|Photo courtesy of the newyorker.com.|
To hear the New Yorker’s David Remnick tell it, Hillary Clinton is now the recipient of the adulation bestowed on Barack Obama in 08. Remnick apparently considers it a given that Hillary will run in 2016.
Whether Hillary runs or not, long-time supporters can’t help but chuckle as we watch her nimbly outwit a clumsy punditry incapable of comprehending a woman with more complexity and depth than the “dumb blond” stereotype of days gone by.
Stupefied in 08 as the first viable female presidential candidate revealed both her proven leadership credentials and her relational skills, our lemming-like journalists dipped into their store of bigoted epithets and labeled Hillary as “Sybil.”
Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.
A word about the scene: Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media and entertainment mogul, has for the past nine years been hosting a conference, sometimes in Jerusalem, more often in Washington, focussed on the Middle East. The attendees are mainly government officials, present and former; business people; institute-niks; a few reporters. There are very few Arabs; this year the most notable exception was Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, though he didn’t stick around long, since the Palestinian Authority, thanks in large measure to Israel, is in grave peril, losing ground all the time to Hamas. Except for a few events, Chatham House rules obtain: meaning the official events are off the record. The presumption is that the incidental meetings are more important than the panels and speeches.
Friday night, however, was on the record—and surprisingly revealing. Hillary Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, secretary of state. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”