Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clinton Redux?

Apparently some “critics” believe that President-elect Obama should not be choosing so many staffers with ties to the Clinton administration if he really is all about the “change” that was promised during his campaign. My response to that is (1) when the critic is that nasty, whining Republican “strategist” Leslie Sanchez, who I spent many a pre-election moment wishing would evaporate from my TV screen, I’m not inclined to give any credence to the criticism, and (2) how can he NOT pull in members of his new team from that era of administration? The world is not full of people with some experience in the business of running the country, and if the common campaign complaint against Obama was that he had no experience, then it only makes sense that he surrounds himself with people who do. Obama is the president, not anyone else, so if he wants governance not to be business as usual then that is the mandate he has to set with his team, and if they want to keep their jobs then they will follow it.

That said, I am not in love with the idea of Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, and there are media reports that she might not be, either. She is “agonizing” over the decision because she “likes to be her own boss.” I can understand that, particularly when her new boss would be the person who beat her out for the job. And of course there’s the little matter that it might be construed as tacky when she tries to steal her boss’ job away when she wants to run for president again in 2012 and will undoubtedly have to insult him and his policies again at that time. She is certainly qualified for the job, but why would Obama want to bring all that drama and her enormous ego (not to mention that of her once-great and now horrifying caricature of a husband) into his Cabinet? Would she even be able to restrain herself from putting forth her own policy positions to foreign leaders if she didn’t agree with Obama? She simply isn’t one to play second fiddle, and that’s fine. She shouldn’t take the job.

And why did Obama even offer her the position? Is it a case of “keep your enemies closer”? Or did he know she would balk at taking the position so he felt he could offer it to her and still look like the good guy when she turned it down? Did he think it would be a way to get the eternally slighted and angry Bill Clinton off his back? Or perhaps he genuinely thinks she’s the best person for the job, since she does have a good relationship and familiarity with so many foreign leaders. But I doubt it. Obama is as much of a politician as the rest of them, so there must be a motive in there somewhere.

1 comment:

Broady said...

I think it was a no-lose proposition for Obama to offer her the job... if she takes the job, it's hard to run against an administration of which you are/were an active member; and if she declines the offer, he still looks magnanimous and like a "unifier." Why can't I be in those positions more often?

Either way, I think it was a very shrewd move.