It remains unclear whether President Barack Obama’s lies about attacks on U.S. embassies will cost him re-election. One thing is certain, however: whatever ambitions Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once held to run for president in 2016 have been damaged beyond repair. Obama was literally asleep when the proverbial “3 a.m. call” came, but Clinton–who bears responsibility for embassy security–was asleep on the job for weeks.
Clinton’s response–“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?–bears the same naïveté for which she once mocked her Democratic rival in debates and campaign commercials. Both Obama and Clinton suffer the same self-delusion: that the world loves Democrats and hates Republicans, that it loves flower children and hates cowboys. Benghazi is a wake-up call they should not have needed–not after the first 9/11, not after Bill Clinton’s “law enforcement” approach to terror failed.
In that sense, Hillary Clinton has failed her first test as a potential commander-in-chief–just as Obama has failed before. The success of the Osama bin Laden raid will be the enduring legacy of his administration–but the Ft. Hood shootings, the underwear bomber (and its associated intelligence failures), and now the 9/11/12 attacks are symptoms of an administration ideologically consumed with avoiding the reality of radical Islam.
Hillary Clinton has not only carried out the worst of Obama’s foreign and national security policies–she has done so enthusiastically, shouting at Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 45 minutes in 2010, for instance. Clinton’s deputy, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, has set new lows in both dishonesty and absenteeism.
Voters care about national security and foreign policy–increasingly so, even though the economy predominates. If she follows through on what many anticipate (despite denials) are her 2016 ambitions, Hillary Clinton will have a tough time convincing Americans she is up to the job. Experience is one thing. Effective experience is another. And Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State is ending in failure.