President-Elect Barack Obama has finally named Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State today. I am thrilled, but nervous, since I expect the press to react like this for the next four years, and she will face many challenges in her new position, including – perhaps – other members of Barack Obama’s Administration.
What I’m wondering is, since Obama has been acting as co-President, can Hillary now act as co-Secretary of State with Condoleezza Rice? Because quite frankly, Dr. Rice has been an unmitigated disaster.
Just think about the history of this woman’s tenure in the Bush Administration. On 9/11, she was the National Security Adviser. She admitted in Congressional Hearings that she had seen the August PDB entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” She had taken no action whatsoever on terrorism either before or after this briefing, and on the day itself, she was scheduled to give a talk on missile defense and Russia. The idiocy of wasting time on this billion-dollar Reaganite boondoggle, when they had so much information on terrorism in their hands, is truly mindboggling. The Bushian excuses for missing the significance of the chatter and the foreign intel and the PDB were pathetic; Rice actually called the PDB a “historical document,” which was utterly laughable.
And as for the Secretary of State position, Rice has been all but invisible. Colin Powell was a strong Secretary of State, until he ruined his credibility with the cartoon drawings and vial of flour at the United Nations. After that, Bush should have appointed a person with impeccable credentials and experience; someone who could help erase the taint of the Iraq WMD lies from the SOS position. But who does Bush choose? A loyalist, a crony, the woman who failed to prevent the attacks of September 11, 2001. As a New Yorker, I was shocked and disgusted by this appointment. I knew then that Bush had taken the principle of “failing upward” to a new extreme.
The one time Dr. Rice actually tried to do something – that last-minute effort to hold a Middle East peace conference – she failed miserably. And that missile defense shield, which Rice is so fond of promoting? Well, that’s not working out too well. Who could have predicted that if America planted missiles 100 miles from Russia in Poland, it would be interpreted as an act of aggression? Oh yes – EVERYONE WITH 1/10TH OF A BRAIN.
You may be wondering why I don’t support Dr. Rice, since she is a woman. Many people feel she is a sympathetic figure, a smart, capable person who has been scapegoated for the Bush Administration’s failures. Indeed, I would be tempted to think the same way, had I ever seen the slightest evidence of her intelligence or capability in the high-profile jobs with which she has been gifted. Certainly she has no integrity, for if she did, she would have resigned from the Administration after 9/11.
Yet despite the damage done by the previous Administration and its incompetent and malignant appointees, I am hopeful that Hillary can help rebuild our reputation in the world and repair our standing with friends, allies and even our enemies. Hearing her speech today, I am absolutely convinced that Obama could not have made a better choice than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Godspeed, Hillary, and good luck.
***ACTIVISM ALERT: As Riverdaughter has suggested, let’s make sure a woman is appointed to Hillary’s Senate seat. Sign my petition and forward it to your friends! I will send it to Governor David Paterson on Friday.