December: You’re the present ‘neath my Christmas tree. (Neil Sedaka)
Our Calendar Girl is a gift to our country and the world. Aside from God and Hillary herself, I guess the person who deserves the most credit for her service is Bill Clinton, who almost a year ago, agreed to subject the Clinton Foundation to strict oversight and to restrict both its fund raising and his own activities within the foundation in order for Hillary to pass White House vetting for her position as Secretary of State. (Reminder: Last chance to make a donation for a 2009 tax deduction is today. Just thought I would mention it.) Hers was perhaps the strictest vetting of all. And what was Bill Clinton’s “reward” for his sacrifices? His pretty little wife spends most of the year on some other side of the globe from him. Well, he is proud of her, and so it was sweet to see that December began with them together in New York City at the 100th Anniversary of the New York Amsterdam News. Really, how cute are they?
Early December was dominated by the unrolling of the Obama Administration’s long-awaited policy on Afghanistan. The “War Council” as they came to be known, traveled together with the President from D.C. to West Point where the speech unveiling the policy was delivered.
Over the next week Secretaries Gates and Clinton, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mullen, spent some time on Capitol Hill testifying before the House Foreign Affairs, the Senate Armed Services (Hillary’s old committee), and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which had confirmed Hillary as SOS about 11 months earlier). The subject, of course, was the new Afghanistan policy.
Immediately after the last round of testimony, she was off to Brussels to solicit assistance from our NATO partners. She did very well, of course. How can you say “no” to her?
See what I mean about how she uses color? No trouble finding her in this photo!
There was another flurry of TV interviews recorded while she was in Brussels, of course. So we all tried to keep track of her appearances.
When she returned stateside, she kicked off a series of holiday parties she was to go on to host by inviting the 2009 Kennedy Center Honorees to a dinner at the State Department. One of the honorees was Dave Brubeck, so it was very good news that Bill Clinton not only accompanied his gorgeous wife to Foggy Bottom, but evidently was quite the jovial co-host! She wore that gown. You cannot let anyone who looks like this go anywhere unaccompanied. It would be criminal.
There are two pictures of her in this position. Occasionally I see her do something that causes me to wonder if that elbow still bothers her, even though it looks like it healed perfectly.
She remained planted on U.S. soil (for once!) to initiate her Diplomacy Briefing Series one morning. And then it was home to New York to speak at the American Pakistan Foundation’s Inaugural Gala.
Mid-December saw the usual interviews and bi-laterals, as she continued to reach out to a world that had been treated rather coldly by the previous administration. But the seminal event for mid-December was her speech at Georgetown University outlining the administration’s Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century. It was a prodigious speech, typically thorough, well-organized, and masterfully delivered.
At that point something strange happened. With a packed week scheduled, her week was suddenly cleared, and she was off to the Copenhagen COP15 that seemed to be stalled in the process of seeking agreements among the participants. Poor countries opposed the rich ones, and the African countries staged a walkout for a time. Evidently, the administration felt Hillary could rescue the situation. So duty called, and she answered. The New York Times called Hillary’s intervention “the charm offensive.” It is not hard to see why! As we end this year and this review of 2009, she has (once again) topped the USA Today/Gallup Poll as the Most Admired Woman of 2009.
And so as this blog entry becomes an installment in its own archive, 2009 ends with the beautiful girl who dropped the ball in Times Square to ring it in having kept up the charm & brains offensive through the entire year. She was adorable last year on that below freezing night. It is no surprise that she blew away the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to become “Secretary of Awesome.” Watching her this year was fun. I am looking forward to 2010 with Hillary Rodham Clinton in the spotlight.
Happy New Year, Secretary Clinton, President Clinton, and all readers of this blog. I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy 2010!!!
Here are the archives for December 2009 on this blog. (Reminder: Again there are several pages. You can navigate to the next page by clicking on “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page.)