Capitol Hill-ary

“I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest Secretary of States we’ve had.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. President. Hillary Clinton is probably one of the few Secretaries of State that the average American can name or recognize. (As terrible as that sounds, many of my peers have a hard time even naming the Speaker of the House or the Vice President.) This is without a doubt due to the fact that she is one of the most accomplished Secretaries of State this nation has ever seen.
Let’s recap: In four years, Hillary has travelled 956,733 miles to 112 different countries. She is now the most widely travelled Secretary of State in the history of the United States, holding the record for most countries visited. She has spent the equivalent of 87 days on an airplane, 408 days abroad and conducted 1,700 meetings with world leaders.
Unlike former Secretaries of State, Hillary took it upon herself to widen the number of countries she visited, no matter what size, instead of frequenting visits to larger or “more important” nations. This approach is very different to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who visited 83 countries yet travelled 1,059,207 miles. These numbers were made possible by her frequent visits to the same countries in the Middle East. Hillary, however, favored visiting several countries as opposed to the same ones over and over again in order to refocus America’s priorities in terms of foreign relations.
She sought ways to assist these countries, especially with issues of poverty and hunger, all while maintaining relations with nations involved in the Arab Spring and powerhouses like China.
All this being said, Republicans still found a way to pick at Clinton’s work ethic. During the Congressional hearing on the Benghazi attacks, Hillary was the subject to unwavering scrutiny by Republicans in and out of the capitol. House dunce Rand Paul, in all of his irritating ignorance, went as far as saying that he would have fired Clinton for the way she handled the Beghazi attacks. Not only is it ludicrous to believe that Rand Paul would ever be in such position, but it is stupefying to hear that Republicans agree with him. Keep in mind, this hearing was held days after she was released from the hospital for a concussion/blood clot scare she suffered after falling in the Department’s basement in the final weeks of her tenure.
During the hearings, Hillary took responsibility for any inaction by her department during the time of the attack. While answering the copious and tiresome questions by republican congressmen, Hillary responded with a firmness and passion that was interpreted as an overly emotional response. Many of the responses and headlines skewed this into a sexist criticism; the New York Post went as far as slamming the words “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid!” and “The lady has some temper!” on their cover.
Personally, I thought this was despicable. Yet again, the media and right wings throw out all of Hillary’s previous work as Secretary to make some noise and sell some papers.
Thankfully, these sentiments aren’t the ones that will last, because Hillary’s accomplishments as a Secretary of State, as a woman, as a politician and as an American will outshine all temporary attempts to bash her reputation. She may have had a bumpy road to the finish in her last days as Secretary, but as the president wisely stated, she will go down in history. Now the question is, will she be remembered as a Secretary of State or as a President of the United States?

Sarah S. Menendez is a literary journalism and political science double major. She can be reached at smenende@uci.edu.