Hillary antagonizing liberals and conservatives with foreign-policy shifts?

posted at 1:21 pm on August 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Sir Walter Scott’s warning on the complications of dishonesty seems to apply to the recent travails of Hillary Clinton, who has spent the past week or so attempting to distance herself from the disaster of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. That’s a neat trick for someone who served as Secretary of State for four of the five-plus years of the Obama administration, and the White House and its supporters have already lashed out about it, if indirectly.

How is the project working? So far, conservatives aren’t buying the switch, CBS News concludes:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent critique of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, seemingly in preparation for a 2016 presidential run, has some pundits on the right crying foul.

By criticizing President Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, Clinton is attempting to distinguish Mr. Obama’s view of America’s role in the world from her own. Conservatives, however, are questioning how much Mr. Obama’s former top diplomat can truly distance herself from the administration. …

“If she wants to achieve separation, she will have to answer some tough questions in the period ahead, such as: how hard did she really fight for arming and training the Free Syrian Army?” [Washington Post columnist Marc] Thiessen wrote. “Did she threaten to resign? What specifically did she advocate doing to help the opposition? Did she advocate air strikes against ISIS? And – most importantly – did she oppose Obama’s complete withdrawal from Iraq, which also ‘left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled’?”

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post, called Clinton’s remarks “the worst sort of political opportunism for which she is infamous.”

“For a year and a half after leaving the administration, she has not spoken out against the president on Syria or much of anything else,” Rubin wrote. “She did not have the nerve to resign out of principle on Syria, as did former ambassador Robert Ford. Only now, when the entire region has gone to seed she decides the Obama critics were right on some key aspects of foreign policy.”

If Hillary isn’t convincing conservatives, she has to be impressing liberals, right? Not really, writes Katie Glueck at Politico:

Hillary Clinton is giving some liberals flashbacks to 2008, and not in a good way.

Progressives are wincing over Clinton’s foreign policy comments in a blockbuster interview with The Atlantic, saying her statements are excessively hawkish and reminiscent of her past support for the war in Iraq. Some foreign policy experts, meanwhile, are criticizing her views as too simplistic; one analyst called them downright disloyal to President Barack Obama.

In the interview with prominent foreign affairs writer Jeffrey Goldberg, Clinton called Obama’s decision not to back Syrian rebels early on a “failure;” stood staunchly with Israel in its fight against Hamas; took a tough tone on Iran; and said that the West Wing’s foreign policy mantra — “Don’t do stupid stuff”— is “not an organizing principle.”

Clinton has always been more of a hawk than Obama, whom she served under as secretary of state during his first term. But for many liberals, whose enthusiasm will be important if she runs again for president in 2016, her comments simply felt like code for Bush-era interventionism.

Ironically, in attempting to distance herself from Obama’s foreign policy, Hillary Clinton has just modeled it for us. Contrary to her implicit claim in her interview with The Atlantic, Hillary has no “organizing principle” for herself either except that which gets her elected. Both she and Obama are entirely reactive; they have no policy except that which derives the best short-term benefits. Obama’s foreign policy was popular during his first term even while setting the stage for the predictable disasters that would follow, so she was more than happy to be along for the ride.

Now that Obama’s foreign policy has produced disasters and crises, she’s suddenly venting her Inner Hawk and attempting to rewrite history — with a little help from her friends, Joe Concha argues:

[I]n a crystal ball moment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell and Joe Scarborough sounded more like campaign operatives than objective analysts in an attempt to separate likely-candidate Clinton from Secretary of State Clinton.

“It’s almost like Hillary understands, like most foreign policy experts we have talked to over the past month understand, that ISIS is the beginning of a great unraveling of the Middle East,” Scarborough said.

“She understands it, she understood it then,” Mitchell agreed, adding later, “What Hillary Clinton is trying to do here is show the distinction,” Mitchell continued, “that she had the vision, if you will, to see that Syria was the heart of it.”

So the takeaway from this exchange is: A) The former Secretary of State understands what ISIS could do to destabilize the Middle East if it takes Baghdad and beyond (all despite a lack of evidence of said former Secretary of State attempting to do and say anything about ISIS while she had the power to do so); and B) She apparently had the vision to see the mess in Syria would spill over into vulnerable neighboring countries like Iraq, but not many speeches or interviews can be found indicating such. Except, of course, when she admitted this back in June:

““I never thought it (ISIS) was just a Syrian problem. I thought it was a regional problem. I could not have predicted, however, the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq and trying to erase boundaries to create an Islamic state. That’s why it’s a wicked problem.”

Yup, she sure understood ISIS then, as Mitchell contended. And by the way, where was Mrs. Clinton’s leadership and initiative on this before throwing an unpopular president under the bus? Mr. Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and has the final say on these matters, yes. And to ask her to call out her boss in public isn’t rooted in reality, of course. But part of her job was to earn the respect and trust of the president she serves. If she felt we should have approached the Syrian conflict differently (via arming “moderate” rebels to squash radical armies like ISIS), then why wasn’t she able to make a more effective argument internally?

That’s the question Hillary has to answer. More importantly, she has to convince voters that she has her own “organizing principle,” or principles of any sort other than the need to live in the White House again. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton will have the astonishing accomplishment of making Barack Obama look deliberative and strategic in comparison.

Update: Here’s a good question for Clintonistas to answer, too:

Yes, this distancing seems both recent and very convenient, no?

Update: Trimmed down two of the excerpts.


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Don’t ever expect intellectual honesty from any Democrat. If they had any, they couldn’t be Democrats.

rhombus on August 12, 2014 at 1:24 PM

She looks like Horsesh*t.

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Going to be interesting watching her swing in the wind for the next couple of years.

DanMan on August 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Hildabeast isn’t going to be the nominee. Her book tour was a reminder of how horrible a campaigner she is.

Liawatha Warren is MUCH more likely.

ConstantineXI on August 12, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Yeah. The point about her book and how all criticism is missing until it was politically appealing to do so is classic Clinton.

HotAirian on August 12, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Didn’t she get caught saying her position about Iraq during the 2008 election was based on politics?

Sven on August 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Two peas appeasers in a pod:

Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.
– former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Duty.

They’re both creatures of convenience. He used her, she used him. And if you haven’t read the full story of the debacle they devised in Benghazi and how it led straight to the death of the Seals who got Bin Laden and to ISIS, prepare to be stunned… but not surprised.

de rigueur on August 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

The Butcher of Benghazi realizes that her best bet nowadays it to pretend as an outsider.

Her media whores such as NBC probably will try to run with it.

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

The purpose of a windsock is to show which way the wind is blowing, ain’t that right Shrillary?

Flange on August 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Great cover photo. It looks like she just sat on a lemon.

SailorMark on August 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

all despite a lack of evidence of said former Secretary of State attempting to do and say anything about ISIS while she had the power to do so

I don’t think she had any power at all. She could have used her office (briefly) to prevent the attack in Benghazi, but King Putt would have her head for it. She should have ordered greater security anyway and the dragged her feet making any changes as long as she could. After that, Zero would have tossed her out.

As far as ISIS goes, Zero and Obama run the show. They micromanage everything.

As I said on the other thread, Zero told her to keep her mouth shut and enjoy the perks, so she did. She racked up the sky miles and partied hearty.

It was her consolation prize.

She maintained silence a long time, maybe she sees the poop heading for the fan and doesn’t care anymore? Or she’s trying to triangulate to the right. Well, that dog won’t hunt.

heh

dogsoldier on August 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

The Butcher of Benghazi realizes that her best bet nowadays it to pretend as an outsider.

Her media whores such as NBC probably will try to run with it.

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Hildabeast is just the placeholder until the next Soros sockpuppet is annointed.

ConstantineXI on August 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Here comes Stands With A Latte versus The Fat Man.

To quote that dude from LOTR, “How did it come to this?”, 300 million people to choose from and it’s boiling down to a couple of old dishrags, a pandering New Jerseyite, or any of a dozen other retreads who you wouldn’t trust to mow your lawn without somehow burning down your house in the process.

Bishop on August 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

“Zero and Obama” I meant Valerie and Obama. Sorry.

dogsoldier on August 12, 2014 at 1:37 PM

“If she wants to achieve separation, she will have to answer some tough questions in the period ahead, such as: how hard did she really fight for arming and training the Free Syrian Army?” Thiessen wrote. “Did she threaten to resign? What specifically did she advocate doing to help the opposition? Did she advocate air strikes against ISIS? And – most importantly – did she oppose Obama’s complete withdrawal from Iraq, which also ‘left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled’?

These, folks, are what tough choices really look like.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 1:37 PM

like any other democrat, she was for it before she was against it

ConservativePartyNow on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Ed, I’m begging you to change that screen cap.

Name your price.

CurtZHP on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

A haircut and a lousy book tour won’t give us collective amnesia.

Vera71 on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Bishop on August 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Politics is as dirty a gutter fight one can find and few have lived as saints. When anything you have done going back to kindergarten is fair game for a smear, real or otherwise, who wants to volunteer for it?

dogsoldier on August 12, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Wasn’t Clinton the one that called Assad a “reformer?” Now she is claiming that she would have armed the rebels against him?

Conservative in NOVA on August 12, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Ed, I’m begging you to change that screen cap.

Name your price.

CurtZHP on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Oh come on. You don’t like that Huma sticks a finger
in a certain place look??

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Hilda is a beast in obfuscation.

She joined the obama-latrine. She can eat it now.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Two super ironies:

“Chimpey” destroyed obama.

obama will destroy Hillary.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

She is triangulating. It what her hubby did. Tryin’ to be slick.

jake49 on August 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Has Killary claimed “if she had a son he’d look like Trayvon Michael Brown” yet?

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM

How many Conservatives trust her?

And the Lefties will always be swayed by the next Messiah.

Or Messarini, as the case may be.

obama will destroy Hillary.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

And then she will destroy what’s left of him.

(it’s all she and Willie have left)

She is triangulating. It what her hubby did. Tryin’ to be slick.

jake49 on August 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Actually, it’s what Dick Morris did.

Willie did stuff like Elian Gonzalez.

formwiz on August 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

The beast had her chance to be pres, and subsequently, be a good SecState. She failed at both, but at least she looks more competent than the guy that beat her and the guy that replaced her. But that isn’t really saying much.

I am going to clean off my Romney sticker…..

DimsdalePiranha on August 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Can ANYONE name ONE – JUST ONE- Hillary accomplishment?

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Great cover photo. It looks like she just sat on a lemon.

SailorMark on August 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I think she has a lemon permanently installed.

OK, I admit I didn’t really want to go there.

Bat Chain Puller on August 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Can ANYONE name ONE – JUST ONE- Hillary accomplishment?

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

You mean something more than killing off four Americans, including an ambassador, and destroying a US Consulate, right? Or the frequent flyer stats? Or the string of gaffes when it comes to gift-giving official gifts.

I’d argue that Killary does have a list of accomplishments. Just not the good kind.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Oh come on. You don’t like that Huma sticks a finger
in a certain place look??

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

LMAO! Good one.

TXUS on August 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Stop it, yer killin’ me!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

I think ALL of my ribs are broken!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

lolz

Resist We Much on August 12, 2014 at 2:02 PM

I’d argue that Killary does have a list of accomplishments. Just not the good kind.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Trust in Govt at an all-time low.
POTUS approval in the high 30′s.
Approval of Congress in the teens.

And what are we gonna do?
Re-elect the same turds to Congress.
Nominate a Clinton (and possibly a Bush)

We have seen the enemy – and it is us

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Hmmm, kind of hard to trust anyone on either side of the aisle nowdays.
Alberto Gonzales supports Obama’s authority on illegal immigrants.

butch on August 12, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Mrs. Clinton looks more like a triangle than Bill does. Especially in that mu mu she chose for the Hamptons. Ick. It was in the British Papers, I had to look.

Triangulation is what I was thinking.

The media has never played the details of republican criticism, lest listeners agree and catch on, so Mrs. Clinton can look up what republicans and conservatives think on the internet, and then just say it, co opt any successful argument she sees. She does not have to believe these things, she just has to get people to see she is Smart. Low info voters have never heard the details of our arguments because they never make it into the Sound Bites.

I have heard male callers to my talk radio show say that Hilary is more conservative than… male politician name here…and they always say it is because of her having the testicles…they associate maleness with grumpyness and argumentativeness and husky voices and self confidence, as a male attribute, and therefore Hilary must be more conservative. When you hear this crap, speak up for God’s sake.

Hilary wrote her thesis on Saul Alinsky. She is an old Hippy in a polyester suit who is just more Cunning, not more Conservative.

Mrs. Clinton can out Warren Senator Warren, just, she has to be inaugurated first.

So, cut it out guys, call a spade a spade and call a sneaky progressive a progressive.

I don’t want to hear how conservative she is anymore! She is a liberal elitist who likes Money, and wants to take YOURS.

Fleuries on August 12, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Oh come on. You don’t like that Huma sticks a finger
in a certain place look??

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

C’MON, MAN!!

(retch…)

CurtZHP on August 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

The same people who projected their hope and dreams on Mr. Obama will do the same with Mrs Clinton. It’s the exact script with a different character and the media is doing a return cameo.

But “It’s time!! or something.

Many voters in this country vote for a personality instead of someone who is capable of doing the job. They are more endeared with the celebrity approach to politics, which is what lead us to the disaster we have today.

Mrs Clinton knows she will never get her mendacity or actual statements brought into the public discussion. That’s because the Democrats Praetorian media is already insulating her.

I truly look forward to the Republican nominee getting ad hominems flung at them for their choice of lawn mowers or something. Meanwhile Hillary has left a trail of bodies from Libya to the Middle East. But she didn’t do it. It was the other guy whose administration and policies she loathed so much, she joined it.

Marcus Traianus on August 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Due to the fact that the Press has ignored all of her failures, most Americans adore this women. And once they are all brought up in the future, they will be blown off as political. Isn’t it a great world we live in?

DDay on August 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM

“Don’t do stupid stuff”

I guess if you don’t know how to do smart stuff, then that’s the only approach you’re left with. (And golf.)

Tsar of Earth on August 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

“She looks like Horsesh*t.”

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Yep. Hard Choices, Gutsy Calls and R2P. The only areas she doesn’t have anything to do with are security and bomb-proof blueprints.

Recon5 on August 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM

But part of her job was to earn the respect and trust of the president she serves. If she felt we should have approached the Syrian conflict differently (via arming “moderate” rebels to squash radical armies like ISIS), then why wasn’t she able to make a more effective argument internally?

All (well-deserved) criticism of Hilary aside, who in the world could make an “effective argument internally” that Teh Won would actually listen to?

Sockpuppet Politic on August 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM

First and foremost Hillary is a Rodham-the crooked Illinois political family. Based on that alone her trust quotient registers below that of a three card Monte street huckster.

Then there are Whitewater and the suspicious Vince Foster “suicide”.

Also comes Walmart. Liberals have been screaming that Walmart is an employee unfriendly “Republican” company-so much so that NY politicians have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the company out of Manhattan. Then what is Hillary doing on Walmart’s Board of Directors??!!

But Hillary’s crowning moment in deceit, lying, subterfuge, chicanery, intrigue and redirecting culpability (not to mention incompetence) is defined by Benghazi. Transgressions so serious, that in a just and fair world, she should be wearing prison denim.

Simply put, of course her positions shift. She is a shifty person.

MaiDee on August 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Hillary is morphing into Margaret Thatcher. HA! What a phony!

MCGIRV on August 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Even if God endorses this woman she will still lose the elections if she is the democrat nominee in 2016… Unless God changes her incredibly annoying voice and laughter as well as those wide open scary eyes when she is angry…

mnjg on August 12, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The beached whale pictures w/b more apt for any Hillary thread.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Can you imagine how many innocent cotton bolls had to die to make that muumuu?

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Hill’s main problem is not another candidate, it’s her failing health. She’s had a couple of brushes with death, artfully covered up and spun by her handlers.

One of the reasons she is fundraising so frantically is that she wants to eliminate competition before the campaign, because of the incredible physical stresses of the long hard grind. She could have another critical event at any moment, and an absence of a couple of weeks as she pulled off earlier could not be done during a campaign. Her brain and heart are ticking time bombs.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM