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Can Hillary Pace Herself?


The football helmet that State Department staffers presented Hillary Clinton upon her return to the office was cute, but only sort of. Same went for the "Clinton" football jersey bearing the number 112. That's how many countries she's visited since becoming secretary of state.

Clinton had been away sick for a month. She had suffered a stomach virus, which dehydrated her, which made her woozy, which led to a fall, which caused a concussion, which landed her in a hospital with a blood clot in her head.

No secretary of state had gone to that many countries. In her nearly 1,500 days as America's top diplomat, Clinton traveled on 401 of them. During one famous 48-hour period, she met with Palestinian officials in Abu Dhabi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and, after doing an all-nighter in Morocco, a group of Arab leaders.

Of course, she got sick. Who wouldn't? Lots of otherwise healthy Americans come down with a nasty bug after just one transatlantic fight to London. Add to that constant time-zone changes, rich banquets, minimal exercise, lack of sleep and stress-filled meetings. Clinton wasn't there to stroll around museums.

What's not cute about all this is the underlying — shall we say? — irresponsibility of so overstuffing the agenda. This blows against Clinton's reputation as the ultimate Responsible One. It's thus disturbing that many of her admirers portrayed the resulting sickness as a tribute to her work ethic.

Melanne Verveer, a longtime Clinton aide now at the State Department, meant only praise when she said of the secretary of state: "So many people who know her have urged me to tell her not to work so hard. Well, that's not easy to do when you're Hillary Clinton. She doesn't spare herself."

Yes, she works hard, but doesn't working smart mean pacing oneself so that you don't fall apart in the last mile of the marathon? People do get ill through no fault of their own, but Clinton was asking for it.

All that racing around Mideast capitals sometimes took on the air of a personal endurance test rather than effective management of foreign policy. (You'll note that the Arab-Israeli conflict remains unresolved.)

Make no mistake: Clinton has been a fine secretary of state. Few would argue otherwise. Still, we're kind of lucky there wasn't a major new international crisis in December.

It pains me to bring up the woman angle here, but you wonder whether a man would have overscheduled to the point of collapse. (Only one secretary of state exceeded Clinton in the number of miles traveled: Condoleezza Rice.) President Obama tries to make time for exercise and rest, as did President George W. Bush before him. They understand the importance of maintaining their health.

It's no small irony that Clinton's recent illness has led some Democrats eager for a strong female presidential candidate in 2016 to start looking beyond Hillary. It may be true that Clinton says she's not interested in running again, but her medical scare is making some supporters think she means it.

The let's-find-a-woman people are misguided. I don't believe in backing candidates on the basis of gender (or race, religion, height or eye color). Hillary Clinton became one of our era's great political figures for other reasons.

While she will never embody the cool and outward serenity of Barack Obama, Clinton didn't have to become the spinning top that put her in a sick bed. Even there, she noted — not without pride — her difficulty in becoming a "compliant patient." If Clinton does run for president, she must show more dedication to self-preservation. Martyrs don't necessarily make great managers.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




3 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am... One promise I would like to make the world is that Hillary Clinton will never be President of the United States of America...
Looking casually at the Clintons, one must wonder how they amassed such a fortune while never seeming to be out of the public sector... Is the advantage of a degree in Law, and a licence to practice that one can trip so near illegality as to smell the prison, and yet evade reasonable doubt???
We know that honor is cheap, and money is dear; but in our society a little money buys a lot of honor... For example... No one pressed Mr. Romoney too hard on his taxes... No one asked him to account for his wealth... It is presumened of people with money that they came by it honorably, so it seems impolite to ask...The consideration of bad form preventing a poor democrat from questions about the source of wealth, or business practices of a rich republican is no inhibition for a poor republican investigating a rich democrat... It may be unfair, but it is what it is...
No one ever asks the sea of poor people how they came by their poverty... It is thought by many a God fearing person, even poor people, that the poor deserve their poverty as the reward for their moral defects, and they will never think the moral defects may be an adaptation to poverty...
Even to democrats, a rich democrat seems a bit of a contradiction, an anomaly, an anachronism...Considering how preachy and moralistic democrats can be about other people's money; for them to hold tight to their own while demanding the rich republicans part with some of theirs- seems bad manners...Generally, it is only to the advantage of rich people to have rich people in office, because they protect the rich while living- from taxation, and protect the dead from taxes too; and this is not out of corruption, but simply self interest...A millionaire lawmaker thinks he is helping himself, and is really helping billionairs at the expense of his country...
In any event; it is not all the hate filled rhetoric Mrs. Clinton has spouted, or the jingoisms that have crossed her lips, her undying affections for Israel, or the shady practices that have made her wealthy -that will forbid office for Mrs. Clinton...No doubt, the republicans would like to cast a net over her hypocracy and drag it into the eye of scrutiny...
None of us is against electing hypocrits so long as they are our hypocrits...There are at least as many thoughtlessly liberal people in this land as those thoughtlessly conservative, so she would get votes...
The reason she will not hold the office is simple... She has not aged well, and was always sort of dumpy.... It is one thing to face the moralizing and preaching of your own mother or grandmother because a piece of pie may wait at the other end of it...Listening to preaching and moralizing from some one else's mother is not an event anyone would vote for, and four years of it would excuse insanity....
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:35 AM
Of course the Bengahzi trial had nothing at all to do with her sudden sickness. It was because she was working so hard that she just collapsed from exhaustion at exacley the right time. I'm sure many people buy into that anyhow. I think Clinton wants to distance herself from the O-team. She knows these next 4 years are going to suck and she wants to make a clean break so she can run for president in 2016 without being tied to the massive faiure of Obama (still in progress, but right on track). And sweeny may be right, she won't win. But try telling her that.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:48 AM
Re: Chris McCoy... I think it was Lincoln who may have described it as the presidential maggot in the brain... It do make people crazy...But if the institution of the house of reps had the constitutional power intended for it; the president would not have such great powers, bordering on imperial powrs... It does not matter who it is, once elected, no president ever gives up a bit of power... They hate it when the other party holds it, and suggest it is tyranny, but in their hands it is well governed and necessary...The terrible government, the absolute want of responsible goverment coming out of the House has made the presidency a tyranny, and the Supreme Court an Aristocracy of the Eastern Law Establishment...Of the two, the presidency is more democratically influenced, closer to the people as most dictatorships are...The Scourt is like recieving your instructions from relics of the past... Of the two parties, the democrats most fear the people, and the republicans most hope to exploit their ignorance...What besides spit, chewing gum, and duct tap is holding the government together... Does anyone besides myself expect a real assassination attempt???...
If Mr. Obama expects to limit 2nd Amendment right by fiat, he is going to piss off his worst enemies... Hopefully, they can't shoot any sharper than they can think...
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:19 PM
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