I gave a talk this week in Barcelona. Afterwards a man came up to me – I thought to praise the perspicacity of my presentation. Instead he asked an entirely irrelevant question, “Why do you hate Hillary Clinton?” “What?” I replied, surprised. “Where did you get that idea?” His response, “From a blog you wrote in 2008.”
Well, dear reader, I have no idea what he was talking about – not which blog or what was the point I made at the time. Still, because when one woman takes on another it can make an indelible impression, I am reluctant to do what I am about to do. I am once again naming Hillary Clinton Lame Leader of the Week – once again for the same reason.
Some of you will recall that back in September I named Clinton Lame Leader of the Week because, as I wrote then, Clinton’s “culpability” in the matter of Benghazi “had been sidestepped – both by her and by her natural allies.”
Now here we are, some ten weeks later, and the question of how and why Clinton has been able to continue to hide on this issue, even as it became chronic and contentious beyond anyone’s early imaginings, remains a mystery. What is not in the least uncertain is that her absence from the discussion has become evasive to the point of dereliction.
Who did and said exactly what just before and after the lethal attack on the American Mission in Benghazi in which four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. were killed on September 11th has become a fixation. Not only has U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice been fed, over and over again, into the meat grinder that is partisan politics, but the talking points that are at the center of the discussion have overshadowed those that should have been. They include but are not limited to questions like these:
• Were requests for greater security for diplomats in Libya ignored?
• Even if Al Qaeda in Pakistan has been decimated, how do terrorists elsewhere threaten Americans?
• How can and should diplomacy be conducted in the constant chaos that constitutes the current Middle East? (Scott Shane, NYT, 11/29.)
Even though she has said she will resign when Barack Obama’s first term as president has concluded, for now Hillary Clinton remains Secretary of State. As such it has been – or, better, should have been – her duty to weigh in regularly and reliably on all the issues surfaced by the Benghazi tragedy. Instead Clinton has been missing in action, and largely silent on this issue in particular.
Clearly this has been, for obvious political reasons, her preference. It is less clear is why the president has let her so easily off the hook, and why the press has given her a similar pass.