How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary?
There’s nothing official yet, but at the time of this writing, Britain’s Guardian reports that “Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration.”
Strap yourselves in, folks -- we’re in for a fun, fun ride.
That’s not to say Clinton wouldn’t make a fine SecState. She may not be well-liked, but she’s generally well-respected enough not to make a total disaster of the job. And, by choosing (yet another) Clintonite, Obama sends yet another reassuring message to the world: Change, but not too much change.
Obama also gains himself some cover by choosing Clinton. He originally promised to have the troops out of Iraq in 2009. Then he backed away from that pledge, to maybe sometime in 2010. By choosing an Iraq war supporter, even if she proved to be a fair-weather fan, Obama might be able to tell his furthest-left supporters that his own SecState has told him the troops ought to stay until at least 2011. Or twelvish.
Real Clear Politic's Tom Bevan wonders if perhaps Obama is “being overconfident and naive, giving Hillary a place on the stage and a power base, at the same time he's stocking his administration with former Clintonites.” I think he’s being shrewd.
With Ted Kennedy’s health problems, Clinton could rise up to take his place as the liberal “lion of the Senate.” To date, Clinton has modeled her Senate career more along the lines of “Pothole Al” D’Amato. In other words, she concentrated most of her efforts on doing nice things for her constituents, and less on the Big Picture items. But with Kennedy fading and a fellow Democrat in the White House, stepping up into a bigger role seemed like the next natural step in her progression.