November I suggested that Hillary Clinton's own autobiography provides no evidence to support her on-the-trail assertions that she was a foreign policy player during her husband's administration:
The book is not a policy manifesto of course. But even making that allowance it is striking how much of Hillary's memoir is taken up with fluff - "I had given a lot of thought to how Chelsea and I should dress on the trip. We wanted to be comfortable, and under the sun's heat, I was glad for the hats and cotton clothes I had packed" - and how little is concerned with affairs of state...
Perhaps it's unfair to judge Hillary by the evidence published in a book she didn't write. Then again, it did appear under her name and judging from Living History there was lots of travel but precious little real policy. If that's an unfair conclusion then Hillary will, doubtless, tell us why and how and where this verdict is unwarranted.
In December last year I also argued that her claim to have been a significant "force for peace" in Northern Ireland is a preposterous fabrication. Still, since Bill Clinton is prone to exaggerate his own contribution to what we're still supposed to call the "Peace Process" it's scarcely a great surprise that he should also lie about his wife's role.
Happily Toby Harnden was in Belfast at the time the Clintons were supposedly spreading peace and prosperity and is thus in a good position to report that Hillary's claim that:
"I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland*,"
is, as you might expect, absurd. David Trimble, who is of course, in a good position to know, suggests Hillary is being "a wee bit silly" (ie, lying through her teeth) in saying this:
"I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around...She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."
*For reasons best known to themselves, the Clintons are enlisting the support of the ghastly Peter King (himself, of course, an IRA apologist) to argue, contra the evidence, that Hillary was important. Toby blogs this intervention here:
"She was actively involved." [says King] "It was George Mitchell who was negotiating and Bill Clinton who was calling a lot of the shots but Hillary, first of all she had access to the President on I think it was three trips to Northern Ireland. She knew all of the players on a first-name basis….She was certainly more than just someone along for the ride. She spoke with some authority. I consider her to be a serious player. I say that as someone who supports John McCain and wants Hillary Clinton defeated in November. But fair is fair.”
He then spoke about a meeting about arms decommissioning in December 1998. “That was right after Trimble and Hume were given the Nobel Peace Prize. There was a big dinner in Washington for all the players in the peace process. I was just there in the audience and President Clinton was speaking. I got a notification that the President wanted to speak to me after the dinner and so I go behind the stage and there was a small room and when I went in the door there was President Clinton and Gerry Adams and Hillary Clinton and they were talking about decommissioning – that was still the issue, who would go first and how it would be done. Hillary was part of that conversation.”
By this "standard", of course, I also "helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland".
Why, at university in Dublin I organised meetings and debates at which Unionists and Nationalists could exchange their views and, for sure, learn more about one another! It's about "building trust" and "breaking down barriers" you see? And, lo, we invited Loyalists and Republicans too! And I also had conversations about "decommissioning" with General John de Chastelaine and David Ervine and Mitchell McLaughlin and David Trimble and so on and so on! Some of these men even came to dinner and insisted I call them by their first names too!
For more on this, see how a comedian named Sinbad destroys Hillary's claims to foreign policy expertise in the Balkans too.