Via RealClearPolitics, check out “Her Brilliant Career,” a flattering profile of Hillary Clinton, by Vogue writer Jonathan Van Meter, who accompanied the Secretary of State on her trip to Africa this past summer and met with her several times over the past few months. (The on-line version is apparently shorter than the one that appears in the December 2009 issue of the magazine.) It’s a little breathless and celebrity-lite, like most Vogue profiles, but it contains some interesting news. For example:
- Hillary Clinton watches Mad Men, and says, “That’s how it was! . . . [t]hat’s why the women’s-liberation movement was so shocking. It was like news from outer space.”
- The Secretary of State comes to The Building without makeup, and then puts on her own face.
- She claims that she never expected to be asked to be President Obama’s SoS:
“I was stunned after the election when President Obama asked me to consider this,” she says. “I really was very unconvinced. I did not think it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to do it. I just really had a lot of doubts, and I kept suggesting other people: Well, how about this person! How about that person! This one would be really good! But then a friend of mine called me and basically said, ‘How would you have felt if you’d been elected and you’d called him and asked him to do this?’ And that really made a big impression on me. How do you say no? And so…I said yes. And here I am.” She laughs and picks up her fork and stabs a kiwi out of her fruit salad and pops it in her mouth.
I ask whether she knew that Obama was going to invite her to join his administration. “Philippe kept saying, ‘He’s going to offer you Secretary of State.’ I said, ‘Philippe, that is ridiculous! It is absurd.’ ” “I witnessed it,” says Huma.
“You witnessed it,” says Clinton, shaking her head in disbelief.
“Not going to happen, not in a million years,” says Philippe, gently mocking his boss’s reaction at the time.
“Not going to happen,” says Clinton.
“Fun days,” says Philippe.
“For you, maybe,” says Clinton with a mordant laugh.
Now, I’m not one who assumes that everything that Secretary Clinton says is untrue (“including and and the,” as Mary McCarthy once famously said about Lillian Hellman) but in this case, I don’t believe her. My bet is that SoS was in fact the one job in the Obama administration that she wanted, and she didn’t dare to think she was actually going to get it. Perhaps insisting that “I didn’t want to do it” is a way of distancing herself from her own ambition. (And we all know that women who have an ounce of political ambition are “problems” to be “solved” by humiliating them, don’t we?)