I did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary elections. I didn’t want her to be president. I wasn’t even a huge fan of hers. I don’t know why. I guess I was just excited about the potential for a Barack Obama presidency (and had been since his Democractic convention speech in 2004). The election got nasty. Hillary said some things that people cringed at. Bill said some things that people cringed at. Barack said some things people cringed at. It was thought that President Obama taking Joe Biden as his VP was a slight to Hillary – and maybe it was – but it turned out to be one of the best administrational slights ever made.
Hillary Clinton has been no less than a phenomenal Secretary of State. Hillary not only repaired the fracture within the Democratic party with her steadfast commitment to the Obama administration foreign policy, but also gained the respect of most Republican lawmakers and citizens with her tireless travel and diplomatic efforts in reaching out to leaders throughout all corners of the globe. Clinton has visited more countries and traveled more extensively than any other secretary of state in history. She is indefatigable. She’s visited several countries during her tenure that have been ignored by American presidents and secretaries of state for years. She saw before her as Secretary of State a task that was nothing short of changing how the rest of the world perceived the United States. And while that is a continuing process (and hopefully her legacy will continue under Sec. of State John Kerry), Clinton has made giant strides in improving the relations of the United States with the rest of the world.
Clinton faced congressional hearings today to answer questions about the murder of diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Clinton was nothing short of spectacular. Certainly this was an awful situation. Awful for the families who suffered losses of their loved ones. Awful for other diplomatic personnel who lost a colleague and are also put at unease over their own security. Awful for the administration that place those personnel in harm’s way. And awful for an American public that sees the hatred against the United States being manifested in such a horrific way. And rightly, the public and members of congress want answers to questions about how this was allowed to happen. Republican congressmen attempted – and succeeded – in making Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the sacrificial lamb, by accusing her of fabricating a protest that had turned into an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Susan Rice was incorrect, that much has been shown to be true, but she was simply relaying CIA talking points that she had been given, to the Sunday morning talk shows. Rice should not have had to fall on the sword, but as a consummate professional, she did so to protect the integrity of the office on Secretary of State.
Hillary has done the same thing. While Clinton wasn’t the one to attend the Sunday morning shows, she would have given the same information that Ambassador Rice gave. And that is what Hillary has indicated in these congressional hearings. She said it before and she’s repeated it today that she was the one responsible for diplomatic personnel, and while there might have been failures in providing adequate security to American consulates and diplomatic personnel around the globe, there was so much happening during that time that there was little that she or the State Department could do. It was a bad situation and the Secretary of State cannot wave a magic wand and make a bad situation disappear. But she’s proven throughout the questioning of the Benghazi attacks, and especially during these hearings, that she is a person of integrity and will sacrifice herself to the dogs of politics to save the face of the office of the Secretary of State, the President, and the country as a whole.
We will miss you Madame Secretary. See you in 2016.