IT’S THE last time I’ll get to use the Paul Szep graphic of former Secretary Clinton holding up the world, because it’s now Secretary John Kerry. NBC’s grand dame of foreign policy taped her interview with the outgoing secretary as the incoming was being confirmed.
Mitchell didn’t duck any subject and pressed Clinton directly at every turn. A very interesting exchange developed on Israel on settlements, which revealed that timing really can be everything.
In some ways, it seemed to me that even Hillary Rodham Clinton hadn’t settled on what her own legacy is, because she was too busy doing her job to reflect on the job she’d done. One million miles and 112 countries later, a concussion and two blood clots at the close doesn’t give you a lot of opportunity to ponder the history you have made.
Clinton began by stating bluntly that when she came into the State Department and President Obama geared up his foreign policy shop, the first thing that had to be done was rectify the mess left behind by President Bush and his administration, because U.S. leadership around the world was doubted under Bush-Cheney regime. Of course, ever the diplomat she didn’t invoke names to make the case, just that suggestion of what happened before Obama came to town.
Andrea Mitchell set the legacy question up after they’d begun talking by recalling Clinton’s speech as First Lady when she went to Beijing and declared human rights are women’s rights. Clinton rolled into the subject and just kept making the case, citing one example after another of how empowering women across the globe changes the dynamics of nations, including having the capability of healing the world economy faster. It was a spectacular case for the strengthening women’s roles in every aspect of life in every country in the world. This is former Secretary Clinton’s legacy, because she was responsible for weaving it into the very foundation of President Obama’s foreign outreach, with support from her boss that allowed her to make it a central focus in her work at the State Department.
Former Secretary Clinton has deep worry about what will happen as we withdraw from Afghanistan to the women. She shudders at the violence against women she’s seen and knows continues, that men shoot women to keep them from school. That rape is used as a weapon of war. The beating women is a way to keep them in line and a tool of governments to make women conform.
Mitchell even asked the 3:00 a.m. question, forwarding the time frame to 2016. Clinton said the American people will make that decision and they will have to decide if engagement is what they want to continue building across the globe. She then laughed and said that it’s always 3:00 a.m. somewhere, so the phone can always ring.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, she’s not in the least worried about her health and it won’t be a factor in whatever she does.
As much as she’s said “no” on 2016 over the last couple of years, including during the time I was writing my book on her 20-year rise to make her first run at the presidency, since she’s begun to wind down and begin to unpack from her job as Obama’s chief diplomat, there’s not been a “no” in sight.
That’s good news for women in America and around the world, many of whom during in her final townterview expressed deep desire and fervent hope that after some rest, reading and doing her own thing, Hillary Rodham Clinton will prepare and ready to come back and run for president a second time.
Women should hope so, because we’ve waited long enough and there’s no woman more qualified to make history in 2016 than Hillary Rodham Clinton. And make no mistake, history is calling.