This image isn’t exactly an illustration of “smart power” the Obama administration touted coming into office. In fact, some are saying the spectacle was a total embarrassment to the US government — along with other recent embarrassments by our selfless public servants.
The overwhelmingly liberal US media is treating the story as a bit of fun, with the usually austere Mrs Clinton seen as letting her hair down. But I suspect that a lot of US taxpayers will see it differently – as a senior government official having a jolly time on an official overseas junket at taxpayers’ expense. And this was hardly a display of good judgment at a time when nearly 13 million Americans are unemployed, and US soldiers are laying their lives on the line every day in Afghanistan. In an effortless display of leading from behind, Hillary was partying in Colombia while the Taliban were about to launch a wave of terror attacks in Kabul. It is hard to imagine Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright or Henry Kissinger “livin’ la vida loca” on the world stage. This was less an example of “smart power” than a boozy nightclub audition for the sixth season of Jersey Shore. Hillary Clinton’s Colombian antics are an embarrassment for a high-level cabinet member on official duty, and have lowered the office of Secretary of State. Not exactly the sort of image the federal government should be projecting at a time of widespread public disillusionment with Washington excesses.
The Henry Kissinger comparison is particularly interesting. Though he has been subjected to much criticism, no one ever accused him being too relaxed or lacking seriousness as Secretary of State. Not that it was very likely to begin with, but this image calls into doubt Hilary’s ability to produce a five-pound, 1521-page book on her career as the Secretary of State. Something tells me if she tried, it would be light reading.