November 14, 2008

They're saying Obama might pick Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State.

Will that happen?
I think this is reasonably plausible. The Obama people didn’t want Hillary for vice-president because she would have been a little too close for comfort - and they also didn’t like the idea of Bill hanging around the White House. But with Hillary safely across town in Foggy Bottom (or even better, in perpetual motion, flying around the world), Obama would be able to put the people he really trusts into the National Security Council, and run foreign policy from there.

The obvious candidate for Secretary of State used to be Joe Biden. But with Biden otherwise engaged, all the remaining leading candidates have some drawbacks. Richard Holbrooke is tough and experienced, but seems to be distrusted by the Obama team who think he is “not a team player” - and who have never quite forgiven him for backing Hillary. John Kerry and Bill Richardson both pass the experience and the “loyalty to Obama” test - but are regarded as, respectively, a little bit lightweight and a little bit flaky.
Ha ha. I detest Holbrooke, and I hate the idea of John Kerry representing us abroad. Richardson, why not? What's "flaky" about Richardson? Anyway, do we want Hillary running all over the world, being the mouthpiece of her erstwhile rival?

Hillary as Secretary of State?
Great choice.
Better than the alternatives.
Eh. It has to be somebody and those alternatives are dreadful.
No, because she won't serve Obama well.
No, because she's no good.
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IN THE COMMENTS (at the poll site): FGFM says: "I would like to vote for Althouse being lightweight and flaky." Okay:

Althouse is lightweight and flaky.
True.
False.
Mmmm. Pie!
  
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62 comments:

gary myers said...

I seem to recall that the salaries for cabinet secretaries were increased either in 2007 or early 2008 (during Sen. Clinton's present Senate term). If there were such a pay increase for the Sec. of State, wouldn't the Ineligibility Clause of the Constitution preclude Senator Clinton being appointed to that office until her present Senate term expires? Or, at the least, would it not require a "Saxbe fix" by Congress and Obama before she could be appointed? And would Obama, the former con law teacher, endorse such a controversial fix to a Constitutional prescription?

Skyler said...

If he doesn't put Holbrook in the job because of a lack of trust, why would he name Hillary?

SteveR said...

I put "great choice" because it gets her out of the senate, which is good in a pseudo term limit kind of way and because I've heard she has such great talent, this will be a place to show it, not the gasbaggery of politics, campaigning or defending her husband, her most recent positions.

All kidding aside, I think she would be able to pour her tremendous intellect and energy into the job and perhaps do some good.

LarsPorsena said...

Somebody is kidding.
She's going to give up ,what is in fact, a lifetime senate seat for 2-4 years serving at BO' beck and call?

Get serious. This isn't a trial balloon, it's a lead balloon.

peter hoh said...

Richardson flaky? Perhaps because he grew a beard.

It's taken a few days, but I'm warming to the idea of Clinton at State. It gives her enough status within the administration to neutralize her. Samantha Power can look forward to being named Assistant Undersecretary of Nothing.

jdeeripper said...

Wrong Clinton.

Hoosier Daddy said...

A co-worker told me that he'd give the job to Dick Luger.

I laughed hysterically for a good 5minutes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Although I am sure Bill would be tickled to have Hillary on the other side of the world. Then he could get down to some serious business.

AllenS said...

Hillary? will accept, lose her present Senate position, Obama only serves one term, Hillary! will then be in a good position to run for POTUS again. Brilliant.

TMink said...

I am not sure that it would serve Senator Clinton's plans to be SecState. If offered, I expect her to say that she can better serve her country in the Senate, where she will bide her time.

Trey

Danny said...

I'd prefer Bill (Richardson or Clinton). Does Hillary not realize what she can do in the Senate that she can't do at State??

Bob said...

I can't believe Clinton would accept if offered. There's all that sniper fire to dodge overseas...

SteveR said...

BTW, I live in NM and Richardson is a bit of a flake, although he is smart and experienced. They are circling his term limited body out here already so I'd be fine moving him along.

Zach said...

This is still the name-dropping phase of the nominations, but is anybody else starting to get annoyed by the sheer predictability of the names being dropped? Hillary, Kerry, Richardson, Holbrooke (Biden would be a candidate, but he's vice president) -- these are the default names that you could have come up with yourself in about five minutes. And none of them are particularly great candidates for the job.

I wonder if personnel isn't going to be a problem in the Obama administration. He's never run a job search before, and he doesn't bring along a list of people who've worked for him in the past, the way a governor might.

Richard Dolan said...

They're looking in all the wrong places. O himself already has the platitudinous, soft and windy part of diplomacy down pat. He needs someone as his chief diplomat who can credibly play the "bad cop" role when necessary, as it certainly will be. He needs a someone who projects the toughness he lacks (both in dealing with adversaries and standing for principles), a John Foster Dulles or George C. Marshall type. Whatever her strengths, that's not Hillary! And it should definitely not be another member of the Senatorial gasbag club.

Quayle said...

I don't think that is the deal that she cut with Obama, unless it is a temp position.

I think the deal the Clintons cut was SCOTUS for Hillary.

knox said...

I'd prefer Clinton over Kerry, god forbid!

Freeman Hunt said...

If you don't know where the idea of Richardson as flaky comes from, think back to the debates. His foreign policy answers were so horrible that they were making people laugh.

Rich B said...

Warren Christopher! He's still alive and he has experience.

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes, I agree with Knox. Clinton over Kerry. Clinton over all of those others.

Then again, I kind of like Clinton in the Senate as her colleagues are lately making her look like a moderate.

William said...

On the bright side, if appointed, we will not have to hear Hillary's subtle, delicate disappointment about how Obama is not fulfilling the dreams entrusted to him by the American public....So far none of Obama's bruited appointments reinforces the dark suspicions about him....The market is down 20% since his election. He has also done nothing to confirm America's wildest hopes about him.

Palladian said...

"The market is down 20% since his election. He has also done nothing to confirm America's wildest hopes about him."

To be fair, the "Office of The President Elect" doesn't have that much power granted to it in the Constitution.

froggyprager said...

This is not just a figure head photo-op job after the 8 years of Bush. The S of S will need to work very closly with Obama and world leaders on many difficult issues. It would be a big problem if HRC and Obama did not see eye to eye and we got into some huge diplomatic crisis. I don't like this idea.

Simon said...

What LarsPorsena said. Why on Earth would Hillary allow herself to walk into such an obvious trap?

Henry said...

I'd make her head of the CIA.

Sheepman said...

It's a much better choice than Kerry. Only drawback is that the Cabinet serves at the pleasure of the President. Obama would almost be forced to keep Hillary for at least 4 years if she gives up her Senate seat for a Cabinet post. What happens if he needs a change at State?

I thought she'd be most interested in being Attorney General. Weren't Zoe Baird, Kimba(?)and Janet Reno ersatz Hillarys?

campy said...

I'd make her head of the CIA.

Why not FBI instead? She's already seen a lot of the files over there.

Simon said...

Gary, if Level 1 government scale salaries have been increased since 2000, that might well be a bar to appointing Clinton. The OLC appeared to concede as much six years ago when it concluded that a member of Congress could be appointed as United States Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture because "the office itself has no fixed emoluments. The President or his delegate is free [under 22 U.S.C. § 287(g)] to set any level of pay he deems suitable for the duties he expects the particular appointee to perform, as long as the pay does not exceed the statutory ceilings" (emphasis in original). By contrast, the Secretary of State's position is paid in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 5312.

JohnG said...

What do you have against Holbrooke?

Simon said...

Or Kerry, for that matter, come to think of it. Let's find out any instances when those salaries have been increased and we can start striking out all these Congressmen and Senators. (Alas, nothing to be done about Rahmbo, compare OLC memo, supra, with 3 U.S.C. § 107.)

michael farris said...

Not a good choice, Obama doesn't like her (I have an idea he doesn't much like working with women period but that's a separate topic).

Also, as the third female SoS of the last four, the position could become a female ghetto.

integrity said...

Excellent choice. Sets her up to wipe the floor with bimbo Palin in 2016, if bimbo doesn't get the nod in 2012.

I'd love Hillary at State or Supreme Court.

I really love what he's setting up. He's actually setting her up for her run. Good man.

Bravo Obama. But we're still gonna try to run the arrogant dimwit (Bush) and his criminal cohorts into prison whether you like it or not. Sorry.

Gobama!

Maguro said...

This is not just a figure head photo-op job after the 8 years of Bush. The S of S will need to work very closly with Obama and world leaders on many difficult issues.

The S of S is rarely more than a figurehead who gets stepped on, ignored and blamed for crap that goes wrong. I don't think Hillary will sign up for that.

garage mahal said...

"The market is down 20% since his election. He has also done nothing to confirm America's wildest hopes about him."

Make no mistake, this is Obama's recession and we're all just living in it.

/Dust Bunny Queen

Randy said...

Ask Mickey Kaus what is wrong with selecting Bill Richardson. He's hinted moe than once about the juicy details.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Make no mistake, this is Obama's recession and we're all just living in it.

Well garage, come January 20th it will be his and with all the assorted conundrums that go with the job.

Just like anyone who starts a new job, you generally get a pass for about 6 months because 'you're new'. After that, the boss expects progress. That's how it works in the real world anyway. Not sure about unicorn land.

El Presidente said...

Has a member of a President's cabinet ever challenged him in a presidential primary?

Sheepman said...

What do you have against Holbrooke?
I'm curious as well.

sonicfrog said...

Great Choice!

Hillary will annoy our enemies into submission!!!!!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hillary will annoy our enemies into submission!!!!!

Actually I think she'd do better than what we saw with Powell or Rice.

And anyone would be better than Albright except maybe Kucinich.

Jon said...

This is contingency planning. Obama is thinking ahead to the possibility that he may look vulnerable four years from now, in which case Hillary represents the biggest potential threat to him in the 2012 Dem primaries. Putting her on his team minimizes the chances that she will ever play Kennedy to his Carter.

Simon said...

I suppose that the good news is that if Hillary was interested in or could be appointed secretary of state, the bikini tour I envisioned last year would be back on the table.

Deirdre Mundy said...

So she WILL be answering the phone at 3 AM after all!!

Hey, maybe he can reach across the aisle, make McCain SecDef, and have him answer late night calls too!

He could put all the "security voters" minds at ease....

Trooper York said...

Oh, you're statesmanlike enough Hillary.

John Stodder said...

The S of S is rarely more than a figurehead who gets stepped on, ignored and blamed for crap that goes wrong. I don't think Hillary will sign up for that.

She's old enough to remember how William Rogers was humiliated repeatedly by Henry Kissinger.

And what is her experience (or Kerry's for that matter) running a chunk of the permanent government that basically doesn't care what the president's policies are? Other than maybe George Schultz, who has succeeded in that job since the 1960s?

Bart DePalma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bart DePalma said...

At least she will not be nominated to the Supreme Court for a lifetime tenure.

Although, this does have a blind leading the blind quality about it.

dualdiagnosis said...

I want this choice-

Yes, because she won't serve Obama well.

MadisonMan said...

Someone said anyone but Kerry. I echo that sentiment. Really really strongly.

Give Kerry the ambassadorship to France.

Revenant said...

Hillary Clinton lacks charisma, leadership experience, diplomatic experience, and foreign policy experience. Why the HELL would any sane person tap her to be Secretary of State?

Her husband, on the other hand, would be a great choice -- if he'd take the job.

Tibore said...

John Kerry "... a little bit lightweight"??

Understate much?

knox said...

Not lightweight, but a little flaky. But that's OK; anyone who's not a little weird isn't worth knowing.

knox said...

Then again, I kind of like Clinton in the Senate as her colleagues are lately making her look like a moderate.


LOL! I think there's an epidemic of Hillary support amongst conservatives. We're so predictable.

wind said...

Might as well pick Bill for something-- then " change that we can believe in" will accuire true meaning.

Christopher said...

This is what's so flaky about Bill Richardson.

Seven Machos said...

Bill Clinton would make a fabulous secretary of state. Cool and charming in public, but obviously able to bring out the knives in private.

Obama could do no better with a Democrat.

Trooper York said...

The first Secretary of State was Thomas Jefferson, who was famous for writing the Declaration of Independence, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and a long series of letters to his colleagues John Adams and James Madison. His diplomatic experience started when he was named minister to France after his disastrous stint as Governor of Virginia. While in France he established several important positions that exist to this day including the chargĂ© d’affaires, counsel, and corresponding secretary and of course baby momma after fathering several children with one of his slaves.
(It’s Not My Fault, The History of the Secretary of State Doris Kearns Godwin, St Martins Press, 2008)

Joe said...

She's really not a bad choice; certainly more reliable and sane than Pelosi or Albright. The biggest problem, as always, is Bill. Then again, maybe he can do some bedroom diplomacy.

Joe said...

Oh, and it gets Hillary out of the Senate. Now if Obama would just get administrative jobs for Dodd, Frank and Schumer.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Let me just say, I would be overjoyed if Obama picked Hillary to be Secretary of State. There's not much more I can say about it.

OhioAnne said...

I can't think of a single reason why Hillary would want to take the position. She, at best, would be at the beck and call of the person who defeated her (and I agree with the person who said Obama doesn't seem to want to work with women) and she would lose the measure of stature/independence brought by a Senate seat. For her, a lose/lose.

As to Obama, it makes little sense either. If he couldn't control her as a VP, how is he going to deal with her as Sec of State. And then there is the question of Bill's foreign investment deals ...

A double lose/lose ...

Which leads me to conspiracy theories - which given how dull the Obama group has already shown themselves to be may be our only entertainment for awhile.

If Hillary takes the position, I am going to expect Biden to be eased out relatively soon with Hillary replacing him. That way, Hillary gets "a" first (female VP) without another campaign to finance and risk losing. She will owe Obama for the position which will be what he uses to control Bill.

As for Biden ... no one may notice that he's even gone.

ben said...

So many here are so ill-informed! E.g. all these people are saying Hillary would never give up "senator for life" to become sec. of state, because of "all the power she'd have in the senate" -- but this issue was discussed abundantly in the NYT, where it was pointed out that she does NOT have much power in the senate because it operates with strict seniority principles.

And so paranoid! Why does Hillary need to be stashed away somewhere and neutralized? Talking about passing the "loyalty to Obama" test sounds like you've been corrupted by Bush -- loyalty was the prime qualification for him and look at the incompetence it produced! Why would Hillary *not* be loyal, and what does Obama have to fear? She wants greatly to succeed and is obviously smart enough to know that lack of loyalty on her part would reflect badly on her. She has totally been a "team player" in the senate, and even the likes of Jesse Helms gave her grudging respect for this. She's also very smart, and the popularity of the Clintons abroad means her initiatives will make more waves than would someone else's.