Samantha Power Puff: WashPost Calls Obama's UN Pick a 'Dazzling Diagnostician' of U.S. Failure

The Sunday Washington Post Magazine has a new, larger design, which allows for a bigger picture of Obama favorite Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The first sign that Post writer Manuel Roig-Franzia’s going to play it soft: he never mentions that Power called Hillary Clinton a “monster” in 2008.

Or the first sign might be the goopy copy about how she is “one of her generation’s most dazzling diagnosticians” of government failings. (Here again, Manuel leaves out that she's attacking Clinton failings.) To be precise, our government’s failures includes a failure to pass woolly-headed treaties like a ban on land mines. Power is learning that doesn’t exactly work:

At the White House, one person seemed uniquely qualified to answer that [land mine ban] question and to spur action. Samantha Power, a longtime humanitarian advocate, had been placed in the sanctum of the National Security Council by President Obama earlier that year. She had instantly become, as Donald Steinberg, a former member of the council’s Deputies Committee, puts it: “The eyes, the ears and the conscience of the White House.” Power is one of her generation’s most dazzling diagnosticians of our government’s failings, a favorite of the president’s, a Pulitzer-winning author who devastatingly chronicled America’s history of dereliction in humanitarian crises.

Urp. The article is titled “The Education of Samantha Power” because it’s easier to be an idealist outside of government than a pragmatist on the inside: “She has had to learn the subtler art of making things happen within wthe insular and cautious administration she now serves as the youngest U.N. ambassador in American history.”

For the radical left, this could be a story of how all the naivete that Obama championed in 2007 and 2008 (like closing Guantantamo) met reality. But there were no radical leftists to criticize her in this piece. Roig-Franzia always champions this subject:

Power, 43, is saddled with unusually high expectations, the byproduct of the assuredness of her writing and the confidence she exudes. In one of her early acts after becoming ambassador in August, she delivered a high-profile speech arguing for limited airstrikes in Syria. The strikes never happened. And though she is only one of many U.S. officials involved in shaping Syria policy, she feels the weight of those expectations. ‘I’m sure for some who counted on me to end the war in Syria within my first semester here,’ she says one afternoon at her New York office, pausing to chuckle, ‘I’m sure I’ve disappointed.’

If Power’s four years in the White House proved anything it might be the enduring value of keeping your mouth shut in the ultra-controlled Obama age. During her years on the national security team, she discouraged media attention — no easy feat, given her fame. As she settles into a more public role as U.N. ambassador, she is less institutionally constrained. But the caution remains. She is careful, even about the smallest of things, a calculation that sometimes appears at war with her reflexive instincts as a storyteller.

On her right wrist, Power wears a simple twisted-cloth bracelet that bears a small metal bar etched with a single word: ‘Fearlessness.’ It neatly symbolizes her public persona as the passionate humanitarian advocate. She has worn the bracelet continuously since just before her July confirmation hearing…It was given to her by someone in the human rights community, she says haltingly, her voice more cautious bureaucrat than fiery revolutionary.


This is where Roig-Franzia refuses to acknowledge one reason why Power kept out of the spotlight in the first term: because that "monster" Hillary Cliinton was Secretary of State.

There's more gauzy sentences like "The broken places of the world are Power's comfort zone," and her 2003 book "lucidly criticizes U.S. goverment responses to genocides, melding academic analysis with riveting storytelling." You get the picture.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis