Much has been written recently about Hillary Clinton's ability to manage a crisis and she and her surrogates regularly tout her vast experience in this area. These bona fides were recently questioned in a Chicago Tribune piece. Here's what I learned when I read it: Yes, she was peripherally involved with the peace settlement in Northern Ireland. George Mitchell, the one who actually managed that particular crisis, said she was "Helpful." Others, (i.e. those not involved in her presidential campaign) considered her role be more, well... "ancillary."
As for Kosovo, where she is also claiming credit for crisis management, her visit apparently consisted of a one day drop-by in Bosnia where she was accompanied by Sheryl Crow, Sinbad, and Chelsea. Then there was Rwanda. Her role in that situation? Apparently she had a couple of things to say, but we will never know how she "managed" that one since the position of her husband's administration was to wring their hands. And I gather she is particularly proud of a speech she gave at a women's rights conference in Beijing -- although I'm not sure why she would cite a mere speech given the disdain she generally shows for the form and it's more gifted practitioners. Others with more of a bone to pick have said her vast international experience consists largely of riding elephants in eighty countries. Personally, I think that is unfair. However, an objective person would conclude Hillary Clinton has no more practical experience in this vital area than either Senator Obama, or her new best friend, Senator McCain.
But, wait! There is one area where she has vast experience in crisis management, and it is in the interest of national security that I raise it: her marriage to President Clinton. He has admitted that he behaved badly in their marriage. I think it is safe to assume that Monica Lewinsky was not the first person with whom he created...what? A crisis! The reality -- oh, you skeptics -- is that Hillary has vast experience dealing with crises. And how did she deal with that one? By throwing a lamp across the East Wing at the Leader of the Free World's head.
Please, Hillary-lovers, I am not saying her reaction was unjustified. I think Bill's
pizza-fueled, pants-around-his-ankles shenanigans were deplorable and ultimately set
progressive politics back a generation. But in terms of crisis simulation, he provided an
unintended boon to the nation.
Cut to 2009. It's 3:00 a.m. and it's a particularly bad one. North Korea is threatening to bomb the South, Pakistan has descended into chaos, Iran has attacked Israel. President Hillary Clinton answers the ringing red phone. As she says "Hello", she looks over her shoulder. Oh, no...where the hell is Bill? He said he'd be back from that fundraiser in New York by midnight. Then she barks into the receiver, "Damn it, what?!"
If Hillary Clinton is elected President, America can breathe a sigh of relief. She's already been tested.
And let's save Dolly Madison's White House china while there's still time.