Jeb Bush is set to present Hillary Clinton with the National Constitution Center Liberty Medal on September 10.
“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,” Bush said, in statement released in June. “These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.”
As the date of the presentation nears, Tea Partiers — unsurprisingly — are apoplectic that the former secretary of state, senator and First Lady of the United States and Arkansas is receiving an honor previously awarded to Sandra Day O’Connor, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“It is extremely distressing to learn that on the eve of the First Anniversary of the Benghazi attack (9/11/12), in which an American Ambassador and three American soldiers were killed–the National Constitution Center–led by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, will present former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with the 2013 Philadelphia Liberty Medal,” reads Independence Hall Tea Party Association’s website.
The group is planning a press conference in protest, during which they will name the winner of their “2013 Defender of Liberty Medal” — which I’m guessing will not be Mrs. Clinton.
Republicans are intent on holding Clinton accountable for the tragedy at a CIA outpost in Benghazi. Strangely, they didn’t apply the same standard to George W. Bush, who was president when there was a terrorist attack on another 9/11.
Thomas Pickering — George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations — investigated the Benghazi attack and found that Secretary Clinton and her deputies bore no direct responsibility for the security breakdown at the outpost.
Our Joe Conason spoke to Pickering about the investigation:
“The third question that has come up,” said Pickering, “is why we didn’t investigate the Secretary of State” and her deputies. The “simple and straightforward answer” is that “they played no role in the decision making which was relevant to the preparations for meeting the security crisis in Benghazi,” and the role they did play on the night of September 11 “was fairly clearly portrayed to us by other people who attended the meetings, and we had no questions about it. We thought that what they did made sense and fit exactly what should have been done.”
Jeb Bush, who is often cited along with Clinton as a likely candidate for the presidency in 2016, is obviously aware of the political implications of honoring her. Either he believes that the impartiality of an organization that honored both his father and Mrs. Clinton’s husband gives him cover, or he doesn’t care.
Tea Party Republicans are unlikely to forget such a blatant offense, however.
“This pretty much destroys the ‘Jeb Bush 2016’ talk, doesn’t it?” National Review Online‘s Jim Geraghty wrote on Tuesday morning.
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