As more and more documentation accrues showing a clear conflict of interest represented by Hillary Clinton’s nomination for Secretary of State, I continue to shake my head and ask, “is she worth the trouble?” Is there really something so special about Hillary Clinton that it’s worth compromising American foreign policy, or at the very least appearing to compromise American foreign policy, just to have her in the Cabinet? The coming Obama administration has been adamant about repairing America’s image around the globe and engaging in an aggressive diplomatic campaign to make more friends than enemies. That’s why the Clinton choice really has me scratching my head.
I know what some may be thinking: the Clinton supporters had to be made to feel welcome. But why? They largely voted for Obama anyway. The PUMA movement never materialized for McCain on Election Day. What recourse do they have now? Clinton will surely not challenge a sitting Democrat president for her Party’s nomination in 2012. Indeed, President-elect Obama could have made a strong statement by shutting out the Clintons altogether from his administration, both to make good on his promise for a “new politics” and to assert himself as the unquestioned leader of his Party. Such a move could have sent the Clintons tumbling into the “dustbin” of history with Jimmy Carter, anachronistic relics of a bygone era, no longer relevant.
But Obama didn’t do that. Instead, he’s chosen to make himself the butt of his own “McCain will serve Bush’s third term” quips by surrounding himself with former Clintonites and elevating Clinton herself to such a prestigious position in his government. I think it’s fair to say that Obama will serve out Bill Clinton’s third term, no? We shall see. But I once again have to assert that, if Obama seriously intended to deliver on his image of change in Washington and an end to “politics as usual,” he could have done better than Hillary Clinton (plusbaggage).