Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Benghazi hearings actually can be constructive

Here we go.

A congressional select committee of House members has convened a series of hearings on Benghazi, which has become shorthand for “How do we derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations?”

The committee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is going to replow some ground that’s been tossed, turned and examined to the hilt on what happened on Sept. 11, 2012 when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The event occurred when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. It’s been a talking point ever since among right-wing critics of the Obama administration — and that includes conservative mainstream media.


What will the committee learn that it doesn’t already know about what happened? Probably not a damn thing.

Here, though, is where the hearings can prove constructive.

They can ascertain whether we’ve done enough to improve embassy and consulate security in the two years since that horrible attack.

I hope that’s the goal. I hope that we can determine if we’ve learned from the mistakes committed during that horrible fire fight.

Gowdy opened the hearings with this statement: “We do not suffer from a lack of recommendations. We do not suffer from a lack of boards, commissions and blue ribbon panels. We suffer from a lack of implementing and enacting those recommendations. That must end.”

OK. Then find out what needs to be implemented, make a recommendation, file a report and put it on the record.

The longer this matter remains a political talking point, the more it will take on the appearance of what some of us believe already: a witch hunt.

Clinton's going to run, period

One of my many pet peeves is when folks try to read the mind of public figures.

Therefore, I am going to get angry at myself for what I’m about to write: I believe Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to run for president in 2016 and that the only decision left is to decide the best time to announce her intentions.


Clinton is in Mexico City, as is Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., another possible candidate for president.

The former U.S. senator/secretary of state/first lady said she’ll decide by early next year whether she’ll seek the Democratic nomination for president.

Sure thing, senator/Mme. Secretary. My trick knee is throbbing a good bit right about now and it’s telling me she’s told her husband, former President Bill Clinton, that she wants to run for the office he once held. She has sworn him to secrecy and if the 42nd president has a brain in his head — and I believe he does — he’ll keep quiet about it.

If I were a bettor, I’d bet all HRC has to decide now is when to announce it. Indeed, you can parse her language just a little bit to conclude that’s the decision left to make. She’s spoken hypothetically about a presidential run; she’s been mildly critical of President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine; she said in Mexico City that her background gives her “unique” qualifications to be president.

I’m still baffled, of course, over why she’d want to run for the White House, given the intensely harsh, personal and in some case unfair criticism she’s received over many years. You can bet the mortgage the critics will be out in force when she makes her intentions known.

Is it blind ambition or a sense of public obligation that drives her? Perhaps it’s both. We’ll be able to make that determination for ourselves in due time.


Benghazi hearings could end quickly

The chairman of a congressional committee looking into the Benghazi tragedy of Sept. 11. 2012 says the probe will conclude sometime in 2015.

Good deal.

For my money, though, the deal could be done by the end of 2014. Heck, it could be finished in the next two weeks..


Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is chairing a select committee’s examination — yep, we’re getting another one — into the Benghazi fire fight and terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city. The attack killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The target of this probe clearly is then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s been accused of trying to cover up what happened that terrible day. Of course, there’s been no independent corroboration of any deliberate cover-up of the event. That hasn’t dissuaded House Republicans from continuing to look high and low for answers to questions arising from the fire fight.

This ground has been plowed and re-plowed time and again. However, by golly, the House select panel is going to keep looking for something to hang on Clinton, a probable candidate for president in 2016.

Americans need to hold Chairman Gowdy to his prediction that his panel will finish its work sometime in the coming year.

I’ll say this for Trey Gowdy: He’s laid down a serious marker that won’t get lost amid all the political chaos that’s about to swarm all across Capitol Hill.


Rand Paul has become a peacenik

Wow! What in the world has Sen. Rand Paul been putting in his Wheaties?

The Kentucky Republican is now accusing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of being a “war hawk” and is staking out some interesting turf as he prepares to launch a possible 2016 presidential campaign.


The young man is sounding downright dovish in his approach to foreign policy.

Go figure.

Paul long has been considered a darling of the tea party movement within the Republican Party. As I have watched the tea party wing of the GOP, I’ve been struck by how hawkish many of its members have sounded regarding the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. What’s more, the tea party folks have pulled many of the so-called “establishment wing” GOP members over to their side.

Have you heard the griping from veteran U.S. Senate and House Republicans calling for more “robust” responses in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to the terrorists who are creating so much havoc?

Meanwhile, Rand Paul is saying quite the opposite, He said on Meet the Press this past weekend: “Were I to run, there’s going to be a lot of independents, and even some Democrats, who say you know what? We are tired of war. We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.”

Yes, then-Sen. Clinton voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq ordered by President Bush. She’s since walked back from that vote, declaring she believes now that was a mistake.

Is she “gung-ho” these days? I don’t sense what Sen. Paul is sensing in a possible — if not probable — Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Paul, after all, did declare his desire to see “all aid” to Israel suspended. He’s tried to take that statement back. However, as my late friend and colleague Claude Duncan once told me about politicians who try to retract regrettable statements: You can’t unhonk the horn.


'Terror is alive'

Bob Schieffer is one wise Texan whose wisdom needs to be heard inside the White House.

The link attached here is of a commentary Schieffer made on the CBS News talk show he hosts each Sunday, “Face the Nation.”


He took issue with his fellow pundits’ assertion that Hillary Rodham Clinton stumbled when she criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. “Of course she did,” Schieffer noted.

Schieffer took note of the implied contention within the White House that the May 2011 commando mission that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was sufficient somehow to defeat terrorism. It surely wasn’t.

Many of us noted that although bin Laden’s death was a big victory in the war against terror, other terrorists would emerge to take his place.

They have done exactly that.

Schieffer says the United States needs a comprehensive strategy to continue the fight for as long as it takes in order to protect Americans from those who vow to do us harm.

The veteran journalist knows of which he speaks.

Dowd obsession nothing new

Maureen Dowd apparently has it in for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The New York Times columnist been pounded by critics over her blog post in which she used a tribute to the late comic genius Robin Williams as a jumping-off point to blast the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.


I guess that’s what happens when zealots latch onto an issue, or a personality, and cannot let either of them go.

To be blunt, I’ve seen my share of them during my own career in print journalism. One of them stands out.

He lives in Amarillo. His name is David Grisham, who purports to be a preacher. I guess he is, given that anyone can preach his or her version of the Bible to anyone willing to listen.

Grisham also is an avid anti-abortionist. And I do mean avid. Maybe fervent is a better word.

He’s submit letters to the editor on this subject or that, but somehow would find a way to insert his view of abortion into the discussion.

I can’t recall precisely how he did it, but he might be prone to use such references while discussing, let’s say, downtown Amarillo redevelopment. He might say something like this: “I oppose downtown Amarillo’s planned redevelopment because I don’t want to see my tax money paying for an abortion clinic that could be built within the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.”

Dowd’s connection between Hillary Clinton and Robin Williams does seem like a stretch. These things do present themselves, sadly, when one cannot hide his or her zeal.

Is HRC running for president? Ummm, yes

Gosh, I think I’m ready to bet the farm that Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for president in 2016.


The former secretary of state, first lady and U.S. senator is now putting some serious distance between herself and President Barack Obama.

Why? It seems clear she is reading the president’s poll numbers and doesn’t want to be associated any more than need be to his foreign policy doctrine.

That’s enough — all by itself — to persuade me she’s in, or that she’ll declare her candidacy in due course.

I realize this isn’t a huge flash. Just about every political pundit this side of Arkansas has been predicting she would run. I always had this reservation about it, which stems from the harsh treatment she’s gotten from her foes and the hideous treatment she and her husband, the 42nd president, received when Bill Clinton was serving in the White House.

The sweeping interview attached to this blog post, however, sends an entirely different message.

She wants the big prize and is piecing together the building blocks of a doctrine on which she’ll run.

I will have to dismiss one notion contained in the Politico story, which is that Hillary Clinton “doesn’t have a polling operation.”

Uhhh, yes she does.

Why Warren … and not Clinton?

Conservatives seem to have hitched themselves to a possible candidacy by a leading U.S. Senate liberal.

Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been wowing crowds at political events lately. She’s been firing up the political base of her Democratic Party. Warren also has gotten the attention of conservative commentators and pundits, such as Byron York, who contends that Warren offers a plan while Hillary Rodham Clinton is running essentially on her resume.


I’ll hereby offer my own explanation of why York, a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a Fox News Channel contributor, is so taken by Warren: He wants the Democratic Party to marginalize itself the way Republicans might be willing to do when they nominate their candidate for the 2016 presidential campaign.

You see, Hillary Clinton is a centrist Democrat in the mold of her husband, the 42nd president of the United States. Bill Clinton was the master of “triangulation,” and he parlayed his skill at working the extremes against each other so well that he won two smashing election victories in 1992 and 1996.

Republicans don’t want any more of that.

So some of them have glommed onto Warren’s candidacy, talking her up.

Don’t get me wrong. Elizabeth Warren is a powerhouse. She’s smart and courageous. She’s taking on big-money interests and is talking a darn good populist message about income equality, marriage equality, and financial and tax reform.

York and other conservatives likely don’t give a damn about the content of Warren’s message. They’re just thrilled to have someone out there willing to possibly challenge Hillary Clinton’s perceived inevitability as the Democratic presidential nominee in two years.

She reminds me vaguely of the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who in 1968 took on President Lyndon Johnson when it was perceived widely that LBJ would run for re-election. McCarthy stunned the president by nearly beating him in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. On March 31, 1968, LBJ declared he wouldn’t seek “another term as your president.”

The news thrilled Republicans in ’68. I suspect similar news from Hillary Clinton this time around would have the same effect on the GOP if Warren jumps in and then mounts a serious challenge to Clinton’s perceived invincibility.

Dynasties not that rare

Hillary Clinton says the nation has had more than one Adams sitting in the White House.

She defends the Bushes as well, contending that the nation has had dynasties during its entire life.


There’s more.

We’ve had two Harrisons — William Henry and grandson Benjamin.

We’ve elected two Roosevelts — cousins Teddy and Franklin Delano.

Of course, fathers and sons John and John Quincy Adams, and George H.W. and George W. Bush.

If Hillary Clinton runs in two years and wins, she’ll be the first spouse of a president to win the office. So that changes the equation a good bit.

Let’s not get too worked up over this dynasty business. We’ve had ’em before.

Third time a charm for Mitt?

The political chattering class is clattering these days about a possible Mitt Romney run for the presidency — again.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes.

History might be on Mitt’s side.

I think I’ll refer, incidentally, to the 2012 Republican presidential nominee by his first name from now on, given the media’s insistence on referring to the presumed Democratic frontrunner as Hillary.


Mitt captured nearly 61 million votes in 2012, the highest total ever for a losing presidential candidate. He cut into President Obama’s electoral vote count from four years earlier. He had a serious chance to win the White House two years ago, but then stumbled badly when he was overheard talking about that dreaded “47 percent” of the population who’ll vote for Democrats no matter what, as they depend on government to do everything for them.

Some other stuff got in the way, too, such as Hurricane Sandy — which provided Barack Obama a chance to do some highly visible presidential things, such as go to New Jersey and put his arm around Gov. Chris Christie while promising all kinds of federal assistance.

History may foretell another Mitt candidacy.

Richard Nixon lost narrowly to John Kennedy in 1960; two years later he got thumped in the race for California governor and declared the media wouldn’t have “Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” He came back to win the White House in 1968, got re-elected in a landslide in ’72 and, then, well, resigned because of that scandal called Watergate.

Ronald Reagan became president on his third try. He threw his hat into the ring at the 1968 GOP convention. He then challenged President Ford in 1976 and nearly took the nomination away from him. He came back in 1980 to be nominated and then went on to defeat President Carter in a blowout.

Republicans seem willing to give their show horses second and third chances.

Mitt’s capable of running a stellar campaign. He’s got the pedigree, the money and now the experience. He lost the GOP nomination in 2008, won it against a field of Republican weirdos — e.g., Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain, to name just two of them — in ’12.

The 2016 field might not be so tough to conquer if he were to try one more time. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie? They all have soft spots in their armor.

Bring on Hillary vs. Mitt in 2016!