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Karen Hughes' Halloween Magic

Ruth's picture

Personalities are something I generally avoid, but for doing a totally poor job, this appointee has got to rate high as they come. Karen Hughes is finally going to stop trashing the U.S.'s reputation by being its representatives, and applause is called for.

As the croniest of cronies, this woman has embarrassed us abroad very much like the occupier of the White House has embarrassed the country everywhere and for all time.

Karen Hughes, who led efforts to improve the U.S. image abroad and was one of President Bush's last remaining advisers from the close circle of Texas aides, will leave the government at the end of the year, she told The Associated Press.

Hughes said she plans to quit her job as undersecretary of state and return to Texas, although improving the world's view of the United States is a "long-term challenge" that will outlast her.

"This will take a number of years," Hughes said in an interview to announce her departure. She was informing her staff of her decision Wednesday morning and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was announcing it.

Bush had picked Hughes two years ago to retool the way the United States sells its policies, ideals and views overseas. A former television reporter and media adviser, Hughes' focus has been to change the way the United States engages and responds to criticism or misinformation in the Muslim world.

"Negative events never help," Hughes said when asked how events like last month's shooting of Iraqi civilians by private U.S. security guards in Iraq affects the way the world sees the United States.

Heading the broad category of U.S. outreach known as public diplomacy, Hughes sent Arabic speakers to do four times as many interviews with Arabic media as in previous years and set up three rapid public relations response centers overseas to monitor and respond to the news. She nearly doubled the public diplomacy budget, to nearly $900 million annually, and sent U.S. sports stars Michelle Kwan and Cal Ripken abroad as unofficial diplomats.

Polls show no improvement in the world's view of the U.S. since Hughes took over.(Emphasis added.)

Hughes should be used in future training sessions in the State Department and throughout the government as an example of how badly the country can be hurt by nasty ignorant representatives. Her remarks usually drew gasps of astonishment by the breadth of their nerve and depth of their misapprehension of facts. Like the rest of the cabal, Karen Hughes exhibited deep and abiding concern for corporate welfare, and distaste for the public interest. This isn't some one habituated to drawing room behavior, and she offended everyone. I personally am sure this was what her appointment was intended to do. As a representative of the worst presidency in history, she was an appropriate choice.

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