William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






HILLARY'S DEPARTURE – AT 11:04 A.M. ET:  Hillary Clinton will soon be leaving the government to either spend the rest of her life the private sector or run for president in 2016.  By the way, I don't think a race for her in 2016 is a done deal.  She knows how grueling it is, and she wouldn't want to end her career with a loss.  I'd imagine there'll be a great deal of polling and consulting.

By 2016 she'll be 69.  She'll have been a national figure for almost a quarter of a century.  Will she be seen as wise and experienced, or someone from a different era?

Clearly, much of her future will depend on the condition of the country in 2016, who the Republicans can run, and the attitude of the Obama wing of the Democratic Party.  Obama himself doesn't show much loyalty, and I can't believe he really wants Hillary to succeed him as president.  No matter what we might think of her, she'd outshine him from the first day. 

Guy Taylor in the Washington Times has a well-written perspective on the Clinton years at State.  It's worthwhile reading:

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton has visited more nations — 112, according to the official count — and spoken to more foreign populations than any U.S. secretary of state in history.

Impressive as that may be, her critics say Mrs. Clinton has fallen far short of making much of an impact on several foreign policy challenges facing the United States, not to mention the fate of democracy around the world.

“I don’t think she’s been a very successful secretary of state by any measure,” said John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “I don’t know how her speeches have advanced American strategic interests in any way beyond maybe advancing her political career.”

The article points out, of course, that it's hard to know just how much latitude Clinton has been given by Obama.  She had to be careful not to be seen competing with him, or showing any grudge over her loss to him in the 2008 primaries.

Close observers caution against blaming Mrs. Clinton for creating the underpinnings of the Obama administration’s foreign policy of “leading from behind.”

Even Mr. Bolton, in an interview with The Washington Times, argued that Mrs. Clinton has been “dwarfed ultimately in foreign policy by the president,” whose administration is perceived to be “comfortable with American decline.”

“One of her problems,” Mr. Bolton said, “is that she never had the opportunity to carve out a role for herself.”
Kurt Volker, a former CIA analyst and career State Department officer, said: “I think she found herself in a difficult position with the White House that was really trying to minimize its engagement abroad."

COMMENT:   No matter how you feel about Clinton, get set for some really bad journalism when she leaves.  She has a whole claque in the press who will portray her as the goddess wronged, who is due a new day, and whose very presence has maintained the planet Earth in orbit.  It may get really soupy.

What will she do next?  I can't imagine her sitting around, but I can't see her writing her memoirs either.  Maybe a college presidency would be the right fit.  But beware the knife in the back.  This knife may have "Benghazi" written on it.  For those who want to end Hillary's career, and that may well include members of her own party, that knife is being sharpened. 

December 29, 2012