or PPP, is a hereditary party. Benazir Bhutto became its leader when her father was executed after conviction in a highly questionable trial (not “assassinated,” as Clinton has said), and upon Bhutto’s assassination, her son took the reins because Bhutto had left the party’s leadership to him in her will. Therefore, there was no choice to be made in the PPP’s leadership. It had been made before Bhutto’s death, because the PPP isn’t democratically run.
Second, Nawaz Sharif can’t run. He’s a convicted felon. His party can participate in elections, but he’s barred from running. Musharraf could have pardoned Sharif as he had pardoned Bhutto in late 2007, but he hadn’t, so according to the law Sharif was barred from standing for election.
Third, even if Bhutto hadn’t been murdered and even if Sharif could run, neither would be on the ballot to replace Pervez Musharraf, who isn’t on any ballot himself. Musharraf was just re-elected to a five-year presidential term back in October. The January 8 elections, which have now been postponed to February 20, were for parliament. Bhutto could have become Prime Minister again. Sharif couldn’t. Neither could have replaced the president, who is Musharraf.
So Hillary Clinton, smartest woman in the world and veteran of flying into the world’s dangerous hot spots alongside comedian Sinbad, got the Pakistani elections entirely, completely and utterly wrong in all respects.
Perhaps she should have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on Saturday night.
What may be even more telling than how wrong Hillary got Pakistan is the fact that none of her Democrat rivals have called her out on it. She made her remarks in a high profile interview on the last Sunday morning before the Iowa caucus. It’s now Tuesday. Where are the Edwards and Obama camps to criticize her for getting everything on a vital story completely wrong? It’s reasonable to assume that none of the experts in either camp are even aware that Hillary is so disastrously wrong about the hottest foreign policy story of the moment.
Update: Politico’s Ben Smith picks up the story, but only reports on one aspect of it — that Musharraf won’t be on the ballot.