Vail Daily column: How about Hillary for president?
May 9, 2013
The 2016 presidential campaign officially began Jan. 28, when Hillary Clinton and President Obama were interviewed on the TV show "60 Minutes."
A few days later, NBC's Brian Williams glowingly reported, "Mrs. Clinton was the most traveled secretary of state in history."
While Clinton's travel itinerary as secretary of state was certainly extensive, wouldn't it have been more informative if the NBC anchor had detailed her accomplishments?
So what does qualify Hillary to occupy the Oval Office? Was it her stint as first lady? If that were the case, Michelle should be in the running to be our 45th president.
Is it because she's smart? Well, I know plenty of smart people who aren't remotely qualified to occupy the Oval Office.
No, the qualifications for president should be accomplishment, character and a desire to do what's best for the nation.
Let's begin examining Hillary's qualifications for the presidency by reviewing her comment during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary when she rhetorically asked, "Who do you want answering that 3 a.m. phone call in the White House?" Unfortunately, that question was answered four years later on Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked our consulate in Benghazi.
Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA Director David Patreaus testified before Congress that shortly after the attack began, the White House and the State Department were advised that terrorists with suspected links to al Qaeda were responsible.
Yet no SEAL team or Marines were sent to aid our consulate. Instead, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a woman with no responsibilities in the matter and who had nothing to do with embassies, intelligence or the military, went on the Sunday talk show circuit telling us the attack was the result of a homemade video.
For two weeks, the State Department and the White House continued the fabricated narrative about a homemade video even though both knew otherwise.
This prevarication was compounded when in its written report to Congress, Hillary's State Department removed the words "terrorist" and "al Qaeda" from the official document.
Five weeks after the attack, Clinton said, "I take full responsibility." But what did "full responsibility" mean, considering she never revealed who made the ultimate decision not to respond to the consulate's pleas for help, a question that remains unanswered to this day?
In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Clinton disingenuously said, "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
But there were no snipers, nor any gunfire — just an NBC video showing a young Bosnian girl presenting Clinton with a bouquet of flowers.
Hillary attempted to regain credibility a few weeks later by telling reporters, "On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that I knew not to be the case," and an adoring press allowed her statement to go unchallenged.
Clinton has a history of being less than forthright.
Nonetheless, a cursory examination of what occurred on her watch provides an insight into her geopolitical credentials:
Iran is closer to the bomb.
Syria remains in chaos.
Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Ecuador are inching toward socialism.
Russia became even more belligerent despite the misspelled red "reset" button she gave Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The Ukraine is drifting away from the West.
North Korea has become more confrontational.
Afghanistan is no closer to eliminating the Taliban.
Pakistan continues its corroboration with al Qaeda.
China weakens its currency (making our products too expensive there and theirs cheaper here) while launching cyber attacks against American businesses and institutions with impunity.
America's approval in the Middle East is lower than when George Bush was in office.
And whatever became of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the jailed CIA informant whose assistance was critical in tracking down Osama Bin Laden?
What did Hillary's State Department do to free this man? His family suffers as this hero languishes in a Pakistani prison. To allow the Pakistanis to get away with this egregious human rights violation while we have the leverage of being able to withhold billions in foreign aid is an abomination.
From what I've been able to unearth, the only substantive moment of Clinton's tenure as secretary of state occurred during her speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing when she criticized China for seeking to limit free and open discussion of women's issues.
With no measurable accomplishments to use as a platform, look for Clinton to play the "women's issues" card to the maximum in her quest for the presidency — because other than ideology, she has nothing else to draw upon.
Quote of the day: "We just can't trust the American people to make those kind of choices. … Government has to make those choices for the people" — Hillary Clinton, February 1993, at the home of now Ohio Gov. John Kaisch when discussing her plans for universal health care.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com. He welcomes your comments.