In the first two chapters, Team of Rivals and Foggy Bottom, Hillary walks us through some of the 2008 primary season and her acceptance of the secretary of state post, with some of the staffing and policy decisions involved, and, finally, through her formal swearing in.
Those who were passionate supporters in 2008, especially PUMAs , are sure to suffer some sad and angry memories reading chapter one. The nearest emotion I can confer to it is grief. Many of us went through a process very close to if not exactly the stages of grief. I am pretty expert in that field having lost both parents and almost all of my aunts and uncles over a period of about seven years from 1995 – 2002. Grief was not a stranger to me, and that is how I felt about much of what Hillary recounts in chapter one.
Those who were part of the Women’s Liberation Movement felt kicked in the stomach back to the Stone Age. Where had all that misogyny come from? Hillary does not directly confront it, but that might be because she, among all of us, was the one who was least surprised.
Chapter one is filled with memories that stick like an arrow in the gut. She says she ‘lost’ the nomination, but we all knew she had done phenomenally well and had the convention respected … well, convention, we might have seen a more traditional (and to us a fairer) nomination process. Many here were among those who exhorted her to let us have a traditional roll call on the convention floor, but she went in another direction.
She explains her rationale in the book, just as she did at the time. Anyone who knows anything about her would understand why she did what she did. Many of us who love her still had a hard time accepting it, but then, those very reasons are part of why we love her.
In Part One she takes us through her suspension speech.
June 8, 2008 by still4hill
She goes on to recount her shift from primary campaign mode to general election mode with the Unity, New Hampshire rally for Obama.
June 28, 2008 by still4hill
She also provides a very personal account of what went into her landmark speech at the Democratic National Convention that year. She was stunning that night. Presidential.
August 27, 2008 by still4hill
Many of us disagreed with her appearance on the convention floor to stop the roll call vote. She acknowledges that and explains her reasons. There is no mention of earlier votes at the hotels that morning, and perhaps she did not know about those when she walked onto the convention floor. It is hard to say what she knew and to what degree she was simply following her own reasons. I, for one, must simply take her at her word on this decision.
This is a chapter that, for diehard Hillary 2008 folks, is so hard to get through. (If you click through to August 28 on the links above, you see how well I took that roll call vote and how some delegates chimed in.)
Hillary goes on in this section to describe her dilemma at being asked to accept the post of secretary of state. She recounts her personal deliberations and decision-making process. Having decided, she moves on to the preparations. They involved heavy briefings and a good deal of policy formation much of which rested on foundations formed from Senate and White House experience.
She recalls her confirmation hearing in subdued tones except for the preparation and her great team that she praises, but it was a phenomenon. It lasted nearly as long as three dissertation defenses might, and she was on task. on topic, and on fire the whole time.
January 13, 2009 by still4hill
Known adversary, Chris Matthews, said he had never seen anybody know so much for so long. She blew everyone away as we always knew she could and would.
January 15, 2009 by still4hill |
A good deal of the Foggy Bottom chapter (2) treats decisions about staffing. Hillary explains her decision to recruit special envoys for high-risk regions – a rationale most of us rational folks understood and thought reasonable – in fact brilliant. She explains how primary contentions gave way to team goals, and how broken fences were mended. It reminded me of this.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
(Frost read a poem at JFK’s inauguration and my heart broke when the sun and wind were so strong that his papers blew and he had trouble seeing the pages. I was a kid, and I loved him, so I cried. But that’s beside the point.)
If there were walls, Hillary set them well. She made her conditions for accepting the job clear, and President Obama complied. When she arrived at Foggy Bottom she was greeted liked a rock star.
First she was sworn in privately, as she says.
January 21, 2009 by still4hill
Her arrival at C Street was jubilant!
January 22, 2009 by still4hill
After her arrival there was the ceremonial swearing in, and then she was on her skateboard and off to the far corners of the earth as our top diplomat!
February 2, 2009 by still4hill
End of Part One.