Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is leaving office with a slap at critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. She told The Associated Press that critics of the administration’s handling of the attack don’t live in an “evidence-based world,” and their refusal to “accept the facts” is unfortunate and regrettable for the political system.
In her last one-on-one interview before she steps down on Friday, Clinton told the AP that the attack in Benghazi was the low point of her time as America’s top diplomat. But she suggested that the furor over the assault would not affect whether she runs for president in 2016.
For all of Clinton’s personal prestige and tireless work ethic, most of the administration’s foreign policy accomplishments — the wind-down of two wars, the Osama bin Laden killing, the Libya intervention — were the product of a group decision-making process, with Obama undeniably at the head of the table and equal weight given to players like U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Defense secretaries Bob Gates and Leon Panetta, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Vice President Joe Biden, a Clinton admirer who own gaze is firmly fixed on 2016…
“I can see the parallels” between her struggles in 2008 campaign and her performance at State, says Kori Schake, senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
“Ask her assistant secretaries at gunpoint, ‘tell me honestly what her top three priorities have been’ — I don’t think they could answer,” says Schake.
Hume, on “The O’Reilly Factor”:
“It’s not easy to be a great Secretary of State. Foreign policy is really the province of the president; the Secretary of State is the person who is his emissary… She’s worked very hard, travelled all over the world, 112 countries — but the list of achievements that can be attributed to her is not long, and it’s not major. How well has the reset with Russia worked out? How are things between Arab and Israelis, closer to peace than before? How about Iran, North Korea, their nuclear weapons program? Have they been retarded, held-back, halted? No, I don’t think so. So you look around for a Clinton doctrine… a new way of thinking… I would say not. And what about major treaties? … Was she involved in negotiations that led to any major treaties? The answer to all those questions appears to be no.”
“She’s coming away with a stellar reputation that seems to have put her almost above criticism,” Aaron David Miller, a former diplomat peace negotiator, said to Paul Richter, of the Los Angeles Times. “But you can’t say that she’s really led on any of the big issues for this administration or made a major mark on high strategy.” A former diplomat who served in the Obama Administration told Richter, “If you go down the line, it’s tough to see what’s happened in world politics over the last four years that wouldn’t have happened without her. So, it’s tough to see how she gets into that category of truly great, transformational secretaries, like Acheson and Marshall.”
It’s hard to quibble with that assessment. Marshall gave his name to an economic-recovery plan for war-torn Europe. Acheson laid down the Cold War policy of containment and helped create NATO. Adams helped conceive the Monroe Doctrine, which defined Central and South America as part of the U.S. sphere of influence. Kissinger pioneered détente with the Soviets, instigated a rapprochement with the Chinese, and did much else besides (by no means all of it estimable). By contrast, Hillary’s signature achievements look like small beer.
She’s received almost nothing but praise for her tenure as Secretary of State, which neatly elides over the massive fecal tornado engulfing the world from Mali to Islamabad, the Arab Spring’s descent into something that looks more ugly by the day, and the coming festivities in Afghanistan when we close up shop there in 2014. Other than that, Mrs. Clinton, how did you enjoy the play?…
The media loves consistency and narrative, but they also love the shock of the new. They love the prospect of another Obama, who electrifies their fantasy lives in a way that Hillary never quite did. Oh, she’s entirely preferable to any Republican in their minds, but 2008 should have been a cautionary tale for those who are today declaring her inevitability. No, there probably won’t be another Obama, but there may well be someone and something else that captures attention…
Hillary Clinton, though beloved by the Acela Corridor, in reality has a kind of fuzzy brand image right now. Name ID is necessary, but not sufficient, and unfortunately for her, there isn’t a single, defining philosophical principle by which she can be identified, and part of the predicate of a future Hillary run is that Obama’s brand and her association with it will be a political asset…
Hillary 2016 is a pleasant little parlor game, but there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip between now and the next inauguration.
PPP’s newest Texas poll finds that, at least for now, Hillary Clinton could win the state in 2016. This follows on the heels of a survey last month where we found she would have a decent chance of winning Kentucky if she makes another White House bid.
50% of Texas voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton to 43% with a negative one. She’s universally well liked by Democrats (91/5) and a majority of independents view her positively as well (52/41). She holds narrow leads in hypothetical match ups with Marco Rubio (46/45) and Chris Christie (45/43) and a wider one in a contest against Rick Perry (50/42).
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that she is “not inclined” to run for president in 2016 but left the door open for what is widely considered her likely return to politics after she steps down as secretary of state.
“I’m not thinking about anything like that right now,” Clinton smilingly told a questioner. “I am looking forward to finishing up my tenure as secretary of state and then catching up on about 20 years of sleep deprivation.”
Clinton … has shown that women can wield official power and can do so with moral force equal to, and in some ways greater than, men. Mrs. Roosevelt did this, too, both through her influence on her husband, and with her own clout in the public square. She continued on, many people forget, as an important figure long after she left the White House, playing a key role in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and leading the reformers’ wing of the Democratic Party in the 1950s and early 1960s.
For Columbia historian Alan Brinkley, it’s a close call, but: “I do think that as a woman in government and politics, Clinton probably has been the most important woman in American politics—and may become more so. She was probably the second-most important person in the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency. She was one of the most important senators during the Bush years. And she has been one of the most powerful secretaries of state since Dulles.”…
[I]n upstate New York, away from the city’s bumptious glare, even when she was giving so-so speeches, I observed something else powerful going on. It was the look in women’s eyes, and especially in their daughters’ eyes, when they met her; waiting for hours, at a skating rink in Elmira I think it was, or a minor-league ballpark in Jamestown. How nervous they were, even overwhelmed, to meet her. How patient she was with every one of them, every last one of them, working those rope lines for hours and hours, posing for pictures, signing autographs—even obligingly signing some of those idiotic attack books, by Laura Ingraham and Peggy Noonan and so forth, if that’s what people shoved under her, always smiling, smiling…
But even if that doesn’t happen, she has been one of the most remarkable Americans of our time. In the 20 years she’s been on the stage, the country has gone from wondering whether women could handle the toughest jobs to knowing they can. That is a huge cultural change—barriers that were a given for most people a generation ago are just completely socially unacceptable now, and thousands more women know they can aim for the top. No one is more responsible for that change than Hillary Clinton.