Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hillary's Media Makeover Continues: Secretary of State Clinton Scores High Marks for Her Asia Tour

The reporting on Hillary Clinton's first diplomatic tour sound remarkably different from the days when the media relentlessly portrayed her as a selfish, unstable, deceitful, club-wielding, kitchen-sink throwing, evil politician. Now, she earns high marks for bringing a warm face, fame, honesty, and deep intelligence to U.S. diplomacy.

Here's a clip from an Associated Press article that assesses her visit to Asia:
"A lot of international diplomacy is a head game," she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea, bluntly describing the administration's outreach to governments in North Korea and Iran and explaining her willingness to dive into crowds to make personal connections with foreigners. . . .

Her comments. . .came after she had enthralled young audiences in Tokyo, Seoul and Jakarta, Indonesia, with anecdotes about her childhood, her husband and her daughter, and charmed leaders in each capital with her ebullience.

"It's glorious to meet you," a Tokyo University student told Clinton at her first town hall meeting. It turned out to be a preview of the joyous receptions she would get in both public and private settings.

In Indonesia and South Korea, crowds seemed enraptured by her presence. Audiences asked questions well outside the realm of foreign policy - about motherhood, romance, career choices, beauty tips and her musical tastes.

"Such a great honor for me to be here," one Indonesian journalist gushed. "My question is you are probably the most popular U.S. secretary of state here in Indonesia. How do you deal with this and how do you think this would affect Indonesia-U.S. bilateral relationship?"

One of several female South Korean journalists asked how Clinton managed to look "very young and energetic" given her grueling schedule.

"I look very young? Oh my goodness, I hope somebody is recording this!" the 61-year-old Clinton said.
In addition to these comments, media outlets have largely ignored human rights groups' complaints about Clinton's view that the U.S. should not condemn China for its human rights record at this time. Isn't redemption wonderful?

Related Reading on Dissenting Justice:

Huffington's Hillary Makeover Continues: Pro-Clinton Essays A Dramatic Switch from Prior Coverage

Leftists Finally Realize Obama Is a Moderate; Huffington Post Suddenly Embraces Clinton and Political Center


Ken Ballweg said...

This pleases me. It will be interesting to see how well she is able to do over the long run given the mine field the prior admin as forced her to walk through.

Reminds me of how much the dem primaries really were a win, win situation like we haven't seen in - oh, I don't know, say forever. Though, in some ways, Sec of State is actually an ideal way for Hillary to do great things without having to suffer constant comparison to her hubby's presidency.

Still, it frustrates me and I find it very sad that so much of American politics has devolved into demonizing the "opposition" just to win future elections? As if the role of a politician is just to get elected rather than to govern. This cult of personality makes politics that much more expensive since it's not just about your abilities but also how good your publicist is both up front and on the counter attack.

dualdiagnosis said...

It's simple really, she now represents Obama. Her makeover is preordained.

msakel said...

Good post here. I believe it was that ancient Greek pre-socratic philosopher Heraklitus(?) who may have said that all is flux and you can't step into the same river twice. I say the more things "change" the more they remain the same!

Hillary did indeed walk through a media mining field of sexism and degrading mistreatment by the Obama campaign supporters (as did Palin after her). But, judging by her recent tour to Asia, Obama needs her like the oxygen he needs to take in daily. Yes, she may seem to represent a more moderate viewpoint, but if pragmatism in politics is a sudden sin, let it be. In my opinion, Obama was far more inconsistent and opportunistic in reversing his stand of FISA, NAFTA, guns, etc. than
Clinton. She cast a vote (when Barack was not even able to cast a real vote) in favor of the Iraq War. And I didn't once hear her take back her vote. Under the cirucmstances of that time, she felt she did the 'right' thing. Yet Obama is giving a CBC interview to a Canadian journalist saying he "believes in Diplomacy and development, not military solutions" while the very same day he's sending 17,000 troops to Afganistan!

As for the human rights issues, HRC is being criticized by Amnesty International for not making it a "focal issue" during her China Diplomacy Listening Tour. But she did acknolwedge this and said that even though she's not making it central at this time, it never ceased being important and that it is part of the ongoing discussions. Just not THE discussion. In l995 she did congront her hosts in Bejing on their record on "women's rights which are human rights". Judging by her many meetings with Chinese female human rights activists, she's still principled enough to bring attention to this important issue. She'll accomplish more by lifting the human rights consciousness of these young Chinese women than a stern conditional demanding that there be no economic talks (at this crucial time) with China as long as they don't clean up their record on human rights. Perhaps her going to Church the day before her departure there underscore the smarts of this phenomenal SoS....

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