WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama campaigned intoning the mantra that Washington's political system is "broken." Now with most of his appointments either named or leaked, he has proved it. There is indeed something broken in a political system whose electorate rejects Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries and nonetheless finds itself saddled with a third Clinton administration at year's end.
Of all the Clintonistas whom Obama has appointed, the most bizarre is the appointment of Sen. Clinton as secretary of state. He himself during the campaign remarked on her lack of foreign policy credentials. "What exactly is (her) foreign policy expertise?" he jeered. Obama's incoming White House counsel, Greg Craig, was blunter still. In a detailed memo last March, Craig explained why, as he put it, "There is no reason to believe she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration." The memo led Oliver Willis, a progressive blogger, to note, "This malarkey about Sen. Clinton having all this foreign policy experience strikes me as a serial fabrication on the level of Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair" -- two infamous journalistic frauds.
Those words were chosen wisely. It was in March that at least two of Sen. Clinton's claims to foreign policy credentials were exposed as the sheerest poppycock. She had been presenting herself as having been an indispensable instrument in effecting the Irish peace settlement during her husband's administration. "I was deeply involved in the Irish peace process," she boasted on the campaign trail. Unfortunately for her, Judicial Watch forced the Clintons to release Hillary's heavily redacted White House schedules, from which it was apparent that she had nothing to do with the peace process other than appearing in public with her husband sporting her infamous forced smile.
The charge that Hillary was engaged in "serial fabrication" was validated again when one of the participants in the Irish peace negotiations, Noble Peace Prize winner David Trimble, exclaimed, "I don't know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill going around." Trimble characterized her empty boasts as a "wee bit silly." Two months earlier, she had fibbed that she "actually went to Northern Ireland more often than (her) husband did" and, on one occasion, "pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall," Catholic and Protestant women whom she persuaded to bury the hatchet so "the hard work of peacemaking could move forward." That whopper provoked the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph to report, "There is no record of a meeting at Belfast City Hall, though Mrs Clinton attended a ceremony there when her husband turned on the Christmas tree lights in November 1995."