Monday, November 24, 2008

A Golden Straitjacket


has come out in favor of President-Elect Obama's possible appointment of Senator Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State.

Key graphs:

... The biggest shock, of course, is the tapping of Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. I say shock because no one expected it, including Her Imperial Highness of Appalachia. But the more you think about it, the less surprising it is. Clinton remains the biggest domestic threat to the Obama presidency. The Republicans, decimated by the feckless campaign of John McCain and the malign incompetence of Karl Rove, have become a toothless, bitter rump. The Clintons, however, retain a following in the Democratic party and the Senate, and Hillary, left to machinate on Capitol Hill, would be angling to put her stamp on healthcare reform and run against Obama in 2012. At every stage, he would have to watch his back. And front.

Earlier this year, it seemed a good idea to plonk her on the ticket to defang the threat. That would have followed the “team of rivals” concept that Obama wanted to purloin from Lincoln. It would also have given the Clintons an independent claim on power. By winning without them and even, in some measure, despite them, Obama can now bring the Clintons into the power structure while retaining clear dominance. The State Department appointment is prestigious enough not to be condescending, yet also keeps Clinton off the Washington circuit more than any other position. She’ll be on a plane or abroad a great deal. Extra bonus: Bill will just love that. Sending his wife to the Middle East is the ex-president’s idea of a good time.


He makes some interesting points. But, here's hoping Team Obama has also read this cautionary column by Thomas Friedman that appeared last week in the NYT. Friedman wisely wonders if foreign leaders would believe a Secretary Clinton would have the future president's ear.

Sully credits the photo above to Brendan Smialowski of Getty.

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