Hillary Clinton makes Condi Rice’s tenure at Foggy Bottom seem almost “Kissingerian”.
by Michael Goodwin
She came, she cried, she conquered, proving it will take more than a lethal terror attack on her watch to sink the unsinkable Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Clinton sailed triumphantly through Congress last week on her way out the State Department door, shredding expectations she would face a tough grilling. The cooling breezes from Democratic punkahwallahs and the fearful quaking from Republican wimps turned what should have been riveting revelations about the Benghazi slaughter into a day of air balls.
The highlights of her appearances — Clinton’s teary eyes over the deaths and furious “What difference does it make?” outburst — mattered only because she showed emotion. Otherwise, she was forced to give up nothing except a few hours of her time.
She was all smiles and chipper the next day when she went back to the Senate with her nominated successor, Sen. John Kerry. Her glide out of government, and almost certainly into the 2016 campaign, will climax tonight when she and President Obama appear together on “60 Minutes.” Expect mutual slobbering praise as the former rivals link arms to the permanent profit of both.
The choreographed Hillary Farewell Tour is the latest reminder that Republicans have no answer for the Democrats’ potent brew of identity politics and the cult of celebrity.
No longer a test of performance and results, the political game now is about building a following based on race, gender and other identity markers that are immune to traditional standards of accountability.
Barack Obama wins re-election with one of the more dismal Oval Office records in memory, and Clinton is hailed as a great secretary of state without actually having done anything great.
Obama belongs on Mount Rushmore. If you don’t agree, you’re a racist.
Clinton was a brilliant diplomat. If you don’t agree, you’re a sexist.
The heads-I-win, tails-you-lose nature of Democratic politics these days snuffs out honest debate and competition, but in the short run, it’s an election juggernaut.
And it’s not just Republicans who should worry. As the Democratic Party loses more white men, white male Dems increasingly will face an uphill climb against female and nonwhite primary competitors.
Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Cuomo, for example, are likely to seek the Dem presidential nomination in four years. If they do, they will be instant underdogs against Clinton. No matter their records and history of pandering to the base, they have no built-in constituency the way Obama did or Clinton does.
Oddly, Clinton concluded soon after losing to Obama in 2008 that she could not challenge him in 2012 because even if she won the nomination, black voters would not show up for her in the general election.
So she traveled the world and kept her mouth shut if she ever disagreed, and is now rewarded with a send-off that smacks of departing royalty. With Obama helping propel her into orbit, she instantly becomes the front-runner for 2016.
But now, while the record is fresh, is the time to apply some inconvenient facts to her tenure at State. A fair reading of the last four years is that America is weaker around the globe, largely by her and Obama’s choice.
Start with the twin terrors of Iran and North Korea. Both are marching toward what they insist will be confrontations with America. While Obama and Clinton tried to stop their nuclear programs with sanctions and, in the case of Iran, sabotage, the policies failed. The confrontation is closer than when the dynamic duo took office.
Syria and Libya prove that leading from behind is not leading at all. Al Qaeda groups are rising throughout Africa. China and Russia show they neither fear nor respect the United States.
As for our friends, important ones like Israel, Poland and Colombia are alarmed. The Saudis are turning to China, and even Canada wonders whether we are reliable.
Finally, this: Can anyone name a country that Obama and Clinton turned from an adversary into a friend? No, you can’t, because there aren’t any. Not one.
But, as Clinton said about Benghazi, what difference does it make? Absolutely none, and that’s her real legacy.
Selling out for a sweet $100,000
Once, the NAACP commanded respect. These days, it’s more likely to command cash for lending its name to destructive causes.
Consider that the New York chapter of the once-honorable civil-rights group received $100,000 from Coca-Cola at about the time it agreed to support the beverage industry’s lawsuit against a city restriction on sugary drinks.
More than a year ago, the NAACP also took at least $25,000 from the teachers union after supporting its lawsuit to stop City Hall from shutting down failing schools.
“An outright disgrace” is how Mayor Bloomberg described the move by the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation for trying to stop his ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The mayor says the drinks are a major factor in childhood obesity, which is a plague in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
“How can the NAACP chapter look at themselves in the mirror knowing they are deliberately hurting the life expectancy and quality of life for the people they’re supposed to serve?” Bloomberg said on WOR radio. Similarly, he said the Hispanic Federation “sold its soul” because it, too, got money from the soda makers.
Bloomberg won’t get a good response because there isn’t one. Neither was there one when the NAACP fought against the closing of failing schools that mostly serve black and Hispanic students.
In the soda case, Coke’s lawyers helped write the court filings for both the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation. Surprise, surprise, both groups wrap their discrimination claims in language that echoes the industry.
New gun bill misses the mark
Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced her gun-control bill with great fanfare, but the fine print suggests the impact might not be dramatic. Buried in a summary, the California Democrat says that, since the last weapons ban expired in 2004, 350 people have been killed with guns covered by that ban.
That’s a lot of people. But with as many as 13,000 homicides in America each year, that means about 100,000 murders took place since 2004 involving weapons not covered by the ban.
One nation under Bam
Best line of the week comes from my colleague at Fox News, K.T. McFarland: “Of our last two presidents, one thought he talked to God and the other one thinks he is God.”