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TYRRELL: A Hillary in your Cabinet

- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2008

COMMENTARY:

President-elect Barack Obama campaigned intoning the mantra that Washington's political system is "broken." Now with most of his appointments either named or leaked he has proved it.

There is indeed something broken in a political system whose electorate rejects Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries and nonetheless finds itself saddled with a third Clinton administration at year's end.

Of all the Clintonistas Mr. Obama has appointed, the most bizarre is the appointment of Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state. He himself during the campaign remarked on her lack of foreign policy credentials. "What exactly is [her] foreign policy expertise?" he jeered.

Mr. Obama's incoming White House counsel, Greg Craig, was even more disdainful. Last March Mr. Craig erupted: "This malarkey about Sen. Clinton having all this foreign policy experience strikes me as a serial fabrication on the level of Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair" - two infamous journalistic frauds.

Mr. Craig chose his words wisely. In March at least two of Mrs. Clinton's claims to foreign policy credentials were exposed as the sheerest poppycock. She had been presenting herself as having been an indispensable instrument in effecting the Irish peace settlement during her husband's administration. "I was deeply involved in the Irish peace process," she would boast on the campaign trail. Unfortunately for her, Judicial Watch forced the Clintons to release Hillary's heavily redacted White House schedules, from which it was apparent she had nothing to do with the peace process other than appearing in public with her husband sporting her famous forced smile.

Mr. Craig's charge that Hillary was engaged in "serial fabrication" was validated again when one of the participants in the Irish peace negotiations, Noble Peace Prize winner David Trimble, exclaimed, "I don't know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill going around." Mr. Trimble characterized her empty boasts as a "wee bit silly."

Two months earlier she had fibbed that "I actually went to Northern Ireland more often than my husband did," and on one occasion "pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall" Catholic and Protestant women whom she persuaded to bury the hatchet so "the hard work of peacemaking could move forward." That whopper provoked London's Daily Telegraph to report, "There is no record of a meeting at Belfast City Hall, though Mrs. Clinton attended a ceremony there when her husband turned on Christmas tree lights in November 1995."

It was in last March, too, that our next secretary of state was caught asserting that 12 years before while traveling through Bosnia as first lady she had to dodge "sniper fire." This was a tall tale she had been uttering repeatedly in her campaign to present herself as more experienced than Mr. Obama. According to it, the snipers attacked at a planned "greeting ceremony" in Tuzla, which had to be canceled as the sniper fire rained down and, said Hillary, "we just ran with our heads down to get into our vehicles to go to our base."

Actually the ceremony was held at the base. It was not canceled and with scores of journalists and dignitaries standing by it was taped. CBS played the tape. Once again a brazen and artless lie by Hillary was her undoing. Said one member of the military, obviously peeved by Hillary's deprecation of the military's security measures, "Getting shot at by snipers is not something you forget -- or make light of."

Well, Hillary trivializes a lot of serious things and is often tripped up. In fact, except for her husband I cannot think of another public figure of her stature caught so often in her own lies. About this time in the primary season she was also caught lying that "I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo." She was caught in fibs about advice she offered her husband during the Rwanda genocide.

Now all of the above were lies deployed by Hillary to convince the electorate she is vastly experienced in foreign policy. Apparently she failed to convince voters, but she seems to have convinced her erstwhile adversary, the president-elect. He should have taken note of her discrepancies - and one other thing. He should by now be aware that both Clintons cause trouble for themselves and for others nearby when there is no apparent reason for the trouble other than the Clintons' bad character. Frankly, Mr. Obama, it is not wise to be too close to these two. You are going to be sitting with Mrs. Clinton in Cabinet meetings. Watch out for sniper fire.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute.