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Wednesday night, Chris Matthews had one of his apoplectic fits over Victoria Nuland’s terminology in the email at the top of this page.  (I will not subject you to the video.  You can click on the link and forward to the end to see his assertion that “my building leadership” means HRC.)

“My building leadership,” he insisted had to mean Hillary Clinton.  Never much of a grammarian,  he would not recognize Toria’s careful use of “they are” as opposed to “she is.”   Further, though,  his frustration stems from his total disinterest in anything and everything Hillary from the moment she entered the State Department,  a disinterest suddenly shattered when he and his cohorts in the media decided she must be the Dem ticket for 2016.

Had he been paying attention, he would have known that Victoria is very careful grammatically, that there is jargon spoken at the State Department,  and that Toria, a career Foreign Service officer, speaks it fluently.

Hillary Clinton had already prepared herself for this language experience the day she first set foot in Foggy Bottom as SOS.

Now, as you may have heard percolating through the building, you know, when I was first nominated, I realized that there was this living, organic creature known as the building.

It is clear to anyone who has taken the time and pains to follow Hillary Clinton at State that Toria was referring to leadership at a level lower than the secretary who have experience with the kind of wordsmithing that was going on in these emails.

As a special treat for readers, here is our Hillary on her first encounter with the building.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Arrival at the Department of State

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Remarks to Department Employees at Welcome Event
Washington, DC
January 22, 2009

Date: 01/22/2009 Description: 67th Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for her first day at the Department of State greeted by an overflowing lobby of  Department employees in the diplomatic entrance. State Dept PhotoThank you. Thank you all so much. Well, I am absolutely honored and thrilled beyond words to be here with you as our nation’s 67th Secretary of State. And I believe, with all of my heart, that this is a new era for America. (Applause.)

President Obama set the tone with his inaugural address. And the work of the Obama-Biden Administration is committed to advancing America’s national security, furthering America’s interests, and respecting and exemplifying America’s values around the world. (Applause.) There are three legs to the stool of American foreign policy: defense, diplomacy, and development. And we are responsible for two of the three legs. And we will make clear, as we go forward, that diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States. And I will do all that I can, working with you, to make it abundantly clear that robust diplomacy and effective development are the best long-term tools for securing America’s future. (Applause.) In my testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee, I spoke a lot about smart power. Well, at the heart of smart power are smart people, and you are those people. And you are the ones that we will count on and turn to for the advice and counsel, the expertise and experience to make good on the promises of this new Administration. Date: 01/22/2009 Description: 67th Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for her first day at the Department of State greeted by an overflowing lobby of  Department employees in the diplomatic entrance. State Dept Photo I want to thank Steve for his comments that really summarized the full range of experience and expertise of both the Foreign Service and the Civil Service, and also to send my appreciation to all of the nationals around the world who work in our embassies and work with government officials. This is going to be a challenging time and it will require 21st century tools and solutions to meet our problems and seize our opportunities. I’m going to be asking a lot of you. I want you to think outside the proverbial box. I want you to give me the best advice you can. I want you to understand there is nothing that I welcome more than a good debate and the kind of dialogue — (applause) — that will make us better. (Applause.) We cannot be our best if we don’t demand that from ourselves and each other. I will give you my very best efforts. I will do all that I can, working with our President, to make sure that we deliver on the promises that are at the very core of what this new Administration and this new era represent. So we need to collaborate, and we need to have a sense of openness and candor in this building. And I invite that. Now, not everybody’s ideas — (applause) — will make it into policy, but we will be better because we have heard from you. Date: 01/22/2009 Description: 67th Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for her first day at the Department of State greeted by an overflowing lobby of  Department employees in the diplomatic entrance. State Dept PhotoI also want to address a word to the USAID family. I will be there tomorrow to greet them and thank them for the work they’ve done on behalf of development through some very difficult years, because they will be our partners. (Applause.) Now, as Steve candidly said, so far, we’re thrilled. (Laughter.) This is not going to be easy. (Laughter.) I don’t want anybody to leave this extraordinarily warm reception thinking, oh, good — (laughter) — you know, this is going to be great. It’s going to be hard. But if it weren’t hard, somebody else could do it, besides the professionals of the Foreign Service and the Civil Service and our Diplomatic and Development Corps. (Applause.) Now, as you may have heard percolating through the building, you know, when I was first nominated, I realized that there was this living, organic creature known as the building. (Laughter.) And as you probably already know, we are expecting the President and the Vice President to be here in the State Department this afternoon. (Applause.) Among the many conversations that I’ve had with the President and with the Vice President, over years, but certainly much more astutely and in a concentrated way in the last weeks, we want to send a clear and unequivocal message: This is a team, and you are the members of that team. There isn’t anything that I can get done from the seventh floor or the President can get done from the Oval Office, unless we make clear we are all on the American team. We are not any longer going to tolerate the kind of divisiveness that has paralyzed and undermined our ability to get things done for America. So the President will be here — (applause) — on his second day in office to let all of you know, and all who are serving on our behalf around the world, how seriously committed he is to working with us. So this is going to be a great adventure. We’ll have some ups and some downs. We’ll face some obstacles along the way. But be of good cheer — (laughter) — and be of strong heart, and do not grow weary, as we attempt to do good on behalf of our country and the world. I think this is a time of such potential and possibility. I don’t get up in the morning just thinking about the threats and the dangers, as real as they are. I also think about what we can do and who we are and what we represent. So I take this office with a real sense of joy and responsibility, commitment and collaboration. And now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s get to work. (Applause.) Thank you and God bless you.

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

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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?

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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.

Read more >>>>

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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