Hillary's Fractured Fairy Tales
Last week, with the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, Sen. Clinton remarked to CNN on the upcoming Pakistan elections in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. "If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election," she said, "then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow."
In fact, the upcoming elections in the country are for the next parliament; Musharraf was re-elected president for another five-year term in October.
That might be forgiven as a momentary lapse, except that last Sunday, speaking to ABC, Hillary did it again — more explicitly — contending that Musharraf "could be the only person on the ballot."
Of course, neither CNN's Wolf Blitzer nor ABC's George Stephanopoulos jumped on this while interviewing her. Nor did anyone in the establishment media mention the gaffe in the following days.
It took Thomas Houlahan, former Army officer and director of the Military Assessment Program at the Center for Security and Science at James Madison University, writing in the Middle East Times, to point it out.
"Pakistan?" the columnist says he asked himself. "A nuclear power? A front-line ally in the war on terror? A country that's been in the news an awful lot in the past few months? 'C'mon,' I told myself. 'A candidate with all of those advisers has got to know at least the basics about Pakistan's political system.' "
But "no such luck," Houlahan concluded.
And that was not even the extent of Hillary's gaffe on ABC. "I think it will be very difficult to have a real election," she said. "You know, (opposition party leader) Nawaz Sharif has said he's not going to compete."
In fact, Sharif can't compete because he's been convicted of a felony.
Think about it: Hillary Clinton began her "experience" in the White House 15 years ago this month. She spent eight years there, supposedly deeply involved in her husband's presidency. Today she's exactly seven years a member of the Senate, where she sits on the Armed Services Committee. In her campaign for president, she has for many months now been surrounded by foreign policy experts.
Yet despite all the knowledge that all that "experience" should give, in the days after an important assassination in a highly sensitive region she shows herself to be profoundly muddled on the Islamic powder keg of Pakistan.
Is the whole image of Hillary Clinton as the sharpest, brainiest Democrat in the field really just a carefully crafted fairy tale?