President-elect Barack Obama must have every confidence that the American people are stupid and that the news media will never question him. He was proven wrong on the second count at yesterday’s press conference announcing Hillary Clinton as his choice for secretary of state. Whether he’s right or wrong on the first count will remain to be seen.
The problem, of course, is that after nearly two years of ridiculing Hillary Clinton’s foreign-policy expertise, he now believes that expertise is good enough for her to be the chief U.S. diplomat. The press questioned him on the inconsistency on Monday, and he shrugged it off as the media “having fun.”
His selection signals one (maybe more) of several things:
- He didn’t mean what he said. Obama’s excuse is that his criticisms were said in the heat of the campaign. If that’s the case, as CNN’s Campbell Brown has pointed out, what else was said in the heat of the campaign that we can’t take as truth? It used to be that politicians tried to explain away their campaign statements when those statements conflicted with their actions (“Read my lips: No new taxes”). Now they’re content to undermine their own integrity without flinching.
- He did mean what he said during the campaign, but for some reason feels compelled to anoint Clinton as SOS. What would that reason be? Does she have something on him? Is the Democratic Party pressuring him? Will there be some kind of payoff for Obama later?
- Or does he simply care so little about the United States that he’s willing to put a diplomatus incompetus in the office?
This reminds me of a parent being caught breaking his/her own rule. “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”