There is little doubt that Hillary Clinton plans to campaign for President using her time as Secretary of State as part of her list of bona fides. What is at question is IF she should be using her time in the Obama administration as a reason to vote for her. Clinton’s tenure in the State Department is hardly filled with glowing success, and, in fact, is mostly known for debacle after debacle. It began with the Russian reset that wasn’t, quickly shifted to the collapse of the Middle East, spun out of control in Benghazi, and has just been getting worse ever since with the uncovering of her private email scam and the Millions of Dollars in donations the Clinton Family Foundation was receiving from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State.
In fact, Clinton’s time at the State Department rivals only Obama’s time as President when wondering whose tenure was a bigger train wreck.
But it’s only now that the media is beginning to take notice of just how bad an idea it might be for Clinton to tout her time as Secretary of State as a positive. CNN focuses in on Libya, not so much for Benghazi – which of course they dismiss as a fake scandal – but for the collapse of the Libyan government and the rise of ISIS in Libya.
Hillary Clinton has another Libya problem.
She’s already grappling with the political headaches from deleted emails and from the terror attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi.
But she’ll face a broader challenge in what’s become of the North African country since, as secretary of state in 2011, she was the public face of the U.S. intervention to push out its longtime strongman, Moammar Gadhafi.
Libya’s lapse into the chaos of failed statehood has provided a breeding ground for terror and a haven for groups such as ISIS. Its plight is also creating an opening for Republican presidential candidates to question Clinton’s strategic acumen and to undermine her diplomatic credentials, which will be at the center of her pitch that only she has the global experience needed to be president in a turbulent time.
Gathering questions over Libya also point to one of the central complications of Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, due to formally launch on Saturday: the fact that she must own a record at the State Department that lacks clear-cut diplomatic triumphs. She’ll also have to answer for misfires in the Obama administration’s wider foreign policy as GOP candidates who have not faced the same tough choices can nitpick her record with the advantage of hindsight.
It’s not just Republicans and CNN that have noticed either. Even Chris Hayes at MSNBC wonders why this issue hasn’t come up among Democrats yet. (Ignore Hayes’ mocking of the Benghazi scandal, but the rest of what he has to say is quite pertinent.)
Chris Hayes: How about this? How about the Libya intervention? Which we know Secretary of State Clinton pushed for, is on the record for, which is very difficult to view as a success in any way, shape or form.
ISIS takes a stranglehold there as Libya is essentially in ruins. No one seems to want to litigate that. They talk about Benghazi, they talk about Iraq. Here is a very real thing that actually happened. The woman who is running actually participated in, and as far as I can tell, is not getting litigated anywhere…
Everything is getting debated in this technical sense, as opposed to this deep reckoning, that amazingly to me in 2016, it seems we still haven’t had about what Iraq meant, what American foreign policy has meant to the region, which is in flames right now. There is no reckoning that seems to be as large as the problems that have been created.
Oh, don’t worry, Chris. I have a feeling that Hillary’s Libya record is going to become very pertinent, very soon. Her list of failures at the State Department is long, and they will begin resurfacing one by one as we draw closer to election time. The big question is, can Hillary Clinton survive the onslaught of negativity that is her own record in government? Carly Fiorina wasn’t just Whistlin’ Dixie when she reminded everyone that Clinton has NO ACCOMPLISHMENTS to speak of.