Best year: The Clintons


When we gave Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton our "good year" in 2010, we thought she was headed toward a little bit of a letdown in 2011. Boy, were we wrong. (Mental note: Stop counting out the Clintons.)

In a year in which almost anyone associated with the Obama administration turned to dross — Attorney General Eric Holder ("Fast and Furious"), Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (the economy), Energy Secretary Steven Chu (Solyndra), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Plan B) — Clinton managed to stay gold.

She continued to travel the world at a breakneck pace — some 60 trips abroad and nearly 600,000 miles to date — including to places such as Burma, where no U.S. diplomat had ventured in decades. Clinton's steady leadership on Libya drew wide praise in the diplomatic world and contributed to the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

And the American public loved her for it. In a CNN poll in late September, 69 percent of people had a favorable opinion of Clinton — a stratospheric number in a political climate in which politicians are widely reviled.

It isn't just the secretary of state who can count 2011 as a very good year. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, appears fully rehabilitated from the image hit he took during the 2008 campaign and has reclaimed his title as the smartest strategist in the Democratic Party. The Obama White House even appears to be taking a page from the 1996 Clinton reelection strategy, making a series of small-bore moves on the economy to show progress. (If you want more on how to fix the economy, just check out Bill's book "Back to Work," released last month and ensconced on the bestseller lists.)

And then there was Chelsea Clinton, who inked a deal with NBC in November to serve as a special correspondent for the Peacock Network and appeared this month on "Rock Center" — the Fix's favorite new show.

All in all, an amazing year for the Clintons. Again.

chris.cillizza@wpost.com

Chris Cillizza writes the political blog The Fix and is managing editor of PostPolitics.com.

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