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KUHNER: Obama’s betrayal

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COMMENTARY:

By appointing Sen. Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, President-elect Barack Obama has crippled his administration before it even begins. He has brazenly violated his campaign pledges.

Mr. Obama's announcement was greeted by the sycophantic Washington press corps as a smart choice. Inside the Beltway, conventional wisdom holds that Mrs. Clinton will bring knowledge, experience and toughness to the job. Moreover, she supposedly is a centrist on international affairs, one who will ensure that Mr. Obama's foreign policy does not lurch too far to the left. Yet Mrs. Clinton does not have the experience or the character to be America's face to the world.

Have we forgotten that Mrs. Clinton was intimately involved in the most scandal-ridden and inept administration in recent memory? She also supported every one of then-President Bill Clinton's foreign policy blunders.

Liberal elites look fondly upon the administration of her husband. They argue the 1990s were America's Golden Age, years of peace and prosperity. The very opposite is true: Like the 1920s, it was a decade marked by massive political corruption, countless domestic scandals and foreign policy incompetence.

Mr. Clinton turned a blind eye to the gathering storm of Islamic fascism. The 1993 World Trade Center attacks, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the 2000 assault on the USS Cole - all of these terrorist atrocities were either ignored or treated as law-enforcement matters rather than acts of war. Even worse, the president refused Sudan's offer to hand over al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden to the U.S. - a gross failure that haunts us to this day.

Mr. Clinton presided over foreign policy disasters: Serbia was allowed to wage wars of aggression against Croatia and Bosnia for nearly four years, nothing was done to stop the genocide in Rwanda, Russia launched a criminal invasion of Chechnya with impunity, Pakistan and North Korea became nuclear powers, Iran embarked on the road to acquiring the bomb, sensitive U.S. missile technology was sold to China in exchange for illegal campaign contributions and former terrorist Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, was feted at the White House and converted into a respectable statesman. Mr. Clinton's administration frittered away the geopolitical capital amassed by the U.S. following its victory in the Cold War.

While bin Laden declared war on America, the sex president was rampaging in the White House with Monica Lewinsky - and then lied about it under oath, committing perjury (a crime) and dragging the country through impeachment. Mr. Clinton is a sexual predator. He has harassed and assaulted numerous women.

This is still relevant because during all of this mayhem, Mrs. Clinton stood by her man. She was his top adviser and defender. She claimed the charges of her husband having sex with Miss Lewinsky were part of "a vast right-wing conspiracy."

Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly proven to be a corrupt, Machiavellian politician, who possesses no moral core - and no real understanding of the threats facing America. She lacks the integrity and temperament to hold the second-most powerful office in the world.

Mr. Obama's decision to make her the head of the State Department is a betrayal of the electorate's trust. It is also a betrayal of the antiwar progressives, who helped him defeat her for the Democratic nomination. During the primary fight, Mr. Obama repeatedly said Mrs. Clinton's Senate vote to authorize the Iraq war demonstrated an appalling lack of judgment; in foreign affairs, her hawkish policies - on Iran, North Korea, Iraq - amounted to "Bush-lite" and thereby, made her unfit to be the Democrats' standard-bearer. How can he suddenly state she is now fit to oversee America's foreign policy?

Mr. Obama vowed his presidency would put an end to the polarizing, partisan divisions of the past. In particular, this meant a clean break with not only the Bush years, but the Clinton years as well. His presidency would usher in a new era of "hope" and "change." Instead, it is increasingly looking like a third Clinton term. He is filling his Cabinet with former Clintonites - Bill Richardson as commerce secretary, Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff and Eric Holder as attorney general. This means Mr. Obama lied to the public during the election campaign or he has buckled under intense pressure from the Clintons.

Either way, he has shown that he - and his presidency - are hollow and fake. He is posing as a genuine reformer and change agent, but is in fact a con man. Americans will soon realize this. And when they do, Mr. Obama's presidency will resemble his campaign rallies: Soaring rhetoric, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times.

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