Clinton and the Cameras

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is front and center in the media spotlight today for her secretary of State confirmation hearing — a place where many, including her, believe she should be nearly every day.

I have to smile at the ease with which she saunters into the hearing room, cordially greeting her former colleagues, cocking her head back in whimsical response to the attention they heap on her. She is the star of this show, and won’t let you forget it. It’s apparent in her opening remarks — even folding in parochial references to her home state of New York on how tough she’ll be with foreign diplomats. Never mind the fact that she is originally from Arkansas. She doesn’t have time for such insignificant details; like the story she loved to tell on the campaign of how her delegation took incoming mortar fire while traveling through the former Yugoslavia …

But after Sen. Clinton is confirmed, don’t look for the same spotlight to shine on her escapades, at least not with a political lens. After all, that will no longer be the role she can play as secretary of State. She must recognize that reality. And yet, deep down, I think she privately believes she can remain the matriarch of the Democratic Party — opining on the machinations of the Senate or her friend in the Oval Office.

Secretaries of State cannot remain juggernauts in the American political system — not while they’re trying to pursue an agenda and an Obama doctrine that represents all Americans. Judging by the way she soaked up the limelight today in Washington, I’m not convinced Clinton fully embraces that aspect of her new job yet. Sure, she’ll be asked on “Meet the Press,” and to attend White House Correspondents’ Dinners. But her new role must embody elements that are, first and foremost, diplomatic. As naturally as it comes to them, scoring political points and settling vendettas can no longer be the bloodsport the Clintons love to play.


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com <>< />.