Earlier this summer when Hillary Clinton, shilling for her most recent book, tried to sell Americans on the notion that she and husband Bill were flat broke when they left the White House in 2001, an aghast beltway punditocracy well-nigh tripped over itself in wondering how such a woman, smart as a whip, could be such a maladroit politician.
Now, she’s stepped in it again — and this time more egregiously. In what must be viewed as the opening salvo of another presidential run — and the end to all that “will-she-or-won’t-she” speculation — Mrs. Clinton dissected President Obama’s foreign policy, or lack thereof, during an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. The whole exercise raised more questions than it answered, and this one most conspicuously: Will the real Hillary Clinton please stand up?
She is standing ... if you view everything she says and does as pursuant to that one elusive goal: becoming president of the United States. Can anyone be that transparent? Well, yes. Consider:
As the newly minted junior senator from New York, Mrs. Clinton, after the 9/11 attack, unequivocally stated that Saddam Hussein be brought to heel. She voted to use force to do so.
Five years later, with her White House aspirations in full flower and the nation flagging in its support of the Iraq war, Mrs. Clinton put her finger to the wind and tacked her convictions. These were the days, if you recall, when placing any credence in the “surge” strategy advanced by Gen. David Petraeus “require[d] a willing suspension of disbelief.” And so, to preserve her political viability, she abandoned a war effort for which she had so vociferously advocated.
Now, with the White House in her sights yet again, Mrs. Clinton has undergone yet another self-reincarnation. In her Atlantic interview, the erstwhile secretary of State comes off as a born-again hawk overruled on Syria and, so she intimated, even Russia by the president she proceeded to throw under the bus. Well now. Great campaigns need organizing principles, and ambition so overweening that it requires repeated changes in political colors is not an organizing principle.
Hillary Clinton will do anything, and say anything, in order to gain an office to which she still feels entitled. And so, much as in 2008, Proverbs 16:18 springs to mind: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”