Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't Waste Hillary at the State Department

I haven't posted on all of the rumors that Hillary Clinton will become secretary of state in the Barack Obama administration.

I don't like the idea, frankly. David Broder explains my reservations perfectly:

It may be moot and it certainly is presumptuous, but I would be less than honest with readers if I did not say what I believe: Making Hillary Rodham Clinton the secretary of state in Barack Obama's administration would be a mistake.

I do not doubt that she could do the job -- and do it well. I have been a fan of the former first lady's since I covered her efforts for health-care reform 15 years ago. What I saw in the recent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was convincing evidence of her physical stamina and moral courage, and of her capacity to improve her own performance at every step of the process. I admired her readiness to endorse and campaign hard for Obama after her own candidacy fell short.

Equally, I admire Obama's readiness to reach out to former rivals and enlist their help in the governing enterprise he is launching. His serious discussions with Clinton, John McCain and Bill Richardson, among others, are testaments to his sincerity in wanting to move beyond the partisanship and personal differences that too often poison the atmosphere in Washington.

What, then, is the problem? Clinton is the wrong person for that job in this administration. It's not the best use of her talents, and it's certainly not the best fit for this new president.
Unfortunately, Broder marred his piece with a slam on the Iraq war ... which is no surprise since the Beltway establishment attaced the war as a "disaster" from the get go.

But Hillary Clinton was right in authorizing the deployment in 2002, and perhaps by staying away from the Obama cabinet, she can return to a more realistic view of American foreign policy, not driven by electoral pressures from the Democratic party's defeatist base.