Hillary Clinton scrubs the vanilla from her website, leaving it calorie-free

Jeryl Bier reports that Hillary Clinton’s website, Hillaryclintonoffice.com, has removed the only substantive content it contained. The “remarks” button on the website, which made a little bit of content available, vanished sometime between July 23 and August 27.

The content that formerly appeared consists of February 14, 2013 remarks at the Joint Civilian Service Award Presentation; April 2, 2013 remarks at Vital Voices (a non-governmental organization promoting women’s leadership); and April 5, 2013 remarks at Women in the World summit.

As you might infer from the events themselves, the content, as described by Bier, is pretty vanilla. Indeed, I would describe most of it as self-congratulatory fluff.

But with America re-awakening to the threat of terrorism and to the broader reality that the world is a dangerous place, yesterday’s fluff can become today’s stupidity.

For example, at the first event in question Clinton said she is “enormously proud of what we have achieved” using her “smart power approach,” having “gone a long way to restore America’s global leadership and to make progress on some of the great challenges we face, from taking the fight to the leadership of Al Qaeda to reasserting the United States as a Pacific power.”

This may have sounded plausible in February 2013. It sounds obscenely sanguine today.

Clinton also remarked that she had “left the State Department in the capable hands of Secretary John Kerry.” After a year and a half of observing Kerry, it’s understandable that Clinton would want to erase that one.

The first set of remarks contained effusive praise for Clinton from Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey. Panetta stated that “it is now clear that we need to maintain a strong military force to deal with the unstable and unpredictable and undeniably dangerous world that we live in” (when was that ever unclear?). Both Panetta and Dempsey credited Clinton with helping to formulate the U.S. intervention in Libya.

It’s easy to see why Clinton might want to distance herself from U.S. policy in Libya. And given the possibility of a challenge from the left, she may feel that it’s better not to have Panetta presenting her credentials as a semi-hawk.

Overall, though, one senses (and not just from the scrubbing of the website) that Clinton is not as much scared of specific content as she is of content in general. If Clinton had her way, one feels, she would run a content-free campaign, hoping to glide into the Oval Office on the strength of her name, her gender, and her paper credentials.

And it could happen. Clinton might not face a meaningful challenge for the nomination. The Republicans might fail to present a credible challenger. Alternatively, they might be too divided to defeat her.

But it’s awfully difficult to glide into the Oval Office. This is particularly true in the context of an underperforming economy and a deteriorating national security picture.

It may be smart for Clinton to shy away from even relatively vanilla content now. But if she really is becoming content-averse, she probably faces a difficult and painful road.

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