June 23rd, 2014

What if the Secretary of State had disapproved of Obama’s spin on Benghazi?

Edward Klein has written Blood Feud, a book that purports to give the inside info on the Clintons and the Obamas and the fact that there’s no love lost between the two couples.

Klein is a curious figure. A former editor of the New York Times Magazine and Newsweek, he would appear to have peerless liberal MSM credentials. But after leaving those publications he turned to writing expose-type biographies that have not been kind to their liberal subjects.

I initially thought Klein might be a political changer. But that’s not entirely correct:

Having watched Klein’s subsequent literary career, Frankel added, “None of those books are the kind that normally you’d expect a New York Times person to produce.”

His former colleagues wonder how he emerged as a combative conservative targeting powerful liberals. Klein acknowledges hawkish sentiments as far back as the Vietnam War, but while working at Newsweek and the Times he realized that “it was not my business to push my personal ideology through the pages.”

He believes he has suffered not only for turning his back on the mainstream media world but also for succeeding as an outsider in the exclusive realm of conservative commentary. The left reviles him, and the right has yet to embrace him.

In other words, nobody quite trusts him, although he swears that each fact he publishes is confirmed by two reliable sources. Who knows? Reading a few excerpts from his book, I am suspicious. Although some may be true, it has the ring of gossip, and much of it falls into the category of What You Imagine Could Be True, as well as featuring dialogue in the style of Grade B novels.

Take this tale about Hillary’s reaction the night of Benghazi. It is distinguished by being plausible, but that doesn’t mean it actually happened this way:

“Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack,” one of her top legal advisers said in an interview. “Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed.”

This adviser continued: “Hillary told Obama, ‘Mr. President, that story isn’t credible. Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.’ But the president was adamant. He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.’”

It’s possible that it happened just that way, with Hillary reluctant to go along. It’s also possible it didn’t happen that way at all, and Hillary just wants you to think that, finally freed of Obama’s pernicious influence and elected president on her own, she would have handled it a lot differently and a lot better.

At any rate, the story continues with her calling Bill for advice. This is very believable, too:

Hillary’s legal adviser provided further detail: “During their phone call, Bill started playing with various doomsday scenarios, up to and including the idea that Hillary consider resigning as secretary of state over the issue. But both he and Hillary quickly agreed that resigning wasn’t a realistic option.

If her resignation hurt Obama’s chances of winning re-election, her fellow Democrats would never forgive her. Hillary was already thinking of running for president in 2016, and her political future, as well as Obama’s, hung in the balance.”

I find that part fascinating. I’d thought about the possibility before. Whether it’s what actually happened or not in the case of Hillary, if she or any other politician in her position had been in deep disagreement with the way Obama wanted to handle the Benghazi fallout (or Benghazi itself), the only recourse that person would have had would have been to resign.

Talk about profiles in courage! It would have taken extraordinary guts to have resigned—because, as Klein indicates, it would have been the equivalent of stabbing herself and Obama and her party in the back simultaneously, for the sake of principle. I wonder how many politicians today would have acquitted themselves well had they been faced with that decision? Very few, if any. Politics is a dirty game, and it either attracts those with no principles at all in the first place, or encourages people to jettison their principles as time goes by if they want to get ahead. Another reason to not appoint politicians to the post of Secretary of State.

I also wonder something else: if, faced with such a decision, Hillary (or fill in the blank with any politician of your choice in a similar situation) had resigned in protest, how would her subsequent political fortunes have gone? My guess is that she would have sunk like a stone. But some small part of me would like to think that such an act of patriotism and devotion to truth would cause a groundswell of popular support. People say they want public figures with integrity, but do they? And could they recognize them even if they saw them?

Or do we get the politicians we deserve?

[NOTE: According to Klein, here's a quote from Bill Clinton:

I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived.

So, has Bill succumbed to that dread disease that's only supposed to affect Republicans: Obama Derangement Syndrome? If so, I have to say he's stepped up a notch in my estimation---although his reasons for succumbing are probably a lot different than most. For Bill it's probably personal rather than political.]

24 Responses to “What if the Secretary of State had disapproved of Obama’s spin on Benghazi?”

  1. Capn Rusty Says:

    Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than carry out Richard Nixon’s order to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

    But that was then.

  2. Highlander Says:

    What I find of interest in Klein’s account is that Bill and Hillary’s objection to the Benghazi story offered by Obama was based on it’s credibility – not it’s mendacity. What is implied is that they would have had no problem with another false narrative, had it only provided better political cover. And given the Clinton’s history, that possibility certainly does have the ring of truth to it.

  3. rickl Says:

    I must say that I am in complete agreement with Bill Clinton.

  4. kaba Says:

    Hill had a chance to provide proper security for our people in Benghazi. That was her responsibility. She specifically failed to do so. Nothing else matters.

  5. Lizzy Says:

    I would imagine that all of Hillary’s poor decisions leading up to the attack were factored into her decision to go along with Obama, if the Klein version is true. There were many requests for additional security, and warnings of terrorism from other countries, not acted upon by Hillary in the months preceding the attack. In addition, neither Hillary nor Obama put any special security in place at all of the US embassies for 9/11 despite this being SOP during the Bush years. And then there’s the question of what Stevens was doing at the unsafe consulate on that particular evening – who arranged this meeting and chose/allowed it to take place on that date?

    Hillary saved herself the specter of facing all of these questions without the support of the administration by going along with Obama instead of resigning.

    This was a character-defining moment for her. She chose her career over the lives of everyone at that consulate and annex (not just the four dead) that evening. It doesn’t matter why, or how reluctantly, she did what she did.

  6. kit Says:

    How stunned could she be? In front of the caskets of the Benghazi dead, she blamed the video. Is Klein writing this to make the Clintons look better than they are?

    And I think the Clintons arranged for “one of her top legal advisors ” to pass this on as damage control. She has been taking well deserved heat on Benghazi. She not only denied Stevens more security but took security away from him. Hicks spoke to her the night of the attack and told her it was an Islamic terrorist attack. She is trying to wrangle out of this.
    And I am sure Bill cannot stand Obama but he campaigned for him. They are all guilty with blood on their hands. More guilt than we will ever know.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    kit:

    I think the Klein story makes both Hillary and Bill seem more guilty, not less. If they knew it was wrong, they were coldly, strategically, and hypocritically giving out a false story in order to protect themselves.

    I actually think that might be closest to the truth, although it’s really hard to know.

  8. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    With most presidents, it would go as follows. With the current occupant of the White House, it’s probably more hostile:

    SoS: No, I won’t do that.
    President: I regretfully accept your resignation.
    SoS: I didn’t resign!
    President: I expect your letter on my desk in an hour. Or are you willing to reconsider you position on the matter?

  9. raf Says:

    The book provides Hillary! with “separation” from Obama, while preserving deniability for her if public reaction is unfavorable. Trial baloon?

  10. SteveH Says:

    “” People say they want public figures with integrity, but do they? And could they recognize them even if they saw them?”"
    Neo

    No. And no. Integrity has morphed into one of those jingoistic words that oozes moralistic standards and mostly depicts right wing racist and homophobes.

  11. kit Says:

    Neo, yes, I see your point. Knowing how disgusting and outrageous it was to lie about this makes them even more culpable.

    No one can accuse Bill and Hillary of being patriots.

    Thank you, Neo. I appreciate this being pointed out to me.

  12. vanderleun Says:

    “But some small part of me would like to think that such an act of patriotism and devotion to truth would cause a groundswell of popular support.”

    Hunt that small part down and smother it with a pillow then bury it at the crossroads at midnight with a wooden stake through its heart and a silver bullet in its head.

  13. Oldflyer Says:

    The Benghazi excerpt just makes Hillary more despicable in my eyes.

    Don’t buy in Neo, that it would take extraordinary courage to tell your Boss that you were not going to lie to the public.

    It is a bit sad that anyone would imagine that a government official would even consider such a course of action.

    It will be interesting to see the effect of Klein’s book. His claim that he has two sources for every revelation is suspect. Who would be the two sources for the Benghazi vignette? Slick and Hillary? Could they really believe that this story would help Hillary? If so, their assessment of the American electorate is truly troubling.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer:

    My point is that it would take extraordinary courage for a politician to do that these days.

    Also, as I wrote in this comment, I think the book’s description of what Hillary did, if true, makes her (and Bill) look worse rather than better.

  15. Gringo Says:

    Cyrus Vance resigned as Secretary of State in 1980 because he didn’t agree with President Carter’s secret mission to rescue the Iran hostages. But Hillary didn’t resign, as she wanted and wants so much to be President.

    The information that Hillary initially didn’t agree with Obama’s decision to spin Benghazi as a movie response- but still went along with the movie spin story- damns both the POTUS and the Secretary of State. The POTUS- damned for lying/spinning.

    Secretary of State Clinton- damned for going along with the movie spin, which was according to the tale presented, not one she initially agreed with. Not exactly the profile of a principled person.

    Obama and Hillary are two peas in a pod- they would both throw their grandmothers under the bus- or sell them down the river- to advance their political careers. Come to think of it, Obama already did, with his “typical white person” remark in 2008 about his grandmother.

    Such Machiavellian tendencies wouldn’t be so bad if Obama viewed Al Queda as a greater enemy than he does the Republicans. But as Obama views Republicans as a greater enemy than Al Queda, his Machiavellian ways are concentrated in the domestic sphere and not in the international sphere.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Vance

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Gringo:

    That’s one of the reason presidential aspirants should not be appointed Secretary of State, IMHO. Of course, an SOS could aspire to the presidency after the SOS stint. But someone already known to want to be president, such as Hillary was when she was appointed, would ordinarily be a poor choice. Too political.

    Naturally, that’s probably one of the reasons Obama appointed her. It meant he knew she’d do his bidding, rather than alienate the party whose support she needed to be president.

  17. Matt_SE Says:

    “People say they want public figures with integrity, but do they? And could they recognize them even if they saw them?”

    The problem is that people don’t know what to believe, so they rely on proxies like “mainstream” opinion.
    Since honest politicians are outnumbered 100 or more to 1 by hacks, the narrative is created to promote the hacks at the expense of the honest pol.
    The people then go along with it.

  18. parker Says:

    A new gallup poll shows BHO is less well liked than any living president and that WJC has the highest favorability rating of them all. As 2016 approaches the Clintons need to be seen as separate from and more competent than BHO. We already knew the Clintons have no sense of integrity and are loyal only to their own best interests; this Klein gossipy tell all is the first of many depictions of HRC as opposed to the worst of the BHO ‘policy’ failures.

    As far as there being animosity between between the royal couples is concerned, they obviously detest each other. WJC to Teddy Kennedy, “A few years ago, this guy (Obama) would be getting us coffee.”

  19. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Whether it’s what actually happened or not in the case of Hillary, if she or any other politician in her position had been in deep disagreement with the way Obama wanted to handle the Benghazi fallout (or Benghazi itself), the only recourse that person would have had would have been to resign.” neo

    I think its exactly what happened. It’s got the Clinton’s to a ‘T’. I’m with Highlander @ 3:30

    And neo, that would have been the only honorable thing to do, a characteristic entirely foreign to the Clinton’s nature.

    Rickl,

    To point out the obvious, Bill Clinton does not hate Obama for our reasons. I suspect that Bill Clinton hates Barack Obama for several reasons; resentment at Obama’s entirely undeserved regard, resentment at Obama’s dismissal of the Clinton’s historical importance, (Bill is the ‘John the Baptist’ to Obama’s ‘Messiah’) and finally that Obama and Hillary are both birds of a feather; (ruthlessly ambitious with a narcissistic belief in their unearned worth, as having the ‘right’ opinion is all that matters) but… while Bill got to f**k Hillary, Obama f**ked Bill…

    “How stunned could she be? In front of the caskets of the Benghazi dead, she blamed the video.” kit

    And that is the sin she cannot escape because she did so in front of the caskets of the Benghazi dead with parents present. It is an obscenity.

    I R A Darth Aggie Says:
    “SoS: No, I won’t do that.
    President: I regretfully accept your resignation.
    SoS: I didn’t resign!
    President: I expect your letter on my desk in an hour. Or are you willing to reconsider you position on the matter?”

    SoS: No I won’t resign, you’ll have to fire me but if you do, I’ll go before the nation and tell them exactly why I was fired…

    Sure, Hillary going before the camera’s would have destroyed her political career but it would have led to Obama’s defeat. He wouldn’t have risked it and would have gone to plan b.

    Side thought; what did Hillary demand of Obama to go along? She sure as hell didn’t do it as a favor.

  20. OlderandWheezier Says:

    That’s one of the reason presidential aspirants should not be appointed Secretary of State, IMHO. Of course, an SOS could aspire to the presidency after the SOS stint. But someone already known to want to be president, such as Hillary was when she was appointed, would ordinarily be a poor choice. Too political.

    Maybe that’s one of the reasons that he chose HRC. Because her aspirations would make her less likely to be rock the boat.

    As for speculation as to how resigning in the wake of Benghazi would have affected Clinton’s chances in 2016, in the long run it might have given her a boost, especially given this administration’s current low approval ratings. Had the Iraqi surge been a failure, I wonder whether McCain, who had continued to support our efforts there, would have fared in the GOP primaries.

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “someone already known to want to be president… would ordinarily be a poor choice”

    Not ordinarily but arguably, always. Today, only the egotistical seek it.

    The Grandmaster SciFi author Robert Heinlein suggested as a premise, that the desire for the job demonstrated unfitness for the office. He suggested that the ideal was the patriotic citizen who accepted out of duty but wanted out of the job as quickly as possible. An example is Pres. Rutherford B Hayes, historians rate him highly;

    “the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction, began the efforts that led to civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    Hayes believed in meritocratic government, equal treatment without regard to race, and improvement through education. He ordered federal troops to quell the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. He implemented modest civil service reforms that laid the groundwork for further reform in the 1880s and 1890s.

    He vetoed the Bland-Allison Act, which would have put silver money into circulation and raised prices, insisting that maintenance of the gold standard was essential to economic recovery. His policy toward Western Indians anticipated the assimilationist program of the Dawes Act of 1887.

    Hayes kept his pledge not to run for re-election (didn’t want the job and resisted acceptance of the nomination), retired to his home in Ohio, and became an advocate of social and educational reform.

    His biographer Ari Hoogenboom says his greatest achievement was to restore popular faith in the presidency and to reverse the deterioration of executive power that had set in after Lincoln’s death.”

    Heinlein speculated that a computer program could be used to randomly select from a qualified list of candidates a suitable choice for President. Polls could determine the majority view on the important issues and select a candidate that basically supported those views.

    I would suggest one fixed year term of 6 years, no reelection possible and a mandatory return to civilian life.

    No billions spent on elections.

    It is IMO and at first glance, at least worthy of consideration because our current system is undeniably broken. Perhaps it can be fixed but otherwise we need an alternative.

  22. NeoConScum Says:

    I’ll always remember and value highly Revrunt Jesse Jackson’s comment regarding Billy Bubba in the ’92 Primary Campaign: “He ain’t nuthin’ut an appetite.”

    (**Takes one to know one, Rev. Sleazy.**)

    The same epitaph goes for the delicate Missus Clinton except NO Political Talent.

  23. Charles Says:

    “For Bill it’s probably personal rather than political.”

    Of course it is personal – Obama winning kept party-in-his-pants, slick willy (boy, does that phrase have new meaning since the Monica story, no?) Bill from having full run of the white house to have all the fun he wanted with the interns.

  24. NeoConScum Says:

    “..nuthin’ but an appetite.” (Excuse)

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