Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rumor Mill: Hillary Clinton Unsure About State Post

"Sources close to Hillary Clinton" (yes, those people) report that she is torn over her unofficial offer to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. According to the anonymous sources, Clinton's reluctance stems from the fact that she likes to "be her own boss," but would answer to the president as Secretary of State. Obama's transition team declined to comment, which makes sense given the fact that Obama has not even confirmed whether or not Clinton has an offer. So we are dealing with rumors on top of rumors.

I do not recall ever seeing an prospective cabinet member struggle publicly with a decision. So, what could explain this? Does this really mean that the "offer" is just "song and dance" and that neither Obama nor Clinton ever expected her to become Secretary of State? Or, is Clinton footdragging publicly because this gives her some type of leverage in the process? I am not sure how to answer these questions, but I do know that in politics reality often differs from how it appears to the public. Stay tuned!

Source: New York Times


shag carpet bomb said...

I don't know what to make of it either. Home sick today, I watched MSNBC and saw Mary Steenburgen on the air, talking up Clinton. It definitely had the whiff of a PR campaign -- whether to simply counteract the negativity in general or to lobby for a more general shift away from the animosities that characterized the primaries or both -- I don't know. But def. seems like a PR campaign to trot out a celebrity to talk about what a great human being Clinton is.

As you noted in an earlier post on Clinton's role campaigning for Obama, she did a lot more than other primary candidates did to campaign for their former opponent. As such, it would be remiss if no one acknowledged that contribution.

OTOH, I wonder how much she needs to leave herself an out. IOW, what if she determines she'll have a much better time of it if she stays in the senate?

I notice a lot of people worry that if she does, she'll form a power base that could hamper the Obama administration. On what I'm not sure: I'm pretty bad about following the nuances of democratic in-fighting and how the Obama campaign might see her as a potential enemy. Are they worried she'd be too liberal? that she'd be a viable candidate for 2012 and could present a challenge to his re-election? I could see that it would be practically impossible for her to mount an opposition campaign in 2012 if she accepted the appointment. She'd be seen as very ungrateful.


Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

What do I think?

(1) The PR campaign around Clinton started after she conceded. When "Pumas" were defecting, this threatened Obama's candidacy. So, all of a sudden, the rhetoric around her shifted. She was no longer a pseudo-neocon, stuck in the past, etc. Instead, her policies were identical to Obama's and if people did not vote for him, then they would go against her life's work (before, she also did not have any "life's work" -- except for being First Lady).

2. I believe that a lot of the "in-fighting" on her, to the extent such exists, probably comes from the "true believers" among the Obamanians -- at least the true believers who retain the ability to criticize. They, agreeing with my analysis, sees Clinton as oppositional to Obama in terms of ideology, style, morality, etc. He is pious; she is satanic. Well, I have not made those arguments exactly in that fashion. I think she contradicts his script - or campaign narrative, but that ultimately, they are both politicians who crave power, influence, attention, etc.

movie buff said...

if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, hopefully she will be able to concentrate on country-centric issues without being distracted by other drama or her career plans

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

As someone with a similar educational and professional track as Obama and Clinton, I feel pretty safe saying that most highly educated lawyers take jobs with their careers in mind. If you think Obama ran for president out of altruism, then......(I would be speechless).

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