May 12, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: Schindler’s List, And Hillary’s.

Obama’s “remarkable title” is itself an example of the power of story telling. It is a commonplace that he rose to prominence almost entirely on the strength of his biography (which Bill Clinton once disparaged as a “fairy tale”). In 2011, when he was at one of his political low points, critics on the left insisted his failure was one not of leadership or of policy but of story telling.

Now here he is telling a story–a story about telling stories. The moral of this story is that leadership is a matter of telling stories. That is partly true–we do not mean to gainsay the hortatory and informative elements of political leadership–but Obama seems to be citing the power of stories as an excuse for inaction.

Also, Hillary’s inaction:

What Clinton didn’t mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the U.N. headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen. . . .

In May 2012, then-Justice Department official Lisa Monaco (now at the White House) wrote to the State Department to urge Clinton to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. The following month, Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of U.S. Africa Command, said that Boko Haram “are likely sharing funds, training, and explosive materials” with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. And yet, Hillary Clinton’s State Department still declined to place Boko Haram on its official terrorist roster.

Smart diplomacy!