Hillary's Troubling Legacy

Elisabeth Meinecke

6/27/2013 6:00:00 PM - Elisabeth Meinecke

Hillary Clinton is currently the darling of Democrats and their 2016 hopes, but should she be? Her record as a public servant should cause all Americans concern. Fred Lucas reports for Townhall Magazine.

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While testifying before Congress about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to frame her four years on the job in impressive rhetoric.

“Today, after four years in this job, after traveling nearly 1 million miles and visiting 112 countries around the world, my faith in our country and our future is stronger than ever,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January. “Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words ‘United States of America’ touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world’s indispensable nation.”

Earlier that month, The New York Times eagerly reported the State Department talking point of Clinton being the “most widely traveled secretary of state in American history,” adding, “Mrs. Clinton holds the record for the most countries visited by a secretary of state, 112, though her total of 956,733 air miles will fall short of the 1.06 million logged by her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.”

It’s true that when taking into account such strategically important countries as Togo and Laos, Clinton indeed can cross more countries off her list than previous secretaries of state—if that’s the MO. But The Washington Post thankfully took a more critical view of the claim than the Times. The Post, using the metric of days spent abroad rather than miles traveled, reported she is in fact the fifth most-traveled— behind George Schultz, Rice, Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright. Further, the Post reports, Clinton made just five visits to Israel, “the least of any full-term secretary of state since William Rogers”—who interestingly enough served under Richard Nixon, the president a young Hillary Rodham worked to impeach in the 1970s when going after Tricky Dick was fashionable.

Perhaps for Tricky Hill, stressing quantity over quality of travel is the last, best hope of clinging to anything resembling success as the nation’s top diplomat. When this liberal junior senator from New York introduced her husband, former President Bill Clinton, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, she claimed, “In 1992 and 1996, Americans chose a president who left our country in better shape than when he took office.” It would be very difficult to argue that Clinton has left American foreign policy in better shape than when she took office, considering the State Department’s involvement in the Benghazi coverup and that she leaves behind a still-emboldened North Korea and a more uncertain Middle East.

The question for the likely presidential aspirant is: Does it matter?

Her 2016 presidential bid will still be based largely on her celebrity, her husband, her gender and the supposed inevitability of it finally being her turn after she failed to seal the deal in 2008. But any other presidential candidate would be expected to run on his or her record, which she now has after running the Obama administration’s foreign policy and serving as a senator for one of the nation’s most economically important states.

...continue reading in the July issue of Townhall Magazine.