Whither State?


A popular topic of conversation — or maybe the word is “obsession” — for the politicos these days is what a Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would mean for the Obama administration.  Some, even inveterate Clinton-haters, say it’s bleeding brilliant.  Others, particularly early Obama supporters, say it’s a betrayal and, at best, borrowing trouble.

Most of the rhubarb concerns not Clinton herself, but all the people who come with her.  Bill is part of that, but not the primary concern.  The primary concern is the long-time Clinton loyalists whom a Sec. Clinton would likely appoint to all the sub-cabinet jobs in the State Department.  Since she would report directly to Obama, most people feel Hillary would follow Obama’s policy rather than asserting her own.  They worry, though, that the people she installs beneath her in the bureaucracy would deflect, redirect, and otherwise undermine Obama’s policies where they differ from Clinton’s own.

Heck if I know.  I can see things going either way, and much will depend on how Obama and Clinton negotiated those sub-cabinet appointments: will Clinton get to make all of them? will Obama make some? which ones?  There’s clearly a chance this is hubris on Obama’s part; for now, though, I’m going to proceed on the assumption that Obama will run his administration about as well as he ran his campaign, and knows what he’s getting into.

As I’ve said before, I pretty much don’t care about the politics of it.  But this kind of stuff ends up having policy ramifications, and I do care about policy.  The State Department has got some serious work to do in the coming years.  It would be nice if it did it along the axis Obama won on, not the one Clinton lost on.

This is the best one-stop discussion of these issues, I think.


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3 Responses to “Whither State?”

  1. urbino Says:

    Interesting. It’s possible Hillary Clinton is barred from taking the job by Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution.

  2. michaellasley Says:

    That would suck for Hillary, to be disqualified for that reason. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that tidbit, but still.

    I’ven’t the first thing to say about her as S of S. Sadly, I don’t even know how much power that position holds or is supposed to hold or has held under various holders. And so forth. But you already knew that.

  3. urbino Says:

    Lots. It’s probably the highest-prestige cabinet post. In terms of perceived importance, probably tied with Defense, Treasury, and Justice.

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