WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2015 – When asked why he extended the hand of friendship to Southerners following the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln replied, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
Following a heated political slugfest between the heir apparent and the heir presumptive during the 2008 Democratic primary, it was clear that the two most powerful and recognizable Democrats in the country would have to mend fences and work together.
Despite months of mud-slinging and name-calling, for the sake of party unity (something the Democrats are better at than the GOP), the two bitter rivals extended the shaky hand of friendship and went about the business of running the country.
But Barack Obama did not forget.
The venerable Sun Tzu said it best when he said, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” Newly elected President Obama was probably thinking much the same when it came to choosing his cabinet members.
One does not get much closer to the president than secretary of state. While many saw this appointment as a consolation prize for losing the presidency, to Hillary it was her punishment.
Appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state is one of the more brilliant of President Obama’s political maneuvers. If she refused to take it, she would be refusing the newly minted king of hope and change, who had the backing of nearly every major demographic in the country.
And her appointment as chief diplomat of the Obama administration stopped her from speaking out against the president or seeking to undermine him at his every turn.
She was then irreparably attached to him, as he failed, she failed, as he succeeded, she succeeded. How could she refuse? She was being elevated from U.S. senator to secretary of state, a position that historically has been a gateway to the presidency.
But not for Hillary Clinton.
For Hillary, it is her tenure as secretary of state that has brought her the most controversy. As wife of the president during a sex scandal she could throw up her hands and play dumb as to the goings on of her then unfaithful husband. But as secretary of state, she has to own her decisions and her actions. These actions, and inactions, are what plague her now.
Recently it was announced that the FBI will be expanding the probe of her emails. And after her “brutal” 11-hour testimony to the House Benghazi committee, the bureau will also be investigating whether Hillary Clinton violated U.S. Code 18, Section 1001 during the course of the investigation .
And who is running this probe? The FBI. Who runs the FBI? The Department of Justice. And who appoints the attorney general? Barack Obama.
The president has not forgotten the embarrassment of the birther scandal, which Hillary Clinton’s political camp is accused of starting. The president has not forgotten the slings and arrows of outrageous political fortune traded between bitter primary campaign rivals.
The president has most likely not forgotten the black eye that the Benghazi scandal gave, albeit temporarily, to his administration.
The power to bring down Hillary Clinton lies within the halls of the Justice Department, controlled by a man who sits in the most powerful chair in the world. It is not the right-wingers that Hillary Clinton has to worry about; it is the long memory and the power of her former rival, the president of the United States.
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