US – Hillary Clinton Was Indeed Splendid…As A Bureaucrat – As A Independently Brilliant Secretary Of State? Not So Much – 28 January 2013,0,3941486.story

I spent some time making exactly this case to a group on Facebook who were musing about the 2016 presidential possibilities which may lay in store for Hillary Clinton. Although the headline of this article reads that Clinton’s State Department legacy was “splendid but not spectacular”, the article qualifies this by suggesting that Clinton was, in essence, a splendid _bureaucrat_ from whom very little in the way of new ideas or leadership came. That is basically my position as well. She managed the State Department well, and she implemented the directives of her boss, President Obama, well. She was also a voice – one among numerous – who advocated for some of the smarter things the Obama Administration did. But there’s little to suggest she was a Secretary of State who made tremendously more difference than other Secretaries of State.

One thing that really bothers me is that Clinton being replaced by John Kerry makes it seem that, by making this comment, I’m just being a typical sexist. Unfortunately, the president’s offering up of Susan Rice as a placation to the foaming mass of Republicans howling nonsensically over Benghazi confirms that impression – I have a criticism of a woman Secretary of State, while none for her male successor. I would have far preferred Susan Rice, who had a record of achievement in foreign policy, and not just the good political sense to be married to a former president – despite Rice’s one notable lapse regarding the Rwandan genocide, which, of course, that same former president hardly avoided. I would have preferred even more Samantha Power, who unfortunately can’t ever be the US president herself owing to her Irish birth. (Americans will muse about making Ah-nold their president despite his Austrian origins, but will not consider changing the rules for someone like Power, who actually deserves the consideration.)

But those are the breaks. Hillary was what she was, nothing more than that, and I’m going to seem like an ass for saying it. Oh well.

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One Response to US – Hillary Clinton Was Indeed Splendid…As A Bureaucrat – As A Independently Brilliant Secretary Of State? Not So Much – 28 January 2013

  1. My original headline for this omitted the words “independently brilliant”, and in so doing lost most of the point I was trying to make. I already said in an earlier post that I thought Hillary was a more or less decent Secretary of State, and I actually do stand by that. It wasn’t that I was saying she had done a bad job as Secretary of State, it was more that I don’t ascribe that to her none-too-impressive leadership skills. I guess to put it better, I’m suggesting that one can be a good Secretary of State by following instructions from one’s boss the President, but great Secretaries of State act on their own initiative and transform the office. There have been Secretaries of State like that – the essence of my point was that Hillary is not one of them.

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