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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:47 AM

Well Done, Madam Secretary


Well Done, Madam Secretary

January 24, 2013
by James Schlarmann

I don’t know if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run for or win the presidency in 2016, but I do know that her testimony this morning to the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees was completely awesome. If this is her swansong in public life, or just her “to be continued,” she exits the stage as a strong and powerful voice in American politics. Benghazi has become a hot-spot of conservative ire, and she deftly batted away their rhetoric like a true political ninja. Okay, so maybe “awesome” isn’t a very “political” sounding analysis. But I can’t find another word to describe it. She was candid, took responsibility – as she should – for the failures of her department, but she was unafraid to fire back at those Senators who decided today’s hearing was more about grandstanding and castigating President Obama and his administration by proxy. She showed quite clearly why President Obama tapped her in the first place to be our country’s most visible face of diplomacy.

She projected strength, knowledge and humility. In her opening remarks, while speaking of the families of those who died in the attack on September 11th, 2012 on our consular building in Libya, she became genuinely emotional. She put on a clinic for anyone who wants to know how to sit through verbal assault after verbal assault and come through every time with clear, concise answers. It was obvious that every single Republican who spoke in today’s meetings was there to demagogue and grandstand, but she kept going back to the same refrain, that the purpose of the review board being engaged to investigate this incident was to mitigate the political rhetoric and put in its place the actual facts of the case.

What became clear to me is that Secretary Clinton spelled out exactly what happens when a massive country like America is stretched thin and doesn’t have all the resources they need to guarantee the safety of every citizen we put in harm’s way in our consular buildings. She made it clear that the machinations of government and bureaucracy that we had in place failed, but failed due more to the volatile nature of the region mixed with a lack of resources, not that there was any cover-up, deliberate or otherwise. And in turn, several Republicans ignored that, demagogued the President and his administration, and int he case of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), son of the codgerest of all codgers Ron Paul, got downright personally mean and offensive.


If they had been listening, they’d have heard a very eloquent and dedicated civil servant tell them that Benghazi was a tragedy, and one that needed addressing immediately. But they would have also heard that steps are being taken to prevent this as best we can, and that if the Congress could pull their collective head from their collective ass and give the State Department adequate funding, perhaps another Benghazi is avoidable. But that’s not what these hearings were ultimately about for the Republicans. They were about exacting public humiliation for their constituents, many of whom they had mistakenly counted on carrying them into the White House.

And they got what they wanted out of today…the problem for them is that microphones and cameras were present and not just their bloated egos.

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