Too good to check: Hillary angrily “looking for exits” after Libya vacillation?
posted at 2:15 pm on March 17, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
This would tend to put Hillary Clinton’s demurral on serving in another Barack Obama term as Secretary of State in a new light, wouldn’t it? It also fits more closely with her husband’s track record — and recent public statements — as an interventionist, assuming this story from The Daily is on the level:
Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.
At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.
“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”
He went on, “If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”
Getting snubbed by democracy activists in Egypt probably didn’t help, either, a product of the White House’s attempt to spin the mixed messages on Mubarak as the fault of the Secretary of State. After that, no one would doubt that Hillary is “not happy” about the vacillation and the mixed messages coming from the US in the first real significant test of Obama’s supposed commitment to reform in the Middle East. The source quoted by The Daily called the foreign policy efforts at the White House “amateur night.”
None of this is a big surprise, of course, but how badly would a Hillary exit damage Obama? It depends on when she leaves, if she leaves at all in the current term. If Hillary is really looking for an exit and angry over the botched foreign policy of Obama, she’ll want to get out before she has to take full ownership of the bungling. That would free her and Bill Clinton to speak more candidly about the incoherence of American foreign policy, something Bill seems so keen on doing that he started while his wife is still nominally in charge of it. The Clintons still have a substantial amount of influence in the Democratic Party, and the last thing Obama needs is to have Hillary and Bill on the outside of his tent, making Obama appear both weak and radical just as the effort to win re-election begins.
At the very least, Obama needs her and Bill to stay on the sidelines, which would work best by keeping her at State. If his political team has any competence at all, they may want to suggest an end to blaming Hillary for Obama’s back and forth on Egypt.