Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Presidential Politics

April 24, 2015
"Season 2"

“Season 2”

After two decades of Clinton wars, Bush wars, and Obama wars, will we really elect Hillary Clinton and extend this baneful syndrome of half the country hysterically hating the president? We may get it in any case, but wouldn’t this be just asking for it?

She herself once spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against the Clintons. Sure, there was opposition; but that was exactly the kind of hyperbolic language feeding the syndrome.

Emailgate does too, going to the heart of why so many people distrust Hillary. She says the e-mails not made public were personal, but we have only her word for that, with no independent review.

"I did not have inappropriate email with that server."

“I did not have inappropriate email with that server.”

What could she be hiding? Plenty — like conflicts of interest between her public duties and contributions to her foundation, some from influence peddlers and sleazy foreign governments. This spits in her detractors’ faces. Gad, what would her presidency be like?

Better than Obama’s at least. There’s hope of ameliorating the calamitous global unraveling for which he can partly be blamed. I’d rather have Hillary in the White House when Putin makes his move on the Baltics. One might also dream that a pragmatic Clinton, loath to leave a legacy of economic disaster, might force her own party to face fiscal reality.

Which brings me to Chris Christie’s recent call to raise eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare (and cut off Social Security for high earners like me). “Through its unwillingness to address our biggest challenges in an honest way,” Christie said, “the Obama administration has put us on a perilous course for both our short-term and our long-term futures.” He added that politicians “don’t believe that the American people have the appetite for hard truths. Once again, they underestimate the people that they serve. Americans not only deserve fairness, they deserve the honesty of their leaders.”

Unknown-1Christie must have read some of my past blog posts. He’s being incredibly gutsy. We know the kind of attacks Democrats will lob (remember the ads showing Paul Ryan dumping granny over a cliff). Let voters choose between such demagogy and a forthright reality-based set of proposals like Christie’s.

There’s also much to like in Marco Rubio’s candidacy.

Rubio

Rubio

Republicans too often needlessly invite the granny-over-the-cliff trope, appearing as though uncaring toward less affluent citizens. Rubio does not, and is a poster boy for how sensible conservative policies can benefit the whole country, including the disadvantaged. One line in his 2012 convention speech really impressed me: calling out the fallacy that every dollar in a rich person’s wallet is taken from a poor one’s, a notion which underlies much economic quackery. Rubio’s insightfulness is refreshing.

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Benghazi – “What Difference Does it Make?”

May 24, 2013

My most vivid impression, from the days after 9/11/12, was the State Department official testifying to Congress, blandly mouthing the repeated mantra that Benghazi security arrangements followed proper procedures. As if that’s all her responsibility entailed; as if following procedures is all that matters. (Not the odd corpse or two.)

Unknown-1Then we had Gregory Hicks, our second ranking diplomat in Libya in September, testifying recently about his frantic phone calls trying to get armed help to Ambassador Stevens and colleagues besieged in Benghazi. Hicks got a run-around; the military, and State Department, were either unprepared, or uncaring, or just too timorous. Hicks also said he personally briefed Secretary of State Hillary “What Difference Does it Make” Clinton about what really happened, so he was “stunned” and “embarrassed” when UN Ambassador Susan Rice later went public with a different story. And after Hicks agreed to talk to congressional investigators, he was demoted.

UnknownThen there was the testimony of Hillary “What Difference Does it Make” Clinton herself. Her famous rhetorical question referred to the “spontaneous protest” narrative versus a calculated terrorist attack. But apparently the Administration itself thought it made a big difference, because it worked hard to massage that difference, with the “talking points” being revised repeatedly. That, we’re told, was just a bureaucratic tug-of-war between the State Department and CIA. In truth it reflected an effort in political spin. The Administration knew straightaway that this was a planned terrorist attack, with no evidence for the “spontaneous protest” fable. Yet, under the guise of being cautious about the facts, the CIA’s factually detailed information about its being a terrorist attack was completely removed from the talking points (it wasn’t merely editing a single word, as White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted). And so hapless Susan Rice was sent out to tell a story the Administration already knew was false.

And what, to the Administration, was the difference? President Obama, running for re-election, wanted us to imagine that killing bin Laden killed Al Qaeda and terrorism. But now here was Al Qaeda, alive and well, brazenly murdering a U.S. Ambassador. That didn’t fit the party line. So better just lie, and put out this hokey story about a spontaneous protest over some You-tube video, that never happened. (To be clear, I’m not saying the President himself lied. His minions did the dirty work. But it is egregious for him to dismiss the whole thing as a “political sideshow.”)

Unknown-2So: what difference does it really make? It’s to understand what happened, to learn from it, and prevent recurrence. And it also makes a difference whether the Administration is honest with us, or deliberately lies for political advantage. Yes, I know, “politicians lie.” But it’s not politics as usual when it’s a matter of national security, and the murders of U.S. diplomats. In that context, mendacity is absolutely intolerable.

That’s what difference it makes, Mrs. Clinton.