Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some thoughts on Hillary as Secretary of State

When the news of Hillary possibly being offered the job of Secretary of State, my first thought was "Are you kidding me?" I still don't particularly like the idea, primarily because I think that out of the other names that have been mentioned, Bill Richardson would be a better choice. Then again, I wish my man Wes Clark was in the running, but back on topic... I have other reasons why the choice of Hillary is not one I like. For instance, in terms of the major foreign policy issues of the last few years, there are huge differences between Obama and Hillary, like, oh, the Iraq war. Personally, I don't want anyone as Secretary of State who vigorously supported going to war and was doggedly unrepentant about that until way into the Democratic primaries.

And on top of that, why would Obama want someone like that as Secretary of State? Why would he want anyone who chided and derided him as being wrong and naive on many foreign policy matters? Why would he give such a prominent position to someone who wants to run against him in 2012 (and you know she does)? In short, why in the hell would Obama want Hillary as Secretary of State?

And then I started seeing some answers to that question. If she turns him down, neither she nor her supporters could ever claim that he disrespected her or failed to make her a big part of his administration. If she turns him down and stays in the Senate, she will have to work with Obama on almost everything or it will seriously look like she is doing nothing but trying to sabotage Obama so that she can run against him in 2012. And if she works with Obama, she won't really be in a position to run against Obama. If Obama's administration is unsuccessful, she will be seen as no different from Obama (much like McCain couldn't separate himself from Bush). If Obama's administration is successful, she will not be able to convince people there should be a change. On the other hand, accepting the cabinet post could create huge obstacles to her running in 2012. As Secretary of State, she would have no opportunity to impact domestic policy. That means she could not take any credit if the economy improves, health care improves, etc. If there are foreign policy failures, she can't point the finger of blame at Obama. If there are foreign policy successes, how could she claim that there should be a change in 2012? In other words, by offering Hillary Secretary of State, Obama is not merely "keeping his enemies close," he is making an effective move to keep Hillary out of the 2012 picture. And the best part is that he is making Hillary make the decision...

And here's another possible reason...If Obama really wants to try to work with Republicans, don't you think they would be happy about Hillary not being in the Senate? Don't you think that Obama could score a few points with them by being the one that gets her out of the Senate?

Gee, am I perhaps a little too jaded and cynical?


Anonymous Ray said...

Ah.... the old WII is back with his inciteful or is that insightful commentary. Good observations. One more benefit with her in Obama's administration, NY gets a new senator.

11/18/2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger WCharles said...

Will the new senator be appointed or chosen by special election? Either way, what are the chances that a Republican gets that spot?

11/18/2008 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...

I think appointed and it will be a Democrat. But, I read today part of the vetting process includes Bill's entangled finances and that may be a problem especially with his large income from Saudi Arabia. Funny, that wasn't a problem with many when Hillary was running for president.

11/18/2008 1:51 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

Oh, I guess I forgot about that Bill guy...

Bill is one reason why Hillary could be an effective Secretary of State--and he is also a reason why she could be a nightmare for Obama. Bill is viewed favorably by most of the rest of the world, and he can open doors that frankly no one else likely could. Hillary would benefit from that good will, and she would make effective use of it (and she also has many connections of her own in that regard). But then there's the Bill that deviates from the script. And then there's the Bill that loves the spotlight more than just about anybody. That Bill could be a problem for Obama AND Hillary.

And then there are the potential conflicts of interests given Bill's myriad and substantial business dealings...

11/18/2008 4:56 PM  

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