It always amazes me when the media makes a huge deal out of nothing yet misses the real point of a story. An example is the recent flap over Hillary Clinton disagreeing with President Obama over foreign policy issues. The real story is how Hillary views America's role in the world and not whether she offends Barack Obama while talking about that.
We know what his vision is and we elected him based on it, even if there are now some misgivings about that in certain sectors of the electorate. We knew when we elected Obama that foreign policy wasn't his strong point and he had little experience in that area. But we liked his vision for the world. When the Clinton campaign released their "3 a.m. Phone Call" commercial there was some laughter about it. Clearly enough primary voters didn't think her claim to more extensive experience was enough to make a difference and they supported Obama.
Obama and supporters like David Axelrod made disparaging remarks about Clinton at the time suggesting that all her meetings with world leaders amounted to being at a lot of tea parties. Samantha Powers, currently the US Ambassador to the UN, then an Obama campaign worker, said about Hillary in a 2008 interview with The Scotsman, "She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything... if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive." Clinton hater Maureen Dowd chimed in recently, "After buoying Hillary, Obama is learning the truth of another unofficial slogan in politics: "The Clintons will be there when they need you." Yet despite the attacks in 2008 and proving Dowd lives in a fantasy land, both Hillary and Bill Clinton worked hard to elect Obama after Clinton lost to him in the 2008 primary and Hillary went to work for him for four years. Many credit Bill's 2012 convention speech and his barnstorming the county with giving Obama the added momentum to win his 2012 reelection. That is what you do in politics when the campaign is over.
So reporting should be focused on Clinton's ideas on foreign policy and how she will handle various crisis and not whether the President will be offended if she differs with him. She will differ in some areas and like it or not she has a record on these issues. She stood by Obama for four years as his Secretary of State and kept their differences between them. No one can say she wasn't a good ally and a good spokesperson for the decisions that Obama made.
Today Hillary is viewed as the future and Obama shortly will become the past. It looks more and more like she will be a candidate for President in 2016 and there are times she will stand up for what Obama has done and at others she will make her differing positions clear. The American people deserve no less. They are entitled to know where she differs with him if she is going to ask for their vote.
It isn't Hillary's fault that we have this long, drawn-out election process. At this stage before the 2008 election Obama was already out there putting together his campaign and telling people why they should elect him. Hillary is entitled to do no less. She wrote a book in which she outlined differences she had with Obama and while some like Axelrod seem to question why she did this book tour it seems a little like sour grapes on his part. I don't think his views are that of the President who understands better than anyone else the vagaries of running for President.
I am a strong Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter but even I want to understand where she is today on the issues and how she will lead America. Things have changed since 2008 when she last laid out her vision for the nation.
President Obama brought us back from the brink of a deep depression to an economy that is starting to gain momentum. But issues surrounding our foreign policy are not so clear. We are the world's only remaining super power and don't have the luxury of being isolationist. We need a foreign policy that is robust but takes into consideration that the American people will not support sending our military into another war. For the next year and a half President Obama as commander in chief will be making decisions. But there will be a presidential campaign going forward, hopefully including Hillary, and she must tell us how she views the world and America's place in it. Hillary cannot be hamstrung in telling us what she believes because she is worried about offending the President.
I think he fully understands the position she is in and I believe he will respect why she needs to make her differences with him public.