Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?

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hillary clinton twn 2001.jpg
Four days ago I published and then quickly “unpublished” this item on Hillary Clinton being in line for Secretary of State:

I just received some surprising news — like, really surprising.
The deal is not done — but at the moment — Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the lead to be Secretary of State.
I thought she wouldn’t take it if offered. I thought that she would wait until the 2010 midterms and see how Barack Obama does before choosing her next course — just in case she wanted a rematch.
But as odd and difficult to believe as this is, I have excellent inside information that the job is hers if she wants it.
— Steve Clemons

Let me state the reasons I posted and then unposted it. I had intended an immediate follow-up to make more nuanced my post, but my schedule proved too overwhelming at the time to get the piece up.
I received a tip from another well-connected friend who reported to me that last Saturday evening, one of Barack Obama’s closest advisers told trusted friends that Hillary could very well be the next Secretary of State. I received the call Sunday morning.
The fact that this was being kibbitzed about could have been part of a process of trying to seem respectful of Hillary Clinton by leading members of the Obama team. It could have been a ‘head fake.’ Alternatively, it could have been real.
I thought that it was important enough of a piece of credible gossip that it should be out on the internet and be introduced to the discussion on who might — and who should — succeed Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.
A few minutes later, I got on the phone to people who were part of the inside wiring of Hillary Land, and I was told bluntly that I was either being fed something that wasn’t true and was a distraction or that “Hillary’s senior team had not been ‘read in’.”
It seems that the latter may have been the case because of the news reports now that she is being seriously considered.
I had been told by other close Hillary Land keyholders that Hillary had never really acquiesced to being a Senator from New York forever. She wants to do something significant and distinctive with her life, I was told.
It would have been logical for her to keep her powder dry on what her next steps would be to see if Obama suffered serious political defeat in the 2010 midterm elections — but others tell me now that she decided that there would be no way of unseating Barack Obama from the Democratic Party’s endorsement in 2012, no matter the results in 2010.
This then opened the possibility of other options — including Secretary of State.
So, to those who wanted to know what happened to the post I had up — well, the real answer was very mixed signals. . .and I thought before I began to be misinterpreted as saying she “would” be Secretary of State as opposed to she “could” be Secretary of State, I wanted to modify the posting and didn’t get to it.
I also began to wrestle with the framing that this is EXACTLY what George W. Bush did to his most serious rival in 2000, Colin Powell. He gave Powell Secretary of State and then began to box him up. Barack Obama may be on the same track with Hillary Clinton who is and was his chief rival in the Democratic Party today.
Many of you asked what was up — and that’s the whole story.
Very interesting.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

84 comments on “Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?

  1. AmeriMcCain says:

    “We cannot survive another Clinton.”
    🙂
    The Left were so worried about another Bush administration that they voted in something far worse: another Clinton administration.
    As the song says, “Watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you?”

    Reply

  2. Mia Tei says:

    This clinton restoration is ‘change’?
    And how many foreign millions-perhaps billions- are sluicing
    into clinton coffers? ‘Conflict of interest’ doesn’t begin to
    describe the problem with this appointment.
      
    To paraphrase bill clinton, that the lovely couple can survive
    Obama’s putative vetting process is ‘the biggest fairy tale I’ve
    ever seen.’
    And let us not forget the connection between 9/11 and clinton
    self-interest.
    See YouTube: Virtual Kill-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35NXXg-M46Q
    Which brings us more generally to clinton corruption and
    conflicts of interest….
    Why in the world would Obama entrust the security of our
    nation, the safety of our people, the future of our children, yet
    one more time to the clintons, who we know with certainty will
    always put self-interest above national interest?
    We cannot survive another clinton. (Indeed, we may yet not
    survive the first.)

    Reply

  3. Carlos Navarro says:

    Barack Obama’s decision to name Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State post could well turn out to be his first major blunder, for these obvious reasons:
    First, there’s the inseparable bond with her husband Bill. Given the duo’s unquenchable thirst for power, they would not be content to play second fiddle. From day one they would be scheming to usurp control of the White House. Once they get a foothold, Obama would be hard-pressed to rein them in.
    Then, there’s the Clintons’ long history of corruption, deception and sleaze—Whitewatergate, Pardongate, Cattle-futuresgate, Chinagate, Filegate, Fellatiogate, the using of uniformed marines as waiters, the plundering of White House property, the Impeachment and near conviction, the punitive IRS audits, the violent deaths of potentially incriminating witness. This alone would provide Obama’s enemies with all the grime they needed to smear his presidency.
    Consider further that unlike a Condoleezza Rice or a Madelaine Albright—not to mention bona fide statesmen like Henry Kissinger, Dean Rusk and John Foster Dulles–Hillary Clinton lacks the educational and cultural gravitas to represent our nation abroad. Her lawyering in Arkansas and stint in Congress doesn’t quite cut it. She did get 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries, probably more than Obama, but a large proportion of those votes were cast by diehard feminists and the less educated, hardly the constituency whose support lends credibility to a Secretary of State.
    Barack Obama should recall the reasons why he didn’t choose Hillary as his VP running mate. For his and the nation’s sake, let us hope that she changes her mind and spurns the Secretary of State offer. Her coyness in reaching her decision–making Obama beg, in effect–is already an ominous sign.

    Reply

  4. MATTHEW ADAMS says:

    Hillary is a horrible choice! She will have her own Agenda and not President elect OBAMA’S. I don’t trust her either. He will have to get rid of her in 4 years or less like Bush did to Powel.Clinton can not be a TEAM player either. She also has no African Americans on her payrol. What DOES THAT SAY? Bill Richardson is latino and he or John Kerry would be a perfect choice. Obama will regret doing this and will have to get rid of her. Her friends and donors are still saying nasty things about OBAMA on T.V. and still calling her the president. Obama will have to get rid of her in 1 year. Hillary never supported him and voted for the war in Iraq!

    Reply

  5. Marilyn Holz 111 says:

    Whatever anyone may think of HRC, SHE LOVES HER COUNTRY.
    From a young woman, she has never faltered from that. The
    bottom line here is that we had a 2 year campaign and that’s a
    lot of time to sling mud, and mud was slung. But the election is
    now over, we have President-Elect Barack Obama. He won
    because he is brilliant, he rose above everything that was thrown
    his way, he stuck to the issues and came out the winner. HRC
    was never far behind him. If we think back many of their
    speeches we will recall want they want for our country are the
    same things. Middle Class America was on top of both their lists
    . While many may say she did not immediately get up and get on
    the trail for Barack and find fault with that, I think in the same
    position we all would have needed some space to re-group.
    Once the dust settled she was able to get out there and
    campaign as she always does, with her all. As far as SOS, just as
    we trusted and elected Barack Obama, we must trust his choice
    of the people he puts at his side. Yes we want change, but there
    are positions in the administration that require experience or the
    change will never come about. HRC has a lot to offer, she can
    look back to the times mistakes were made and offer
    suggestions for a better way. In the end we must never lose
    sight of who the boss is, President-Elect Barack Obama. One
    thing we should not allow to happen, in party fighting. The
    Republicans do enough of that for the entire country. We want
    peace not war and while we may not always agree, we do agree
    to disagree. We should all be putting our energy into a new
    energy plan not using it to find fault with our new President. Just
    as Barack will not let us down, Hillary will not let him down. She
    is loved & respected all around the world and she will restore
    our image that W made a career of destroying for the last 8
    years.

    Reply

  6. Peter Michaels Allen says:

    The last few days have been a wonderful affirmation as to why I voted for Obama over Clinton:
    Obama: Looks to appoint the best qualified, most effective person so a position. Might solve an issue or two.
    Clinton: Serves a Grade A Mind-Fuck up to the world for the sake of self-interest. You ran up the debt of your own campaign. Deal with it. You lost. Get over. No bailouts for sore losers.
    Hilary, if you take much longer you might as well set the egg timer for Limbaugh to liken you to a teenage girl unable to decide on which pair of shoes she should buy. You’re better than this… maybe. Buck up.
    — Peter

    Reply

  7. movie fan says:

    if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, hopefully she will be able to concentrate on country-centric issues without being distracted by other drama or her career plans

    Reply

  8. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Give em hell Harry couldn’t give anyone hell if the devil himself gave him his pitchfork to use.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Reid is fuckin’ wormy little mouse. Listening to him pile kudos onto Lieberman was truly sickening. I guess the reaming Roberts gave him wasn’t enough, now he’s bent over for Lieberman.
    Gads, can these insipid pissants on the left be any more despicable? These weaklings aren’t going to “represent” us any more than GWB did.

    Reply

  10. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Demz…soft on accountability….long on tucking tail…they always pull their punches and fail to uphold the rule of law to not appear vindictive, as if there is no difference between demanding ethics in office and retaliating for partisan purposes…in my book it’s just as wrong to not hold someone accountable for partisan purposes as it is to do it for political reasons… why I’m so bent out of shape about impeachment being off the table from the minute they won their slim majority…go figure.

    Reply

  11. rich says:

    Kathleen,
    I’m not surprised in the least. What’s objectionable is the notion that retribution was involved. Rather than a minimal cost for engaging in the kind of divisive, highly partisan attacks that McCarthyite Repubs have wielded against Democrats for 8 years. That’s not payback. That’s just setting things right. That’s simply evening the scales to END the kind of ugly, uncivil rhetoric that’s cost Democrats acres of political capital for decades.
    JoeL’s behavior has put the lie to his continual, unctuous appeals for bipartisanship–as though that fig leaf really needed to be exposed. The problem is the double standard: compromise, reconciliation, and bipartisanship is apparently something that Democrats are expected to give up, by agreeing with Republicans. Republicans, though, never have to compromise or patch things up, and can engage in unrestrained and unrelenting attacks ’til the cows come home–and on into the night.
    In any other political moment, JoeL could’ve easily cost the Democrats heavily.

    Reply

  12. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Rich..OT again, but sorry about the way the Joe L thing worked out…I knew the invertabrate Dems would be soft on accountability…but don’t despair, last night the Rachel Maddow Show reported that 61% of CT. voters disapprove of the job Joe L. is doing…now if they don’t develope amnesia by 2012 and actually nominate him as a Dem, we might be able to get rid of him but I’m not counting on it. ..one thing in our favor is that CT. voters are sick of Senators with Veep fever…even Dodd’s numbers are down because people resent him moving to Oowa for a year. Keep the faith….mine is shot.

    Reply

  13. rich says:

    But then, the question I raised doesn’t seem to be a nagging concern in the quarters where it matters.
    http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/11/reactions_to_secretary_of_stat.php
    On another note,
    Steve had commented that Sen. Obama’s success was riding on his ability to incorporate the Clinton machine/political bloc.
    Can we safely say that the number of Clintonites on Obama’s transition team signaled that, far from being taken over by ‘Clintonistas’ (an unfair pejorative)—he’d succesfully ‘colonized’ their political organization? I think so.
    Judging from Obama’s track record, seems to me he’s in firm control.

    Reply

  14. rich says:

    MarkL,
    I did NOT write “that Obama needs to keep the Clintons under watch.” I wrote that “unless it’s imperative to bring the Clintons inside the Obama camp where [so that] he can keep an eye on ’em.” It may not be. I just dont’ see a net benefit, in the absence of that need.
    Please read more closely.
    Further, Obama was elected because he differentiated himself from the Repub-Demo staus quo & conventional wisdom, while Hillary Clinton tacked closely to a hawkish, if not neocon, position. Now, either she really believed that, or she didn’t have the political acumen to reject it forthrightly. Either way, I’m not that comfortable with her helming Obama’s State Dept after she so clearly side with the conventional wisdom pushed by Bush & the hawks. What’s more, she viscerally attacked Senator Obama on the campaign trail, in attempt to delegitimize his politics. I don’t think she should be charged with carrying out his foreign policy.
    I do think the Clinton foreign policies and trade policies are, in many ways, six of one, half-dozen of the other, relative to Bush’s. The differences are negligible and don’t make the important–changes required to get us out of these foreign policy/economic disasters.
    btw, Wen Ho Lee was prosecuted by Clinton’s Justice Dept., and if I were you, I’d read up on Bill Richardson’s record of accomplishment.
    For me, I don’t know that I could trust someone who used those tactics on the campaign trail. Admittedly, the unity has been greater than I expected, and I appreciate that greatly. That’s great. But again, where is the experience, really? If it’s a matter of using Clinton’s extendive contacts to leverage foreign policy success, that’d be great. On the other hand, can Obama count on that network not running interference as he strives to reach his objectives? And shouldn’t he be able to count on the Clinton’s support whether Hillary’s SoS or not?
    I’m no Clinton-hater. But I expect more from both of them than we got. And the self-serving complaints of ‘bias’ or unfairness were not on point—Obama didn’t pull that stuff, the media did. And it was hardly unexpected.

    Reply

  15. MarkL says:

    Rich,
    I stopped reading your comment when you wrote that Obama needs to keep the Clinton’s under watch.
    You Clinton haters are just nuts. Ok, I didn’t stop.. this “Bush-Clinton” nonsense is also crazy.
    There was no “Bush-Clinton” era.
    BTW, how you could support Richardson, a total buffoon and moron, over ANYONE, is a mystery.
    Wen Ho Lee says GO HILLARY!

    Reply

  16. rich says:

    Back On-Topic.
    Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State may do an admirable job–in conventional terms. But that equates to continuing down the same path that has damaged the country so badly for the past 8 to 16 years.
    I don’t see the net positive here, unless it’s imperative to bring the Clintons inside the Obama camp where he can keep an eye on ’em.
    The negatives outweigh that concern.
    Judgment and Ideological Stance. Why would you install Hillary as Secretary of State, when her political judgment on Iraq–and Iran–was so at odds with the American electorate? When Hillary’s stance is uniformly consistent with the Bush and Clinton policies that got us into this foreign policy disaster? You know, the total loss of our international stature, the loss of blood and treasure?
    If this is the time to redirect American foreign policy and repair all that damage— do you really want someone in charge of the Dept. of State would couldn’t understand that in real time? Who wouldn’t take the lead on it, if she did?
    Experience. Again, does Hillary Clinton have substantive experience as a diplomat? No, First Lady confers social stature and celebrity status, but it never tempers the skills and traits of a diplomat in the crucible of negotiations. That’s for civil servants.
    Leadership. You might argue that Hillary could be an effective administrator of professional corps at State. But could she? Is that what she proved in her Presidential campaign, that she was a skillful leader capable of guiding committed professionals through a spirited fight to a resounding victory? Uh, no. She didn’t just lose, she squandered millions and operated with her staff in disarray.
    And really didn’t seem to notice that, or the sharp dissonance between her messaging and the mood of the country. And if she’s tone deaf to the political demands of her own country, how’s she gonna listen effectively to the political currents and competing concerns of foreign nations?
    Appearance / Ethics.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/us/politics/18clintons.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp
    Abner Mikva and others point out that Bill Clinton’s global reach may present possible conflicts of interest—and that could play hell with any new directions Obama might want to go. Given the huge course correction this country needs to undergo, it’s plain that Hillary Clinton is not committed to or even interested in repairing the Ship of State. She can handle the job, but can she handle it well? Does she have the creative intellect and cutting-edge perspective? Or she continue down the same path James Baker, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright took the country? If so, we’re in deep trouble.
    Track Record. Did Hillary really make an effort to stand up against Bush on torture? On Constitutional issues? On Mukasey? Where was the understanding and insistence that we’d gone off the rails in the international arena? Ultimately she was a status quo Senator, who did little on the score of accountability. If she couldn’t do her job as a Senator, I really don’t want her as Secretary of State who will serve the country well in time of crisis.
    Bill Richardson, by the same measures, has qualifications that far surpass Clinton, including a substantive track record. We need someone who has proven they know how to do the job—and a clear perspective that doesn’t imprison their intellect and judgment within the false Establishment frameworks that have hobbled the country and cost us so much.

    Reply

  17. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    The Obama’s decision regarding the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the next secretary of state (replacing Miss Condeleeza Rice) seems strategic rather than emotional.The astute and poised Hillary has befitting qualifications and merits fot the said post.Yet for Mrs Clinton the prospective assignment would be very paramount and tenacious.

    Reply

  18. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sweetness…I’m glad you mentioned Malcom X…I’ve often said, if it weren’t for Malcom X, MLK would have been considered the radical one. That is the dynamics of public opinion….the extreme ends determine the center.
    We know Nader won’t be elected but it’s important that the choice exists or we’d all be gossestepping before long without the extreme left to counterblance the extreme right….
    I read today that BO is vowing to end torture, which is encouraging, but when you appoint two holdovers from George Tennet, it doesn’t inspire confidence. Dopey and Darth still have time to make mischief and it wouldn’t take a whole lot of questioning Dems and BO on being soft on “Islamofascists” to make them bend over backwards to prove otherwise.
    I’m so furious at the jello critters in Congress for being soft on accountabilty, I’m taking every thing they Dems with a pound of salt. I’m praying I’m wrong.
    Tuma..another book you may like…not in the legal vein, The Book of Hopi, written by Hopi Elder Oscar White Bear and anthropologist Frank Waters, is a wonderful exposition of the Hopi history and culture…I was so fascinated by the Hopi when I read this book, I used to carry it around with me and open it at random to re-read it…then one day I met a young man from Finland who knew the Hopi and took me to meet them…this is when they asked me to help them deliver their ancient prophecy to the UN. One could say this book totally changed my life because I spent the next 30 years working on Native issues. One of the results of our work at the UN was the creation in 1992 of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues., which is a standing body with indigenous representatives from all over the world.. monitoring Indigenous issues.

    Reply

  19. Sweetness says:

    K writes: “Sweetness…let’s hope your take on this is the correct
    one…but frankly, “Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact”
    doesn’t bode well in my book. If BO can be opposed, verbally, to
    warrantless domestic spying before he votes for it, what’s to
    stop him from being opposed to torture, verbally, and then not
    wanting to appear soft on” Islamofascists”….. he did eliminate
    Muslims from his photo-ops…this kind of expediency makes me
    sick. and does not inspire any confidence in me….”
    Yes, you’re right, of course. We’ll have to see what he does. I
    think we can expect Obama to take from column A and column B
    with the hope that he doesn’t get ground up in the hyper-
    partisan gears. It’s important to have people like Nader forcing
    the discussion, but Nader is never going to get elected. So you
    also need people like Obama who can get elected and are
    therefore in a position to do something, even if it’s not the
    whole ball of wax. He doesn’t have as much political capital as
    people might think.
    Malcolm X famously told MLK that he said some of the extreme
    things he said to push folks toward MLK.

    Reply

  20. Roland says:

    A german journalist wrote sth. like this, and I agree-
    Do you need a secretary of state with media talent to improve the worldwide image of the US? No, that is the job of Obama, and he already started to do this very well.
    You may need a sec. of state with less desire of self-promotion and who is also willing to meet 10 times without media coverage to discuss about details of borders in the mid-east, details of nuclear (and non-proliferation) issues and so on. Is this the foreign policy record of Hillary Clinton? I don’t guess.
    Let us see…

    Reply

  21. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Tuma…phew…that was going to be a tough one to discuss….my “Bible” on Native American Rights is a book by Stephan Pevar and published by the ACLU..”Rights of Indians and Tribes”…I used this as a major source for the formal complaint I drafted for .the traditional Hopi with the UN Commission for Human Rights, against the USA for racial discrimination against the red race. As a result,. they appointed two human rights experts to come to Washington and Arizona to look into the ongoing forced relocation of Hopi/Navajo in 1987…brought to us by legislation sponsored by John McCain…buy hey, Obama wants to reach out to McCain…when i have a moment, I can dig out the copy of the Hopi Prophecy for the UN that the UN published in 6 languages…I can give you the doc.# so you can request it…or maybe I can mail one to Steve and he can scan it in and create a link if anyone is interested..it’s promarilly about the environment.
    Sweetness…let’s hope your take on this is the correct one…but frankly, “Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact” doesn’t bode well in my book. If BO can be opposed, verbally, to warrantless domestic spying before he votes for it, what’s to stop him from being opposed to torture, verbally, and then not wanting to appear soft on” Islamofascists”….. he did eliminate Muslims from his photo-ops…this kind of expediency makes me sick. and does not inspire any confidence in me….
    Meanwhile, out on the cutting edge of Freedom Fighters, here’s Ralph Nader on Obama/Impeachment and “accountability” or the lack thereof…If Bo couldn’t see anything that rose to the level of an impeachable offense, anything’s possible..except the rule of law being upheld.
    http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/37697
    And while we’re on the subject of being soft on accoutability…more on saving Joe L.
    Obama on Lieberman…isn’t that special???
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15551.html

    Reply

  22. Michael says:

    Hillary is a hawk. She would serve herself and the administration better as the first female Secretary of Defense.

    Reply

  23. Tuma says:

    It was sort of my attempt at humor.
    One of the hoary theories about the lost tribes is that they were the
    native Americans.
    “Chumash,” which comes from the Hebrew word “five” is how Jews
    refer to the Five Books of Moses, or the Torah.
    Anyway, I enjoy the article about you and your work and thought I’d
    throw in a little levity.
    On a more serious note is there a comprehensive work on native
    American tribes you could recommend. There seem to be so many
    of them.

    Reply

  24. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Tuma…yes I do…this is what first interested me in Native American rights… ever since I moved here, I’ve worked on Native American rights…. for many years I worked with the local Chumash.Elders and families to preserve their culture, help them seek Federal Acknowledgement..unfortunately, most of the Elders have passed on, but their children work to keep the teachings alive and taught in the schools. there was a lot of controversy between the traditional elders and younger members on the subject of casinos…I’ve never heard the families mention being one of the lost tribes of Israel…maybe you could enlightenment me….

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  25. Sweetness says:

    “With BO’s torture policy being Yes We Can, I wouldn’t want to be
    associated with that.”
    Funny, I read the article, and this is not what it says. Point is, we
    don’t know what BO will do with respect to torture.

    Reply

  26. Tuma says:

    Kathleen, I see from your writings, that you live or lived on lands
    inhabited by the Chumash Indians. I think this proves the old
    theory that Native Americans, at least some, descend from the lost
    tribes of Israel.

    Reply

  27. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    With BO’s torture policy being Yes We Can, I wouldn’t want to be associated with that. HRC is at least opposed to torture. See WSJ piece.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122636726473415991.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Reply

  28. yuri kon says:

    “.. Here are the big
    issues: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, terrorism,
    the global economic meltdown, energy, global warming and the
    growing deterioration of human and environmental conditions
    one sees around the world..”
    if terrorism really is just a false flag operation, then iraq,
    afghanistan, pakistan, and terrorism does are not big issues. ever
    wonder why the govt spent 5 trillion over the last decade for this
    facade?

    Reply

  29. alan says:

    I hope HRC does not take this offer. It will only give the usual suspects another opportunity to vent their spleen. She did what was asked of her in the final run up to the election and her real power rests in her Senate seat. Seniority will be a drag, and a number of the seniors are now buffons – Stevens in the lead. No: just “do what you do best” is my advice. She does not have to take bs from assorted pundits (two of whom were boliviating on Hardball last night.) It turn out that she can count on women being her most virulent critics. She can be helpful to Senators and Congress candidates in upcoming races. Over time her rise will be assured and her contributions will be worthwhile.

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  30. Craig says:

    Oh, Iran and North Korea too.

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  31. Craig says:

    On balance, Hillary Clinton would seem to be a good pick but
    only if she’s part of the foreign policy team, meaning number 2
    after Obama with other players involved. She would be a leading
    figure but the foreign policies issues our country faces are far
    bigger than one person can handle. The idea that one or two or
    three big issues can be pursued while putting others on the back
    burner for two to four years is a nonchoice. Here are the big
    issues: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, terrorism,
    the global economic meltdown, energy, global warming and the
    growing deterioration of human and environmental conditions
    one sees around the world. Those problems, even without
    mentioning other problems such as Georgia, Somalian pirates,
    Burma, several countries in Africa and several countries in South
    America, are too huge for one person. Obama’s foreign policy is
    going to need more than one or two big names. And somebody
    is going to have to figure out how to get the Europeans more
    involved.

    Reply

  32. Mr.Murder says:

    So much for her war vote, what would the world think if she was promoted after supporting in full George Bush’s war?
    You mean he was just campaigning, and not really honest when he made those assertions?
    New kind of politics, ya.

    Reply

  33. Pacos_gal says:

    Well, it looks like I’m wrong since I’ve now read that it was staffers who said Clinton was in the running.
    If it was just Clinton’s people or “Democrat sources”, then I’d be skeptical.
    I probably just don’t want it to be true, because honestly, I just have a hard time seeing her trying to forward Obama’s agenda and not what she thinks is the correct path. She is definitely a leader and that is what might be the problem. How close can her and Obama work together? As SOS they need to be on the same page since she represents not only her country but the president and her words have to be his words.

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  34. David says:

    Oh, what the hell, here’s what I’ve thought for some time now: either Hillary Clinton or Bill Richardson for SOS for the simple reason that they are both very strong candidates who would make excellent SOSs. And Hillary moving from the Senate to SOS fits with who the woman is and what she has always stood for. Yeah, she’s a political animal, and yeah, she made a terrible mistake regarding Iraq, but the woman has a first-rate mind and as worthy a record as a public servant as any high-profile American out there. And no one can match her globally on women’s issues, which are one door to solutions to the problems threatening the planet. The men in charge have failed us, and the old guard women, including Margaret Thatcher, have also failed us. But there are many, many women worldwide rising to the challenges we face, and Hillary can provide a coalescing no one else, including Condi Rice, has any chance of providing. And I think she can enter this arena as a partner, as she has already done.
    Frankly, having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson is a hell of a dilemma. Talk about not being able to go wrong. Only question is, Where do you put the talents of the one you don’t choose for SOS?
    Oh, and SOS removes Hillary from her one huge mistake, over-militaristic enthusiasm for the war crime against Iraq. Madelaine Albright was overly militaristic as SOS, but I think Hillary will don the mantle of SOS as chief diplomat for POTUS, and will make State a force for good in a more reunited world. I really do think this. It is not just a hope.

    Reply

  35. Linda says:

    A little irony about Seward: Seward’s Folly (also then called “Seward’s icebox”) gave us Alaska and eventually gave the Republican Party Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens.

    Reply

  36. Pacos_gal says:

    The rumor mill is in full force about whether Hillary Clinton will be appointed SOS.
    Some though are saying that her name was floated by the Clinton camp itself, who want to muddy the waters because they are pissed about Kerry and Richardson endorsing Obama. They said that no one actually from the Obama camp has said this, that in fact, the Obama team is under strict orders not to float any information until the transition team says to official announce something.
    The list of questions that have to be answered by any potential candidate for appointments is long and very indepth. They are doing full vettings of all appointments.
    Unless this comes from someone involved in the transition appointments I personally will wait and see. Remember her name was floated as a possible VP pick too, and that didn’t come about either.
    What it does do is cause some possible division within the democrats if she doesn’t become the SOS pick, unless there is some way to make it seem that she turns it down, rather than that she wasn’t offered it in the first place.
    Bill Clintons foundation is a major stumbling block on the road to her being the SOS.
    Al Giordano for one doesn’t think Clinton is a candidate for SOS.
    http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield

    Reply

  37. susan says:

    Well, she knows how to dodge bullets in dangerous, war torn countries.
    Could come in handy, no?

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    I think you are right, Paul.
    Obama is into “comfort foods” for the most part. Hopefully its just window dressing for progressive ideas. Hopefully.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    I think you are right, Paul.
    Obama is into “comfort foods” for the most part. Hopefully its just window dressing for progressive ideas. Hopefully.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    Barack Obama symbolizes a post-Bush era; Hillary Clinton the
    pre-Bush era.
    Regardless of Clintons skills and particular positions, this sends
    a double, complementary message to the world: future change
    and nostalgic longing for the good old days of the nineties; just
    like picking Biden as VP sent a complementary message of
    change and continuity, carte blanche and experience.
    Since Obama is relatively young and unexperienced, he will not
    chose people to his administration that are young and
    unexperienced, nor African Americans or Muslims (because of the
    unfounded suspicions that he is a Muslim). And since people on
    the right suspect him to be a left wing liberal, he will tend to
    chose people from the center/right.

    Reply

  41. rich says:

    Only very slightly off-topic. It appears that Nicolas Sarkozy–despite Bush & McCain’s refusal to talk to terrorists or Russians–has proven that negotiation can indeed save somebody’s bacon.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5147422.ece
    Nicolas Sarkozy saved the President of Georgia from being hanged “by the balls” — a threat made last summer by Vladimir Putin, according to an account that emerged yesterday from the Élysée Palace.
    The Russian Prime Minister had revealed his plans for disposing of Mr Saakashvili when Mr Sarkozy was in Moscow in August to broker a ceasefire in Georgia.
    Jean-David Levitte, Mr Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic adviser, reported the exchange in a news magazine before an EU-Russia summit today. The meeting will be chaired by the French leader and President Medvedev.
    With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to Mr Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.
    Related Links
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    Six year term reform rushed through for Putin
    Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked. “Why not?” Mr Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”
    Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?” Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah — you have scored a point there.”

    Reply

  42. Bill R. says:

    This is win-win all around. Win for HRC because she has national and international stature as a statesman-diplomat. Win for Obama because he forms an alliance with her and her allies in the party. Win for the country because the Clinton name will extend more good will in the world and open doors.

    Reply

  43. DonS says:

    . . . why must a potential Hillary appointment to State be primarily considered in political terms. For God’s sake; the image and substance of the United States projected abroad is in tatters. Who loves us? Poland! Uzbekistan! Screw politics. The focus has to be on getting the best person to pick up the pieces.

    Reply

  44. BaxterJ says:

    Interesting. Very interesting.

    Reply

  45. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Thanks for the explaination, Steve….I had just found POA’s first comment on the missing Hillary post and got the gist of it when KO announced it…one question…when do you find time to sleep? I’m waiting to see what our mutual friend says about whether Hillary wants it or not before I say snything…except that I would love to see the US get back to Bill Clinton’s approach to the Israel-Palestine peace effort. Speaking as a woman though, I’d rather she stay where she can be independent and not in a spot where she’s taking orders from anyone.

    Reply

  46. susan says:

    HRC in the Admin can’t be anything but a good thing for the country. hopefully the alleged bad blood between them has been erased by her powerful efforts during the campaign.
    that said, there are two ways one might see an appointment: neutralize her by getting her out of the Senate, then ending her career by firing her. (I hope that’s not the calculus)
    on the other hand, Obama might rather have Hillary inside the tent p&^%ing out than outside the tent p&^%ing in, if you get my meaning.
    agree with Steve that a sinecure in the Senate is not the apogee of HRCs political ambition, especially since she is not in line to chair a powerful comittee or take leadership on health care.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    OT but I can’t help. Nothing ever changes.
    What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.
    Either the people are going to be very disappointed in Obama’s promise to curtail lobbying or the newly minted lobbist from his campaign are going to be disappointed. Want to bet on which?
    November 14, 1:46 PM
    Biden’s “Intern” Nabs Lobbying Contract: Washington adjusts to the Obama Era
    The Washington Post had two interesting pieces today about how Washington is responding to the election of Barack Obama. The first said that Obama’s election had “touched off a mini-boom on K Street” and that Democrats who supported him were the primary beneficiaries.
    “[Jaime] Harrison helped mobilize voter turnout for Obama in South Carolina, and for the past two years he directed floor operations for House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) — credentials that made him a sought-after addition to firms looking for an edge in a new administration. “I built a lot of strong relationships with members, as well as their staff, and some of my very best friends worked on the campaign,” Harrison said. He will start with the Podesta Group next week.
    The second piece said that bundlers “who raised millions of dollars for [Obama’s] White House bid are starting to land significant posts on his transition team. At least nine of the volunteer fundraisers whose wide networks of colleagues, friends and relatives gave more than $1.85 million to Obama are now positioned to help the president-elect set foreign and domestic policy and identify potential Cabinet appointees.” Meanwhile, Public Citizen reported that Congressmen John Dingell and Nick Rahall are hosting a fundraiser next week to help newly elected Democrats retire their campaign debt. The price: $20,000 for Political Action Committees and $10,000 for individuals.”
    I checked lobby disclosure reports filed over the past few months and there’s an endless list of former government officials and staffers handling new accounts. Democrats are indeed doing well.
    Thurgood Marshall Jr., who formerly worked for Al Gore, signed on to represent Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Joshua Fay-Hurvitz, a former staffer to Congressman Anthony Weiner, recently was retained (along with several other lobbyists) to represent Sovereign Bank.
    Steve Elmendorf, a one-time adviser to former House minority leader Richard Gephardt, was retained by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Three other former Democratic staffers are working on the Association’s account, including Robert Cogorno. “Most recently, Cogorno served as Floor Director to Representative Steny Hoyer in both his Majority Leader and Democratic Whip offices,” says his bio. “In that capacity, Cogorno oversaw the Leader’s floor staff which directs day-to-day legislative activity in the House of Representatives. As the Leader’s chief liaison to Committee Chairmen and Chairwomen and their staffs, and other Members and their offices, Cogorno managed implementation of the Democratic strategy, counting votes and building support for leadership-backed legislation.”
    And then there’s Gwen Mellor at Hogan & Hartson, who signed up to represent NewStar Financial on November 4, Election Day. Mellor has worked for at least five former members of congress, including Senators Tim Johnson and Tom Carper.
    But on her disclosure form Mellor only mentions one former job: intern to Senator Joe Biden. Now that’s someone who knows how to adapt to the new era.
    November 13, 12:36 PM
    Familiar Faces Come on Board: Fannie Mae veteran on State Department transition team
    The Washington Post reports that the “Obama transition team yesterday rolled out a new list of officials who will help guide the process, singling out the Treasury, Defense and State departments as its first three areas of focus.”
    At the helm of the Treasury Department transition team are Josh Gotbaum, an adviser to investment funds who held various Senate-confirmed positions during the Clinton administration, and Michael Warren, chief operating officer of Stonebridge International LLC.
    Heading the State team are two veterans of the Democratic foreign policy establishment, both intimately familiar with the people and machinery at Foggy Bottom. Both Thomas E. Donilon, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers, and Wendy R. Sherman, a business partner of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, had senior positions in the Clinton-era State Department.
    A few other items about Sherman. “From April 1996 until July 1997, she was President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation and a member of the operating committee of Fannie Mae,” says her bio. “At the Foundation, she set in place the groundwork for the newly recreated foundation developed to promote home ownership.” At the Albright Group, she was a door opener for American companies looking to do business abroad. “She leverages her experience as a senior-level diplomat and her expertise in foreign relations to help clients—including businesses and nongovernmental organizations—locate partnership opportunities, gain competitive advantage in the marketplace, and resolve regulatory and political disputes throughout the world,” her bio there said.
    Stonebridge International, where Warren is COO, has the same business model. I’ve written about Stonebridge, in an article discussed here.
    These are standard members of the permanent government. They work for the government, revolve out to the private sector when their party loses office, and revolve back in when their side wins again. Business consultancies like Albright’s and Stonebridge are pretty much indistinguishable from similar companies run by Republican foreign policy gurus (such as Al Haig and Brent Scowcroft). The people who operate them aren’t technically lobbyists, but they end up being strong advocates for the countries where they do business.”

    Reply

  48. DonS says:

    “Conflicts of interest” all over the place, to be sure, not the least of which is Hillary’s own star quality because of and in part defined by being Ms. Bill Clinton, and his numerous protuberances abroad. I suppose you could make an argument for this being a good thing. I don’t see it. I don’t think State needs high profile star qulaity to get attention. OK, maybe get attention, but it seems like what foreign policy needs is more humble, down to earth, rebuilding the responsible edifice of state that has been decimated the past eight years.
    . . . and then there is the mideast where it is hard to find any establishment politico who is trusted these days, partiuclarly among Arabs. Hillary has loved up to the right wing Israelis with the best of them, and gut punched the Arabs in the process. Not the messanger for the most intransigeant policy issue.

    Reply

  49. questions says:

    Following Dan Kervick’s advice, I’ll repost this here. (But the renegade in me makes me want to make a nickname remark here (insert smiley emoticon).)
    Assuming that this is a genuine name float and not a Clinton machination to destroy Richardson (see some kos diary on this), what I could see HRC’s bringing on board includes an appetite for domestic policy wonkiness that might actually be good for cross border thinking. A nation’s domestic scene is largely determinative of its foreign policy. We don’t do a great job tying these together — this is Obama’s dignity initiative. Not democracy at the point of a gun, but a steady move towards respecting the lives under the regime. Not a bad place to negotiate from. Second, I don’t think Clinton operates in a bipolar/Cold War framework. She’s still Cold War generation, but not a trained Sovietologist. I don’t think she’d write “Why We’ll Miss the Cold War” and that I find to be very comforting.
    Her hawkishness on Iraq and Iran was related directly to her campaign for the presidency. It’s a sad bs positioning thing, but she won’t, thankfully, be president.
    She’s got a deep enough voice not to grate, a grasp of briefing book issues, she’s smart on her feet, and I think she might know how to shut her mouth, not get too obsessed and move on as needed. It seems that she stayed in the primaries as long as she did because she was fearful Obama couldn’t win. Obama did win. She has moved forward.
    On the negative side (this from the Kos diary), her husband wouldn’t pass the disclosure test and she can’t run a budget very well.
    Also, she may be too self-certain to negotiate well, and simultaneously too malleable. Think about all the drinking she did to attract those hard working white people– a sign of having no interior commitments. And think about her refusing to give up segments of the health care reform in order to compromise and get a partial solution through — a sign of being too committed to her way or the highway. A lot would depend on whether or not she could judge when to be oatmeal and when to be three-day old bread. I’m not convinced that she gets all of this right.
    We don’t really know if this is a genuine float or something to take up the empty space left over from the campaign. But it’s fun to speculate!

    Reply

  50. c.r. says:

    what about the clinton global initiative? assuming she is being floated for sec of state, might there be a conflict of interest there? especially considering all of the $$$ raised via foreign donors. or is hillary sufficiently uninvolved with the initiative to be sec. of state?
    just a thought.

    Reply

  51. WigWag says:

    “Naming her Secretary of State would somewhat neutralize Bill Clinton, who might be somewhat less inclined to go off on his own global campaign to affirm his status of Top Democratic Alpha Male, where he might start issuing attention-grabbing global messages that compete with the Obama administration messages.”
    Dan Kervick and everyone else should be praying that an Obama foreign policy is as reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s foreign policy as possible.
    Bill Clinton was the most successful foreign policy President since Harry Truman. It’s true that Clinton had some serious failures like Rwanda and Mogadishu and it’s true that other Presidents had major foreign policy achievements (Nixon opened China, Carter had Camp David) but Bill Clinton had the most progressive and profoundly positive foreign policy in modern times. Bill Clinton:
    1)Brokered a peace deal between the dueling parties in Northern Ireland by appointing uber negotiator (and former Senate Majority Leader) George Mitchell as an interlocutor. Tony Blair and Gerry Adams both credit the major role played by Clinton in encouraging the negotiations. In part, as a result of Clinton’s efforts a bloody conflict that had lasted decades was solved. Clinton traveled to both Ireland and Northern Ireland and was greeted by rapturous crowds.
    2)Brokered a peace deal between Israel and Jordan, Israel’s second peace treaty with an Arab State. Clinton also worked tirelessly to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Syria but failed in large part because Yasser Arafat did not want Syria to sign a peace treaty with Israel until the Palestinians did.
    3)Arranged the famous “handshake” between Arafat and Rabin on the White House lawn and worked assiduously until the very last day of his Administration to personally negotiate a peace treaty between the Israelis and the Palestinians. By taking a relatively even handed approach, Clinton won the trust of both sides. The talks finally failed and there is a difference of opinion about who was responsible for the failure. Dennis Ross blamed Arafat and the Palestinians; Robert Malley blamed Ehud Barak and Israel. Regardless of which party was really to blame, one thing is clear; Clinton worked his heart out to negotiate a settlement. The failure belonged to the Israelis and the Palestinians, not to him. When the parties finally decide they want peace, the peace treaty they develop will almost certainly closely resemble the treaty drafted by Clinton and his team in 2000.
    4)Prevented North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Thanks to the deal Clinton made with the North Koreans, they didn’t produce fissionable materials for a single weapon during Clinton’s years in office; under George W. Bush, North Korea has produced enough fissionable material for a half dozen weapons.
    5)Killed the idea of deploying Star Wars technology developed under Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Deploying Star Wars (which the Republicans desperately wanted to do even though it won’t work) would have needlessly riled up the Russians and made the world less safe not more safe. The Clinton Administration also worked closely with an increasingly frail Boris Yeltsin to improve Russian-US relations and to help institutionalize democracy in Russia.
    6)Guaranteed democracy in Haiti. When the Haitian military ousted the popularly elected and wildly popular Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Clinton first offered sanctuary to the Haitian President and then used his influence to peacefully topple the coup which allowed Aristide to take office. Impoverished Haitians were overjoyed with Clinton’s involvement.
    7)Intervened in Yugoslavia. While his intervention in the Yugoslavian conflict was late, the Dayton accords negotiated by Secretary of State Warren Christopher and diplomat Richard Holbrooke solved a brutal internecine war between ethnic Serbs, Croats and Muslims in Bosnia- Herzegovina. The Accords, which are still in effect 12 years later, saved thousands of lives and facilitated the break up of Yugoslavia in as peaceful a way as possible. Although this was a problem that should have been resolved by the Europeans, they were too paralyzed to act and through its leadership, the Clinton Administration saved the day.
    8)Fought ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. After Slobodan Milosevic displaced one million predominantly Muslim Kosovars (and killed 11,000 of them according to UN envoy Carla Del Ponte) in the largest instance of ethnic cleansing since World War II, Clinton intervened by bombing Serbia. The bombing campaign produced no American deaths and very few Serbian deaths, but the property damage it inflicted motivated Serbia to withdraw and reverse the ethnic cleansing. Millions of Muslims world wide were grateful that Clinton intervened on the behalf of their co-religionists who were being oppressed by Orthodox Christians.
    9)Cuba. Bill Clinton’s policy towards Cuba was as progressive as the times would allow. To open up relations with Cuba during the 1990’s would have been political suicide. Don’t believe it? Remember Elian Gonzalez? At great political risk to the Democratic Party, Clinton ordered his Attorney General, Janet Reno, to do the right thing and have the FBI forcibly take custody of Elian Gonzalez so he could be returned to his father in Cuba. Five months later, Al Gore lost the Presidential Election because he lost Florida by less than 500 votes.
    10)Solved the Asian financial crisis. When South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines melted down in 1997, hundreds of thousands of people in Asia lost their jobs. Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary, Bob Rubin engineered a $120 billion bailout that arrested the crisis. Similarly Clinton helped save Mexico during its financial crisis in 1994. He also helped Russia and South America maneuver through the financial crises that they experienced in the 1990s. By doing so, he saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in those countries and in the United States as well.
    11)Negotiated a settlement to the India-Pakistan nuclear crisis of 1998. When India and Pakistan each conducted successful tests of nuclear weapons within two weeks of each other during a major crisis over Kashmir, the world was on the precipice of a nuclear war in South Asia. Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madelyn Albright personally intervened and got both sides to stand down.
    12)Iraq. We know now that Bill Clinton’s sanctions regime worked. As a result of the sanctions that Clinton imposed, Sadaam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Had George Bush allowed Hans Blix to verify the success of the Clinton policy, the world would be a far better place today.
    I would be interested to know which President since World War II (other than Truman who presided over the world changing Marshall Plan) has a similar record of accomplishment.
    If Barack Obama’s foreign policy is anywhere near as successful as Bill Clinton’s we will be very lucky indeed.

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    It doesn’t matter. You could put Mickey Mouse in the job. SecState is largely a meaningless ceremonial position now that the Pentagon has taken over foreign relations.

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    Very interesting indeed!
    Hillary is 61 or 62 I think….if she took this and if the adm lasted 8 years she would be close to seventy. Would she want to return to a elective political office then? Maybe, maybe not.
    I wonder what a real Hillary operation at State would look like in action, unfettered by the need to politic for votes.
    I sure there is a ultimate political agenda in the appointments but I don’t want to even start guessing. We will see the results soon enough.
    Which would Hillary rather be? Gov of NY or Sec. of State? Those seem to be her best choices beyond the senate.

    Reply

  54. daCascadian says:

    NO to Hillary as SecState.
    A HUGE YES to Bill Clinton as SecState.
    The world would approve.
    [your captcha code is wacky again-doesn`t know what it is displaying]
    “…it`s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine…” – REM

    Reply

  55. Mr.Murder says:

    Democrats using the Clinton legacy to bolster confidence in them. We’ve seen this before. This is non pluasible.

    Reply

  56. Ed Smithe says:

    Mark,
    I guess I don’t understand the Clintons as well as you do. I
    mean, the fact that Hillary could disappear from sight up until
    election day clearly demonstrates the tireless underground
    campaign that she was waging on behalf of Obama. Moreover
    when it comes to trust and loyalty, the first name that pops into
    my head is Hillary Clinton. Yes indeed, she really is one of those
    rare folks out there that you don’t need to worry about stabbing
    you in the back.
    Point two: I don’t blame Hillary for Obama’s choices, but I’m
    beginning to blame the folks that were in the Clinton
    administration. Look, I’m all for experience, especially given the
    bumps that the Clinton administration went through in the first
    couple of years…but when so-called experience is producing
    poor decisions, then one needs to question why that is.
    As I’ve argued on other forums, the most dangerous thing facing
    this administration is the possibility of a national security crisis.
    What Obama needs to do is place Realists (Republican and
    Democrat) in the national security positions of his
    administration to build a bi-partisan approach. Bringing in
    people like Gates or Hagel and pairing them up with someone
    like Richardson or Danzig ensures that a significant segment of
    the Republican party is co-opted and protects him from the
    inevitable, ‘you made America weak’ that will come from
    neocons in the aftermath of a major crisis. Individuals like
    Hillary Clinton are not Realists, and they don’t bring us any
    closer to this national security consensus. That will be a
    constant threat, and potentially fatal threat to this administration
    if they choose someone like Hillary Clinton at State.

    Reply

  57. RAY says:

    You know…this might not be a bad choice afterall. Remember too, as I saw again this morning, a reference to an Obama interview where he talked about being blown away by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about the Lincoln administration, ‘Team of Rivals’. Patterning a cabinet of rivals in a way such as Lincoln did would be true to Obama’s idea of respecting all views and being able to listen to other perspectives on a particular issue. The key to this process will be his ability to discern the differences presented to him in a way that is understanding and intelligently reviewed as part of his decision making process. I think he feels that if it worked for Lincoln it can work for him. The only thing that I would think he must be careful of is the temptation of those selected rivals to grandstand their positions…especially if they are in the minority on an issue, but perhaps the selection of the hardnosed Emmanuel as Chief of Staff will be a way to eleviate that possibility. Risky choice, but if he can pull it off it just might be exactly the ticket to getting something accomplished.

    Reply

  58. Dan Kervick says:

    The benefits of Clinton?
    1. It’s better to have her inside the administration than outside of it.
    2. She has the tools: she’s smart and a good communicator, with a strong knowledge of global affairs and lots of existing personal relationships with global leaders.
    3. Naming her Secretary of State would somewhat neutralize Bill Clinton, who might be somewhat less inclined to go off on his own global campaign to affirm his status of Top Democratic Alpha Male, where he might start issuing attention-grabbing global messages that compete with the Obama administration messages.
    4. She’s not Richard Holbrooke.
    The bad?
    5. Her policies: these have tilted in the hawkish, neoconservative direction. She is not entirely in the Lieberman-Bayh neo wing of the Democratic foreign policy establishment. But she’s very, very close to it. That’s bad news.
    6. The message it sends. With the appointment of Emanuel – he of the Arab-hating dad – the conciliatory gestures toward Lieberman and now the floating of Clinton, Obama hasn’t exactly been sending any messages of “change” so far. If he keeps going in this same direction, he is going to piss away quickly his window of opportunity to change the perception of the US in key trouble spots.
    Would Clinton be loyal to the Obama agenda? I think so, probably. Her record is as a focused, detail-oriented, achievement-driven person, striving to do a good job in any task she is assigned or takes on. So long as Obama has a clear agenda, I think she will work hard to execute it. On the other hand, I worry about what her preconditions might be for taking the job. And she comes with a pre-existing public perception of her own stances.
    If Obama is really out to change the global perception of the United States – and I don’t just mean in Paris, London, Tokyo and Berlin, but in the Middle East, the global south and the developing world – he is going to need to stop worrying about reassuring the old guard and established stakeholders, the representatives of the tried, true and failed, and start making some appointments that represent creative thinking, a new generation, and some genuinely new departures and new directions. Clinton does not represent those new departures. Nor does Holbrooke or Albright. Nor does Richardson. Nor does Kerry.
    If one wants to go with an old veteran selection, my choice would still be George Mitchell, who from my perspective has been one of the smartest, most reasonable, most honest and most able Democratic public servants for decades. He has a reputation for open-minded, scrupulous fairness, and has a lawyerly, conflict-resolving disposition which sits well with Obama’s own tendencies. He has a track record of integrity, probity, success and respect. He seems to grasp the full complexity of problems, and seems notably lacking in favoritism and ideological axes to grind, but he actually solves problems. He has part-Arab ancestry, but seems well-respected by fair-minded Israelis.
    There is a worrisome trend developing in the major media discussions of foreign policy, including at the New York Times and Washington Post, and at some of our embassies. Powerful establishment voices are trying to push an agenda of “continuity plus a bit more competence”. There has been a steady stream of “expert analysts” armed with a barrage of reasons for why Obama won’t change, can’t change or shouldn’t change anything important. These are people from both parties who seem invested in the general approach pursued during the past eight years, either ideologically or because they are feeding at the trough, or because are seeking to preserve their influence and reputation. They appear quite worried Obama will actually rock the boat or change direction in some significant way, and are looking for only modest changes in tactic and techniques, with no real change in strategic direction – just a bit more diplomatic happy talk and some better fact-finding before making decisions. Because the Obama team is not really saying anything publicly right now, the public space is being filled with these dismal establishment voices and their stay-the-course counsels. They have very large media platforms and are trying to win the public relations game before the key decisions are actually made. Obama needs to get some surrogates out there to at least broaden the discussion and challenge complacent ideas, or he will get outmaneuvered. The election campaign is over, but the campaign for hearts and minds and public opinion never ceases.

    Reply

  59. Steve M says:

    errr, i thought the problem opponents saw with obama was that his appointees would be too new, radical and/or untried?
    at this rate, people may start asking to please include a few more radicals, ieologues and neophytes.
    wow, talk about using the established talent! interesting.

    Reply

  60. MarkL says:

    Ed Smithe,
    Two points.
    First of all, the fact that you STILL think Hillary is trying to sabotage Obama shows how deeply deranged you are. I’ve never seen the loser in the primaries work so hard to get the nominee elected; to think she is STILL trying to undermine Obama is, frankly, a sign of political psychosis.
    Second: you surely realize that Hillary is not to blame for Obama’s choices now. If his appointments are not to your taste, that is because you misapprehended what kind of candidate Obama was.
    That is not Hillary’s problem.

    Reply

  61. Ed Smithe says:

    Also Steve, I’d dispute you’re reading of what Bush did.
    Bush was looking for grownups to put in the administration. Everyone knew that after Powell turned down the chance to run in 96 and 00, that he wasn’t a rival. What Bush needed was gravitas, so he took Powell.
    This situation is totally different and should it happen, I think that it unfortunately demonstrates that the President elect has allowed far to many Clintonistas into his circle.
    We shall see if change survives.

    Reply

  62. Ed Smithe says:

    This would be an enormous blunder on Obama’s part. Hillary Clinton??? Why would you want to put the fox in the hen house? This is not going to take her out of the running for 2012, it’s going to give her a massive opportunity to work behind the scenes and destroy this Adminstration from the inside. We’ve seen how much damage a rogue department can do in previous administrations.
    Moreover, she’s a Wilsonian hawk! This is exactly the kind of group that this administration needs to avoid given their ties to the neoconservatives.
    My God, if Obama makes this mistake he’s going to pay a steep price for it.

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  63. Aravir says:

    From Hillary’s perspective, it makes sense. She’s 39th in seniority in the Democratic Senate caucus, even a junior in her own state. That matters in the Senate. Did anyone notice how Max Baucus, #6 on the seniority list, is suddenly leading the charge on universal healthcare? SOS gives her a new platform from which to shine, and keeps her POTUS ambitions alive. And even if she has really decided to scrap those ambitions, it gets her into the history books on her own.
    From Obama’s perspective, this is very reminiscent of the Biden pick, which I advocated, and I recall you did as well, Steve. Hillary brings a wealth of talents and abilities, not to mention the Clinton international rolodex to the table. It would be entirely consistent with the Biden choice, in terms of how it appears that Obama approaches leadership.
    It’s been so many years since we were witness to a president who believes in a meritocracy, that we may have forgotten what it looks like.
    I’m on board.

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  64. WigWag says:

    It’s beginning to look like President-Elect Obama has more in common with Bill Clinton than even Hillary does. First Hillary is offered the job of Secretary of State (if she wants it) and then viturally the entire Obama transition team comes from the Clinton Administration. What was it Steve Clemons said about Obama I=Clinton III?
    I can’t help but wonder whether this is what passionate Obama supporters had in mind.
    This is from today’s Politico:
    Obama gets the Clinton band back together
    By BEN SMITH & CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN | 11/14/08 4:48 AM EST
    “…Thirty-one of the 47 people so far named to transition or staff posts have ties to the Clinton administration, including all but one of the members of his 12-person Transition Advisory Board and both of his White House staff choices.
    Most of those appointees weren’t West Wing heavy-hitters, but lower-profile policy hands such as former Deputy Secretary of Defense John White and former State Department official Wendy Sherman. They include former deputies to National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Defense Secretary William Perry, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and some currently work at consultancies run by those Clinton administration principals.
    Others are old Obama allies who also have Clinton ties, like Michael Froman, a transition adviser who was Obama’s classmate at Harvard Law School and served as Robert Rubin’s chief of staff at the Clinton Treasury Department, and Christopher Edley, who taught Obama at Harvard and also served Clinton, and who is married to a former Clinton deputy chief of staff…”

    Reply

  65. Nobcentral says:

    Thanks for the info Steve but I’m more interested in your thoughts on employing a hawk as SecState. Because that’s what Hillary Clinton is. And I find the whole bit utterly surprising since Obama was so virulent with his criticism of her hawkishness on Foreign Policy.
    For the record, my initial thoughts were that Clinton would make a good Sec State. But then I wondered about her policy views and further wondered why she would be involved in the Health Care debate in some way. Could it be that Obama is looking to cut her out of the health care debate by “boxing” her into State?

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  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Maybe Rahm, Lieberman, and Hillary can figure out someway to expedite the eradication of those nasty Palestinian heathens, and finally line the West Bank with strip malls.

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  67. Don Bacon says:

    The USA used to have a policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) but with Hillary Clinton as SecState it could ratchet upward to Unitary Human Obliteration (UHO), as American as apple pie.
    “In the next 10 years, during which they [Iran] might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

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  68. Zathras says:

    Any President is taking an enormous risk if he assigns a specific, important portfolio to someone he cannot fire. Hillary Clinton would be that kind of appointment.
    I appreciate Obama’s admiration of “Team of Rivals.” I’m sure it is an entertaining book. Two things, though — its central figure is Abraham Lincoln. Obama ain’t him. Lincoln’s greatest rival was William Seward. Hillary Clinton ain’t him, either.
    Obama will need a strong Secretary of State who brings experience running that department, plus skill and experience in the practice of diplomacy, plus sharp elbows. That’s Richard Holbrooke. Hillary Clinton only brings the elbows, plus that entourage of hers, to the table.
    She has great prestige within the Democratic Party, or parts of it, and the “story” of reconciling rivals is gold for the entertainment-oriented political media. Prestige in domestic politics only takes one so far in international affairs. And that isn’t even the main point. If it turns out that Clinton and Obama do have problems getting along, or if it becomes clear that something she has been tasked with is going very badly, firing her would create an instant political crisis for President Obama. Going around her via the National Security Adviser’s office, or via the Defense or Treasury Departments as some other administrations have done, would just be a slower route to a political crisis.
    Hillary Clinton at the State Department is not the solution to any problem Barack Obama needs to solve. She’s not the best person for the job, and she’s a bigger risk than several people who would be better at the job than she would. This is an absolutely terrible idea.

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  69. James White says:

    I think its obvious she would take it, for the following reasons:
    1. She had money, doesn’t need the Senate spot
    2. She can run for Gov of NY whenever she wants
    3. SoS is a great spot to seal legacy
    4. Most importantly, she gets a dig at Richardson. It would be sweet revenge to take the spot he’s being talked up for.

    Reply

  70. Crab Nebula says:

    Bush was not fixing a rival when he tabbed Powell for SoS….Powell had the nomination in 96 or 2000 if he wanted it.
    Powell was never going to be Bush’s rival, not in 2004, not ever. Alma didn’t want it. Colin didn’t want it. End of story.

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  71. CLD says:

    Thanks for the update, Steve, I had accessed the original post via RSS and when I popped over to comment, it was gone! 🙂
    I truly hope that if HRC is offered the Sec of State slot that it isn’t because President-elect Obama wants to box her up. He’s going to need voices of dissension in this administration.
    HRC isn’t necessarily going to be counter to him all the time, but she certainly isn’t going to be a “yes man” either.

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  72. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, the defense industry, and Israel, must be orgasmic.

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  73. tricia says:

    Obama has long advocated wanting a “team of rivals” this rumor
    makes sense. The VP slot was always fraught with too many
    problems to give it to Hillary but she is a player capable of being on
    the world stage. For all the campaign rhetoric she used against
    him on foreign affairs Obama is secure enough to handle her not
    box her in the job unless she moves contrary to his agenda.

    Reply

  74. DonS says:

    I view most foreign policy positions through the lens of the mid east, specifically orientation toward the Israeli-Palestinian morass. Evenhanded Clinton is not.
    But, hey, if Tony Blair can emerge as a sage of diplomatic wisdom, anything is possible. That doesn’t make it credib.e.

    Reply

  75. carol says:

    I think Hillary would do a good job, although I never voted for her and voted for President elect Obama.
    Hillary is a very smart lady and would do a great job as Sec of State, she would be an asset to his cabinet.

    Reply

  76. southsidemike says:

    Hillary is qualified, this job would sate her political apetite, tie her fate directly to Obama’s and would prevent Bill from carrying on his own foreign policy without regard for the White House.
    It’s brilliant.

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  77. Cee says:

    I’m disgusted.
    Has everyone forgotten that Tuzla Clinton supported torture?
    She’s a hawk that we don’t need now.

    Reply

  78. WigWag says:

    No one is a bigger Hillary Clinton fan than I am, but I don’t think Secretary of State is the right position for her. We don’t need a Senator as Secretary of State. I think Kerry and Hagel are also wrong for the job. Given the complex internatonal outlook, I think we need a person with demonstrated diplomatic experience. Richardson (as much as I can’t stand the turn coat)has it. So does Holbrooke. So does Dennis Ross. So does George Mitchell. And I am sure there are scores of others.
    Senators generally make poor Cabinet Secretaries. Bill Clinton’s choice of Lloyd
    Bentsen (who was a great Senator) as Secretary of the Treasury was a mistake that was not rectified until he resigned and was replaced by the much more competent Bob Rubin.
    Hillary Clinton is terrific. It’s too bad that the fauxgressive Democratic caucus will never select a woman as majority leader; that would be a better job for her. And Supreme Court Justice doesn’t fit Hillary’s temprement either (any more than Vice President would have).
    Mrs. Clinton should stay in the Senate. She is clearly one of the most effective senators and she may be the most effective Senator once Ted Kennedy passes from the scene(which I hope will be long in the future).
    The people of New York are extraordinarily lucky to have her.
    Stay in the Senate, Hillary!

    Reply

  79. bob h says:

    I really do think a professional diplomat like Richard Holbrooke is the choice, and I would bet that Hillary agrees.

    Reply

  80. Maxwell says:

    The genealogy of this one swatch of gossip is mildly interesting but, given how little time you have to blog these days, what would be far more compelling is your insight on what sort of SOS Clinton might make. Effective? Distracting? Could she actually act as a force multiplier in an Obama administration? Where would she help, where would she hurt?
    As punditry, I can’t tell whether it’s easy cynicism or simply deadpan realism to reduce a Clinton appointment to State to something like a containment strategy. It would be far more welcome to learn that such an appointment is actually an attempt to make an Obama administration more broadly unified and more *equipped*. Whether that’s naive or not is something you might have words over. Let’s hear from the idealist in Steve in the next post, rather than the telephone operator. Where might this go, assuming candor is possible between these rivals, and in the best possible terms, Steve?

    Reply

  81. Boo Boo says:

    Oh yeah… blind, grandstanding ambition is really a very desirable trait in a diplomat.
    No, really. It is.
    I’m just shaking my head over this $#@!.

    Reply

  82. Lurker says:

    Steve,
    I saw that first post you wrote on Hillary Clinton last weekend
    and found it intriguing that you were yet again on top of a
    scoop. And then I saw you take it down, and POA and others
    wondered why.
    Thanks for posting what the situation was. You clearly had
    something juicy, but you also tried to manage the gossip as
    responsibly as you could.
    You get credit for being first with the news, so far ahead of
    everyone that it seemed shocking. And you get credit for
    checking sources and considering a reframing of the piece. But
    I think you should just leave something like that up and let it
    mellow and add to later posts.
    Excellent as always though. You live in the midst of the very
    best spider web in Washington and you work it well.

    Reply

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