Explaining A Secretary Clinton

November 18, 2008

As the news piles in that Senator Hillary Clinton is planning to accept the position of Secretary of State, the blogosphere and press alike are divided in the simple question: “why.”

Why was a Secretary Clinton chosen? The UK’s guardian calls it a reach to a former enemy, but I personally disagree, mainly being the simple reason of importance. A position this high can not merely be given for a photo op and PR, especially in the position we are in now.

I’ll leave this brief and open it up to the commenters.

26 Responses to “Explaining A Secretary Clinton”

  1. Terrant Says:

    Personally, I think it is more than just a photo op or an attempt to mend fences. As much as I don’t like her politics, I think that she would make a good Secretary of State.

    She has the experience needed for the position and she has done similar things as first lady. I think she would do a good job of being able to further Obama’s agenda because in the end, their view points were rather similar.

  2. pacer521 Says:


    I think we agree here. In the end, although this may in fact mend fences in the long run, a choice for secretary of state is all business. If Obama needed a photo op, it would probably come in placing clinton is some fancy ambassadorship.

  3. She is a good pick. She’s had some experience as first lady, but the Clinton name is probably just as important. Bill was liked pretty well by most heads of state, so she’ll have an in. That will be a nice asset for an administration in need of mending some fences.

  4. Obama obviously believes in “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. Last week Taegan Goddard pointed out some advantages of having HRC in the cabinet: it will get her out of the senate and make it difficult for her to campaign for her next presidential run.

  5. huxbux Says:

    When selecting a Secretary of State the standard operating procedure seems to be to pick a known quantity. Clinton certainly fits that bill. From my perspective, she had the right demeanor for dealing with international heads of state – direct and firm but empathetic enough to keep an open dialogue in times of crisis.

    I highly doubt this is some move to marginalize Clinton for any possible future run for the White House. Clinton has passed her “political prime”, and winning candidates are rarely, if ever, past losers. Barring some tremendous downfall on Obama’s part, the earliest Clinton would even have the opportunity for another candidacy would be 2016. I’m willing to bet that in 8 years time, any luster the public sees in Clinton will have washed away and the Democratic party will have new, emerging leaders boiling to the top.

  6. 1superdave Says:

    What experience. Name one acomplishment. Obama is just a savey street fighter. He keeps his friends close and his enemies clooser. What about the 67 page discloser form of all things that might show a conflict of interest. Ya really think Bill is going to willingly disclose where and how much money he’s taken fron the Arabs. Do ya want some ocean front property in Arizona.

  7. Kevin Says:

    Continuing 1superdaves post:

    “Do ya want some ocean fron property in Arizona.”

    I hear old Johnnie’s got 3 o’them. You might wanna go check with him, but not now, its past his bedtime.


  8. patrick Says:

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

  9. Stefan Says:

    This may actually be a good stepping stone for Clinton for 2016, so I don’t think she’s done with national politics.

    But speculation aside, Obama wouldn’t put someone on his cabinet who he actively hates – he has too much political capital to be put in that position. There was never much daylight between him and Clinton policywise. The primary only got nasty when she decided to remake herself as some kind of blue-collar hero to try to capitalize on the cultural divisions within the Democratic Party. Assuming that the bitterness hasn’t lasted (and judging by what I’ve seen since the Convention, it hasn’t), I think she might make a good addition.

    The biggest issue with this might be Bill, who has had trouble in the past accepting that he no longer owns the party. The news in today’s NYT that he’s willing to go along with the audit might mean that he’s coming around for real.

    Also – Secretary of State is more and more of a diplomatic position, since the policy details are usually hammered out by the National Security Advisor and other interior members of the Executive. And who better to handle diplomacy than one of the faces of the last successful (Democratic) administration?

    I’m not yet convinced that Mrs. Clinton would be the best choice, per se, but I’m understanding the thinking on this.

  10. chamay0 Says:

    I agree. I leave this decision up to President Obama. If he has the belief that Hilary can handle the position than so do I. She has not shown me that she can not handle such an important position and in fact has shown herself to be very skillful. This might also be Obama’s way of paving the path for 2016 for Hilary.

  11. 1superdave Says:

    One acomplishment , please?

  12. huxbux Says:


    Shall I list a myriad of bills Obama sponsored while in the Senate? Or his work on the Foreign Relations, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Veteran Affairs; Homeland Security; or Governmental Affairs committee? Or maybe his travels to foreign countries during his Senate tenure? Or the legislation he passed while in the Illinois State Senate? Or his work at a law firm specializing in civil rights cases? Or how about his community organizing in Chicago after graduating from Harvard Law School? Or what about the management of his presidential campaign?

    Not to sound inane, but pick your category and we can play the “Name That Accomplishment” game.

    Has Obama undergone the prerequisite indoctrination period in politics, specifically Washington, to mirror what’s evolved into our expectation for what qualifies as a political leader? Probably not. I’m just trying to figure out why the tenure of service is somehow associated with a person’s ability to lead. It’s reminiscent of employment seniority where years of service are tantamount over job performance.

  13. sarahpalinmoose Says:


    You should Google Obama’s resume or somethin’. There’s gotta be stuff you can read on Google that tells what he’s done. Or maybe you can read his book while we wait to read Sarah Palin’s.

    Go find out instead of askin’ over and over.


  14. Kevin Says:

    Haha! You tell’em Huxbux!

  15. huxbux Says:


    Although me and superdave stand at the opposite ends of the spectrum, we’ve both had numerous civil discussions which is almost always constructive. It’s never a “us-them” battle for me. I respect superdave.

  16. Kevin Says:

    Yeah, we always have discussions too in my blog. I just like the fact that you are better able to illustrate Obama’s record than I can.

  17. 1superdave Says:

    Ahh libs.
    1 We were talking about Hillery, Right.. Obama will be my president. He was duely elected. All the other stuff including his accomplishments are quite mute. What has hillery done that could posibly make her the “one”. Please leave out landing under gunfire and hugging Arafat’s wife.

  18. 1superdave Says:

    Oh! Also leave out staying with Bill through that humiliating national disgrace of having an afair with episodes taking place in the oval office. Which was the price she had to pay to be able to run for president. Where were the femenist crowd anyway? Why weren’t they outraged at the sexual explotation of a twenty year old female intern? Not that old addage the ends justifies the means maybe. Is this a double standard? Thank you Huxbux!! I think the discuusion should be civil. I just think Hillary is just dredging you the ghost of the past. This whole addministration just looks like a Clinton rerun. Where is the hope and change?

  19. 1superdave Says:

    Thay should have been dredging “up” the Ghost of the past. I hunt and peck.

  20. 1superdave Says:

    Check out this clip of Rahm Emanuel. This is Obama’s Chief of Staff. This is scarry. A crisis is a terible thing to waste? We desperately need stability, but I contend that they( the incoming Obama addministration) Want the crisis to loom so they will be able to ram through their agenda in grander proportions than they ever imagined. Just try to remember how things were for the last eight years. I,m afraid they will soon be the good old days.

  21. livingwithjoy Says:

    It is the only thing she would take and it’s the only way to keep her from campaigning for the next 8 years.

    Obama needs the Clinton connections.

  22. huxbux Says:

    My apologies, superdave. I was a tad confused as to whose credentials you were questioning, and just made an assumption.

    Secretary of State credentials are an interesting area. It’s restricted to foreign policy, but there aren’t a terrible number of opportunities for prior experience. There’s two possible former jobs that would remotely qualify as positions fulfilling similar function as SoS – ambassadors and junior State Department officials.

    If you take a look at former SoS’s, a majority of them held neither of these two positions. Most emerge from Congress, state Governors, the military, or other federal domestic agencies. One common theme among recent SoS’s are degrees in political science, of which Clinton received one from Wellesley College(later earning her Bachelor of Arts which ironically she has in common with Kissenger as the only two SoS sharing this distinction).

    Unless your an embedded State Department or ambassador to a foreign nation, you are prevented from dealing with foreign governments per the Logan Act. It’s essentially a roadblock to the criteria for gaining foreign policy experience.

    It’s a job you more or less learn on site. A SoS advises the President on foreign policy, along with numerous other individuals who arguable have more influence in the matter, and meets with foreign leaders. Clinton has a political science degree – she’s educated in the interaction of government. And Clinton is capable of smiling, shaking hands, and speaking – she’s qualified to talk to foreign leaders.

    Keep in mind also that there is an establishment in place that any new adminstration is coming into. The Department of State employees nearly 15,000 individuals. The collective experience of the Department itself is a sort of cushion against utter organizational incompetence. You could put a comatose person in as SoS, and the State Department would continue to operate.

    I’m not entirely certain what criteria or qualifications you want in a SoS, but I’d be interested to know what that would be. What former SoS would you consider qualified?

  23. huxbux Says:

    Emanuel is simply stating the obvious – that we rarely take action until a situation has reached critical mass. Economists were warned of potential danger over the housing bubble and lending practices 4 years ago, but no action was taken as expected. The general attitude of Washington(and people really) is to maintain the status quo when things are good, and decry the system, demanding a fix when things turn sour.

    Think of it as a person who drives a car, rarely if ever changing the oil or performing any preventive maintenance. But when their engine seizes up, the car finds it’s way into the shop for the first time in a long while.

    Just look at the history of crisis in this country, and the political action in response. I can’t think of a major US piece of legislation that wasn’t born out of some sort of disaster. Can you?

    From a purely realist perspective, Emanuel is just telling you the truth. Governments have always been most effective at enacting policy when the country is rocked by a traumatic event. Specifically because a populace that is afraid gravitates towards their government for protection. We’re always afraid of something or at least we can be made to be afraid.

    Fear has always been the most efficient mode for a government to operate under, to enact their policies. And most will, to varying degrees, manufacture a level of acceptable fear among the populace, in order to accomplish their goals. However, most won’t tell you that or even recognize that crisis(and the fear it engenders) are political tools.

  24. 1superdave Says:

    come on now, acrisis is a terible thing to waste. How about it’s something we are doing everything we can to manage. It sounds lkie explotation to me.

  25. huxbux Says:

    It’s true exploitation when organizations artificially manufacture a crisis to generate fear in order to enact policy.

  26. jiovanni Says:

    I agree with what Mike Hussen Cohen said.

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