Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

I first heard Hillary Clinton’s name mentioned as a possible Secretary of State when watching George Stephanopoulos on This Week last Sunday. This had me wondering if it was a case of either Stephanopoulos having inside information regarding Clinton, or if perhaps he was helping the Clintons launch a trial baloon. The story has taken off and become a major matter of speculation by the end of the week. While we do know that Obama and Clinton have talked about this, we do not really know if it is a serious offer.

It is possible that Obama is only talking with Clinton to avoid the appearance of ignoring her as when he did not vet her for the vice presidency. Obama might be considering Clinton as part of the Team of Rivals approach to government. There have been many comparisons between the Obama vs. McCain race and the Santos vs. Vinick campaign on final season of The West Wing. The show ended with Matt Santos offering the position of Secretary of State to Arnold Vinick. For Obama to offer this to Clinton would be an analogous example of bringing in a rival, but would be far more likely than for Obama to offer the position to John McCain.

This could also be a shrewd decision on Obama’s part to reduce the mischief that Clinton could cause. As Marc Ambinder suggested:

The CW in Washington is that Obama wants Clinton in his cabinet more than Clinton wants to be in the cabinet, the theory being that the moment she steps into the administration, she loses her power base, she loses her Senate seat forever, and she loses her voice on domestic policy. She concedes her political identity.  Actually, on policy: uncuriously silent in all this is Sen. Joe Biden, who has strong foreign policy ideas of his own and a bigger platform to share them with Obama.  Would Clinton become a glorified PR tool for Obama if she accepted the job? A Powell, rather than a Rice?

Andrew Sullivan considers this an inspired idea:

Obama has to offer something to Clinton. She’s his main threat now and rightly regards part of his victory her doing. The primaries helped him. Left to fester in the Senate, Clinton will plot against the president if he doesn’t actively seek her support and engagement and “spread the political wealth” of his mandate.

If Barack Obama receives a call at 3:00 a.m., will Hillary Clinton be one of the people called to the White House at 3:15? For the sake of the country I would prefer that Obama receive advice from a Secretary of State such as John Kerry, although he could also be consulted as the possible next Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Hillary Clinton has something in common with George Bush–both have been wrong on virtually every major decision they have every made in public life. I might welcome her becoming Secretary of State if this meant totally shutting her out of domestic policy, especially health care, but only if she did not really have a voice in foreign policy. From her position on the Iraq War to her opposition to the ban on cluster bombs, her judgement on foreign policy has been as flawed as her judgement on domestic policy. If this keeps Clinton under control it might be worthwhile, but is it really safe politically to have both Hillary and Bill running around the world?


  1. 1
    Greta G. Beer says:

    Hillary Clinton is the ideal person to become Secretary of State. She knows the world the world knows and loves Her and she will help to make America’s name shi ne all over the globe. I foresaw this role for Hillary for a  long long time and keep my fingers crossed. Where can you get a person  of this caliber – nowhere.  She is unique, unusually bright experienced in world affairs and acknowledged as such all over the world. Hillary please accept – This is made for you – You and Obama – Perfect/                             11111

  2. 2
    battlebob says:

    Hillaryis politically tone deaf.  She is clueless on both foreign and domestic policies.  If she wasn’t a women and a Clinton, we would not be having this discussion.

  3. 3
    movie fan says:

    if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, hopefully she will not be excessively distracted by outside drama or career plans, etc.

  4. 4

     Hillary is a horrible choice! She will have her own AGENDA and not our President Elect’s. She also voted for the war in Iraq! He will have to get rid of her in 4 years or less like Bush did to Colon Powel, she never supported him during the primaries. Hers friends and donors are still saying nasty things about Obama on T.V.  OBAMA SHOULD PICK BILL RICHARDSON OR JOHN KERRY, THEY WERE ALLWAYS SUPPORTING HIM. Hillary does not even have African Americans on her payrol either! What does that say?

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