America’s new Secretary of State headed to Brussels last week, her first official visit to Europe since Barack Obama brought her aboard. And she managed to out-Dubya George W. Bush. After mispronouncing the names of several dignitaries with non-English names, Clinton fired off this nugget during a speech:
“I have never understood multiparty democracy,” she said after touting the American two-party system, which, as you know, always works exactly right. “It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than.”
For the record, Mrs. Clinton, Greece is in Europe. So is Rome. You may have heard of these places, and maybe read about their histories. You know, the books with the people wearing sandals and robes on the covers … there’s lots of stuff about democracy in there. Also, England’s first Parliament was formed in 1265 (although it was slightly illegal and didn’t last long). Actually, as I flip through my mental museum I can think of a dozen or so democratic governments formed in European countries before America was anything more than England’s little practice colony.
Maybe she meant big-D Democrats. You know, her political party. In that case, she would be correct. The US had Democrats before Europe did. Still does, in fact. But no, I don’t think that’s what she meant.
Stupid people say stupid things. We know this. And we live with it. But when smart people — and make no mistake, this is one of the smartest people on the planet — say stupid things, it’s just embarassing. For her, and for her country. That being said, Clinton is on a bit of a whirlwind world tour, and is likely not getting enough sleep. If she isn’t giving a speech, or shaking hands, or meeting with staff while in flight, she’s probably lying there, sleepless, her head filled with questions: “Why didn’t I win?” “What does Obama have that I don’t?” “Why did Bill sound like he was calling from a strip club?”