November 17, 2008

Clinton to Be Secretary of State?

The Guardian is reporting that Hillary Clinton will join the Obama administration as Secretary of State:

Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.

Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats do not believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem.

Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialised in foreign affairs and defence. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops.

Clinton, who still harbours hopes of a future presidential run, had to weigh up whether she would be better placed by staying in the Senate, which offers a platform for life, or making the more uncertain career move to the secretary of state job.

I would love to know what kind of calculus helped Clinton determine that joining Obama's Administration furthers her higher political aspirations more than staying in the Senate would. Has Hillary given up on a future presidential run, or is she going to try to work an angle from within the administration... perhaps planning on using the position to bolster her foreign policy credentials?

Your guess is as good as mine on this one.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 17, 2008 08:57 PM


uh huh, right...

Posted by: DIAF at November 17, 2008 09:02 PM

I suspect that the offer--if it's real and not an internet rumor and/or hoax--comes with Obama demanding that Bill and Hillary cease sniping at him from behind. However, we all know what frequently happens when a SecState leaves the Administration that promoted him/her to that position (see Powell, Colin).

Obama may have removed a thorn from his side for the moment only to have it turn into a knife in his back later.

With all that said, though, with Hillary at SecState I will actually feel safer than with some other Dems Obama might have named.

Posted by: ConservativeWanderer (formerly C-C-G) at November 17, 2008 09:16 PM

There is talk now that McCain may serve a future role after his current Senate term expires.

Posted by: Jacko at November 18, 2008 12:21 AM

It's a feint. Clinton would be an idiot to quit her safe seat and power base in the Senate to become an Obama flunky who could be fired at will. I would guess that the Obama admin is blowing smoke to cover up another motive.

I predicted six months ago that she would aim for first woman to become Senate Majority Leader. I have seen nothing to change that assessment.

Posted by: Tully at November 18, 2008 12:23 AM

I don't see how this could work given what we know of the two. Obama is a man who'd seek to win an election by having opponents thrown off the ballot. The Clintons proved themselves ready to be as ruthless as they needed against people who threatened him.

If Sec. of State were a token appointment, I can see Obama offering it, but can't see Hillary accepting.

I can see Hillary accepting State, but can't see Obama giving it to her.

Foreign affairs is the biggest area where Obama will be tested. He will face immediate domestic economic issues, but he is shielded somewhat by coming in after the start of the crisis and the fact Congress has a very big say in the economy.

On FA, he is weak and standing alone.

Hillary can try to claim any major successes as her own and any major failures as his.

Her office would likely leak like a Hoover dam with the gates open if any FA crisis should hit the fan, like Israel.

Overall, if she gets the position, I can picture us seeing the a Sec. of State openly breaking with the admin over some major crisis and resigning -- thereafter to immediately start campaigning for 2012.

Posted by: usinkorea at November 18, 2008 05:00 AM

Hey, usinkorea, thanks for your idea about breaking with the Administration... it helped codify some thoughts of my own about what Hillary could be up to. I hope ya don't mind, I referenced them on my own little blog.

Posted by: ConservativeWanderer (formerly C-C-G) at November 18, 2008 08:39 AM

Clinton would at least be a serious choice. Kerry.... not so much. We shall see what we see but I would be pretty surprised at this. SoS is a high enough office to appeal to Hillary I should think but it would mean Barry hugging a viper to his bosom. Hillarity for us but perhaps not for the nation. Still, there are worse (FAR worse) potentials. I've heard Richardson mentioned and with Edwards out for the moment he is officially the second stupidest person in national politics. After Joe Biden.

Posted by: megapotamus at November 18, 2008 11:41 AM

Another good point to remember is that, if Obama doesn't make the offer--no matter the excuse he comes up with--the Hillary supporters will go ballistic.

Obama has to decide between letting an enemy into his inner circle and letting her followers possibly rip the party apart.

And this time he can't vote "present."

Posted by: ConservativeWanderer (formerly C-C-G) at November 18, 2008 09:08 PM

Whether it's real or not I don't know, but I think it would help Hillary for 2016 in the sense that it gives her diversity in her experience. Senate experience plus the diplomacy and foreign policy experience that goes along with being Secretary of State will make a powerful resume.

Sadly, I don't see anyone on the conservative side that's primed to be on deck with a similar level of experience either to topple Obama in 2012 or to run against a Hillary-type candidate in 2016.

Posted by: Mike Gray at November 18, 2008 11:50 PM

Mike, if the 2008 election is not a fluke, it seems to have disproved the idea that experience will always win.

Let's not be the ones who bury our heads in the sand and ignore the lessons of past elections... let's let the Democrats do that, while we learn from our mistakes.

Posted by: ConservativeWanderer (formerly C-C-G) at November 19, 2008 08:23 AM

1. This is still a rumor at this stage of the game so it is all speculation so far.
2. You have to consider the question: Who does this rumor help? It certainly does not help Obama, he’s dammed if he does, and dammed if he doesn’t. That leaves…Hillary. Hope she washed her fingerprints off this leaker.
3. In order to scotch Hillary’s ambition to play Brutus at the elbow of Caesar, all Obama has to do is require a full and complete listing of the donors to the Bill Clinton Ego and Legacy Center (a work in progress), and all present and scheduled speaking engagements and fees paid to Big Bill. If they cough them up (Ha, fat chance), it would be trivial to leak them to a hungry media, while declaring Hillary has too many conflicts of interest. If/when they do not cough them up, he can just announce she is unable to be appointed due to “unresolved questions of conflict of interest”.
4. I really expected him to select Gen. Powell as Sec of State. It would allow him to have the only Sec of State that has served both Dem and Repub presidents, he has already passed all the background checks once, he has proven he supports Obama (a confession that has washed away a multitude of sins in Liberal eyes), and another experienced minority in the Inner Circle. Plus as a bonus prize, in the event something goes wrong at State, he can be kicked under the bus as a “Former Bush Administration Official”.

Posted by: Georg Felis at November 19, 2008 10:20 AM

Yeah, I have very similar notions on Powell. He would be competent but that competency may be put to work on unworthy policies. Is it my imagination or is Hillary actually better on GWOT than alleged Republican Powell? If we had followed the Powell doctrine Iraq would have been immediately vacated after Saddam's disposal with results that don't need to be predicted because they actually came true. If Powell was used and tossed as Georg suspects (an entirely plausible scenario) it would be a good hard lesson for him and something like justice given his chicanery on Libby and other GWOT matters. We might actually be in the age when black politicians evolve to merely being politicians. Race loyalty will not trump power politics for Barry; another lesson that needs learning hard and quick.

Posted by: megapotamus at November 19, 2008 10:44 AM

CW, I definitely agree that experience does not always win, and this election was proof of that. However, it only helps and with 8 years to prepare (4 would be better for us, but they have to assume 8), then padding her resume is a good idea for them. Especially if we can't muster a strong candidate.

Posted by: Mike Gray at November 19, 2008 11:18 AM