Enemy of the Week

Private Diplomacy

Dinners, luncheons, and standing aloof from the crowd.

By 1.15.09

As we saw yesterday, the Fairness Doctrine is now in force. Some might say it's merged with Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Here we have a major dinner at George Will's, starring the nation's acting president who next Tuesday makes it official and ten leading conservative pundits, some of whom didn't even vote the man. Yet not a word has been reported about what was said or even who was officially there. The Obama 10 are sworn to secrecy and the one man who has said anything at all about the event sounded as if he had just a private audience with the Pope. How unfortunate that Larry Kudlow is not a Republican senator. He could have given George Voinovich a run for his money.

That would have been at the Hillary Hearings, where the impressive next Secretary of State spent the better part of Tuesday holding court, suffering fools, and looking like she sure could use a drink. Without an endless campaign to keep her high and an Indiana speak-easy to keep her fueled, Senator Clinton permitted her eyes to sag even if her steel-trap mind never wandered. According to one reporter close to this investigation, Ms. Hillary in all likelihood spent late nights cramming for her big test, the last U.S. senator who still does her homework. We hope someday Sen. Caroline Schlossberg will follow in her path and face senatorial confirmation to serve as secretary of state in President Obama's fourth term, say.

But let's not jump ahead. For one thing, Senator Voinovich will be long gone by then. To be fair, his giddy performance vis-à-vis Hillary may have had something to do with his recent announcement that he will not run for re-election next year. There's no one happier in politics than a Republican who quits before he loses, and in the process can trash his own side in an (always futile) effort to curry favor with the other.

Thus we had George coming on to Hillary ("First of all, I want to thank you for the time we spent on the telephone and also for your receiving a very lengthy letter from me" -- luckily Bill's not the jealous type!) and then distancing himself from her (Republican) predecessor ("And we all know that our public diplomacy is at a low ebb. I think Secretary Rice has tried to do a good job…. But, you know, once the water goes over the dam, it's hard to bring it back up" -- Republicans, in other words, can't afford to waste good water) and finally putting in his application for a plum ambassadorship in Western Europe ("And I think that the Obama policy, 'smart power' -- I was in Europe this last month, and they're all excited about our new president"). He should have stopped while he was ahead. Alas, he also put in a good word for "Jim Jones" -- that would be retired General James Jones, the Obama operation's national security adviser. Last time a Democratic administration championed someone named Jim Jones, public diplomacy took a dreadful turn, at least in Guyana.

We wouldn't be so quick to make this Jimmy Carter connection had the nation's 39th president not participated in the recent presidential luncheon with four of his successors -- while at the same time keeping his distance from all four (or maybe it was the other way around). It's not easy being Jimmy Carter. Israel continues to ignore his interventions, homes he built for the poor are beyond dry rot -- at least they won't be repossessed, he could counter -- and now his economic achievement is about to be surpassed by an incoming administration that refuses to recognize him as the architect of its vision. But he's at peace with himself. So in a radical departure, we will not burden him with an EOW award. One Nobel Prize is enough for any man.

Unless his name is Paul Krugman. But we can return to him in due course, once economic recovery has been achieved -- in a trillion years, if you're willing to be optimistic.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article