Some people are born to lead. Some people have the innate ability to turn the most difficult of circumstances into a positive outcome. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton showed the country why she is one of those people.
Secretary Clinton made her much anticipated appearance before the House and Senate committees charged with investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four Americans at the US Consulate in Libya. Over six hours of testimony she detailed the events leading up to the attack on the consulate and the corrective measures taken in the days and weeks hence. She was combative, tearful, empathetic, forceful, patient and concise while at all times exhibiting an extraordinary knowledge of our country’s foreign affairs unmatched by her questioners.
As expected the Democratic committee members praised her service and lobbed softball questions that the secretary hit out of the park. Her Republican opponents were not so accommodating, firing hardballs directly at her head.
Most notable was Tea Party Senator Rand Paul who said: “I think ultimately with your leaving you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that. Had I been president and found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stephens, I would have relieved you of your post.”
Let the record show that the worst tragedy since 9/11 was the misguided war against Iraq that needlessly took the lives of over 4,000 Americans and injured tens of thousands more. It should be further noted that while Senator Paul has made no secret of his desire to hold the Oval Office, his utterance of the words: “Had I been president…” are the closet he will ever come to reaching that lofty goal.
In the end these hearings are little more than theater. Panel members like Senator Paul, who took their shots at Clinton, will send little clips back to their constituents to show how tough they were in taking on the powerful secretary. But in truth they looked small and unprepared. It was Secretary Clinton who was in clear command of the subject matter and the room.
Four Americans died on 9/11/2012. Secretary Clinton accepted full responsibility and vowed that before she left office she would do everything in her power to make certain that events like Benghazi never happen again. In the process she showed why she is one of the most outstanding civil servants of our generation and why she is uniquely qualified to run for the presidency in 2016.