Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton’s Opening Remarks Pt. 1 — during Senate confirmation hearing
January 13, 2009 — Hillary Clinton delivered a one-two punch in her day-long confirmation hearing for Secretary of State in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She was knowledgeable, compassionate, and well-spoken about both the global and local issues of foreign policy and relations. Her brilliance seemed so obvious, and she was treated with respect from both sides of the aisle. I think they got that, given what’s at stake, she’s real smart-like, and has a comprehensive view with plans to boot.
Um? So what else is new? Given that, and that our country is in deep sh*t no matter which way you turn, you’d think that the American people would understand that HRC’s the only one who can save our sorry a** right now. But, noooo, I had to turn on CSPAN after the hearing, which had totaled about six-hours, to listen to what “the people” had to say. (shaking my head) I was surprised to find that because of her IDEAS, and also being a non-threat because she’s not running against anyone, the people might hear her. (sigh) We really must focus on education in this country. People are not so smart. And this evening, Sean Hannity is slammin’ her. Have you noticed lately? FOX ain’t our friends no more, folks.
In Sen. Clinton’s Confirmation Hearing: Morning, posted here earlier today, you can read her entire opening remarks.
I’m a compulsive note-taker, sometimes — on those little legal pads. I guess I could have typed this in the first place to avoid the double process, but I didn’t. I took notes as I listened to most of the Q and A, and am recapping so you don’t have to listen to all 6 or so hours. And I’m compulsive enough to not be able to move on until I transcribe these things, so I hope you find them helpful. I’m not compulsive enough however to listen back. They just don’t pay me enough for doing this. However, I highly recommend listening to the whole Q&A. It’s seriously riveting. Anyway, here’s a transcript of what I can read of my notes. I had a good day!
Senator Bob Corker to HRC: We all know that everything has a season, and this is your season.
Hillary’s main role will be as a chief dealmaker.
HC: Wants to put the State Dept. (SD) on sounder financial and management footing. She has already filled two top positions: The Principle Deputy, Jim Stenberg will be Deputy for Resources and Management, someone in that position for the first time in 10 years. He’s currently Dean, LBJ School of Government. Total job focus will be to manage the department and USAID. Second Deputy will be Jack Lew, past OMB Director. This is someone who’s accountable and who will look at the gaps.
HC: On USAID — has 1/2 the staff it used to have. The contracting agency is not an operational agency with the abilityh to deliver. Congress has given the SD a new responsibility for rebuilding and redevelopment. She is looking at CERP. Under CERP (Commander Emergency Resources Program), soldiers are given money to use in Iraq. The setup is flexible with no accountability. Whereas the SD career professionals can’t get $500 for a project.
[Ed. note: Already, even at this point in the process, I’m feeling we — our country, our world will be so much safer with HRC as SOS. She GETS everything so well.]
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI: Praised HRC, and stated that the Al Qaeda fight is our major concern. He asked: How will you follow-up with Barack Obama’s promise to redeploy troops in 16 months?
HC: Said we’ll begin leaving towns and villages by June and also redeploying troops to Afghanistan, so will want to have Iraqi troops in place. She expressed gratitude for the leadership of the outgoing US Iraq Ambassador.
Feingold: Darfur — what are our options?
HC: Darfur: Do a review. Have and take steps for a bold new approach. In conjunction w/ the DOD, sound the alarm of this terrible human crisis, Let the world know our plans after the review.
Feingold: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran
HC: How to look at not just military review of entire policy but use Pres. Elect Obama’s “More for More” strategy. If more troops, then add more to the civilian side. Military solutions alone can’t shift the elements of resistance. We must work with the friends of Pakistan and Afghanistan to persuade them it’s THEIR future at risk, not just our fight.
Sen. Charles Lugar is questioning re: nukes.
HC: We need a rules-based framework for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, in collaboration with other countries, so bad actors like N. Korea and Iran will be seen as the exception. Talking to the Ukraine and Serbia about gas utilities gives us a broader framework to talk about other issues. Ministers will be meeting in Europe for the NATO allies meeting.
Barbara Boxer, D-CA: If more women were in power, we’d have a better world. Clinton and Boxer began a committee to look into sex slavery, wage discrimination, and education of women worldwide. Talks about women’s plight in the world and violence against women, and, basically as per Hillary, that women’s rights are human rights.
HC: These are central issues we must address. This is criminal. Women are uneducated, underfed. We cannot have a free and progressive world if women are treated in such a violent way. She wants to use the State. Mistreatment of women around the world is crime, not custom and tradition. “We cannot have a free prosperous peaceful world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way.” Women are enslaved, abused, tortured in every way. “I take responsibility to do all I can do to end this modern slavery — sex, wage slavery, primarily slavery of girls and women.”
HC continued: Women of senate, actually, She started a committee in the Senate, “Vital Voices” – Laura Bush has been outspoken for Afghani women and Aung San Suu Kyi and this will be spun off under her watch. [Ed. I don’t know what the former phrase means.] She will have an active women’s office tracking slavery and discrimination against women worldwide.
She wants a partnership with Boxer to continue work on these issues.
Bill Nelson, D-FL: Reminded HC of issues arising in his state: Latin America, the rape of women working for contractors in Iraq, and a kidnapped contractor in Iraq who has a wife and seven kids.
HC: Does the US want to keep being a contractor or keep their contract services in house? Keeping services in-house would be cheaper and make things more accountable.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK: Question about will SD work with environment?
HC: State Dept. will work with environmental issues. Gives us a chance for cooperation between different departments. Cruise ships now go to Pt. Barrow, the northernmost part of the US. There will be disputes re: natural reserves ownership, and we need an international position on the oceans. Ratification of the “Law of Seas” is key. We need to figure out where our boundaries are, because these areas are now ice-free most of the year due to global warming.
Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-MD: Praising Hillary Clinton, “There couldn’t be a better person to represent our nation.” Spoke of Helsinki Commission, which he’ll now chair, and which HC was a member of. Commission was established by Pres. Gerald Ford, which then created the Helsinki Accord, which let to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
HC: Spoke of problem of refugees in Iraq and return of Iraqi refugees, of tackling the issues of population migration and refugees with a committee in the State Dept. Spoke of mineral wealth as a way to handle poverty and we must look at best practices, like Botswana.
Sen. John Kerry reported (to satisfy the reporters, he said) that an additional 138 questions were answered extensively by Sen. Clinton prior to the day’s hearing.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC: How to coordinate private sector, foreign service professionals, and religious efforts with the State Dept.?
HC: Our security depends on: Defense, Diplomacy, and Development. It’s a government mission and a way of building relationship between them with governments. It’s not just foreign and civil service professionals: “Really, it’s all hands on deck.”
HC: There is no substitute for the USAID and the State Dept. She will streamline as much as possible and look at strategies, specific ideas, and partnerships. BUT, more than 10x the amount of money is going to the Defense Dept., and they are recreating the State Dept. This is because, when pressured, the military will move more quickly and they have the money. There is no substitute for seasoned diplomats and development professionals and they can work private and religious nonprofits.
HC: Stance on Israel remains that the US will not negotiate with Palestine unless it renounces violence against Israel and recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a state.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NY: Expresses real appreciation of Sen. Clinton. In the confirmation process, she has gone above and beyond the law in ethics. The Clinton Foundation has also shared its records above and beyond the law. He asked: Who will pursue the money and programs, fight for USAID and the State Dept. in Congress, and get foreign aid money to work as it should?
HC: Get handle on contracting out. Use committess we have in place, instead of appointing new commissions. Health, education, economic empowerment are thought of as old foreign aid. Reconstruction, rehabilitation, conflict resolution, peacekeeping is the new foreign aid. We must have both and make them efficient, and coordinated. We must move funds from the DOD to the SD, because the DOD is doing the job of the SD. In showing we can cooperate for redevelopment and diplomacy, we can change the focus of the State Dept.
[End of morning session, appx. 3 hrs. 16 minutes. I’ll post my notes of the afternoon Q&A session tomorrow.]
[h/t to PolitialNebTV for video]