Video: Sorry, Hillary: We’re Not Convinced
In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Hillary Clinton’s response to the scandal involving her email during her time as Secretary of State.
In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Hillary Clinton’s response to the scandal involving her email during her time as Secretary of State.
Carly Fiorina may not eventually win the GOP presidential nomination, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the end of her involvement in the 2016 election.
Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time U.S. Senate candidate in California, is making the rounds ahead of a potential announcement that she is running for president.
Though she’s low in the polls, Fiorina is making a name for herself as Hillary Clinton’s best critic.
“The Democrats and Hillary Clinton have made gender an issue with their ridiculous ‘war on women,’” the New York Times quotes Fiorina as saying. “I think if Hillary Clinton faces a woman opponent, she will get a hitch in her swing.”
What better way to deflate the liberal meme that Republicans hate women than by nominating a conservative female to the party’s standard bearer? Fiorina is proudly pro-free market and pro-life, making her someone to watch as the GOP field takes shape.
By establishing her abilities as an able Clinton critic, Fiorina may be positioning herself to show the eventual nominee that she can go toe-to-toe with Hillary and effectively neutralize any war-on-women attacks.
Keep an eye on Fiorina. If Hillary is the Democrats’ nominee, we may see a lot more of Carly.
In an interview with CFIF, Quin Hillyer, Contributing Editor of National Review magazine, a Senior Editor for the American Spectator magazine and a nationally recognized authority on the American political process, discusses how “a bracing dose of pessimism” can wake Americans up from a stupor, Hillary Clinton’s contributions problem and policy positions while she was Secretary of State, and the relaunch of his website, quinhillyer.com.
Listen to the interview here.
Jim Geraghty of National Review writes in his “Morning Jolt” newsletter (subscription required) today that the scandal involving Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account to send and receive all of her official digital correspondence as Secretary of State is a real problem, not just another iteration of ‘gotcha politics.’
Among the many problems associated with Clinton’s use of a private account as her official email address – including, but not limited to, systematic evasion of federal record-keeping rules, thwarting of public FOIA requests, and irretrievably deleting potentially damaging messages – Geraghty points out a potentially even bigger concern.
“We don’t know if foreign intelligence services ever cracked the (apparently flawed) code and got to read Hillary’s private emails,” Geraghty writes. “We do know that we would be fools to assume they hadn’t. This prospect makes a lot of Obama’s first-term foreign policy look a little different in retrospect. Was there any particular time when a foreign power seemed one step ahead of our policies? Did Moscow, Beijing, or other foreign capitals seem to know what we were thinking in our negotiations before we began? Any of our spies get burned, or sources of intelligence dry up? Was Hillary Clinton’s email effectively a leak all along?”
Though we may never know for sure, “if foreign spies were reading the email of the Secretary of State for four years, it represents nothing less than a catastrophe, and one that is entirely the fault of Hillary Clinton herself.”
It’s also an epic failure of responsibility that should severely undercut Clinton’s claim that she has the judgment to be Commander-in-Chief.
Add another bullet point to ObamaCare’s litany of broken promises.
The U.S. Treasury announced this week that on Tax Day this year, “Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an ObamaCare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year,” reports CNN Money.
Since the penalty is the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income, the bill could bigger than expected.
To calculate possible amounts, go here.
Though it’s been awhile, some may recall that in 2008 a certain presidential candidate attacked Hillary Clinton for being open to garnishing workers’ wages if they failed to buy health insurance under her reform proposal. True to form, Barack Obama promised no such penalty if he was elected president.
Now we know the truth.
In what some observers presume is an early sign of a presidential run, over the weekend Hillary Clinton spoke at a high-profile political event for Iowa’s retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.
“One of the things she always worked on was advancing this concept, this idea that health care should be a right and not a privilege in this country,” said Harkin. “So, Hillary was not there when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, she was of course secretary of state, but I want you all to know that her fingerprints are all over that legislation. It would not have happened without her strenuous advocacy in that committee all those years.”
Any hopes Clinton had of distancing herself from a law that only gets more unpopular is gone. All opponents have to do is show her smiling behind a gushing Harkin to make the connection.
Don’t like ObamaCare? Blame HRC.
No conservative could have said it better.
Since World War II, only one president has been so successful, his party’s brand name so enhanced during his two presidential terms, that his party’s subsequent nominee won a third consecutive presidency for his party: Ronald Reagan.
According to the old adage, although history doesn’t always repeat itself, it does tend to rhyme. Accordingly, that speaks to the steep uphill battle that the Democratic Party faces in winning the 2016 presidential election. On that note, this morning’s commentary from Bill Kristol highlights a numerical headwind facing Hillary Clinton, whom some consider “inevitable” in 2016 (just as she supposedly was in 2008):
Speaking of 2016, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this summer had a couple of interesting findings on the question of who might be our next president. The good news is that while 38 percent of respondents say they ‘probably’ or ‘almost certainly’ will vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 37 percent say they ‘definitely’ will not vote for her. This means that Clinton, the candidate with by far the highest name recognition and the longest résumé, starts off at about 50-50. And while her approval numbers remain decent, they’re falling: Today, 44 percent view her positively against 37 percent negatively. Those numbers were once 48 percent positive, and only 32 percent negative.
By contrast, in the sixth year of the Bush administration, John McCain, the frontrunner and eventual nominee of the party in power, had a favorable rating in the mid-50s and an unfavorable number in the mid-20s. And of course he lost.”
Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan by any meaningful measure, and there’s a reason that Hillary’s “inevitability” evaporated in 2008. These numbers suggest that the “inevitability” narrative may prove just as ephemeral in 2016.
In an interview with CFIF, Caitlin Poling, Director of Government Relations at the Foreign Policy Initiative, discusses terrorism in Africa, the kidnapping situation in Nigeria and why in 2012 then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided Boko Haram did not warrant a foreign terrorist organization designation.
Listen to the interview here.
A big factor affecting the public’s perception of Clinton is the Benghazi scandal that helped to accelerate her exit from office. Because of her defiant testimony in the aftermath of the terrorist-led killings of four Americans, congressional investigators have been laying the groundwork to summon her to Capitol Hill to clarify her remarks, and this time as a private citizen.
A private citizen with an eye toward running for President of the United States in 2016, that is. So far, Clinton has been able to avoid culpability for Benghazi, in part because the fiasco seems like anomaly in an otherwise scandal-free tenure at State.
But as of today, that perception may be changing. Radically.
CBS News is reporting that “Uncovered documents show the U.S. State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal behavior ranging from sexual assaults to an underground drug ring.”
An internal investigation now made public cites examples of an ambassador being allowed to continue at his post despite deliberately losing his security detail “to solicit sexual favors from prostitutes,” and several instances where investigators “were simply told to back off investigations of high-ranking State Department members.”
If this story gets legs – and with all the attention paid to whistleblowers at the moment, I expect it will – it looks like the Hillary 2016 speculation will first have to overcome revelations of gross mismanagement that enabled criminal behavior and exposed four Americans to a deadly, and avoidable, attack.
Not exactly the profile of a future president.
When a serial prevaricator, plagued also by incompetence and petty corruption, blasts other people for “refus[ing] to face the facts,” it is almost beyond parody. Yet that’s what Hillary Clinton, taking time from busy life trading cattle futures, has done in a parting shot at her critics as she (thank the Lord) leaves her post as Secretary of State, where she left a footprint about as big as a pigeon’s.
As she repeatedly blamed a video for an attack the video had nothing to do with, as her own Department repeatedly refused requests or ignored recommendations for stepped-up security, as she provided evasive testimony on the whole situation, she nonetheless found the sheer gall to blame others for her own pathetic failings. Worse, by acting as if she, the prevaricator, were the one guided solely by the facts, while the others supposedly ignore the facts, she dives so far down the rabbit hole — or so far back into George Orwell’s 1984 — as to no longer have any capacity herself even to understand the difference between fact and fiction.
As she leaves the scene with bizarrely high approval ratings, she merits a full column reminding the public of her incredibly sordid history and of her utter failure to actually advance U.S. interests. Perhaps she will receive it in this space in the coming days — although here’s hoping that some other brave soul will provide such a column, and that it will contain the full, devastating litany of Mrs. Clinton’s perfidy through the years.
Hillary Clinton has been a plague on the body politic for four long decades. One only hopes her retirement from public life will be permanent.
Actually, if anything, Hume was too nice to her. On the Fox News Sunday show yesterday, he said she qualifies as a “competent” Secretary of State, but in no means a “great” one. It’s a segment well worth watching, because Hume makes a solid argument. That said, I think she has been only a small step above a disaster. Even acknowledging that bad things happen all over the globe that no Secretary of State can really be blamed for, the sad reality is that in almost every region of the world, American interests are now in worse shape than they were four years ago. Much of the blame should be laid at the feet of Barack Obama: After all, it is ultimately his policies, not Clinton’s, that are being pursued. But there is no evidence at all that Clinton in any way deviated, even in private, from Obama’s bad policies, and in many respects it seems obvious that Obama basically followed her lead.
So, where do we stand? In the Middle Easat, almost certainly worse than before. Turkey has gone further down the road towards open and troublesome Islamism. Egypt is a disaster. Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon, and not only has failed to moved closer to the West, but has crushed a real, potentially powerful “freedom movement” while the Obama-Clinton team lifted not a finger. Libya actually might be slightly better (more US-friendly and ultimately safer) than it was under the mercurial Ghadafi, but compared to about 2005, when Ghadafi was completely cooperating with us, Libya is more dangerous to us — more unstable, more unpredictable long term. (This is completely aside from the 9/11 assault there that killed four Americans.) And even the overthrow of Ghadafi was a mess, with the US administration doing the diplomatic and military hokey-pokey — one foot in, one foot out, a foot back in and shake it all about — rather than dealing cleanly with the situation. Finally, of course, Syria is a disaster area, with more than 60,000 dead.
Most importantly in the Middle East, our ally Israel feels more isolated than ever. This is terrible.
In Africa, meanwhile, al Qaeda is resurgent. Algeria and Mali are especially worrisome.
Then there is Russia. The “re-set” failed spectacularly. Russia is more recalcitrant, less US-friendly than it has been since about 1992.
Eastern Europe? Our would-be friends there rightly feel insulted, stabbed in the back, and abandoned. Western Europe? Well, the US image or influence there is about the same as when Hillary first walked into Foggy Bottom, but the state of Western Europe’s affairs is horrendous, with 26% unemployment in Spain and economic difficulties throughout.
The Far East? No progress against North Korea. Continuing militarily provocative actions from China.
How about the Western Hemisphere? Nothing good. Ecuador has joined Venezuela as uber-leftist anti-US agitators. Brazil has moved leftward and more corrupt, even as Obama has sucked up to it repeatedly. Argentina is again making noises about owning the Falklands (!).
Everywhere we look, the United States interests are no better off, and often worse off, than when Clinton took the reins at the State Department. As Hume rightly said, there have been no triumphs — but there have been spectacular failures, such as the murder of four Americans in Libya and the ascension of Mr. Morsi in Egypt.
Combined with Clinton’s repeated evasions of real answers, and of real responsibility, for the Benghazi fiasco, this record is one of failure. It would be a good thing if Mrs. Clinton’s retirement from State would turn into a retirement from public service altogether.
Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.
View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.
John Fund says that the White House blame-shifting for the Libya fiasco is causing a rift inside the Administration:
Obama officials may have made a key mistake when, in their panic, they attempted to lay blame for the Libyan fiasco solely on others. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that responsibility for Libya lay with the State Department, not the White House. Ed Klein, a former New York Times editor who has authored recent biographies of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, says his sources tell him that Bill Clinton is already pulling together an informal legal team to create a defense in case Obama officials continue to point the finger in Hillary’s direction.
“If she is left with this stain on her reputation, it could seriously damage her chances for election” as president in 2016, Klein told the Daily Caller.
So, after four years as a loyal Secretary of State, THIS is how Hillary Clinton gets rewarded by the man who beat her in the 2008 Democratic primaries?
Bill must be fuming. Barack should beware a Bubba-eruption.
In my column last week, I noted how preposterous it was that the Obama Administration continued to bend over backwards to distance itself from the video (falsely) claimed to have ignited the recent round of violence in the Middle East:
Speaking shortly after the attacks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pronounced, “that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message… to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.”
Let’s assume for a moment that Clinton is right and that the film was made for the express purpose of working global Islam into a lather. Even taking that as a given, should the apology come from the nation of 300 million where one man produced some two-bit agritprop or from the part of the world where thousands took to the streets in violence because of a bit of inert satire tamer (and, remarkably, less coherent) than the average “Saturday Night Live” episode?
Speaking earlier today at the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama prolonged the inanity:
That [violence and intolerance] is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.
I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.
Contra the president, this video doesn’t demonstrate “intolerance.” Stupidity? Yes. Bad filmmaking? Yes. Garden variety prejudice? Maybe. But being critical of the beliefs of others, even to the point of gratuitious rabble-rousing, is not the same thing as “intolerance.” The filmmakers were tolerating Islam; they weren’t advocating that anyone be silenced or harmed. By contrast, Islamists who engaged in violence to the point of cold-blooded murder ostensibly because of a YouTube video were the intolerant ones.
The cherry on top of this whole debacle was the President’s statement on the video to the ladies(?) of The View. As reported by the Weekly Standard:
In the age of the Internet, and you know, the way that any knucklehead who says something can post it up and suddenly it travels all around the world, you know, every country has to recognize that, you know, the best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it.
Not a terrible idea. And you know what’s a great way to begin implementing this strategy? Not devoting paragraphs to this film at the U.N. when we know that it wasn’t the catalyst for the recent blood lust.
I just saw CNN run a clip of John Kerry castigating Mitt Romney for Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration re the statement from the embassy in Cairo. Kerry, blowing enough hot air to power his own windsurfing excursion, called Romney “irresponsible” and “reckless,” among other harsh adjectives. He said Romney spoke without knowing what he was talking about, and that Romney was way out of line.
Kerry isn’t the one to talk. May I remind him of a little incident where he said he knew fellow American soldiers, apparently in large numbers, who “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country”?
That statement from Kerry was a vicious, vile, reckless, irresponsible, damnable lie. It should have disqualified him forever not just from public life, but from all polite company forevermore.
Meanwhile, Romney was right: The embassy statement was craven and pathetic, and it was fully in line with longstanding messages, also craven and pathetic, coming from the Obama administration since Day One — and even largely consonant with the tenor of statements TODAY from Hillary Clinton, who again spent the entire opening of her statement wasting time blasting a stupid online movie rather than dismissing it in one quick sentence and then moving on to what still, even after that segment of her statement, was an inadequately worded bit of advocacy of American rights, interests, and goodness.
Kerry, Clinton, and Obama know absolutely nothing about promoting American interests or about defending our people or our rights.
With most media attention focused on the thrust and parry of the presidential race, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 13-day trip abroad garnered precious little media attention. That’s a shame, because an important message came out of the Secretary’s stop in Israel. It just wasn’t the one she intended. As Seth Mandel notes at Commentary’s “Contentions” blog:
According to an Israeli official who was briefed on the content of the meetings, Clinton told the different Israeli officials that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are the best partners the Israelis ever had, adding that “it is unclear who will come after them.”
If Abbas and Fayyad–who resolutely refuse to even meet with Israeli leaders face to face–are the best Palestinian “peace partners” Israel has ever had, it is clear the peace process has gone practically nowhere since it began.
Mandel is precisely right. Peace in the Middle East is such a talisman to American presidents that they often stop thinking about the quality of any potential deal, looking solely for the achievement. That’s easy to do when you’re thinking of it as nothing more than a wing in your presidential library, but harder when you’re considering the lives of the people on the ground.
We may be waiting beyond our lifetimes for meaningful peace in the Middle East. But that’s a far preferable outcome to an agreement reached in haste that condemns the region to increased strife in coming years.
For a man who successfully campaigned for the presidency twice, you have to marvel at Bill Clinton’s lack of message discipline (or any discipline, for that matter). During the 2008 presidential campaign, Bill was a consistent thorn in Hillary’s side, what with his pronouncement that Barack Obama was “playing the race card” against him and his characterization of the presentation of Obama’s record as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”
Back then, the pop psychoanalysis of Clinton was that he couldn’t handle the idea of Hillary in the White House, occupying the spotlight that was rightly his, and was thus subconsciously serving up self-destructive rhetoric to dampen her prospects for beating Obama. This theory wasn’t particularly plausible given the Clintons’ joint lust for power and the fact that it violated Occam’s Razor — which would have instructed us that Clinton is simply impulsive and egotistical.
In 2012, the analysis seems to have become inverted. Last week, Clinton praised Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital on CNN, calling his record “sterling.” Then, earlier this week, he told CNBC that there is nothing much wrong with private equity, that the country is in “recession,” and that the Bush tax cuts should be extended, even for high earners (he’s walked back that latter part since). Putting Clinton back on the couch (never a safe place to be with the former president), the armchair shrinks are now speculating that Clinton’s eruptions owe to a desire to undermine Obama and set the stage for another Hillary presidential run in 2016.
Allow me to offer another, less convoluted thesis. Clinton knows that his presidency was historically inconsequential. Apart from his impeachment scandal, the only notable occurrence of his time in office was the expansion of the economy — not small ball to be sure, but also largely the product of co-opting Republican ideas on spending and deficit reduction, balanced budgets, welfare reform, tax cuts, and free trade. Still, it’s what Clinton hangs his hat on and it gives him an opportunity to sneer at Obama’s economic shortcomings, a pastime he no doubt has enjoyed ever since candidate Obama gave the Clinton Administration’s legacy short shrift during the 2008 campaign. So, if you’re Bill, why not take your affection for the business world out for a spin every once in a while just to rub it in Barack’s face?
Clinton’s habit of repeatedly undermining Obama is not evidence of a Freudian ego orchestrating a brilliant Machiavellian plot to install his wife back in the White House; It’s simply the product of an id that has broken its leash, relentlessly and uncontrollably attempting to establish Clinton as the alpha dog of the modern presidency. As we should all know by now, the former president is motivated more by desire than by reason.
This is not the work of a grand strategist. This is a sort of cry for help from a man so insecure that he needs constant validation even after eight years in the White House. He is to be pitied.
The story of Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident who took safe haven at the U.S. embassy in Beijing last week, should have been a cause for American pride. Chen, who has been an outspoken critic of the forcible sterilizations and abortions that accompany China’s one-child policy has served time in prison and, more recently, house arrest for daring to challenge the communist regime’s barbarism. By providing him refuge, the U.S. was fulfilling its traditional role as a defender of freedom throughout the world. Until yesterday, that is.
On Wednesday, Chen left the American embassy amidst coos of delight from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here’s how Politico reported Clinton’s reaction:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for a deal with China that allowed activist Chen Guangcheng to leave the American embassy in Beijing without fear of arrest.
“I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values,” Clinton said in a statement. “I was glad to have the chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and children.”
With apologies to the secretary, this hardly looks like a triumph of “his choices and our values.” Here’s the Associated Press report shortly after Chen’s release:
On Wednesday, after six days holed up inside the American embassy, he emerged and was taken to a nearby hospital. U.S. officials said they had extracted from the Chinese government a promise that Chen would reunite with his family and be allowed to start a new life in a university town.
Hours later, however, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his hospital room that U.S. officials told him the Chinese authorities would have sent his family back to his home province if he remained inside the embassy. He added that, at one point, the U.S. officials told him his wife would have been beaten to death.
“I think we’d like to rest in a place outside of China,” Chen said, appealing again for help from U.S. officials. “Help my family and me leave safely.”
If this is true, it represents nothing short of a moral stain on the State Department. This should come as no surprise, however. I noted over three years ago at RealClearWorld that this sort of amoral policy stance towards China looked to be a hallmark of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy:
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Beijing in February , she told her Chinese hosts that “Our pressing on [human rights] issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis.” Translation: don’t think about standing in front of a tank anytime soon. While America’s economic dependence on China is undeniable given the profligate spending that we have indulged thanks to Beijing’s line of credit, voicing that reality out loud is destined to crush the spirit of the friends of liberty in the Far East. How many Tibetan monks will be able to take inspiration from the Declaration of Independence if they think it truthfully reads “all men are created equal … but some hold hundreds of billions of dollars in American treasury bonds”?
Of course, these days the Dalai Lama visits the White House (when he’s invited at all) through the back door, next to the trash heaps. That’s a not-so-subtle metaphor for what Cheng Guancheng is experiencing at our hands now. All involved from the American side should be ashamed.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hillary Clinton’s State Department is opening a brand new “Bureau of Energy Resources” today. Amid the bureaucrat gushing about a “six-fold increase in personnel,” perhaps it’s worth considering just how unnecessary is this new office since its mandate seems to overlap substantially with other agencies. Here are the “new” duties according to the article:
If you thought all of these mandates already apply to other entities, you’re right. Someone should alert the Department of Energy, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Commerce – as well as a host of smaller outfits known only to the industries they regulate – that yet another federal agency is open and ready to do business harm.
Somebody better tell Team Obama that world crises abhor leadership vacuums. With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incapable of acting without a UN permission slip, American allies are taking matters into their own hands.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing for a no-fly zone. French President Nicolas Sarkozy granted diplomatic recognition to Libya’s opposition, and will open an embassy in the rebel capitol of Benghazi.
It’s clear Britain and France aren’t waiting for Belize and Lichtenstein to approve sensible responses to the Libyan crisis. Is President Barack Obama so contemptuous of America’s superpower status that he’s willing to cede its leadership role to countries whose foreign policy significance ended with the demise of their colonial empires?