Friday, November 14, 2008
The rumor of the day appears to be that Hillary Clinton has been offered the Secretary of State job at a private meeting with Obama in Chicago. Marc Ambinder can not confirm or infirm the sources. Andrew Sullivan likes it, Kevin Drum is skeptical.
I try to not comment too much on the speculation regarding Obama's future cabinet because it is basically like trying to understand a play in a foreign language while watching from the back of the theater. You can see who's there, you can see their movement, sometimes you can make out a word or two but you really can't tell what the hell is going on.
But my gut feeling is that it is horse crap. I don't see why she would leave her safe Senate seat for a job she will have for only a few years at best, and which will lower her chances to run again for President since she will have to focus on her job instead of politics for the years to come. She wouldn't be able to profit from a major Obama mistake, which she basically needs if she wants to have a chance in 2012 and she would lose her power base for a run in 2016. I don't see how she could spin positively going from a tough, independent legislator to a team player, following orders from a man whom she had called "naive and inexperienced" only a few months before.
From Obama's perspective, choosing Hillary would indeed show he was serious about his "Team of Rivals" talk and it would fit with a "Keep your friend close but your enemies closer" kind of logic, but I don't see what he has to gain. He's overwhelmingly popular, won the vast majority of Democrats and he has the best chance of any Democrat in a generation to pass important legislation. I don't see the logic in how by having Hillary in his Cabinet he will prevent her from attacking him. He wasn't afraid to face her when the odds were overwhelmingly in her favors, I don't see what he has to fear for 2012; barring a major mistake on his part during his term, in which case he'd be vulnerable from many other people, not just Hillary. If she does decide to run a primary challenge to the bitter end again in 2012, the 2008 elections has shown us that this only made Obama stronger by preparing him for the general election and didn't hurt him at all with Democrats (with 89% of the Democratic vote for him). There is also the Bill problem. Hillary doesn't seem to be able to control him, and Obama has not shown himself to be the type of boss that likes controversy caused by his employee (or their family) causing drama which makes him look bad. Such a job for Hillary would give plenty of opportunity to Bill to talk too much since an Obama administration will more than likely change a thing or two compared to how Clinton used to run thing and Bill will feel compelled to comment on this.
Finally, everyone who is in serious contention for top jobs has been very quiet as of late and the leaks have been relatively few and far between. Now all of a sudden it's leaking from everywhere? That looks intentional to me. If I had to guess why they met, I'd guess it might be to ask him not to take Richardson or Kerry as SecState, since she still hold grudges against them for supporting Obama early over her. Maybe...
Or maybe they just met like two old warriors to remember, over a coffee, the good old times when they called each other names.