City of Brass

City of Brass

Hillary Clinton’s Foggy Bottom

Hillary Clinton will be Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. This is significant for many reasons, not least of which because Hillary is perfect for the job and is supremely qualified for it. Arguably, the more important reason will be because of what her selection tells us about the character of Obama’s Presidency.

Joe Klein wrote a great piece a few days ago about how Obama intends to model his Administration and his Cabinet after Abraham Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals”:

Obama has said he admires Doris Kearns Goodwin’s wonderful Lincoln biography, Team of Rivals.
“He talks about it all the time,” says a top aide. He is particularly
intrigued by the notion that Lincoln assembled all the Republicans who
had run against him for President in his war Cabinet, some of whom
disagreed with him vehemently and persistently. “The lesson is to not
let your ego or grudges get in the way of hiring absolutely the best
people,” Obama told me. “I don’t think the American people are
fundamentally ideological. They’re pragmatic
… and so I have an
interest in casting a wide net, seeking out people with a wide range of
expertise, including Republicans,” for the highest positions in his
government. … “I don’t want to have people who just
agree with me,” he said. “I want people who are continually pushing me
out of my comfort zone.”
Obama said he’d be particularly interested in
having high-ranking Republicans advising him on defense and national
security. “I really admire the way the elder Bush negotiated the end of
the Cold War — with discipline, tough diplomacy and restraint … and
I’d be very interested in having those sorts of Republicans in my
Administration, especially people who can expedite a responsible and
orderly conclusion to the Iraq war — and who know how to keep the
hammer down on al-Qaeda.”


What a contrast from the Bush Administration! It should be noted that it’s virtually certain Obama will make good on this philosophy by retaining Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. However, the philosophy also applies to his rivals within the Democratic tent. The best example is his selection of Joe Biden for Vice-president, who differed with Obama about the Iraq war. During the selection process, Obama noted that he was looking for a Veep who would disagree with him and force him to think “outside the box” and in Biden he has found exactly that.

Just like Biden (only far more successfully so), Hillary is literally a rival to Obama, and it was the strength of her challenge that readied Obama to face McCain in the general election. Likewise, the challenge of having her as Secretary of State will be an asset in and of itself for Obama – this is something that the progressive left doesn’t seem to understand.


It is true that Clinton had been critical during the primary of Obama’s willingness to engage in diplomacy with “rogue nations”, but then she herself acknowledged she’s engage in much the same thing. Neither Obama not Clinton were talking about personal sit-downs with Ahmadinejad, but rather engaging Iran using high-level diplmats and envoys (including, perhaps, the Secreary of State). It is also true that Clinton talked of “obliterating” Iran, but the context of that was in the hypothetical scenario of Iran launching a nuclear attack on Israel (something that Iran lacks the capability to do, and which Iran would be deterred from doing even if it had that capability, partly because of strong and obvious-to-everyone statements of truth like Clinton’s was). Clinton and Obama sparred on these controversies during the primary, but neither was as significant as those with an instinctual aversion to Clinton (or Obama, for that matter) claim.


All in all, Hillary is an inspired choice for Secretary of State, and there’s a lot of arenas sorely neglected by the current Administration – most notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – where she stands to be able to bring a fresh approach and face to the diplomatic challenge ahead. It’s good for the country and the world for her to be SecState, and it shows that Obama is serious about putting his Country First.

Comments read comments(32)
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Sid V

posted November 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Depending on Hillary’s secret ambition for 2012 presidential elections, it would surprise me if she accepted the secr. of state position.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

“All in all, Hillary is an inspired choice for Secretary of State, and there’s a lot of arenas sorely neglected by the current Administration – most notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – where she stands to be able to bring a fresh approach and face to the diplomatic challenge ahead. ”
Who are you kidding? Hillary is unquestionably pro-israeli and will not for a second put any pressure on Israel to make concessions.
What a joke appointment.

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Randy Handy

posted November 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I’ve been with President Obama from the very beginning and still look up to him as a leader capable of bringing about positive change. But not with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. He brings too much international baggage, duplictous rhetoric and unfulfilled aspirations that will greatly limit the chance of changing our nation’s image and making for a more peaceful world. He’s already appointed too many Clinton people…there are plenty more fish in the ocean.

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Your Name

posted November 18, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Big mistake, post should have said She instead of He about the internation baggage, etc. It’s obvious to any reader, but the feelings amount our Christian Obama people are strong on this, and we want to make it known.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm

not only is hillary pro isreal but also loves matzo ball soup

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posted November 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Obama is proving to be very smart by choosing all the Clinton people that he has. Our nation was in alot better shape with the Clinton’s in power and he realizes that. Hillary is and will continue to be a great asset to this nation.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm

ME-OW…a good old-fashioned neo con cat fight! Let’s get crazy and RUMBLE boyz…

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Leon Bernotas

posted November 18, 2008 at 5:53 pm

That Would be another Condi and Utter Disaster.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 6:34 pm

hogwash. there are too many clintonites already in the new administration. i know the pool is small, but there are a lot of qualified people out there. im not looking for clinton 2- i want new faces,new ideas, new strategies. obama has to come through on this, otherwise hell look like just another promise them anything candidate. ufygj7

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Neal J. King

posted November 18, 2008 at 6:56 pm

– For those worried about another Clinton organization: When was the last time a Clinton was Secretary of State? Hint: Never.
– Aside from being knowledgeable and aggressive on the issues, Hillary Clinton has another advantage: She’s a significant individual in her own right, unlike most of the people who’ve had that job. When she meets heads of state, they will respect her as a person as well as for being SoS – because they know that some day, she could end up being #1. As long as she is in-synch with Obama (and she will be), that can only make her a more effective member of his team.

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A Disappointed former Obama unsupporter...

posted November 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm

CHANGE? Seems like we were lied too…same old cast of tired players. Clinton? There couldn’t be a worse choice for a job which requires diplomacy and tact. What’s worse..the stigma of Bill Clinton who set our party back by his lack of personal morals. I’m sorely disappointed.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 9:15 pm

If Hillary will be the Secretary of State..then Pres. Obama will be forgiven for not picking her as the Vice Prez……But seriously speaking..Hillary is a good choice……..We need her now than ever….Why can’t Hillary detractors accept the fact that she is capable………

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posted November 18, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Obama is wise in his choices. He is putting country first. Regardless of who he chooses, he is the common denominator. He is the hub. He sets the direction and pace of his administration. He is looking at expertise for key positions that will affect the fulfillment of his his vision, his promises for our nation. President Carter tried newbies in key postions. It did not work and left him isolated and ineffectual. President Obama MUST be ready Day 1. His choices with make that possible.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I really hope Obama doesn’t ‘renig’ on the American people here. The deal was CHANGE…Hillary Clinton is NOT CHANGE. She is not qualified and she will ultimately be a cancer to Obama’s administration GUARANTEED. She is absolutely NOT a team player and that’s what Obama needs right now. We need the best team. Clinton doesn’t qualify because of the shadiness that follows them. Keep her in the Senate for NY where she will best serve the country. The last thing Obama, and this country needs, is a divisive person around the White House.

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Your Name

posted November 18, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Senator Clinton HAS NOT BEEN OFFERED THE JOB! And it is doubtful she would take it as offered. She has freedom of speech as a US senator and there are major health care issues she has promised to continue to work on for all Americans. As SOS,she would be more limited in her role than ever before. 18 million voters want our Hillary somewhere higher than she is. After Hillary lost the nomination we were sad. As an Alaskan,Obama got my vote over the SNL joke govenor we have and the whole McPalin campaign was a mess. I also cheer that Ted Stevens lost today,did he think he could serve in our senate from jail, or does he think Bush will pardon him for time served to congress???. Also as a member of Beliefnet and the millions of other spiritualists who blog here, I am more concerned about the 3 major car companies going under and the fires in California that are in my prayers right now! Keep those in need in your prayers!!!

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Charles Sifers

posted November 18, 2008 at 10:26 pm

How funny! Some of you people actually believed this guy!
Obama, like all politicians, is a liar.
The only change we’ll see is the wasteland that will be this country (and the world) after the Marxists and Islamists finish with her.
Those of you who voted for this will bear the full responsibilyt of the horror to which we are about to be witness.

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Your Name

posted November 18, 2008 at 10:27 pm

I didn’t vote for Sen Clinton, and would have voted for McCain, had she won the Democratic nomination. (Confident that Caribou Barbie would not have been on the Republican ticket if Clinton was running).
I am not a big fan of Sen Clinton. I do not see her as a capable leader of the country, especially following on the mess that the last 8 years have become. HOWEVER, I think Sen Clinton would be a great SoS, and would support her in this role. You want your best people in their best positions, and Sen Clinton would much better serve the country in this role, than in some of the others….

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posted November 18, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Would you buy a used car from a Clinton?
Hillary’s negative ratings in the US are over 45%–because she is shrill, untrustworthy, and phony. She is as diplomatic as a herpes outbreak.

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posted November 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Hillary will make an excellent SoS…she is well known, well respected in other countries, and is an excellent speaker/negotiator…
I love the idea…I just hope she gets it…

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Your Name

posted November 18, 2008 at 11:31 pm

sifers……….. yes obama is a politician, that’s all we have to vote for. there’s no possible way to harm the country any worse than mr.pussy-lips bush did. 9/11, katrina, iraq, global warming, finacial destruction, 2nd depression, all americans bankrupt. if you were a football coach you would think michael vick was better than tom brady. wake up to the fact we now have a real leader in place who will bring us out of the shithole this president has put us in and back to the superbowl………….just watch and keep quiet!!!!!!
and please don’t ever put bush’n name in the same sentence as obama, not even on the same planet, what happened to our mars adventure??

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Will Nutter

posted November 18, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was easily one of the most efficiently well-ran campaigns ever due to his keen insight, wisdom, and understanding of history as it pertains to other US Presidents. President Lincoln assembled his “cabinet of rivals” with the best and smartest people of the day for the the right positions in a time when our country really needed it the most, at the beginning of the Civil War in 1860. Lincoln proved that he was our greatest president in the way he ran the White House and saved our union during our most destructive war. Picking Hillary Clinton, arguably one of the smartest, more experienced US senators on Capitol Hill who happens to be his chief Democratic primary rival shows his outstanding wisdom, his depth of intelligence, and his sense of strength in the real idea of unity which is what a leader does and that is exactly what our country needs right now in 2008 in this critical time of need as our country and the world struggle through one of the most devastating economic crisis since the Great Depression as well as deal with a thin military spread out in two ongoing wars. Show the world Barack. Show the fools in this country that you can and will get it done because you get it…”Yes we can!”

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posted November 18, 2008 at 11:36 pm

You Clinton Haters are a trip. You all need to take a breath and look inside of yourselves for what it is that drives your unfounded hatred. A stained blue dress is much to do about nothing. This country has spent millions of dollars on all can of “GATES” from travel to land deals and couldn’t find anything credible. Give the Clintons a break. What can you honestly prove that they have done? Nothing. Stop Hating

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posted November 18, 2008 at 11:41 pm

the wasteland comment is funny, our country is literally falling apart right before our eyes due to our current leadership and the republican party offered no options only criticism of pres. elect Obama similar to the email from mr. sifers.
luckily this time enough people spoke up by voting so this election couldn’t be stolen similar to the last 2.
i can’t believe it, pres. elect obama hasn’t even taken office yet and all the republicans can do is have tantrums and cry and criticize
because their party lost. get over it and you’ll have another chance in 4 years.

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Malcolm MacLeod,MD

posted November 19, 2008 at 12:17 am

Making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State would be a mistake of momentous
proportions. She has her own agenda, is aggressively ambitious, lies, cheats,
and steals, and is not respected in Europe, where I live a number of months
every year. Hillary is in this for Hillary. I personally prefer Bill Richardson, who
is more trustworthy and better qualified.

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Terence Sutherland

posted November 19, 2008 at 2:19 am

I fully concur w/Dr. MacLeod’s analysis about Sen. Hillary Clinton.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would be, by far, a more wiser political choice. There are too many unanswered question marks in Sen. Clinton’s background. Combining that along with former President Bill Clinton’s lobbying and fundraising connections in the middle east, I believe this would be a serious conflict of interest.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 2:23 am

I think Obama’s commitment to assemble a team of rivals is admirable. However

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posted November 19, 2008 at 2:30 am

Why are people so happy about HRC bashing? Could everyone please remember that there were millions who also clamored that she would be a good presidential candidate. I want her not for the SOS post. I believe she would be effective in galvanizing a bipartisan cooperation on legislative measures. I wish she would be a point person for the health care, climate change, and other issues within. SHE IS URGENTLY NEEDED not in foreign relations but for DOMESTIC CONCERNS.

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Your Name

posted November 19, 2008 at 3:12 am

I still fail to see why Hillary Clinton is “supremely qualified” for this position. She has no foreign affairs experience. This is like saying I would be supremely qualified to do my husband’s job simply because I sleep next to him and listen when he answers the phone. With our reputation in the world so shattered and our global relationships needing to be rebuilt, I would much prefer someone with actual foreign affairs experience. I am not bashing Mrs. Clinton and I am certain there is a place for her in the Obama Admininstration, but this is not it. (In fact, I personally think she would be a fabulous Supreme Court Justice!)

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posted November 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, hopefully she will not be excessively distracted by outside drama or personal career plans, etc.

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