Posts Tagged ‘Mark Landler’

Given the title, I dove into Mark Landler’s How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk prepared for fury – mine.  How, I wondered, can the New York Times, which endorsed her, feature such an article on the eve of five – count ’em – important primaries in the east?  But titles can be deceiving.  They are meant to draw.  I have been advised many times that my titles are not snappy enough, but it’s hard to evoke snap when you have also been advised that titles lacking Hillary’s full name are less likely to be gathered by internet crawlers that aggregate news about her. If you want the traffic, you have to dull it down to mundane Google-bait.

In the flurry of interviews that preceded the New York primary, there was one – and I forget which one now – in which Hillary was asked if she is a hawk.  She responded very carefully by differentiating hawkishness from support of the military and emphasizing that she is running to be commander-in-chief, a position that presupposes support of the military.  Judging from the title of Landler’s piece I was prepared for a polemic asserting her hawkishness.  What I found instead was a chronological analysis of her core attitude toward the military. It is fascinating, enlightening, and endearing.

Landler provides behind-the-scenes glimpses into military questions that played out partially in the public eye on the news and largely behind the secure walls of the Situation Room and other recesses of state. To know that Hillary, as a Senator, took the time and trouble to visit every military base in New York state and assess the impact on the wider civilian population of closing any of them is testament to her gritty approach to any work we, as her constituents, assign her.

While the article focuses on Hillary’s relationship with the military, its implications are wider in scope. Her style as a leader leaps from the page. She is a go-getter.  She gets the the people, the information, and the materials and briefs she needs to decide a position and then to make her case. This is how she operates, and it is impressive.

If you love Hillary – or think you do – from what you know now,  you will love her even more when she goes to Fort Drum, home of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division (where my dad trained), takes off her shoes, puts her feet on the coffee table and asks a General where a gal can get a cold beer.  That is my commander-in-chief!  That’s our Hillary!

So I strongly recommend, even though we all have a load of work to do over the next few days, that you plan to take a quiet break at some point, put your feet up, and read this article.  You will be glad for the information it provides, ammo for the battles we face, and for the pleasure of the read.

IS Hillary Clinton a hawk?  This sentence says it all, and we have heard her say this in town halls when asked: “She would look at military force as another realistic option, but only where there is no other option.”

Hillary Clinton sat in the hideaway study off her ceremonial office in the State Department, sipping tea and taking stock of her first year on the job. The study was more like a den — cozy and wood-paneled, lined with bookshelves that displayed mementos from Clinton’s three decades in the public eye: a statue of her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt; a baseball signed by the Chicago Cubs star Ernie Banks; a carved wooden figure of a pregnant African woman. The intimate setting lent itself to a less-formal interview than the usual locale, her imposing outer office, with its marble fireplace, heavy drapes, crystal chandelier and ornate wall sconces. On the morning of Feb. 26, 2010, however, Clinton was talking about something more sensitive than mere foreign affairs: her relationship with Barack Obama. To say she chose her words carefully doesn’t do justice to the delicacy of the exercise. She was like a bomb-squad technician, deciding which color wire to snip without blowing up her relationship with the White House.

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Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State and departed Foggy Bottom with her husband and daughter on Friday.


To be sure, the 2016 drums had been beating long before she wrapped up her tenure at State, but by yesterday they were deafening.  Two Super PACs had formed,  the website  of one, “Ready For Hillary,” went live and also went viral at the many Hillaryland Facebook groups, and speculation ramped up all over the media aided by the fact that HRC seemed to have granted a marathon of interviews at the State Department prior to vacating the seventh floor aka “heaven.”

Now I have stated here many times and will once more today that this blogger will not be part of any pressure group to exact further service from the woman who, in 2008,  stated that she brought a lifetime of service to her primary race that year.  Anyone who has been following her term as SOS here or on other blogs certainly must be aware of the personal sacrifices she has made these past four years in additional service to her country.  It is her decision to make, and she has clearly stated many times that she has been too busy dealing with global events to give that option any consideration.  She needs and deserves time to rest, recuperate from her recent health issues, and reflect upon what she wants to do next.  Just in case, though, your head is in the clouds in the firm belief that she will reach out and grab the brass ring that so clearly seems meant for her,  there are some indications that perhaps things have not changed so much from 2008, and the road might not be as clear as you think it is for her.

Two articles from the New York Times caught my attention, not in a good way.  The first two questions in this one slapped me right back into 2008 for two reasons with the first two questions.

Interview With Hillary Clinton

By and
Published: February 2, 2013

Question 1:

Q: President Clinton said that one of his greatest regrets was not doing more to stop genocide in Rwanda. We have a situation in Syria where more than 60,000 Syrians have been killed. [U.N. envoy Lakhdar] Brahimi has been making no headway diplomatically. The conflict is beginning to spread regionally with Iran’s intervention with its Quds Forces, its arms supplies, Hezbollah’s participation and now the Israeli strike on the convoy in Syria. Looking back, can you say that the United States has done everything it could have to stem the killing in Syria? And when you look back on this episode in the book you are going to write, do you think that you might regret that the United States wasn’t able to do more in your years here?

Read her answer here>>>

Question 2:

Q: If one looks back at how the Clinton administration handled the Kosovo crisis, it became clear that Russia would not support a new Security Council resolution authorizing intervention to protect the Kosovars. So the United States elected not to seek a new resolution and instead justified intervention on the basis of international law. Why have you and the Obama administration taken the position that a stronger stance on Syria requires a new Security Council resolution, which means the formal endorsement of the Russian government, when that has always appeared to be a highly unlikely proposition?

Read her answer here>>>

What’s that?  President Clinton?  Wow!  If that doesn’t smack of the 2008 debates, nothing does, and if you think for a minute that this purposeful confounding of Billary will stop now that she has been Secretary of State, dream on.  It was used against her in primary debates by her own party in 2008 and will –  actually has –  arisen again a mere day after she stepped aside at State.

In addition, the implication in that second question that she somehow, as SOS, had the power to force the President’s hand is unreasonable and unfair.  Will the morass in Syria move forward with her as one of her huge “failures” as Secretary of State?  Well, Gordon and Landler put it out there for any future opponent to use.

Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose

Patrik Stollarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton behind President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan during a meeting in Germany in 2011.

By and
Published: February 2, 2013

In the above NYT article, the same two journalists, in a review of her tenure as SOS disguised as a behind-the-scenes glimpse,  provide the following yardstick.

As she leaves the State Department, the simplest yardstick for measuring Mrs. Clinton’s legacy has been her tireless travels: 112 countries, nearly a million miles, 401 days on the road. Historians will point to how she expanded the State Department’s agenda to embrace issues like gender violence and the use of social media in diplomacy.

Yes, it is simple, isn’t it?  Too simple.  In all fairness, Gordon and Landler are not the only pundits citing these stats, but it is irresponsible on the part of all who use them not to analyze the reasons behind all these miles and countries.  They break down, really, into two major types of travel.  Outreach trips where she toured regions that required her attention in diplomatic, personal, friendship-building ways and trips involving summits, conferences, and meetings, the latter breaking down into long-planned, regular summits like NATO and ASEAN, and emergency meetings like the two trips in one week in March 2011 to deal with the situation in Libya,  oHillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozyr the three-day whirlwind in the Middle East in September 2010.U.S. Secretary of State Clinton waves upon her arrival for a meeting Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah  Can we please dispel the notion that our top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 was in some kind of competition to tack on the miles and countries?    Furthermore,  the authors mention her initiatives for women and girls and her use of social nets in diplomacy while ignoring her singular most challenging undertaking, her QDDR (Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review) which overhauled and streamlined both the State Department and USAID and enhanced interagency communication and cooperation.    So if you thought that her legacy at the State Department would slide her right into a 2016 nomination, just take a look at some of these reviews for what has been left out.  In four years, these are what folks will be quoting, and some of them are thin indeed compared to the actual work put in.

Then on the very parochial domestic scene for the future of the Democratic Party, we have those who cry out that “Yes, she will do this for her country and her party.” (As if her party has ever treated her particularly well.)   There is this.

Can Hillary Clinton make Texas turn blue?


Can Hillary Clinton make Texas turn blue?

2:50 PM on 02/01/2013

FILE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at NATO headquarters ahead of a two-day NATO foreign ministers in Brussels in this file photo from December 4, 2012. (Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters)FILE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at NATO headquarters ahead of a two-day NATO foreign ministers in Brussels in this file photo from December 4, 2012. (Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters)

Is Hillary Clinton  the game-changing Democrat who can finally realize the liberal dream of turning Texas blue?

A new survey by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling indicates that the answer is yes. The retiring secretary of state could make the Lone Star State competitive in 2016, should she decide to run for president.

In hypothetical matchups, she’d beat GOP heavyweight Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 46% to 45% and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 45% to 43%. She would even handily beat the state’s governor, Rick Perry, 50% to 42%, according to PPP’s numbers.Pretty impressive for a state that hasn’t voted Democratic since 1976, when Jimmy Carter won Texas in the first presidential election after the GOP disaster of Watergate.

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Unless you have amnesia, you do well to consider the source on this one.  It is not Hillary Clinton’s “job” to turn those two states blue just because some people think she can.

It will never be easy for Hillary Clinton.   Nothing ever has been, and no one knows that better than she.  Aside from the hurdles that have been part of her track from the day she wrote to NASA as a schoolgirl, she herself puts pressures on her own performance that are stringent, so a 2016 run, no matter how easy you might think it will be, will not be a cakewalk.

It, of course, is her decision alone to make.  She has much to consider.  Even if her health had not been challenged toward the end of her tenure, she would still have needed a good long rest as she had been saying for almost a full year before she stepped down.  She certainly deserves that rest and recuperation, and perhaps a bit of quiet so she can nap before the din demanding that she take on that fight for that office from age 67 when the campaigning would begin through the age of 78 presuming she won two terms.

Can we ratchet this down a few notches?  Give a girl a break!

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In early summer of 2008, shortly after suspending her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton established from among the ranks of her campaign, “Hillary sent me.”

It was an effort to swing her voters over to Obama, and it might have been successful but for the fact that Obama seemed to think Hillary alone would be enough to garner the votes from her sector.  As it turned out,  it always appeared to Hillary’s sector that the effort was hers alone,  and nothing Obama did or said indicated that he really cared at all about those of us who were (and remain) in her corner.

The Strategy of Surrogacy has been one of Obama’s hallmarks  going way back before the 2008 convention and has remained his major approach to tasks for which he has little interest or taste.  I, for one, who have spoken from this platform on this topic many times (most recently this; Memo to LGBT Community: Hillary On Your Side – Long Before Yesterday) , did not require this article from last night to explain the strategy to me,  but some may have yet to receive the message.

On gay rights, Obama lets surrogates take the lead

By Mark Landler / New York Times News Service

Published: December 31. 2011 4:00AM PST

Obama’s strategy, administration officials and gay-rights advocates said, reflects two conflicting forces. He recognizes that support for gay rights and same-sex marriage is growing, particularly among young voters.

But he is reluctant in an election year to be drawn into a culture-war issue — one that reliably helps Republicans turn out evangelical voters in their favor.

Read the article >>>>

It seems that with Obama it is never about the true quality of life questions embedded in issues and communities, but rather about how he can get enough votes to sustain his presidency.  If the LGBT community did not get the message when he appeared in NYC the weekend gay marriage was legalized (to a shout-out he responded, “I hear ya!”), I hope they wake up soon.  He hears ya.  He just is not going to take the chance of standing up for you.  That he will leave to his surrogates, this issue, primarily to HRC.

But lest other interest groups think the knight in shining armor will slay any dragons in their defense, please see Taylor Marsh today on that topic.

The Party’s Over

By on 01 January 2012

The latest political move against women of all ages came recently when Pres. Obama decided to put politics over science on Plan B, even though it was conclusively proven safe for women, regardless of age. He said he was squeamish about it as a father. What made it worse is that he hid behind Kathleen Sebelius’s skirt, also saying he had nothing to do with the decision.

This kind of cowardice in a grown man is unattractive; in a president it is unacceptable.

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There was a character in our folklore who leaned on a surrogate.  You may remember this.

 Then they sat down and talked of the birds and the beautiful
Talked of their friends at home, and the Mayflower that sailed
on the morrow.
“I have been thinking all day,” said gently the Puritan maiden,
“Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the hedge-rows of
They are in blossom now, and the country is all like a garden;
Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of the lark and the
Seeing the village street, and familiar faces of neighbors
Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip together,
And, at the end of the street, the village church, with the ivy
Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet graves in the
Kind are the people I live with, and dear to me my religion;
Still my heart is so sad, that I wish myself back in Old England.
You will say it is wrong, but I cannot help it: I almost
Wish myself back in Old England, I feel so lonely and wretched.”
Thereupon answered the youth:–“Indeed I do not condemn you;
Stouter hearts than a woman’s have quailed in this terrible
Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to lean on;
So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage
Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of
  Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of
Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful phrases,
But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a
Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more bluntly.
Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the Puritan maiden
Looked into Alden’s face, her eyes dilated with wonder,
Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her
Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence:
“If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me,
Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me?
If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!”
Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter,
Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy,–
Had no time for such things;–such things! the words grating
Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made
“Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is
Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wedding?
That is the way with you men; you don’t understand us, you
When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and
that one,
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal,
And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps, that a woman
Does not respond at once to a love that she never suspected,
Does not attain at a bound the height to which you have been
This is not right nor just: for surely a woman’s affection
Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only the asking.
When one is truly in love, one not only says it, but shows it.
Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed that he loved me,
Even this Captain of yours–who knows?–at last might have won
Old and rough as he is; but now it never can happen.”
Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla,
Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuading, expanding;
Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in
How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction,
How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of
He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly
Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England,
Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de
Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded,
Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent
Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon.
He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature;
Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the
He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman’s;
Somewhat hasty and hot, he could not deny it, and headstrong,
Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and placable always,
Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was little of
For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, courageous;
Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England,
Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles Standish!
But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple and eloquent
Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of his rival,
Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes overrunning with
Said, in a tremulous voice, “Why don’t you speak for yourself,

-From Longfellow’s  The Courtship of Miles Standish

Pretty as she is, Hillary is not Priscilla Mullins in this analogy.  We are,  those of us whose vote  Obama expects to snare by sending our Hillary to us with messages that her history shows reflect not his positions but her own.   We are wise to the strategy and tired of the requisite “President Obama and I”    in speeches that clearly come from her heart alone.  She is, of course, John Alden, carrying the message for Miles Standish … who couldn’t be bothered or fears the message will alienate some other voting bloc.

Speak for yourself, dear Hillary.  We know your heart!

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