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ubersiren's avatar

Does Bill Clinton's latest achievement make the Obama admin look bad?

Asked by ubersiren (15046 points ) August 5th, 2009

…including Hillary? I’m talking, of course, about Bill talking Kim Jong il into releasing the two journalists from their 12 year sentence. Is it your opinion that if Obama had as much time on his hands as Bill does, he could have/would have done the same thing? Or do you think that this should’ve been higher on Obama’s list of priorities than Cash for Clunkers? Thoughts?

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51 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, I think it makes him look good but that’s all.I just saw the pictures, so glad they’re home.

se_ven's avatar

I don’t think so. It would probably politically unwise for the US Government to have a sit down with Kim Jong Il. So the ‘US citizen’ Bill Clinton was able to do so because he wasn’t representing the US in a formal way.

ragingloli's avatar

I don’t think so.
If anything it reinforces Obama’s “talk things out” stance, as it proves that even a lunatic dictator can be reasoned with.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i don’t know about obama, but it sure makes me look bad. i haven’t even finished my over-the-summer schoolwork, and here clinton is, showing me up with all his noteworthy achievements

seriously though, i’m not very up to date on news, but i don’t think that one person accomplishing something the other hasn’t makes them look bad. i think environmental efforts are pretty damn important.
obama – or really, anyone – looking bad because clinton achieved something is like saying that a kid in school who got an A on their math test looks bad because that other kid got an A on their english test. they’re still worthwhile accomplishments, just different.

tinyfaery's avatar

It just reminds me of how great of a diplomat Clinton really is. And, that he should do more to help along international relations.

marinelife's avatar

Not at all.

First, it is standard practice for former leaders with high world status to act as single-issue emissaries in foreign matters. One example: “Blair enlisted President Clinton to help and Clinton appointed former Senate Majority Leader, George Mitchell, as his Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. Mitchell played a critical role in keeping the process alive at its darkest moments. Source.

Second, he went with the blessing and at the behest of the Obama Administration.

Third, I am sure he is the first to acknowledge that his success was the result of groundwork laid for months by a lot of other people.

fireside's avatar

I’m quite certain that Bill Clinton didn’t just go to North Korea on his own.

He was acting as a diplomatic envoy of the USA and as such made Obama and his policy of engaging foreign leaders look good, rather than calling them a part of an “axis of evil”.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

No. The Obama administration was in on it all. Clinton was just the one who carried it out. I think it makes them all look good, & I’m so impressed & proud that they got those two out of there without being hurt…or worse.

drdoombot's avatar

This was a necessary move by the Obama administration. If they talked to North Korea directly, it would have emboldened Kim Jong Il to make demands based on his possession of hostages. The US does not want to make him think he’s important. The best policy was talk about it as little as possible in the media and work through diplomatic channels for a better resolution. It’s lucky we had a great diplomat like Bill Clinton to go in there and get those reporters out safely without North Korea trying to get the upper hand in the development of missiles, etc.

augustlan's avatar

Didn’t Jimmy Carter take on a similar role years after he was out of office? I never thought his work reflected badly on the administration… it just made me admire him more than I ever did while he was president.

Likeradar's avatar

I think the only one who looks bad in the whole situation is Kim Jong.
From what I’ve read, Clinton was not acting alone. It makes our whole government look good.

Welcome home, ladies!

ubersiren's avatar

Apparently the journalists’ families and Al Gore asked the Obama administration to send Clinton. He was then sent with Obama’s blessings.

@augustlan: I think it makes Clinton look awesome. I’m just not sure about Obama yet. He has yet to win me over. I’m hopeful, though, for our nation’s sake.

ubersiren's avatar

On a lighter note, I thought this was adorable!

PerryDolia's avatar

Hardly. Who do you think sent him?

Likeradar's avatar

@PerryDolia Exactly. Clinton didn’t just hop on a flight to North Korea, call up his buddy Kim Jong, and smooth talk him into releasing Ling and Lee.

Bri_L's avatar

@ubersirenThat was cool.

I don’t think so. I am all for working together. I love the way he and George Bush Sr. have been working together so much.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

So far the Obama administration has managed to free captive sailors from heavily armed pirates and two captive journalists being held by a hostile nation all without creating a conflict or escalating and existing one. Internationally, he’s doing just fine. Don’t think that Clinton and Obama didn’t talk about this previously.

Also cash for clunkers is working out really well in addition.

Our current direction in the US is far better than it has been for 8 years.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m sad I didn’t wait to get a new car.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Those girls were from my neighborhood! So happy they’re home and safe.

Grisaille's avatar

What I want to know is why everyone is playing politics when we should be happy that the two journalists are safe, back home with their families.

This isn’t a matter of “Hillary Clinton is weak” or the “Obama Administration looks bad”. We should be rejoicing for this victory – for the families, for the journalists.

If anything: we should view this as a success in American democracy. I’m positive that Obama, the Clintons and political strategists across the spectrum were all talking before this trip even happened. We now took one step forward in coming to the table with our enemies. That’s a good thing.

How does that equate to Obama not doing his job, or that Hillary is weak (which I’ve been hearing from a few news organizations)?

Bri_L's avatar

@Grisaille – Good point

Grisaille's avatar

Oh, and that wasn’t directed toward anyone; this is a good question and should be discussed.

I just find it funny when I flip on MSNBC and some dickclown is raging about how Hillary had to have her husband step in for her.

Talk about missing the point.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I agree with most posts above; with a lot of groundwork (probably including Gore as well – they were part of his organization) Clinton acted on the request of the Obama administration. To have administration or diplomat-level officials would have made the contact too “official”. Kim Jong Il would like nothing better than to have a top level diplomatic relationship with the US.

@Grisaille, you are spot on. It would have been inappropriate for the Secretary of State to do anything on an official basis. Behind the scenes is another thing, and that is where we saw the success.

ubersiren's avatar

@PerryDolia : I mentioned who sent him, and it wasn’t Obama’s idea. Obama’s administration admits that there was no message from them, and that it was not their idea. Maybe that’s not the case and I’m wrong, but why would they lie about that?

Cash for Clunkers is only “working” in the superficial sense. How many people are going to have worse credit because a newer car with a $4000 discount sounded so appealing when they really couldn’t afford it? I’m not blaming the government for their bad decisions, but they had to know that would happen. And the money that is paying for it is tax payer money. I’m not happy about my money being spent this way.

@Grisaille : I rejoiced yesterday. Today, I’m wondering why our president didn’t think of it. And we don’t have a democracy. We live in a democratic republic and a bureaucracy. Even if it was a democracy, democracy had nothing to do with it. Diplomacy maybe, but democracy, no. It doesn’t “equate” that they are not doing their jobs because I believe correlation does not imply causation. I simply believe that on this matter, based on the evidence, they slacked.

ubersiren's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic : I said specifically that I didn’t blame them. Read it again. I’m saying that the government had to know that’s what they would do, ultimately ruining their credit disabling them from making future economy boosting purchases. Stupid stupid government.

marinelife's avatar

@ubersiren The point sometimes to sending these private individuals is plausible deniability. The Administration is attempting to keep the nuclear issue separate from the freeing of the journalists.

“The official also acknowledged that Clinton had been briefed in advance by members of Obama’s national security team, Reuters reported, despite White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs earlier labeling the trip a “solely private mission.” Source

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ubersiren So the government should create policy based on the assumption that all people are going to make foolish decisions? That doesn’t sound like good policy.

Likeradar's avatar

@ubersiren Why is it “stupid stupid government”? I think about it as 100% stupid stupid people who buy something they can’t afford. The government can’t be faulted for people not taking advantage of their opportunities.

ubersiren's avatar

@Marina : Ok, he was briefed… it still wasn’t the admin’s idea to go.

@The_Compassionate_Heretic : Yes, when the purpose of the program is to stimulate the economy, and the obvious thing that will happen is that people are going to live beyond their means causing the opposite effect, they should take that into account. Especially when it’s putting us tax payers in debt further. What’s the point?

Again, everyone, I did not fault the government for people’s actions. Please read.

Grisaille's avatar

@ubersiren You are entirely correct – I did mean diplomacy. I made an oopsie.

However, I do not believe this is one of those cases that we should be pointing fingers. Firstly, why is Obama at fault here? I do not understand.

Bill Clinton is a fantastic diplomat and politician. He is a former President. Why does the action of one take integrity of another?

Yes, Obama is our current President. But why are we complaining that we have more intelligent, willing diplomats? Shouldn’t we be somewhat grateful that, in some way, our enemies have actually reached out to us, or at least met us half-way?

The journalists are safe. The families are in tears of joy. America has once again proved itself to be one of the progressive leaders in the world. I’d like to think that (and this may be my silly liberal mindset talking here) it is not the action of one single man – or one single organization, administration or agency – but the direction and action of the country as a whole that will have a substantive part in history.

Grisaille's avatar

Redundancy for the loss.

You know what I meant.

Judi's avatar

It’s a feel good moment for the whole country. One of those , “Proud to be an American” moments. I think it makes the Obama administration, look wise.

Grisaille's avatar

Also, if anything (to tack onto points being made), this makes Obama look like a genius. And Hillary as well.

Why, you ask?

Bill Clinton acts as a secret weapon, you see. If the only way that N. Korea was to release the prisoners was if we met them at the table and gave them a sense of credibility and legitimacy, Hillary knows that her husband is great diplomat. Because Jong has said some rather rude things about her, her next best option is to ship Bill’s ass over to N. Korea.

It all makes sense, as I write this.

Obama chose Hillary as Secretary of State for two reasons:

Firstly, she’s intelligent and good at what she does.

Secondly, she comes with an added bonus: her husband is a former President. What other Secretary of State in history has had that? If need be – if all else fails – she can deploy her husband.

Goddammit, Obama. You sneaky bastard, you.

bannedfortalking's avatar

does dick cheneys actions make bush look bad?

Ivan's avatar

No. Obama put forth the notion of diplomacy over violence. Other people would have had the president order a military operation. We brought home two citizens without any casualties. That doesn’t make anyone look bad.

bea2345's avatar

We brought home two citizens without any casualties. – and left the door open for further conciliation.

boffin's avatar

…Does Bill Clinton’s latest achievement make the Obama admin look bad?
From what I’ve seen he doesn’t need Bill….

ubersiren's avatar

@boffin : Maybe I should’ve said worse.

dannyc's avatar

Clinton was always a great statesman and well respected. It was a logical thing to do, leveraging that respect and I bet Obama is not worried in the slightest about looking bad. These young ladies returning home should make everyone happy. It is not always just about politics, even for an old warhorse like Bill, as I am sure he feels it is one of his greatest moments and thrilled he could be of assistance.

skfinkel's avatar

This was done during the Obama administration, ie, of course they know everything about it and are responsible.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I don’t know about the Obama administration, but I’m sure it pissed off a bunch of conservative Republicans, who STILL have a hard-on for the Clintons.

dynamicduo's avatar

Nah, it just makes Bill Clinton more like Bill Clinton :)

ubersiren's avatar

@dynamicduo : Best answer.

Judi's avatar

I like Bill Clinton.

ubersiren's avatar

I like Bill, too. He was the last president to have any testicles.

JLeslie's avatar

Love Bill. Doesn’t make Obama or Hillary look bad.

stratman37's avatar

Once again, a political question gets the most lurve. Good grief!

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