Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hillary vs. the White House … Blue on Blue

Today’s NY Times carries a story on Hillary’s efforts to regain her stature as Secretary of State after she failed to accompany Obama on his trip to Russia and talk she was being elbowed aside by the White House. The Times puff piece follows an earlier story in the same vein from AFP via Breitbart. Island Turtle covered the changing relationship between the two in an article last week entitled: Is Secretary of State Clinton on the way out? The Times story describes her speech yesterday to the Council on Foreign Relations as a muscular approach, especially on Iran, and more reflective of her position when she was campaigning against Obama for the Democratic nomination. The story also reveals some of the friction between her and the White House:

In recent weeks, the administration’s top Iran policy maker was reassigned from the State Department to the White House’s National Security Council; Mrs. Clinton’s candidate to lead the United States Agency for International Development has been tangled up in a vetting process; and she has failed to get her choices into some plum ambassadorships, notably Japan, which went to a fund-raiser for President Obama. Also, the White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton’s effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant of both her and former President Bill Clinton, into the State Department.

Now any senior executive faced with list like that would have one thought in mind; call your headhunter FAST. But not a Clinton. Never! It’s to the mattresses, in the vernacular of the Godfather. While Sidney Blumenthal didn’t get an office adjoining Hillary, he won’t be far away. He is a Clinton loyalist who was a White House aide to Bill, and plays hardball. He reportedly worked with Hillary to defuse the “Bimbo Explosion” and was instrumental in seeing that private letters from Kathleen Willey to the President, protected by the Privacy Act, were released to the press to damage her. Kathleen Willey suffered mafia style intimidation she felt was an effort to keep her from testifying at the impeachment and trial. Above all Blumenthal knows how to work the press and get the right kind of information on the air and in the papers. He’s the type of person you want on your side when the going gets dirty. It’s easy to understand why the White House rejected him. In another bit of intrigue, Bill is planning to attend a fundraiser next Monday for Carolyn Maloney who is challenging Kristen Gillibrand in the Democrat primary for Hillary’s old senate seat. Obama is supporting Gillibrand. You figure that one out! The article ends with a couple of zingers directed at the White House:

Mr. Obama, officials said, was frustrated by his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, when he met with King Abdullah and failed to extract any meaningful gestures toward Israel to revive the peace process….

(Translation: Obama was ineffective) And this. No translation needed.

The White House has also asserted its privilege in naming ambassadors, passing over Mrs. Clinton’s preferred candidate for Japan — Joseph S. Nye Jr., a Harvard expert on foreign policy — in favor of John V. Roos, a Silicon Valley lawyer who is close to Mr. Obama. Aides to Mrs. Clinton said she accepted such decisions with equanimity. But she has been vocal in her frustration about the way White House vetting requirements have delayed the nomination of a new director of the Agency for International Development.

Blue on Blue, too good to be true!

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