Nice NOT to Hear Norm Coleman at Hillary Clinton Hearings


hillary clinton af1 twn.jpg
Over at Foreign Policy magazine’s website, I have a quick review of Hillary Clinton’s performance yesterday at her confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
My first reaction listening to this just one-notch-short-of-a-love-fest hearing was that Norm Coleman’s absence has made a huge difference. Coleman was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He would have been the John Bolton of that hearing — the pugnacious, in her face, hard pounding harasser — particularly highlighting the gaps between presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton.
Thankfully, Norm Coleman’s Senate Office is NOW officially closed. Check out his Senate website. I think I actually beat my pal Mike Allen at Politico on that one. Al Kamen at the Washington Post too.
Until his website disappears, this is what the home page says:


What I neglected to write yesterday is that another of Hillary Clinton’s announced priorities was to get the Law of the Seas treaty ratified.
Finally pushing the Law of the Sea Treaty forward will resolve hypocrisy that was teasing both the Republicans and Democrats.
The Treaty is important for a number of reasons — particularly establishing international protocols on the seas that the US military has argued are badly needed. In addition, while other nations are claiming various mineral rights in the Arctic North, America has been sidelined for not being part of a Treaty that helps legally establish American rights.
George W. Bush favored the treaty and ordered his State Department to get it ratified. Vice President Cheney and his consigliere, David Addington, were not big fans. John McCain used to support it before he decided to be against it — and the pugnacious hyper-nationalist team of John Bolton and Frank Gaffney — pushed both McCain and Cheney to stop its passage in the last Congress. What ever happened to doing what the Generals and Admirals wanted?
Even though most Dems supported the Treaty. Richard Lugar supported the Treaty. The military needed the Treaty. It went nowhere.
I asked Senator Harry Reid why he didn’t make it a legislative priority at the conclusion of the last Congress — and he said that while he would love nothing more than to “demonstrate what a hypocrite John McCain was on Law of the Sea”, there was no legislative time given other priorities.
I think Hillary Clinton made the case yesterday that ratification was a key priority — not to embarrass anyone — but rather on the national interest merits of the Treaty.
Clinton did a good job — and hope folks enjoy the Foreign Policy essay.
I look forward to hosting Norm Coleman over at TWN or Huffington Post someday to share with us what questions he would have posed at the hearing.
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “Nice NOT to Hear Norm Coleman at Hillary Clinton Hearings

  1. WigWag says:

    “A Gallup poll released yesterday shows 65 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Hillary, her highest figure in 10 years. She was at 54 percent right before the Democratic National Convention this summer. Her previous all-time high? Right after the House voted to impeach Bill in December 1998.
    Her ratings are up across party lines – she’s nearly unanimously liked now among Democrats (93%), a majority of Independents like her, and more than a third of Republicans polled gave her favorable marks.
    And 56 percent of those polled believe she’ll be an outstanding or above average secretary of state.” (


  2. varanasi says:

    hey tahoe,
    OT, but i enjoyed your pre-election posting and respected your against-the-grain take on the circus. next tuesday will be tough for you to swallow, huh?
    one question – and i REALLY don’t mean this in a snarky way – do you think your country would be better off with a mccain/palin administration?
    has the transition changed at all the way you feel about the incoming obama administration?


  3. Tahoe Editor says:

    Thanks, Z. Don’t hold your breath on the TWN upgrade. Steve is waiting for Changeâ„¢ to come.


  4. serge says:

    Can’t we get Norm and Gorgeous George Galloway back for just one reprise of Galloway’s brilliant take down of Coleman? (Regardless of one’s opinion of Galloway.)
    I still play that back from time to time to raise my spirits…


  5. Zathras says:

    The “rancidly unsuccessful administration” referred to upthread was George W. Bush’s, not Bill Clinton’s. Clinton’s administration was also famous for endless turf battles and resentment of the media, but had less success keeping its internal deliberations secret than Bush’s did — a minor point in this context, since Bill Clinton’s wife was not an active particpant in those deliberations where foreign and national security policy were concerned.
    By the way, the campaign slogan riposte is absolutely devastating and answers every possible question about Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State. I have no doubt that before long Steve Clemons will be able to upgrade the technology of this site to allow posters to display digital photographs of their favorite politicians along with the appropriate idiot slogan for readers to chant along with. If that form of political discourse is good enough for street demonstrations in pissant southwest Asian republics there is no reason it should be denied Americans in the blogosphere.


  6. Tahoe Editor says:

    Clinton’s was “a rancidly unsuccessful administration” — compared to what?
    Caroline Kennedy has star power. Hillary has brain power.
    Good that you’re here to offer some resistance, but it’s pretty stale, rote stuff.


  7. Zathras says:

    So Norm Coleman is out, replaced by a man who made his reputation on insult humor and sex jokes. Are people really supposed to be excited about this, just because Coleman might have asked awkard questions of Hillary Clinton?
    Ms. Clinton’s confirmation hearing served notice that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a doormat for the Bush administration, is eager to be a doormat for the Obama administration as well. Its members want to dispense fawning praise of the new administration’s nominees; if they have concerns that a nominee wants to brush aside, that’s good as well. If Barack Obama’s approval ratings drop toward 30% or so sometime during the next four years this may change, but even then it will take a while. Overpraise, not oversight is the Committee’s mission, and the Senators yesterday made clear they take it as seriously as any Washington cocktail party groupie.
    Have any of the most successful modern Secretaries of State come to the job with a background dominated by campaign politics? No. Did they enter office never having conducted anything like diplomacy? No. Does Ms. Clinton’s record of managing much smaller, less complex organizations generate confidence that she can manage the notoriously difficult State Department? No. Has her reputation for hard work and collegiality in the Senate been made at a time when that body made itself more relevant to the great issues of national policy? No; the Senate has by its own choice become less relevant. Is Ms. Clinton’s reputation built on a foundation of significant legislative accomplishments? No. Investigations? No. Great speeches or deep thought? No. Following a rancidly unsuccessful administration famous for its endless turf battles, resentment of the media and zeal for making policy in secret, does Ms. Clinton represent a different approach? No — not even close. Not even her defenders believe that.
    Clinton has “star power,” a phrase that in its modern usage refers to a high level of name recognition and general celebrity, assumed to be just as impressive to foreign audiences and governments as it is to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (an earlier generation would have recognized “star power” as an adjective applied to actors who could draw people to see even routine movies in the theater). Star power, and a rigorous devotion to the memorization of talking points, is the new prescription for leadership of American foreign policy. Thank God Norm Coleman isn’t around to muck it up.


  8. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    The body language of Mrs Hillary Clinton may be of that reflections as shared by Steve, yet one thing was postive:her mental composure during the questions/answers session.


  9. Tahoe Editor says:

    Agree. Steve you should go on Hannity, reach more viewers and actually try to get some dialogue going. The back-slapping, “you’re so smart” “no, YOU’RE so smart”, “isn’t everyone who disagrees with us just so dumb” echo chambers you find on MessNBC don’t advance the ball at all.
    FLASH: FOXNEWS ‘HANNITY’ debuted big at 2.9 million viewers — beating MADDOW & KING COMBINED… *


  10. WigWag says:

    That foreign policy website is really good; they may give the Washington Note a run for its money next year. And while I usually disagree with him, I have to admit that the Stephen Walt blog to be found there is quite engaging, provocative and interesting (while he may work at Harvard, he’s not as insightful as you are). Of course, I also like the section on all things Hillary.
    It’s also nice to see Steve Clemons appearing at an intelligent and serious site instead of the National Enquirer of the internet; the Huffington Post and its even less intelligent partner in crime, MessNBC.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    SC: Clinton managed to avoid over-prescribing exactly what President-elect Barack Obama’s foreign policy would be comprised of. After all, Obama is not yet president and will not be given the keys to the nation’s policy machinery until January 20th.
    In a democracy the composition of foreign policy is the prerogative of the people and their representatives.
    But then . . .


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *