WASHINGTON — Wow, that didn’t take long. Politico has changed the headline but this is where it started and how it appears on Memeorandum. Didn’t take long for Clinton’s power status to move to “lame duck” status. It’s the first time that I can remember a secretary of state earning the derision usually saved for a president whose power is on the way out. As for Clinton, the no-fly zone approved for Libya, with Gadhafi announcing a cease-fire, would tend to blow Politico’s logic to smithereens.
But it goes along with the drama surrounding an article that circulated yesterday, which has at least one kernel of truth, though I can’t vouch for the rest of it. It revisits Pres. Obama’s performance last weekend from the Gridiron dinner. A great marketing stunt from Murdoch’s minions over at The Daily, if nothing else.
In “Oh, Hill No” comes this bit of stand-up from Pres. Obama, which refers to Clinton’s feelings about the Libyan rebels:
“I’ve dispatched Hillary to the Middle East to talk about how these countries can transition to new leaders — though, I’ve got to be honest, she’s gotten a little passionate about the subject,” Obama said to laughter from the audience.
“These past few weeks it’s been tough falling asleep with Hillary out there on Pennsylvania Avenue shouting, throwing rocks at the window.”
There is something vaguely insulting and condescending when Pres. Obama makes these types of remarks, crafting a picture of Clinton outside his presidential window trying to get his attention in the dead of night. It reflects a callousness of a Cabinet member that’s been a hallmark of Obama’s general disrespect for serious members of his Administration who are diligently enforcing his policies. It also reveals why Bill Daley is trying to reach out to repair relations with Obama’s Cabinet, because the boss can’t be bothered.
Now, Hillary Clinton is a great sport and I doubt she gave a crap one way or another. But that’s not really the point.
It did, however, give an excuse for people to impart more from Clinton’s interview with Wolf Blitzer, which is exactly what the article was supposed to do in order to get people linking and talking about the story. Philippe Reines is quoted as saying “He asked, she answered. Really that simple. [It] wasn’t a declaration.” That’s absolutely true and the interview style was pure Clinton, especially at a point in her State gig when she’s looking to wrap it up.
The fact is Sec. Clinton got stung when she went out on a limb for Mubarak to state his government was “stable,” siding with a long time friend and ally of the Clintons that goes back to her husband’s Administration. What made matters worse is that when she first got to Egypt this week, a group of young Egyptians refused to meet with her because of it.
After Egypt Clinton revealed how much she’d learned.
There is no secret that Clinton is more hard-nosed when it comes to foreign policy. She’s also decisive and knows her mind, as well as not being afraid to stick her neck out. That also makes her part of the group of foreign policy leaders who has a very different view of American presence in the world, which is involvement versus Obama’s standoffishness, which is getting quite a bit of criticism as the events in the Mideast expand outward.
It was seen earlier this week when a close Clinton associate Anne-Marie Slaughter slammed Pres. Obama for “fiddling” on Libya.
But Clinton’s attitude likely has nothing to do with the fact that “she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up.” Sounds to me like someone in Hillaryland is a bit upset with Obama, which doesn’t mean Hillary is or would say so to anyone other than the people closest to her, someone like Cheryl Mills who would never utter a peep, let alone give the story to Murdoch’s people.
To put a finer point on it, The Daily’s article is loaded with the typical drivel that reminds me of what happened during the ’08 campaign when Clinton insiders couldn’t keep their mouths shut, with leaks blowing sky high every time Hillary turned around, causing her campaign to look like a bunch of amateurs, which didn’t do much for Clinton’s leadership quotient either. The “Clinton insider” The Daily talked to didn’t even know the difference between “Secretaries of State” and “Secretary of States,” the latter causing Murdoch’s people to have to issue a correction or maybe it’s Murdoch’s writer who is clueless.
Because in case you weren’t paying attention, Pres. Obama did make up his mind and he said he wasn’t doing anything in Libya unless the international community led the way. People didn’t like that, with events unfolding from there, including the Arab League asking for a no-fly zone, which is exactly what Obama was asserting needed to happen, with the U.N. voting to authorized strikes in Libya yesterday.
It may be too late for some, but the U.S. playing global cop is the neoconservative and Rush Limbaugh way, not Obama’s. Of course, it’s put David Gergen off his chocolate Ensure, but those are the breaks.
What is inspiring Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton to head for the door come 2012 is that she’s tired of the exhausting travel that would kick anyone’s ass over time.
As for the “She wants to be a grandmother more than anything” line, it’s pure 20th century Rupert Murdoch “Page 6” misogyny. As if Hillary Rodham Clinton can’t play grandmother and run the world.
That’s precisely what she’ll do once she’s done with State and begins her international women’s organization, which will take on the seminal charge of her life, enforcing human rights are women’s rights, and kicking anyone’s ass who gets in her way.
Taylor Marsh is a political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.