If there is one thing that Hillary Clinton owes Barack Obama a “thank you” for, it is his decision to appoint John Kerry as her successor as secretary of state — if only because the decision allowed her to avoid the indignity of being known as the worst secretary of state of the Obama administration.
Not that that’s saying very much.
Hillary’s accomplishments as America’s top diplomat have so far eluded the most meticulous investigators. Judging from what her defenders most often say, it seems her most celebrated feat is traveling a million miles. But history does not rank secretaries of state by the number of air miles they accrued.
Perhaps Hillary’s new memoir, set for release Tuesday, will shed light on the hereto unforeseen richness of her record. But the early reviews suggest otherwise.
“In Clinton’s description, virtually every foreign policy problem presents hard choices: the intractable Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Libya, the Arab Spring and on and on,” the Washington Post Dan Balz wrote in his review of the memoir. “And if she believes that in most cases the administration tried to pursue the right course, there are enough chapters that end with issues unresolved or problems even worse today than at the beginning of the administration to raise questions about what should have been done instead.”
Asked in April to explain her proudest accomplishment as secretary of state, Hillary offered up some world-class pablum. “I really see my role as secretary, in fact leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” she said. “When you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”
That’s the type of thing you say when you don’t have a record to stand on.