Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hillary for SecDef

There is chatter lately that President-Elect Barack Obama might offer Senator Hillary Clinton the office of Secretary of State. While I certainly would applaud that appointment, I believe she would serve better as Secretary of Defense. It would be a bold, positive choice on many levels.

30 comments:

uswest said...

Nope. Leave gates where he is. He's on the right track. I'd say mover her to attorney general. She'd be very good at that!

Dr. Strangelove said...

Not all that impressed by Gates, actually. He seems to think throwing everything we have at Iraq and Afghanistan is a smart policy.

I like the Atty Gen suggestion, but I have a feeling Hillary would probably rather stay Senator than be Atty Gen. I'm thinking maybe Richardson will be Sec. of State.

Can you imagine if Obama were to ask McCain to be Sec. of Def?

Raised By Republicans said...

Why the interest in "boldness" at the expense of other criteria? You emphasized "boldness" in your preferences for VP nominations to the point that you praised the Palin nomination and criticized the Biden nomination. I just curious what you think the inherent value of being bold is and why.

Raised By Republicans said...

BTW, I think Hillary Clinton at State would be great. But the Clintons have had such mixed relations with the military, I just don't see her being successful at DOD.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Good question, RbR. The basic reason I want to see Obama make bold choices is that this is what the voters want to see. Independent voters especially who cast their ballots for "change" want concrete signs, as soon as possible, that the incoming administration really will be different. While boldness can lead to mistakes, FDR demonstrated that bold experimentation in the face of economic crisis was a more politically successful strategy.

While I have no love for Palin herself, I still think believe Palin was the right choice for McCain, because it gave his own (stolen) message of "change" some much-needed credibility, and Hillary had already shown that the argument for "experience" was unlikely to be a successful--at least against Obama.

Bill Clinton did not have good relations with military leaders, but I believe Hillary has considerably better relations with the military... She has made that a priority.

USwest said...

I really don't like her for secretary of state. That said, reports today are that he has offered to her and she is considering.

It was part of the deal she cut when she threw her support behind him. I don't think he had much of a choice in the matter.

Bills mixing around with his charity work and such really muddies the waters. You can't have two secretaries of state running around and that is what you'd get when you get HRC. She isn't Albright.

I am not convinced that she is the right choice and I wonder why others here think she is. Please illuminate me.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I definitely don't want to see a Republican as Secretary of Defense. Bill Clinton did great damage to our party by appointing William Cohen (Republican) to be Secy of defense. It reinforced the Republicans' statements that only they can be trusted on defense. How about Jack Murtha?

Raised By Republicans said...

I think Hillary Clinton would make a great Secretary of State. She is known and widely respected around the world and I think she could really rally the staff at that department which has had very bad morale for some time.

Of course DOD has a similar morale problem. I think Obama should pick a strong DOD who can restore as well as reform that department.

originalrager said...

Ugh! Most of his choices so far have been Clinton Admin reruns...Why the heck go with another Clinton? How bout some of that talked about CHANGE???

The Law Talking Guy said...

I worry quite a bit that if HRC gets the job as Sec of State, she will think she's the foreign policy czar, or worse, Bill will. Sort of like Douglas MacArthur. Neither is likely to listen to Barack Obama and do what he says. That will lead to her having to be fired midway through, which will be really bad.

What makes anyone think she'll shut her mouth if she disagrees one iota with Obama's strategy on Israel or Iraq?

USwest said...

I'm tell you, I really think she is better suited to Attorney General. I don't think she will rally the state department. That said, I don't have a good suggestion for who would be better simply because I don't know enough about who's who in DC.

USwest said...

BTW: You want to rally the state department? Be really bold and select someone respected from inside the department, you know, like a career diplomat, for a change.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I also like USWest's idea to promote a career diplomat to the post. I hope, after 8 years of Bush, the decent ones did not all quit.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Would a career diplomat have the sort of public presence that a better-known political figure would have? I'm not sure.

The Law Talking Guy said...

What does Dr.S. say about the criticism coming from many quarters that Obama's picks of ex-Clintonites all tarnish his image of "something new," and that HRC would be the worst of all in that regard?

Word now comes that HRC might even be preparign to turn down the President in order to embarass him.

USwest said...

LTG, you want someone that others respect for State. I am sure there are some very well respected people inside State. They have high profiles with the people here and abroad that see them working rock solid every day or who work with them. It is really the assistants and such who do the real work. I don't care if they are political enough to appeal to the public. We need someone who will give the president solid advice and be respected. I just don't get why people think HRC is that person. I haven't seen anyone give a real good explanation for that.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Hillary worked very hard to get Obama elected--maybe more than any other defeated rival--and there is no political advantage to be gained from snubbing a very popular President-Elect. The "embarrassment" story makes no sense.

As for the criticism supposedly coming from "many quarters," I simply dismiss it as inside baseball.

Since the end of the primary season, Obama has shown himself to be a solid pragmatist. He picked Biden because he said he wanted someone who could "help him govern." Rahm Emmanuel fulfills the same criteria. Obama does not care about loyalty--he wants the best people, period. (His favorite book on the subject is Team of Rivals about the Lincoln administration.) No one should be surprised when he taps into the talent pool of former Clinton administration members. Obama knows he needs experienced people to help him bring about real change.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Is he "tapping" into the pool or simply filling the entire administration up with former Clintonites? It's starting to look like that to me, and I hope he finds some other sort of people to put in the administration before long to counteract that impression.

Raised By Republicans said...

LTG, Obama doesn't have much choice. The only time the Democrats controlled the White House in the last 30 years was the Clinton administration. Pretty much every Democrat with any experience with governing in any department or staff position has Clinton ties. It's why Hillary was such a strong candidate in the early stages of the nomination process.

I think Dr. S is right about the "inside baseball" aspect of this. I doubt very much too many people are paying close enough attention to count obscure Clinton staffers to make a judgement.

I do think though that Hillary may want to be offered a big job so she can feel "respected." This idea was leaked prior to Obama's VP pick - that is the idea that all Hillary wanted was to be OFFERED the VP slot to show respect and that she promised to turn it down.

Dr. S is right that Hillary stepped up big time in the election. So did Bill. But Bill did most of his high profile stuff AFTER the AIG thing at which point the game was pretty much over anyway. All that said, I still think that Hillary is primarily motivated by very personal issues - "am I respected" "what do I deserve for my endorsement" etc. - rather than policy.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I think RbR is exactly right that Hillary would probably enjoy the offer of a big job so she can feel "respected" even though she might not actually want that job, and/or Obama might not actually want her to accept. But I am also certain Hillary and Obama are sufficiently competent politicians that they can handle the situation in such a way that neither party is embarrassed, and each benefits.

LTG: do you have any suggestions for cabinet positions? Are you thinking Obama should draw on people from outside government?

The Law Talking Guy said...

I disagree with RBR and Dr.S. All over the news media, even on MSNBC, the chatter is about "Change, what change? Another ex-Clinton Appointee is Chosen." That's not just inside baseball. People may feel hoodwinked.

I think there are plenty of competent Democrats (like Barack Obama himself) who were not in positions of power 10-15 years ago. We have 50 state governments to choose from, plus people with legislative experience. And there are people with industry experience too, not just people who (like Eric Holder) have spent the last 8 years at a K-street law firm.

Btw, I think that it is a very, very bad idea for Obama to allow HRC to turn him down. That makes him look weak. The president should not make any offer unless he knows it will be accepted.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I don't hear that chatter. Some pundits may be trying to make up a narrative because they have nothing else to say of substance--but that will go away as soon as Obama starts making a number of significant appointments to non-obscure people.

As for the "hoodwinked" idea... Maybe you voted against the Clinton administration in this election, LTG, but when most people voted for "change" they were voting against the Bush administration. Most folks don't know and don't care that some of Obama's appointees have prior experience as second-stringers in a previous administration, "10-15 years ago."

Raised By Republicans said...

How many and what kind of people are regular viewers of "Hardball" and/or "Morning Joe?" on MSNBC or their CNN counterparts? I would bet that they are outnumbered considerably by people who are just glad the political commercials have finally stopped... unless you live in Georgia.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Sure, the number of people watching the news is a lot less than the average voter. You could say that about almost every political issue, whether it is Jeremiah Wright or Joe the Plumber. That's not much of an argument.

Dr. Strangelove said...

LTG: "Hardball" and "Morning Joe" are not news programs. I believe that was actually RbR's point. The number of people watching those pundit/entertainment shows is a lot less than those who watch the news... Which is also, as you pointed out, less than the average voter.

Raised By Republicans said...

Yep, Dr. S. That's what I was trying to get at. You have to be a real political junky to watch shows like that (I have Morning Joe on in the background right now).

Not only is the number of people who pay attention to this stuff lower than the number of people who watch the news generally, but the numbers of both groups are way down since the election concluded.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Well, they're on news channels, and for most people that means they're news. That's why they're so insidious.

I watch MSNBC and CNN news from time to time while trying to distract the baby. I figure it's okay parenting, because she'll grow up to be bored of TV if that's all we watch. I have seen several comments about "where's the change?" which is where I got it from. I don't watch these shows you guys are talking about. Seriously, people, these comments are not just restricted to a handful of websites and talk shows. They're becoming the main narrative of the transition.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Incidentally, a Gallup survey shows that 57% of Americans favor Hillary as Secretary of State (vs. 30% opposition). So there is some evidence that the public is actually pleased by the idea of Obama appointing Clintonites.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Although, getting back to a point USWest raised some time ago, I personally do not really see Secretary of State as a good fit for Hillary Clinton. I think she is a smart, tough customer and would add value to any Cabinet, but I would feel that way about almost any cabinet post she were offered.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I disagree that HRC's personal qualities alone would make her a good cabinet secretary... for anything. Sure, she would do her best, but I still value experience and expertise in my bureaucrats. HRC would make a lousy secretary of the interior, I think, because that job is mostly about knowing your way around the West. I think Al Gore should be head of the EPA or Sec'y of the Interior. Can you imagine?