Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Rubin: Who’s telling stories now?

First Published Jul 17 2014 10:13 am • Last Updated Jul 17 2014 10:14 am

For this administration, failure is always the result of a "communications" problem. Otherwise, failure might be taken as evidence of misguided ideology and incompetent execution, right? It’s a weird excuse for the president who fancies himself to be the most eloquent man on the planet. And it is equally weird when someone whose job it is to communicate U.S. policy makes that excuse.

Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, she had this bit of mumbo-jumbo for the chattering class: "We have not been telling our story very well. We do have a great story. We are not perfect by any means, but we have a great story about human freedom, human rights, human opportunity. And let’s get back to telling it to ourselves first and foremost and believing it about ourselves and then taking that around the world. That’s what we should be standing for."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Hmmm. Taking that story around the world would seem to be the president’s job, and thus hers as well when she was secretary of state, but the president was fond of obsessively reciting U.S. shortcomings, making amends for them and accusing his predecessor of subverting our values. It’s hard to continually lambast your predecessor and then complain the world isn’t getting a good story about the United States.

It also didn’t help to tell the United States’ story when Clinton went to China in 2009 and told the regime that we shouldn’t let human rights get in the way of the Sino-U.S. relationship. We didn’t do much for the U.S. storytelling project when, in response to signs in English in Tehran imploring us to help, we remained tight-lipped during the Green Revolution. And when we dubbed Syria’s Bashar Assad a "reformer," that told the world our secretary of state was clueless.

It’s nervy, really, for Clinton to plead that we haven’t done a good enough job promoting the United States. Like Obama, she has adopted the tactic of viewing her own record with detachment.

But of course communication was just one of many problems. It wasn’t communication but lack of preparedness that allowed jihadists to kill U.S. officials in Libya. And it wasn’t communication but arrogance about a "light footprint" and then neglect that allowed Libya to devolve into chaos. Communication wasn’t the problem when the administration couldn’t manage to leave a stay-behind force in Iraq.

If nothing else, Clinton’s book tour has previewed the sort of pathetic responses Hillaryland must think will suffice in 2016. For the nomination, that might be the case. But even a semi-competent Republican nominee should be able to shred her litany of excuses and her shabby record.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.