Friday, November 14, 2008

HIlary to run Obama State Department?

First off, apologies for not posting recently. I've been playing catch up as I've slowly emerged from my election hangover. News that President Elect Obama is considering Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State brought me out of my lethargy.

One has to consider the rumor serious. Obama is too astute a politician to allow Hilary's name to come into play without there being serious consideration. I expected the new President to offer Hilary a position in his cabinet but I thought it would be in Health and Human Services, where should could help drive, and improve - in my opinion, his health care plans. I have to say I'm a bit shocked that she's being considered for State.

It's not that Senator Clinton is in any way unqualified for the position. In fact, on the face of it, I believe she would make a fine Secretary of State. My concern is that foreign affairs was the main point of friction and debate between Clinton and Obama during the long primary and the place where each hammered the other most powerfully and effectively. Remember Clinton's 3am calls?

I don't doubt that President Obama can put aside the campaign for the all important business of running the country. Both Clinton and Obama are consumate pros and can do the required dance of elections and actual governance. The question is, was this all about the campaign or are there serious differences on the issues between the two. That's hard to tell at this point. Viewpoints on the war in Iraq appear to be converging across the spectrum at this point. The Iraqis seem more and more united in their desire to get their country back and see our backs. While the timetable may differ, most parties stateside are moving towards a serious reduction of forces in Iraq and an eventual withdrawal, at least of major combat forces.

The only serious debate left seems to be whither Afghanistan. As this wasn't the issue that separated the two primary combatants, it shouldn't be difficult to find common ground and support a unified policy.

Perhaps this can be seen as Obama's first step in putting together the echo of Lincoln's cabinet. A cabinet of, if not his opponents, then at least of strong personalities and independent minds. I think it's something he can pull off. At a minimum it will make for interesting political theatre over the coming months as the cabinet posts become known. John McCain for Secretary of Defense, anyone?

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