Hillary Clinton – Enough With the Past and Focus on the Future

The discussion of Hillary Clinton becoming the next Secretary of State has picked up to a feverish pitch in DC – and in the media.  The media, with very little to talk about, is wondering how two political rivals could possibly work together, particularly with the animosity that was shown during the campaign.  The media is asking – could she support his policies?  The answer is an emphatic YES.  Look, the campaign is all about exploiting differences regardless of how minor they may be.  It’s the only way to differentiate a Republican from a Republican or a Democrat or a Democrat. 

That answers the question about such things as when Hillary Clinton claimed Obama would be meet with our enemies.  There is no doubt she supports diplomacy with them, as most analysts and former Secretary of States have confirmed.  Her issue was the level at which dialogue should initially take place.  It’s a nuance in a position that becomes larger than life when competing against another candidate.  The 3:00am phone call is another Clinton classic.  But that’s just politics.  One of the oldest campaign tactics is to show you are more qualified.  However, that doesn’t mean that the other candidate isn’t qualified.

Clinton and Obama both realize it was a campaign and that’s what you do in a campaign.  Like her husband, Bill Clinton, she knows that once the race is over you very often can find common ground and realize the other candidate is intelligent and there may be value in working together.  Bill Clinton did it with both George Bush, Sr. and Bob Dole.  Are there times when there is a true bitterness and reconciliation may be tough or can’t happen? Sure.  There was a little of that with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama after Hillary’s defeat.  And certainly some relationships will always remain tepid.  Somehow I believe that George W. Bush and Al Gore will never work together.  But we are also talking rival parties.  The ideology within one party is strong enough to overcome many of thsoe concerns and issues.  So can we stop with the nonsense talk on whether she respects his position enough to work with him?

This appointment has tremendous potential.  Forget about the politics, they ilrelevant.  She is smart and a challenging figure to Obama.  She can provide him her experience working with foreign leaders, being a veteran in the Senate, and certainly has an inside view how foreign policy works within the White House.  Obama is smart to look at appointing people who challenge him.  She will challenge his decisions, as well as providing insight and an alternate point of view to issues.

Certainly, they may have some conflicts.  Beyond that, Vice President Biden’s role becomes slightly more muddled.  If Obama chooses a John Kerry or Bill Richardson, they wouldn’t create the headlines that Clinton would.  Formally or informally, Biden’s foreign policy role may be slightly diminished.  But that’s ok.  Putting the best team together is the priority and Obama is taking with all the seriousness it deserves.


Washington is a Small World!

Podesta, Emanuel, Reich, Summers, Christopher, Richardson, Daley, Pena, and Tyson are just some of the former Clinton Administration people who have or will play a role in the new Obama administration.  For as much as Obama says he will bring change to Washington, the cast of players, in many ways, remains the same.  That’s absolutely not a knock on Obama and his choices.  You can either choose a full cabinet of oustiders to learn the job and waste two years, as Clinton did, or you can pick a team with Executive Branch experience.  Bush 43 did the same thing, bringing in former Nixon/Reagan/Bush 41 advisers such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, and Card are examples. Bringing ‘change’ to Washington does not mean your team has to be new, but your ideas and the conduct of the administration should be.  Having veteran advisers will help a young President blossom into his role much more quickly.

Yet, it does feel like a club that admits few new members during each adminstration.   You wonder if these folks sit on the sidelines during an oppositions administration, knowing that with their party’s win, they will be back in their ‘career’ role.  Doesn’t it feel like the Blues Brother’s movie?  “Hey, we’re putting the BAND back together.”