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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hillary for Secretary of State?

Sigh, yawn... oh gosh, some people don't realize how much pressure there is on us bloggers. We have to have a passionate, edgy opinion on absolutely every subject and stick our noses into pretty much everyone's business. So instead of curling up with a good book on this rainy Boston Saturday, I guess I have to say something about the huge controversy over the reports that Obama has allegedly either already offered the Secretary of State position to Hillary Clinton or is seriously considering it.

Note that I say "allegedly," because the sourcing on this does not inspire confidence, ranging from "two Obama advisers" in the case of NBC's Andrea Mitchell to "advisers to the onetime rivals for the Democratic nomination" in today's New York Times. Journalism 101: Just because "sources" are saying something does not mean it is true, because some sources are in a better position to know (ie they are very close to the action) and other sources are just simply repeating what they think they have heard. This is one way that reporters sometimes get things wrong.

But let's say it is true. As a ferocious Hillary critic during the primary campaign, will I be happy about such a pick? No. Among the most discussed candidates, I would pick John Kerry. But do I think that Hillary Clinton would run away with U.S. foreign policy and run a "parallel government," as some commentators have suggested? Again, no. After all, she would be working for President Barack Obama, who would have the power to hire and fire her.

Is there some reason for people to think that Obama is going to be a weak president who will allow his foreign policy to be hijacked just for the sake of party unity or sending a message or some abstract notion of a "team of rivals"? Or even that he would hand his foreign policy over to Bill Clinton, which some have suggested a Hillary pick would really mean?

Or, as some have put it, is Obama crazy or crazy like a fox?

We've never had a president like Barack Obama before. You might think that some bloggers and commentators would have the intellectual curiosity to spend less time yakking about Obama's every move and more time watching what he does.

Now that he has actually been elected, that's my attitude, anyway.

Now back to that good book.

Afterthought: If someone other than Hillary Clinton ends up being Secretary of State, something tells me that the left blogosphere and the poobahs of progressive punditry (aka the nattering nabobs of negativism) are going to congratulate themselves for derailing this unfortunate choice. I think that would be a mistake, unless someone could come up with real evidence that it was so. Has there been any evidence that it is the style of Obama and his team to float "trial balloons" to see how everyone would react to a decision or a point of principle, before making it? Not much, as far as I can see. That's why so many of us supported him, and why it is so disheartening to see how quickly some "progressives" have leaped to brand Obama some sort of a sell-out. As I pointed out in an earlier post (the most heavily hit of any I have done since starting this blog), the left did not elect Obama, and it should not expect him to be at its beck and call.

Maureen Dowd doesn't think it would be so bad. I'm not a big Dowd fan, but she has an interesting column in Sunday's New York Times. She ends on this note: If Barry chooses Hillary as secretary of state, a woman who clearly intimidated him and taught him to be a better pol in the primaries, it doesn’t signal the return of the Clinton era. It says the opposite: If you have a president who’s willing to open up his universe to other smart, strong people, if you have a big dog who shares his food dish, the Bill Clinton era is truly over. Appointing a Clinton in the cabinet would be so un-Clintonian.

6 comments:

The Stark Raving Viking said...

Having Hillary Clinton in any administration or any political position means nothing but sleaze.

I want to see Barack Obama's administration succeed.

Taking Hillary Clinton on board is a big mistake.

One of the most corrupt court districts happens to be Hillary's.

A constituent of US Senator in New York had concerns about the federal judge nominee, Wesley, also a favorite of George W. Bush. Judge Wesley seems to be a team player out to keep judicial misconduct secret and those expose, jailed.

Elena Sassower wanted to warn Hillary Clinton about the shenanigans of Judge Wesley, so Clinton allegedly saw to it that Sassower was jailed to shut her up about the truth. [more info]

terryt said...

Well. What can I say? Perhaps best to repeat what I wrote in your post concerning the USA's first Muslim President:

"I guess that's the end of any influence Samantha Power might have had, and the end of any prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Perhaps it was the price Obama was required to pay to get Bill Clinton's old mates to change sides: Ms. Power goes. Her ideas definitely would have been a hindrance to heavy armament sales. And Iran has probably moved back into the gunsights".

Michael Balter said...

I wouldn't be so sure that Samantha Power is out of the picture. Not only is Hillary Clinton not yet secretary of state, we won't know what a Hillary Clinton tenure in that position would really look like--despite all the speculation about it. I think everyone is reading too much into the current process; the hysteria over Rahm Emanuel is just one example.

I could be wrong about this, but I am going to take a wait and see attitude at this point. Barack Obama is going to be president, and no one else, so we had all better find ways to work within that reality--and I don't think that wholesale broadsides against Obama from his left flank is the best way to do that, as I indicated in an earlier post.

Andrew Hunt said...

I applaud what you've said in this Blog entry, Michael (and what you keep saying, because it needs to be said over and over again). Frankly, I'm appalled by what a beating Barack Obama has already taken from the left side of the Blogosphere. My God, he hasn't even been inaugurated! It's a sad thing that, on the whole, Republicans are going easier on him than many of his so-called "leftist" critics. During the Great Depression, Americans on the left and right were willing to give Franklin Delano Roosevelt a hundred days. Doesn't Obama -- at the very least -- deserve the same???

Michael Balter said...

Thanks so much, Andrew. Just a couple of weeks after the election, it seems that some people have forgotten how absolutely crucial it was to the future of this country and the world to defeat the Bush administration and the man who would continue its basic policies. The conclusion was far from forgone, at least until the very end; we have indeed had a narrow escape. The man who did it, and the people who supported him with their hard work, are heroes, even if their politics might not be as left or progressive as some of us might want. We owe them a great deal, but that debt is soon forgotten.

movie buff said...

it seems like, if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, then there will be some serious personality and agenda conflict between her and Obama