Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Try the Benghazi suspect quickly

Welcome to America, land of the infidels, the Great Satan, Ahmed Abu Khattala.

You’ll find this to be a none-too-hospitable place, given the reason you are here.

Khattala has arrived in Washington, D.C., to be arraigned for his role in the infamous terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, the one that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on Sept. 11, 2012.


Khattala was captured less than two years after the event that’s become a favored political football for congressional critics of the Obama administration and those who want to deny then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a chance at becoming the nation’s first female president in a little more than two years.

The Benghazi suspect — captured by U.S. Army Delta Force commandos in Libya — is going to find out that the wheels of justice tend to turn slowly in this country.

How about changing that up a bit?

I would hope the government can put together its case quickly and put this individual on trial. Prosecutors haven’t yet decided to seek the death penalty as punishment for Khattala if he’s convicted. I’d bet some real American money they’ll go all the way and seek to execute this guy.

The very term “Benghazi” has become almost a sort of political code for congressional Republicans. It’s come to mean a lot of things to those on the right who are adamant in their hunt for dirt on those from the other side of the aisle.

I believe we have learned all we’re ever going to learn about what happened that night in Benghazi, Libya. Yet, Congress has established a select House committee to look further. We’ll see what, if anything, new that comes out of the hearing.

As for Khattala, he need not fester one moment longer than necessary in an American jail cell. By that I mean I hope he goes to trial; if he’s convicted that his lawyers will appeal soon thereafter; then the courts can determine the ultimate outcome of the verdict.

After that, carry out the sentence.

Just send this guy to wherever the Justice Department decides to send him — in this world or beyond.

Turnabout not always fair play, says GOP

Thad Cochran’s stunning reversal of fortune in Mississippi makes me laugh.

OK, so I’m just snickering under my breath. But it does create some interesting water-cooler talk among Republican Party political strategists.

Cochran, R-Miss., was supposed to lose the Mississippi GOP runoff to tea party darling Chris McDaniel on Tuesday. Instead, he won. How? Apparently by enlisting the support of African-American Democrats to vote in the Republican primary.


That strategy didn’t go down well with hard-core Republicans. McDaniel himself said that Cochran owed his victory to “liberal Democrats” who were afraid to face a true conservative — such as McDaniel.

It well might be that the Democrats who crossed over to back Cochran will rue the day they did so, as the incumbent six-term senator will be a heavy favorite to win a seventh term this November.

There’s a certain richness in the irony of the GOP’s complaints about Cochran’s winning formula.

Some Republican leaders — and I’ll include the GOP’s blowhard in chief, Rush Limbaugh, in this category — at one time encouraged Republicans to cross over to vote for Democrats in an effort to serve as spoiler in hotly contested Democratic primaries. That clearly was the case in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign between U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. The 2008 Texas primary, for example, became notable because of the huge interest in the Democratic ballot, particularly in areas such as the Panhandle, where Democrats are nearly extinct.

Limbaugh and others were exhorting Republicans to vote for Clinton, hoping the party would nominate her in the belief she’d be easier to beat in the fall than Obama.

It didn’t work out that way, of course.

Now, though, they’re yammering about a reversal of that strategy — because, apparently, it worked.

Cry me a river.

Not 'truly well off,' Mme. Secretary?

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book tour has hit another pot hole on the road to her probable 2016 presidential candidacy.

The former U.S. senator, first lady and secretary state now says she and her family aren’t like the “truly well off.” She means that even though she has lots of money now, she somehow doesn’t qualify as rich the way, well, the really rich people would define the term.


Here’s where Clinton might get into trouble.

Suppose she announces her campaign for president and starts hitting the trail. She runs into her political base of voters, which traditionally comprises working-class, lower- to middle-income, possibly union-affiliated and ethnic minority voters. How is she going to explain to them that she’s not “truly well off”?

For that matter, how is she going to explain that to other Americans of means who believe they’ve done well for themselves and consider their lot in life to be one of relative privilege?

First she said she and her husband, President Clinton, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in January 2001. All they did after that was buy a significant home in New York, where Hillary Clinton was elected to represent in the U.S. Senate. How does a “dead broke” couple secure the financing to make such a purchase?

Poor choice of words there, Mme. Secretary.

Now she’s saying she’s not “well off” the way the mega-rich are?

The Independent newspaper reported: “A CNN analysis found that Bill Clinton earned more than $106 million in speaking fees since the end of his presidency in 2001 through January 2013. Since leaving the State Department early last year, Hillary Rodham Clinton earned as much as $200,000 per event through speaking engagements before trade groups and businesses.”

By my definition of the term “well off,” the Bill and Hillary Clinton fit the bill.

HRC's second-most surprising comment …

Having already declared surprise that the Benghazi flap would encourage Hillary Clinton to run for president, I’ve found perhaps the second-most interesting thing she said in that TV interview that aired Monday night.

It’s what she didn’t say.


ABC News’s Diane Sawyer asked Clinton about a comment she made about Monica Lewinsky — you remember, yes? — in which she was quoted as calling “that woman” a “narcissistic loony tune.” Clinton’s response? “I am not going to comment on what I said or didn’t say in the late 1990s,” she said.

There it is. She said it.

Frankly, I have to agree with that description … not that it excuses her husband’s behavior, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Sawyer then noted that Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said that the Lewinsky scandal that resulted in the impeachment of President Clinton is fair game if Hillary Clinton runs for president in two years.

“You know, he can talk about what he wants to talk about. And if he decides to run, he’ll be fair game too for everybody,” she said. I’m reminded a bit of what the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Lufkin, once said about an opponent who kept bringing up negative aspects of Wilson’s admittedly flamboyant lifestyle. “I have never initiated a negative campaign,” Wilson told me, “but if my opponent keeps saying those things, I’ll be prepared to respond.” Brother, did he ever.

Message to Sen. Paul? Be very careful if you intend to go there.

Clinton goes big league

Of all the things Hillary Rodham Clinton said tonight in her TV interview with Diane Sawyer, the most surprising statement came in response to a question about the Sept. 11, 2012 fire fight at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Sawyer asked about the criticism then-Secretary of State Clinton has gotten over her handling of that tragic event and whether it might dissuade her from running for president in 2016. Her answer?

“Actually, it’s more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball,” Clinton said, according to a transcript. “We ought to be in the majors.”


Well. There you have it.

For an hour, Clinton sounded for all the world like a probable candidate for president of the United States in two years. She was coy when she needed to be, evasive at other times during the interview, occasionally candid.

The Benghazi statement, though, caught me by surprise. I guess I shouldn’t have been, but the strength of her answer suggests to me that she clearly is leaning toward another national campaign.

Benghazi has been kicked all over the political football field. The House of Representatives is going to convene a select committee soon to conduct more hearings on the event in which four men, including our ambassador to Libya, were killed by militants who stormed the consulate.

What have all the previous hearings accomplished, other than to suggest that there’s no “there, there” in the search for some kind of politically fatal wound that would bring down a Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy? Nothing.

Clinton’s point tonight is that Congress needs to focus on oh, job creation, infrastructure improvements, world peace and other things vastly more relevant than trying to find some way to lay blame for what everyone in the world knows was a tragedy.

The nation already has implemented changes to improve embassy security around the world. It already has mourned the deaths of those brave American diplomats and staffers. Isn’t that sufficient? I guess not.

Later this year, we’ll get to watch Congress re-plow much of the ground it’s already turned over.

What’s more, we’ll also are even more likely to see Hillary Rodham Clinton run for president of the United States.

Obama, Clinton set to lock arms?

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s probable campaign for the presidency is putting the man in whose administration she once worked into a complicated bind.

President Barack Obama clearly wants a Democrat to succeed him on Jan. 20, 2017 when the new president takes the oath of office. It’s been reported repeatedly that Obama and Clinton have developed a complicated relationship.

It once was testy, such as when they campaign against each other for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Obama then said to Sen. Clinton, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” Obama then won the presidency and appointed her as secretary of state.

It was then that she swallowed the Obama Kool-Aid, so to speak, and endorsed his foreign policy initiatives.

Now she’s back in “private life,” if you want to call it that. She’s written a book and is embarking on a nationwide book-promotion tour for “Hard Choices.” One of those choices might be to put some daylight between her world view and the view shared by her former political benefactor, the president.


And … oh, yes, the president’s complications get even more so. He has this vice president, Joe Biden, who also is thought to want to run for president. Vice President Biden has been indispensable at times, helping broker budget deals with his Senate pals and offering advice on a wide range of foreign policy issues and/or crises.

Their relationship also has been up and down as well. Still, Biden is the No. 2 man in the Obama administration.

Does the president choose between two of his most high-profile associates? How does he pick one while throwing the other one over? If it’s Clinton over Biden, how does the vice president continue to serve loyally and speak out publicly for the president? If it’s Biden over Clinton, how does the president deal with Hillary’s husband, the formidable 42nd president of the United States and one of the more effective surrogates Obama has employed on occasion?

It’s getting crowded at the top of the Democratic Party political pecking order.

Headlines keep changing rapidly

It occurs to me that our collective attention keeps getting diverted from crisis to crisis — and few of us talk openly about the crisis that passes from our view.

* Remember the Syrian civil war? We were going to bomb Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians. Then we backed off. The Russians entered the picture and helped broker a deal to get rid of the weapons.

* A Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Malaysia to China. It apparently crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Search teams from several countries are looking for the wreckage that contains 239 passengers and crew. To date, nothing’s been found.

* Then came Ukraine. The Russians entered the picture there, too. Ukraine ousted its pro-Russian president, who fled to Russia. The Russians essentially annexed Crimea, moved a lot of troops to the Ukraine border, then backed off after the Ukrainians elected a news president who is acceptable to Moscow.

* A Nigerian terrorist group — Boko Haram — kidnapped about 300 girls and is holding them captive somewhere. World opinion erupted and the demands came out for the international community to do all it can to rescue those young women.

* Americans got caught up in the Benghazi story yet again. The House of Representatives formed a select committee to examine the Benghazi attack one more time. Maybe we’ll see the end of this probe. Then again, maybe not until after the 2016 presidential election that’s likely to feature one Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was secretary of state when the U.S. consulate was attacked in September 2012.

* The Veterans Administration took the headlines away from Benghazi with reports of veterans dying while awaiting health care in Arizona. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned and a thorough review is under way to find a cure for what ails the massive federal agency.

* Taliban militants released Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the questions about his release and the terms that brought it about have created the latest headline grabber.

These sequences keep building on themselves. Our attention is riveted on these storied and then it’s diverted from one “crisis of the moment” to the next one.

Is it any wonder why Barack Obama’s hair has gotten so gray?

Hey, what’s happening with Syria these days?

Hillary is too 'centrist'?

What a strange problem to have.

Hillary Rodham Clinton likely will run for president in 2016. The right wing detests her, which is a given. Now we hear that the left wing isn’t crazy about her, although she’d be a far better alternative to whomever the Republicans likely will nominate in two years.


The way I see it, the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state is positioning herself in a position to actually win the White House. By my calculation, that means she’ll have to reach toward the center — which by definition means she’ll lean away from those on the far left of the Democratic Party.

Does this remind you of anything or anyone? I’m reminded a bit of her husband, the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton. Do you recall the term “triangulation,” which defined the tactic of playing both extremes against each other to craft a centrist domestic and foreign policy? My trick knee suggests Mrs. Clinton might be willing to perform the same sort of balancing act.

Will the left-wing base of the party find a suitable alternative candidate? There’s talk of Sen. Elizabeth Warren or of Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who really is a thinly veiled Democrat.

I consider it a pipe dream if those on the left think they’re going to derail the Hillary Juggernaut.

The only possible way Hillary Clinton would appease anyone on the right would be for her to switch parties and become a Republican. That’s not a sure thing, though, as some GOP folks would concoct some goofy conspiracy theory.

In the end, the left will come around, just as the right comes around whenever the Republicans seek to nominate a centrist for president.

My own view is that centrist policies speak to what Colin Powell once referred to as the vast ocean of middle-ground opinion where most Americans find themselves.

It’s also a formula for winning an election.

Rice has it right on Benghazi hearings

Susan Rice said a lot of wrong things in the hours and days right after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

At the time she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was thrust into the Sunday news talk-show limelight without knowing all the facts that led to the uprising that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

She blew it, got it wrong — and helped ignite a firestorm that still raging to this day.

Rice is now the national security adviser to President Obama and she said something quite correct about the upcoming congressional hearings on the Benghazi tragedy.

“You know, House and Senate committees have pronounced on this repeatedly. So it’s hard to imagine what further will come of yet another committee,” she said.


House Speaker John Boehner recently named a select House committee chaired by tea party back bencher Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to examine the Benghazi matter.

We’ve already had hearings. We’ve heard testimony from key players, such as then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Members of Congress have had their say; Republican critics have been loud in their condemnation of Clinton, as have Democratic supporters of the administration.

What is to be gained from what well could shape up as another partisan circus?

Rice’s answer? “Dang if I know.”

She’s not alone in wondering what a select committee is going to learn that other congressional panels haven’t already uncovered.

Health always an issue for national candidates

Rich Lowry is a smart young man.

His essay, published on Politico.com, states clearly an obvious truth about the upcoming presidential campaign. It is that Hillary Clinton’s health will be an issue.

I get that. Indeed, Americans always should have assurances that the commander in chief will be in tip-top shape when he or she takes the reins of government.


Lowry, smart conservative that he is, defends fellow Republican Karl Rove’s assertion that Clinton might have serious “brain injury” stemming from a fall she suffered in 2012. That’s where I part company with Lowry.

To his fundamental point about the health of candidates, let’s flash back a few election cycles.

Wasn’t Ronald Reagan’s health an issue when he ran for election the first time in 1980? He was nearly 70. When he ran for re-election in 1984, he stumbled badly in his first debate with Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, fueling open discussion that he had “lost it.” President Reagan quelled that talk immediately at the next debate when he said he “would not make my opponent’s age an issue by exploiting his youth and inexperience.”

Sen. John McCain faced similar questions about his health when he ran against Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Let’s remember that there was some ghastly whispering going on about whether he suffered too much emotional trauma as a Vietnam War prisoner for more than five years. Plus, he had been treated for cancer. His health became an issue.

Hillary Clinton will be roughly the same age as Reagan and McCain when they ran for president. Let’s keep these health issues in their proper perspective. Igniting mean-spirited gossip about potential “brain injury” isn’t the way to examine an important issue.