I’ve been saying this for a while now, but Hillary Clinton’s sudden criticism of Obama’s foreign policy — when she was secretary of state no less — is a perfect example of how everything she says is assumed to be agenda-driven. Here’s how I put it last June:
Clinton may be president one day, but she’s already presidential in one sense: Her statements are never really taken at face value. Every utterance is examined for its ironic content and parsed like the rough draft of ad copy. What will people take away from this? What message is she sending to her fans? What spin is she offering to the media? What bait is she giving her enemies? How true is it?
Nothing Clinton does or says is free from this kind of skepticism. Indeed, cynicism is the first instinct. For instance, here’s the Washington Post headline on Juliet Eilperin’s story: ”Clinton Bluntly Criticizes Obama’s Foreign Policy.” The subhead? “Potential ‘16 hopeful seeks distance from the president she served.” And here’s the lead:
Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton has not yet said whether she will pursue the presidency. But for a candidate-in-waiting, she is clearly carving out a foreign policy distinct from the man she used to serve.