Often portrayed as the intellectual voice of contemporary conservatism, Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer seems more like a doddering old coot with a touch of dementia. How else to explain the whimpering challenge he issued during an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday. It was also picked up for a segment today on Fox News.
Krauthammer: When people talk about Hillary being a superb secretary of state, I just ask one question. Name me one thing, just one, not three, give me one thing she achieved in her four years as secretary of state. I have yet to hear an answer. … She traveled a lot. So did Marco Polo. And you want him to be president?
Obviously the rightist audience listening to Hewitt’s program wouldn’t want Marco Polo because he was an illegal immigrant pretty much everywhere he went. But as to the substance of Krauthammer’s inquiry, you would have to wonder who he was asking. Most likely it was other wingnut enemies of Hillary Clinton who wouldn’t give her credit even if they could cite something positive.
It would not be difficult, though, for Krauthammer to get an answer to his question if he really wanted one. Or maybe The Google is just too confusing to him. Here is, not one, but eight achievements for which Clinton can take at least partial credit (h/t The Week):
1. The liberation of Libya
Clinton was among a group of administration officials urging Obama in 2011 to help Libyan rebels overthrow longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, over objections from Defense Secretary Roberts Gates and others.
2. The opening-up of Myanmar
In 2012, Clinton became the first secretary of state in 50 years to make an official visit to Myanmar, part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reward the ruling military junta for taking concrete steps toward a freer society.
3. Playing peacemaker in the Middle East
In late 2012, Clinton brought all her diplomatic resources to bear during a bloody outbreak of violence between Israel and Arab militants in the Gaza Strip, performing a whirlwind tour of the region that many credited with helping prevent an all-out war.
4. Freeing a Chinese dissident
Clinton’s May 2012 visit to China, ostensibly about mutual economic and security concerns, was ensnared in a full-blown diplomatic emergency, after human-rights dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest and took refuge at the U.S. Embassy.
5. Killing Osama bin Laden
Clinton was not intimately involved in the clandestine operation to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011, but she will be indelibly linked to the moment, thanks to a photograph showing her real-time response to the operation in the White House Situation Room.
6. Tightening sanctions on Iran
Clinton announced new sanctions on Iran with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, played an important role in the U.S.’s efforts to win international support to isolate Iran economically. The sanctions have been the most severe Iran has ever dealt with.
7. Isolating Syria’s Assad
Clinton condemned atrocities committed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and played a central role in the administration’s efforts to corral international support against the regime.
8. Fighting for women’s rights
One of Clinton’s main initiatives as secretary of state was to champion the cause of gender equality, one of the hallmarks of her political career that stretches back to her days as First Lady.
Fox News, of course, isn’t interested in having an honest discourse on this subject. The truth is that Krauthammer never expected an answer to his disingenuous inquiry. Just floating the question raises the doubts for which he is aiming. He knows that most people can’t extemporaneously recite the accomplishments of any Secretary of State, or most other government officials.
In all likelihood Krauthammer himself could not cite any of Condoleezza Rice’s accomplishments when she headed the State Department. And he would certainly have forgotten the six times American embassies were attacked on her watch. With the frothing intensity that Fox has attacked Clinton over the tragedy in Benghazi, just imagine how much more severe their rage would be if Clinton had six Benghazis like Rice did.