The media has started poring over Hillary’s First Lady schedules and they tell us pretty much what we already knew. She started out deep in health care policy– by far the most extensive, and perhaps only, real executive experience of her life up until her current presidential campaign– but after the 1993 initiative failed in such spectacular fashion, she was removed from the political spotlight and went back to being a traditional First Lady. Here’s a portion of the Associated Press’s analysis:
With the death of her health-care plan in September 1994 and the election that gave Republicans control of Congress, Clinton’s daily activities became more social and ceremonial.
The schedule shows her days were taken up by receptions for new members of Congress, a luncheon with the National Federation of Black Women Business Owners and visits to high schools and hospitals.
When, then German chancellor, visited the White House in January 1995, Clinton played a ceremonial role, according to the schedules.
And from Politico’s report:
To be sure, the schedules detail scores of White House meetings with foreign dignitaries and trips around the globe. But in almost every case, Clinton appears to have filled the traditional role of goodwill emissary rather than diplomat in her own right.
One typical instance was a three-day, January 1994 trip with her husband and daughter to Russia and Belarus. While in Russia, President Clinton and then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveiled an agreement between their nations and Ukraine intended to secure former Soviet nuclear warheads. In Belarus, the President prodded leaders to institute democratic reforms and signed an agreement to encourage U.S. investment.
When Hillary Clinton wasn’t participating in ceremonial events with her husband, her schedule shows she spent most of her time with Yeltsin’s wife and other Russian and Belarusian spouses and U.S. officials. She toured a cathedral and two hospitals, watched a birthing class, took in a ballet and had a lunch at the Kremlin of blinis with caviar and salmon, game chaudfroid and mutton baked in puff pastry.
In other words, despite her assertions to the contrary, Hillary Clinton was in fact the First Lady during the Clinton years and not the President. That is, unless she can explain to us how those birthing classes and Russian ballets prepared her to answer the phone at 3 a.m.
Her one notable achievement post-health-care-debacle turns out to be a speech she gave in 1995 in Beijing to the United Nations World Conference on Women, speaking out for human and women’s rights in China. But according to her and her husband, speeches are just words not actions. The real question is, do you know the proper etiquette for lunch at the Kremlin?
Looking at these schedule recaps from various news organizations, the lack of substance is pretty striking. Seems like Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience, Senator Obama has a lifetime of experience, and Hillary Clinton has a failed health care plan and a speech she gave in 1995.