Hillary Needs a New Deal
Monday July 20, 2009
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We'll probably never know what the terms of the deal were between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton which caused her to fold up like a cheap suitcase at the Democratic National Convention last year.
Obviously, she wanted - and got - the post of Secretary of State. But, it appears the Clintons weren't nearly the savvy negotiators they might have thought they were.
Inquiring minds would like to know whether the Clintonistas were smart enough to insist that along with the title "Secretary of State" would come the reality that she would be the senior foreign affairs personality in the Obama Administration.
President Obama has moved an extraordinary amount of power into the White House. There, assistants to the President can be hired without that pesky "advise and consent" business which allows the Senate vote on the suitability of nominees for many senior administration posts.
Second, because the Senate didn't judge them in the first place, under the highly developed concept of "executive privilege," it is nearly impossible for the Congress - House or Senate, Republican or Democrat - to demand, even under subpoena - that an assistant to the President come to the Hill and testify.
The most recent example of this concentration of power was the decision to move a senior advisor to Secretary Clinton on Iran, Dennis Ross, out of the State Department and onto the National Security Council which operates out of the White House complex.
According to the NY Times:
The White House has exercised a tight grip on critical foreign policy issues, particularly Iran.
Mrs. Clinton broke her elbow recently and was on the Disabled List for about a month. Now that she is back on the active roster, it is unclear whether the President wants to use her in the day-to-day lineup.
Back in May, Mrs. Clinton announced that "The Iranians are building a huge embassy in Managua, [Nicaragua] and you can only imagine what that's for." The presumption was the Iranians were planning a beachhead in the Americas by setting up shop in Managua.
There was no such plan. According to the Washington Post's Al Kamen:
A few weeks ago � Mr. Obama telephoned Mrs. Clinton to inform her he was moving the State Department's top Iran adviser, Dennis Ross, to a job in the White House.
Turns out, as this paper reported Monday, that no one in Nicaragua has been able to find any super-embassy, and they've been looking hard. "We don't have an Iranian mega-embassy," a Nicaraguan official told The Post. "We have an ambassador in a rented house with his wife."
Oops! Sort of reminded me of that fiction Mrs. Clinton claimed during the primary season that she and Chelsea had been under fire when they went to visit U.S. troops in Bosnia.
"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
Unfortunately, there was video footage and contemporaneous coverage of Sen. Clinton being greeted by children with flowers upon her arrival. The only reason her head was down was to give a little girl a thank-you hug.
Ok. Overstatement happens. I, myself, am guilty of having claimed that I went to Iraq for six months. Yeah. Right.
Secretary Clinton made a foray into India this weekend to meet with Indian officials on their commitment to fight what used to be called "global warming" but which is now called "climate change" because so many places on the globe are not warmer than they used to be.
According to the Washington Post, a photo op went awry when the Indian Minister of Putting Crap into the Atmosphere,
"declared that India would not commit to a deal that would require it to meet targets to reduce emissions� 'India's position, let me be clear, is that we are simply not in the position to take legally binding emissions targets,' he said."
After what should have been rehearsed happy-talk, Clinton visited a "green" building which, according to the WashPost is the "headquarters of the hotel division of Indian tobacco giant ITC Ltd."
Maybe it's because I'm looking for trouble here, but who in the U.S. Embassy in India, in the State Department in Washington, or in the White House Office of Stopping India from Putting Crap into the Atmosphere thought it was a good idea to make the case for global health by having Clinton visit a subsidiary of a major � tobacco company?
Hillary is being set up to look silly. She should renegotiate her deal.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the coverage of the non-existent embassy in Nicaragua, the false ambush in Bosnia, and the non-agreement with the Indians. Also a Mullfoto apropos the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing and a Catchy Caption of the Day.
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