After a week spent sniping at each other, the Time says “Hillary Clinton will attend a birthday party Wednesday evening in Martha’s Vineyard, just as their relationship is hitting its lowest point since the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. But Clinton hopes to use the occasion to put a fresh controversy over their foreign policy disagreements behind them, with a spokesman saying ‘she looks forward to hugging it out’ with the commander-in-chief.
Clinton called Obama on Tuesday in an attempt to clear the air before their meeting, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. The flareup highlighted the challenge facing Clinton as she seeks to differentiate herself from a president of her own party, and the limits to which she can break with him without alienating Democratic supporters of Obama.
The problem for Hillary is that at the rate President Obama is messing things up, her chances of being elected president in 2016 are going from slim to none. The problem for Obama is different: he needs to find someone he can blame for the catastrophe unfolding overseas. The most obvious candidate to take the rap is Hillary. So Obama’s opening line is probably to promise he’s not going to set her up.
Back in 2012 author Ed Klein told Glenn Beck that Bill Clinton’s first reaction upon learning of the attack on the Benghazi consulate was how to get Hillary out from under. Say what you like about Bill Clinton, but that man knew how to see a punch coming.
KLEIN: Two separate sources on this. And Hillary claims, and I tend to believe her, that she ordered beefed‑up security in Benghazi because it had been requested and that this order was never carried out and that furthermore when and if she is subpoenaed, along with her internal memoranda and the cable traffic from the State Department by the House committee, it will prove that she did just that.
Now, if it doesn’t prove that she did just that, then they’re lying to me, and the sources are ‑‑ you know, I’m not suggesting that that’s impossible, but I seriously doubt it since I’m talking to legal counsel to Hillary Clinton. Legal counsel. These people don’t generally lie.
PAT: Ed, if that happened, why did she then later accept full responsibility for what took place? Why would she do that?
KLEIN: This was a big debate within the Clinton camp itself, between Hillary and Bill. Bill did not want her to take full responsibility. He wanted her to, in fact, consider the possibility of even resigning if the White House continued to try to make her the scapegoat in this. Hillary and her legal team decided she should look presidential, above ‑‑ she should look moderate, she should come forward and say, “Look, I take responsibility. I’m the Secretary of State” and by comparison making the president look a hell of a lot smaller because he was ducking all responsibility and knowing full well that when the full story came out, she would be, in her words, or at least the words of her legal counsel, exonerated.
The problem is that by concealing the presidential input — if there was any — Hillary left herself open as being the highest known decision maker that night of the debacle. As Allen West wrote, absent the “I was only following orders” defense that Hillary the buck for Benghazi stopped with her:
And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests “did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them.” …
As Toensing says, by statute, Clinton was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else. The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998.” [and made the SOS responsible for such matters]
If we take “Benghazi” to be a catch-all word to describe the failed foreign policy whose consequences are now plunging the region into the turmoil, then the ownership of that policy is of the utmost political and criminal consequence. “Benghazi” is the doorway to a whole nexus of events which may conceal not just one, but many possible criminal acts. That’s why the door is so hard to open; not because of what happened that night in Libya, but what that night in Libya might be part of. Especially if the consequences of the policy are now playing out in Syria and Iraq.