What would Hillary ask herself?

HillaryCmte1 Hillary’s confirmation hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled, but Tom Daschle’s is Thursday and Eric Holder’s is next week, so an announcement could come any day now. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Hillary took part in a number of high-profile confirmation hearings in the past few years, including Gates for Defense and ...

589789_090106_hillarycmte12.jpg
589789_090106_hillarycmte12.jpg

Hillary's confirmation hearing hasn't yet been scheduled, but Tom Daschle's is Thursday and Eric Holder's is next week, so an announcement could come any day now.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Hillary took part in a number of high-profile confirmation hearings in the past few years, including Gates for Defense and Petraeus when he took over command in Iraq and later Central Command.

HillaryCmte1

HillaryCmte1

Hillary’s confirmation hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled, but Tom Daschle’s is Thursday and Eric Holder’s is next week, so an announcement could come any day now.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Hillary took part in a number of high-profile confirmation hearings in the past few years, including Gates for Defense and Petraeus when he took over command in Iraq and later Central Command.

So, what would Hillary ask herself if she were behind the dais and not at the table? I’ve been browsing transcripts of hearings this afternoon to see if any insights can be gleaned. (She’ll appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will no doubt be delighted to be spared former committee chairman Joe Biden’s loquacity.)

Clinton is just as guilty as any other senator of the habit of not using the allotted time to ask actual questions. (I don’t think she asked Petraeus a single question when he was confirmed for Iraq command back in January 2007.) But there are a few questions she did ask that she might see offered back to her, in some shape or form:

  • To Petraeus, May 2008: “Based on your assessment at this moment in time, do we have enough troops to achieve success, however “success” is defined, in Afghanistan?”
  • Same hearing: “How large a priority do you believe tracking down Osama bin Laden should be?”  
  • To Gates, December 2006: “Can you tell us when and how you came to the conclusion that…that we were not winning?”

And I would love to hear this one repeated back to her, which she also asked Gates:

[D]o you believe the president, the vice president and the existing secretary of defense are intelligent men?”

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Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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