Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton

By Alter, Jonathan | Newsweek, January 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton


Alter, Jonathan, Newsweek


Byline: Jonathan Alter

The most powerful couple in politics may find the times suited to their skills.

They're baaaack!!! Just when you thought the Clintons had gone the way of the Macarena and John Wayne Bobbitt--consigned to the dustbin of the 1990s--Hillary and Bill Clinton are about to blast into our lives again, with all the excitement that might mean for them, for us and for the world. Like major movie stars, they may find second acts in high-quality supporting roles that might just display their talents better than when their names had top billing on the marquee.

Of course, we don't know yet how comfortably Hillary will work in harness as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. We don't know if Bill will be able to improve his strained relationship with Obama enough to be trusted with the kind of major diplomatic assignment he would crave. And we don't know how the world's most chronicled marriage will play out on the world stage.

But certainly this Featured Return Engagement offers them both a huge opportunity. Preoccupied with economic woes at home, Obama simply won't have time to spend a big chunk of his first year in office on the road. In many ways the crucial restoration of America's prestige in the world will fall instead to the Clintons. The couple are already so popular abroad that when they land at a foreign airport, they can hit the tarmac running on all the bilateral and multilateral issues they know so well.

Hillary Clinton will be an exceptionally knowledgeable and hardworking secretary of state. She didn't just visit more than 80 countries as First Lady and senator, she met all the key players and developed a complex understanding of global challenges. Her reputation as a tough-minded hawk will make it easier to bargain from a position of strength. Contrary to the theory of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and others, foreign diplomats aren't likely to find daylight between Obama and Clinton to exploit. Their substantive differences have always been slight and will grow slighter as Obama's "team of rivals" becomes, as it did under Lincoln, just a team. And in turf disputes, she might have to dull her sharp elbows to fit the new "No-Drama Obama" ethic.

Hillary's greatest potential weakness is that she isn't always a good judge of others, as we learned from the way she surrounded herself with so many arrogant losers during the campaign. This failure to accurately read people can be a serious handicap during negotiations, an area where Hillary has little experience. And so far, she has shown no sign of being a bold strategic thinker, though the repair work before her might not require it.

If Obama decides to deploy him properly, Bill Clinton will be a terrific troubleshooter, perhaps in tandem once again with his old rival, George H.W. Bush. He could pick up in the Middle East where he left off in 2000, except this time the main obstacle to peace--Yasir Arafat--is dead. He still knows every street in Jerusalem, every pressure point in the peace process. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.