Hillary's 'Political Football' Baggage
Here it is, early 2014, and already pollsters are gearing up for the 2016 presidential election. Quinnipiac University of North Haven CT, recently released a poll that has former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey governor Chris Christie at 41% and 42%.
That is a massive downswing for Hillary, who in October 2013 held a 13% lead over Christie. To say that polling numbers could change further would be a gross understatement. So let's examine some of the recent maneuvering for Hillary as she gets ready to run for president.
A November 4, 2013, article by Frank Bruni of the New York Times says about Hillary:
The beginning of the end of her inevitability. It's about time, because the truth, more apparent with each day, is that she has serious problems as a potential 2016 presidential contender, and the premature cheerleading of Chuck Schumer and other Democrats won't change that.
So, in an attempt to distance Hillary from the Benghazi scandal, Hillary adviser Philippe Reines said that Benghazi, where four Americans were killed during the September 11, 2012, attack and bombing at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, should not be an issue in the 2016 presidential race. Reines, on Friday (January 17) on CNN, said:
In terms of the politics of it, it's very -- even sitting here -- very difficult to shift to talking about people losing their lives in the politics of 2016. For as much as people want to make the two the same and to use one in that context, we don't see it that way.
And I would think that, again, in the context of trying to be constructive to prevent this from happening again, which is the most important thing, is not to make it a political football.
Difficult, indeed. It's going to be difficult for Hillary Clinton to refute her statement, "What difference at this point does it make?" But the effort has already begun. Politifact.com offered her full testimony before a House of Representatives Oversight Committee hearing in May 2013. She did make that statement. Supporters argue that her statement was "taken out of context," that what she said before that statement must be considered as well:
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
When taken from the above perspective, it does sound as if Hillary's statement was only about what happened to motivate the attack that night. But, wait! Hillary said more:
It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to not have it happen again, Senator.
The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
Does what Hillary said after her famous statement count as context as well? If so, why were Talking Points (that Hillary recited) needed? Couldn't she have told the American people the truth, the complete story? If "... prevent it from ever happening again ..." was her objective, then why the lying, the attempted cover-up?
And, in the "closing the barn door after the horse has escaped" department, was Hillary too busy to prevent the attack? A Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week said the 2012 Benghazi attacks could have been prevented. It is going to be difficult for Hillary to explain why, if was so keen on preventing it from ever happening again, why wasn't she just as keen on preventing an attack in the first place?
And, perhaps Hillary can explain why she felt compelled to lie under oath about the lack of security facilities in Benghazi. Hillary, at a congressional hearing, testified that requests for additional security in Benghazi never reached her desk. A request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, sent in March 2012, asked Hillary for additional security resources. A response refusing the request, dated April 19, 2012, bears Hillary's signature. As Ricky Ricardo used to say, "You got some 'splainin' to do."
Not to be outdone, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "Come on you guys, Hillary signed everything -- that doesn't mean she saw it." Perhaps Reines will say that that should not be a political football as well. Can we expect a similar denial if an attack on U.S. soil ever occurs while she is president? Or is that too much of a political football?
And perhaps Hillary can explain why, after all this time, the attack perpetrators have not been brought to justice. Another political football?
Chuck Schumer notwithstanding, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), in an early attempt to secure Hillary's favor and therefore a cabinet position said:
Statements on the Senate floor this morning and some media reports about the Senate Intelligence Committee's bipartisan report on the attack against our diplomatic mission and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, intimate that the report assigns culpability to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the tragedy. The report approved on a bipartisan basis says no such thing. As a matter of fact, Secretary Clinton is not mentioned a single time in the 58-page bipartisan section of our Benghazi report.
Well, that statement caused no less than Fox News' Brit Hume, in a Tweet, to say, "Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Intel. Cmte. Benghazi report does not blame Hillary Clinton. It does blame State Dept. And the Secretary was...?" What is unasked by Hume is that if Hillary, then head of the State Department, was not responsible, then why do we have a State Department?
But, then again, Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama was ultimately responsible for the delays, non-actions, and talking points. The first thing we were taught in Army OCS is that authority can be delegated, but responsibility cannot. So, for Hillary, problem solved. Now all she has to do is explain why she lied under oath, as well as why she is trying to separate herself from Obama.
It sounds as if Reines is trying to change the subject, to divert our attention from what actually happened by suggesting overtly that this situation should not become a "political football." And it sounds like Boxer paid close attention to Hillary's husband as she "defended" Hillary. She is, in her narrowly defined context, correct. But, then, it all "depends on what the definition of 'is' is."
We know the MSM will never bring up this baggage. Will the 2016 Republican candidate have the chutzpah to bring it up? It's there for his/her taking. Only time will tell.
But that's just my opinion.
Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.