Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hillary Being Considered for State Department

Huffington Post has a wrap up of various reports in the mainstream media that Hillary Clinton is being considered for Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Here's what Al Kamen and Philip Rucker say in the Washington Post's In the Loop

The pick of the former presidential contender and Senate Armed Services Committee member would go a long way toward healing any remaining divisions within the Democratic Party after the divisive primaries. Also, Clinton has long been known for her work on international women's issues and human rights. The former first lady could also enhance Obama's efforts to restore U.S. standing amongst allies worldwide.

It's also being reported by NBC's Andrea Mitchell and CNN.


Will said...

Keep your enemies closer I guess.

aznew said...

I don't see it for a variety of reasons. I can see Hillary taking a seat on the Supreme Court, but other than that, why would she leave the Senate now, where she is among the most powerful in a de facto, if not a de jure, sense, especially now that Democrats are poised to make some noise and do some good.

Also, from Pres. Obama's perspective, making her a part of his administration carries with it headaches, by virtue of the fact that Hillary's husband is a former president himself, and still extremely powerful.

This just strikes me as one of those stories that don't so much actually reflect what Obama is thinking as much as it is some operative who thinks it may be a good idea, and so floats it out to his reporter friends to sound like a big shot.

gregkane said...

While Hillary does carry influence beyond her seniority she is still one voice among many in the Senate. Her influence as a Clinton is also a double edged sword with plenty of skilled and scarred opponents that would want to make sure the Senate is not dominated by her. On the other side, as Secretary of State she would be a policy implementer as well as a policy formulator in an area she clearly is most interested in. Obama would still be the one setting direction but she would be a key and almost continuously visible player - that is so much more Hillary than one voice among many.

There could be an added benefit for Obama - it would keep Hillary a little more distant from the health care battle. Obama would have her support for health care while keeping her occupied at State.

At this stage of her life, I think she would opt for having a few years of real certain power (if given the chance) over the opportunity of consensus building with so many other egos in the Senate.

aznew said...

Greg - That is a pretty well reasoned argument, and judging by the news reports of the last few days, Clinton sure isn't doing anything to bat it down.

Another added benefit of SoS Clinton would be the many websites that would immediately spring up speculating how Hillary will be doing away with the four people ahead of her in Presidential succession, and how this is just her master plan to reach the presidency.

You are correct -- in the Senate she is one voice among many, but not all those voices are equal, and her celebrity gives her a megaphone bigger than she would otherwise get based solely on her seniority.

SoS seems like something that caps out a political career. After that, it seems it's the lecture circuit and the Situation Room and, of course, being an unofficial advisor.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Yeah, that's the thing that makes me wonder too. Even if Hillary were to be SoS for the entire 8 years of an Obama administration (and most SoS don't serve out more than 2 or 4 years at most), what would she do beyond that?

In the Senate, she could be working her way up the seniority ladder, in terms of gaining committee chairmanships, and accruing more power and influence beyond a mere 8 years. And they go by very quickly.

OTOH, after 4 to 8 years, she may be ready to retire. For some, there is life beyond politics and Washington. I don't know, though, if that would be true for her. It's hard to parse it.

aznew said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but I just saw Andrea Mitchell on MTP (caught the late showing) and she pointed out that Hillary has been stymied in the Senate by the leadership in her efforts to gain a portfolio, particularl health care. Meanwhile, Maureen Down, who I don't like, made the point that for Hillary the Senate was just a stepping stone to the presidency, which obviously isn't happening.

So, maybe SoS is a way for to close out her political career.

gregkane said...

Now this is interesting. Karen Tumulty reports on Swampland, “After lobbying unsuccessfully to have a health care reform subcommittee created for her to chair on Teddy Kennedy's Health Committee, Hillary Clinton is being asked to head one of three task forces that he is creating on the subject, two Democratic sources tell me. Hers would deal with the issue of coverage”
So, one her signature issue, health care, its Teddy Kennedy that owns it in the Senate and she gets the opportunity to focus on the one area she disagrees with Obama on – coverage.
… or she can be SoS.