Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hillary As First Lady. Ergo, Hillary As President?

All politicians embellish their own importance and exaggerate their accomplishments, both of which the campaign trail exacerbates.

Hillary is no exception—let alone as she's running for president—but her claim that her eight years as first lady equips her to become president cries out for explication. Here's the verdict of Patrick Healy, the New York Times reporter on the Hillary beat:

[D]uring [her] two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

An interview with Mrs. Clinton, conversations with 35 Clinton administration officials and a review of books about her White House years suggest that she was more of a sounding board than a policy maker, who learned through osmosis rather than decision-making. . . .

[In short, her] conversations [with her husband, then-President Bill Clinton,] and her 79 trips [abroad as first lady, do not] add up to unique experience that voters should reward. She was not independently judging intelligence, for the most part, or mediating the data, egos and agendas of a national security team. And, in the end, she did not feel or process the weight of responsibility.