I think choosing Hillary as secretary of state would be a mistake. Not because of Bill. The new administration can choose to use him or not, regardless. The "two for the price of one" stuff is ridiculous: they are not exactly chained together. Equally, if Hillary were the best candidate for secretary of state, it would be absurd to deny her the offer because of Bill's post-presidential connections. Scrutiny in future is really all that is required there.
The problem is that she is not well qualified. She is not by any stretch of the imagination a foreign policy expert. I would not call her a born diplomat. Her first priority would be to advance her own presidential ambitions, not to help make the Obama presidency such a success that those hopes die. The "team of rivals" idea is wonderful so long as the rivals are fully invested in the success of the enterprise. In this case, it seems doubtful. Could Hillary defer to Obama, and carry out his instructions to the best of her ability? I doubt it. And it would not help that everyone would be watching for the first sign of friction or insubordination. The soap-opera dimension would be highly counter-productive.
What is Obama thinking, I wonder? That the party would be delighted? Yes it would, but so what: the election is already won. Or is it something to do with keeping your friends close and your enemies closer?
Monday, November 24, 2008
Hillary Clinton for the State Department?
It is difficult to understand just what Barack Obama sees in Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in his administration. Granted, other selections of former Clinton officials make sense because of the experience they bring to the table. But as Clive Cook argues experience isn't Hillary Clinton's strength for state: