John wrote here about Secretary of State Clinton’s angry moment in the Congo. Clinton lost her composure when asked (in a mistranslation of the question) about her husband’s view of a trade agreement between China and the Congo.
Most commentary on the incident has attributed Clinton’s anger to the fact that folks still seem more interested in her husband than in her. This, I imagine, is part of it. But I think Charles Krauthammer got the heart of the matter when he said:
Here you have Richard Holbrooke running Afghanistan and Pakistan — the heart of our troubles in Asia. You have George Mitchell in the Middle East. You have envoys here and there, and she is the secretary of state, and she’s sitting in the Congo, in the Congo?
You’ve got Petraeus running Afghanistan. You’ve got Odierno running Iraq. She is totally marginalized, sitting in Kinshasa. I’m sure it is a great city — in fact, it’s not — but the Congo? Africa is very low on the scale of important interests of the United States.
She was supposed to be the president of the United States at this point. She was going to be queen of the world. Instead, Obama bestrides the world. He gives speeches in the great capitals, in Cairo — and she is in the Congo! You’d be upset, also.
Dr. Krauthammer’s analysis explains not only why Ms. Clinton got angry but why she looked so unprofessional to begin with. Everything about her — her clothes, her body language, and of course her answer — strongly suggested that she hated being there.
There’s some irony here, I think. During the 2008 primary season, Clinton blew off “backwater” red states, allowing Barack Obama to win nearly all of the caucuses (or in a few cases, primaries) held in these jurisdictions. These victories helped keep Obama ahead of Clinton even as she won most of the big state primaries.
To borrow a phrase from English soccer, it doesn’t pay to be a “big-time Charlie.”