Flattering Parade Magazine Spread on Hillary Clinton Let’s a Few Tidbits Drop About Her Situation

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Yesterday morning (Sunday, October 25) I opened the paper to find Parade magazine’s cover graced with a photo of a smiling Hillary Clinton. Reason? A 2-plus page spread entitled “A Day with Madam Secretary.”

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

The timing piqued my interest because just on Friday I had caught a discussion of Clinton on The McLaughlin Group.  Host John McLaughlin had outlined several successful Clinton initiatives that had been completed during the past week and wanted to discuss how important it all was…with a twist.  There have been rumors flying around about how Hillary is planning a 2012 run and how both Clintons are seething over what happened in 2008. While Pat Buchanan, Mort Zuckerman, and Eleanor Clift poo-pooed the idea, Monica Crowley held firm.

Zuckerman and Buchanan basically said that Hillary’s work wasn’t really “big” enough to get all that excited over and Clift brought up how, no matter how popular Teddy Kennedy was, he couldn’t derail the renomination of Jimmy Carter.  But Crowley, was sticking to chatter that she’s been hearing for awhile…that Hillary will resign over a foreign policy issue and launch another Presidential bid.  She won’t wait for 2016, either, when Crowley says she would be too old. No, the bid will come in 2012.

Take a look at the Parade piece. The piece is the work of Les Gelb, described this way:

Leslie H. Gelb is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served in senior positions in the Departments of State and Defense. He is the author of the book “Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy.”

What’s omitted from this bio is the fact was a long-time foreign policy writer for the New York Times. Just for the record…

The article is positively glowing, but there a few tidbits which raise one’s “suspicions”…


September 16
8:30 a.m. Daily Small Staff Meeting

The Secretary and six of her closest aides, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief Huma Abedin, both of whom worked on her Presidential campaign, review the day’s schedule, looking for trouble and opportunities. They meet in Clinton’s small, personal office just behind her larger, formal quarters. Practically every day begins this way. They touch on various explosive international hot spots: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, North Korea. Though they don’t talk about it, they seem ever aware of President Barack Obama’s iron-handed control of decisions. One worry today: the President’s decision to cancel the U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe—a move bound to displease Poles, Czechs, and Republicans.

8:45 a.m. Daily Senior Staff Meeting

snip

Whatever subject comes up, Clinton calls on her practical instinct: “ We’ve got to do a better job explaining to people around the world what we’re doing.”

She manages to get to the White House to meet with Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada at 11:05; no report on the meeting which is off-limits to Gelb, then is back at State by 12:10 PM for ceremony for Senegalese diplomats.

During their lunch break, Gelb brings up the topic of a resignation directly:

1 p.m. Lunch With Leslie Gelb
We eat in the courtyard adjoining the State Department’s first-floor employee cafeteria. Diners gape as Clinton goes through the line, although she does this—most unusually for the nation’s top diplomat—nearly once a month. Many burst into applause.

We sit at a table away from the crowd. Clinton has a hard edge to her foreign-policy views and generally positions herself to the right of her colleagues in national security. Yet she staunchly defends President Obama and his prerogatives. While she’s “not satisfied that we’re executing as we should” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, she nonetheless argues for continuing “present directions” in most areas. When I question whether the U.S. really has vital interests in Afghanistan, she shoots back that if we simply leave and allow the Taliban to return, al-Qaeda “would come right back, and we’d be worse off in Pakistan.” She continues: “Despite how hard Afghanistan is, we have to make progress. And what we do and what happens in Afghanistan will affect Pakistan.” Regarding Iran, she says, “We can’t choose negotiating partners in countries like Iran. So we’ve got to look for ways to change the perceptions of those we have to negotiate with.”

And what of the rumors, I venture, that she’s unhappy and may step down to run for governor of New York or her old Senate seat? She guffaws. “What nonsense! I love this job and working for President Obama and trying to do something about the critical problems we face in the world—and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Odd though, that Gelb should ostensibly limit the discussion to being governor of NY or running for the Senate again.  Why even bring these rumors up if they’re just rumors that most people don’t even care about?

Right after lunch, there’s this brief report:

2:15 p.m. U.S.-India Strategy Dialogue
Some 60 Executive Branch officials assemble to discuss strategy toward India—one of the new major powers in the world. Clinton stays briefly to bless the effort.

Seems like there’s really no need for Clinton to “bless” any effort when there are 60 EXECUTIVE BRANCH officials all gathered together, right?  Doesn’t Hillary have a role in this at all?

Winding up the day with a 7:30 PM policy dinner on Iran with some 30 experts from inside and outside the government, Gelb makes these final comments:

I scurry to catch the last flight back to New York. The Secretary, with her unfailing smile, repairs to her office for more calls and reading. It’s hard to read the mind of someone frozen in the public spotlight like Hillary Clinton. She has to be perpetually onstage. But what I think I glimpse beneath the unflagging smile and constant concentration is a very tired person—tense, frustrated, but absolutely determined to make her tenure as Secretary of State a success and to accomplish important things.

While this spread in Parade is flattering, one gets the sense of  how tightly Hillary is controlled by the White House and how she may be getting squelched on larger issues.

Frankly, I view Hillary Clinton as being the “finger in the dike” for U.S. foreign policy at this point.  Obama’s bowed to the Saudi leader. He’s squandered our prestige over a failed Olympic bid for Chicago, and he’s dithering on Afghanistan. (Note: France announced on October 15, 2009 it won’t be sending any more troops to Afghanistan). China may be drilling for oil in U.S. waters.  And let’s not forget to mention Obama’s prior rebuffed peace offerings toward Iran.   Hillary talks tougher than Obama does, but, unfortunately, she’s not the one in charge.

Meanwhile, some of our allies are less than pleased about Obama. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, thinks Obama is “incredibly naive and grossly egotistical.”  After Obama’s speech to the U.N. Security Council in late September (spun nicely here by the New York Times), Jack Kelly appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show, but here’s link to the full piece he wrote on the subject entitled “Sarkozy’s Contempt for Obama”  (anonymous sources, unfortunately).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

While most world leaders dutifully praised the Nobel Prize awarded to Obama, the many were unimpressed. And there is some fraying around the edges lately, from both the right and the left. See and Obama the Impotent in the Guardian and Analysis: Why Everyone Is Saying No to Obama in the Jerusalem Post.  Obama is viewed as weak, no doubt about it.

I can’t imagine how Hillary Clinton keeps chugging along in this Administration and can fully understand her “frustration.” As for her desire to accomplish important things, she’s pushing against some forces that really don’t want her to get credit for anything “important.”  Heck, when you are up against 60 Executive Branch officials at a meeting on India and you don’t stay very long, what does that say about your position??

Whether Hillary Clinton is planning to take on Obama in the primaries for 2012 or not, there may just come a point where she really DOES decide to resign rather than to have her reputation ruined if Obama does something really stupid.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

***

Earlier Related Posts:

The Complicated Diplomatic Life of Hillary Clinton (UPDATE 1X: Clinton on the Defensive in Congo over Bill’s “Presence”; UPDATE 2X: Bill Off the Leash?; UPDATE 3X: Video of Clinton Congo Outburst, Glenn Beck Comments) (August 10, 2009)

Hillary Clinton At It Again in Africa…This Time, Talking about Elections…(August 13, 2009)

Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta (UPDATE 1X: GM Retiree Health Benefits Dropped–the Next “Attached String” Falls into Place?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Did you see the latest issue of Parade Magazine this past weekend?

Call me a cynic, but are we seeing the first salvo in the next campaign planned by the Obama Administration regarding health care?

I didn’t know who the people were on the cover, but when I took the time to read the story inside, it turned out that the story was about how the daughter of Obama’s guru David Axelrod and his wife Susan discovered and have coped with the serious epilepsy problems of their daughter, Lauren.   It’s part of a “Heroic Parents” series.  And, this story was followed up with an appearance on the Today Show on Monday (which I did not see).

From the web edition of the story:

When her daughter was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy, Susan Axelrod knew:

I Must Save My Child

By Melissa Fay Greene
Publication Date: 02/15/2009
Susan and Lauren Axelrod
Susan Axelrod and daughter Lauren, 27 (photo by Katherine Lamber for PARADE)

For more on the Axelrods and CURE, tune in to NBC’s TODAY show on Monday, February 16.

When Susan Axelrod tells the story of her daughter, she begins like most parents of children with epilepsy: The baby was adorable, healthy, perfect. Lauren arrived in June 1981, a treasured first-born. Susan Landau had married David Axelrod in 1979, and they lived in Chicago, where Susan pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago and David worked as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (He later would become chief strategist for Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and now is a senior White House adviser.) They were busy and happy. Susan attended classes while her mother babysat. Then, when Lauren was 7 months old, their lives changed overnight.

MORE

The story goes into great detail about Lauren’s condition and her mother’s efforts to bring the serious problems created by epilepsy into the light and mentions then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s help as  for the organization  founded by Susan Axelrod, CURE.

Susan began to meet other parents living through similar hells. They agreed that no federal agency or private foundation was acting with the sense of urgency they felt, leaving 3 million American families to suffer in near-silence. In 1998, Susan and a few other mothers founded a nonprofit organization to increase public awareness of the realities of epilepsy and to raise money for research. They named it after the one thing no one offered them: CURE–Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is not benign and far too often is not treatable,” Susan says. “We wanted the public to be aware of the death and destruction. We wanted the brightest minds to engage with the search for a cure.”

Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton signed on to help; so did other politicians and celebrities. Later, veterans back from Iraq with seizures caused by traumatic brain injuries demanded answers, too. In its first decade, CURE raised $9 million, funded about 75 research projects, and inspired a change in the scientific dialogue about epilepsy.

The efforts by Susan Axelrod are certainly wonderful, but I am so cynical about everything that comes out of anything connected to Obama that I had to wonder if this whole thrust–a big cover story followed up by the Today Show–is part of the campaign to sell the health care changes that are brewing.  First we had Daschle and the house parties, now we have changes to health care that will probably affect many seniors in possibly negative ways, and now this PR effort involving David Axelrod and his family.   But Axelrod isn’t the focus of this story, it is his wife and daughter. My skeptic sensor wonders if this is a way to put a “human face” on the mastermind behind what could be some pretty upsetting changes in the works.  Is it the Obama crowd’s “I feel your pain” moment??

I don’t know if you can call it “exploitation” of Lauren, who is 27 years old. But there is something here that makes me uneasy.  Because we’ve come to learn that there is NOTHING that the Obama crowd does that doesn’t have some purpose.  I think there is something else afoot.

Today I thought about how Obama trotted his girls out at that party which the press attended, and then “realized” after the fact that it might be “too much exposure” for them.  And all through the campaign there were the huge crowds, which we found out were partly due to opening rock bands, food and beer in some cases.  The whole Obama campaign has been one big PR blitz, aided by the mainstream media.

So pardon me if I have mixed feelings about this story on the Axelrods and epilepsy.  It’s great that there is some information put out there, but…

Coincidentally, Greta Van Susteren did another segment up in Alaska on last night which opened with Bristol Palin and her baby.  Sarah Palin came on and the discussion was about the difficulties of raising a child and how they are lucky to have a family willing to pitch in.  It was a very factual and real discussion.  But was it exploitation? All I know is that I didn’t get the creepy feeling I got after I started mulling over the Axelrod article.  The Bristol Palin part of the segment was over and done with fairly quickly(it was only a very small section of the full interview; full video below).

The interview went on to a discussion of the stimulus package which Gov. Palin framed in terms of how the states might be left holding the bag on future costs of expanded programs and how the bill was rushed to the floor even though most people hadn’t read it. She wondered about the rush to vote since the bill signing was delayed until Tuesday.  She said that she thought a bill that hadn’t been read or debated should be vetoed. She commented on the Fairness Doctrine and how someone had to be questioning the Administration and that silencing critics could be bad for our democracy. And she talked about a letter she had sent to Obama about energy policy that apparently has gotten some positive feedback.  She also stressed again about ultimately becoming energy independent and bringing renewable energy sources online and how she’s like Obama to visit to see what really is happening with energy in Alaska.  (This was the longest interview shown last night; see Sarah Palin Interview below.)

Links to the videos:

Bristol Palin interview (much longer than the short piece on last night’s On the Record.

***Sarah Palin Interview

Introducing Tripp

So there they are, two back-to-back family stories which lead back to politics. In the case of Palin, it was a straightforward interview with Bristol and then policy talk with the Governor (and a spot on the snowmobile race that Todd Palin finished in 6th place.  In the case of the Axelrod interview, it was full of painful detail with no OBVIOUS politics.

But, be forewarned. I really think it’s part of an unfolding plan…and a sneaky one at that.

***

P.S.–I still go with Palin…

UDATE

H/T to The Confluence

Tuesday: GM dumps retiree health care

So, GM gets bailed out…is this one of the “attached strings” for taking the money???   Slots in nicely as the next step in the PR campaign? (Fear, on the heels of “feel your pain”….)