Posted By: Stonecipher
Nov. 19, 2008
Late last week I was somewhat surprised to find a piece that I wrote several months ago resurface on the social media sites. The piece was a response to one of my fellow bloggers over at Eyes on Obama regarding the possibility of making Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State.
Jwilkes, a blogger that you can now find at The Real Right, argued that if Barack Obama were to become the President-Elect, that he should offer the top diplomacy job to his, at the time, arch rival Hillary Clinton. You can read that post here and the response I wrote here.
That was months ago, however, and today we stand on the brink of the Obama Administration and we're watching closely as it takes shape. But sure enough, the argument jwilkes and I had back in March is relevant today.
I can't speak for jwilkes, but my stance on the issue has not changed, and I imagine his has not either. The basic crux of our disagreement can be summed up with this excerpt from my March 30 piece at Eyes on Obama:
Jwilkes begins the article with a point I agree with, "If there’s one thing every single American voter should have learned about Hillary Clinton in this election process, it’s that she concedes nothing."
This is specifically the reason we should not make Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State, particularly after eights years of the hard-headed lack of negotiating skills possessed by the Bush Administration. The last thing this country needs is a Secretary of State perceived by the rest of the world as cold, rigid and unwilling to bend on anything.
Those may seem like harsh words for Hillary Clinton, but if anyone knows a thing or two about harsh words it is Hillary Clinton, at least she sure knows how to dish them out. And this brings us to an excellent point to begin understanding just why Hillary Clinton is exactly the wrong choice for Secretary of State.
Karl Inderfurth, a former assistant Secretary of State and teacher of a course on Secretaries of State at George Washington University has said that "The most important factor in assuring a secretary's success is his or her relationship with the president."
What kind of relationship do Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have? Rocky at best.
Differences of opinion are one thing, but a lack of trust is another, and so far Hillary Clinton has not given President-Elect Obama any reason to believe he should trust her.
What evidence is there that Senator Clinton won't decide to make up another story about sniper fire in Bosnia and embarrass The Administration?
What evidence is there that Bill Clinton's recent business dealings aren't going to be exposed in an unfavorable and embarrassing light and discredit The Administration's chief diplomat?
What evidence is there that Senator Clinton has changed her tune on refusing to sit down and talk with certain heads of state like Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blowing the nation's newfound credibility around the world?
Hillary Clinton has her own agenda that will always come before that of the future President Barack Obama and before the good of The Nation.
Back in the early 1980s Reagan had his own Secretary of State problem - one that Barack Obama would be wise to avoid. Alexander Haig was Reagan's Secretary of State and it has been said that he didn't last very long in that position because he was more concerned with furthering his own agenda than with that of the president.
Haig's most famous comment as Secretary of State came shortly after the assassination attempt on President Reagan when the Secretary told reporters "I am in control here."
Secretary Haig went on to tell the reporters "Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so."
Of course, Haig was wrong about the order of who is in line for the presidency (Speaker of the House is 3rd and Senate President pro tempore is 4th) and he appeared to be ignoring his own constitutional analysis by jumping ahead of the number two at the time, George H.W. Bush.
Is Hillary Clinton capable of this Haig-like nonsense? Absolutely.
We're talking about the same woman who, during Primary season, often made the delusional claim that she held a lead in the popular vote after Obama went on an 11-state winning streak and held an almost insurmountable lead in both popular vote and delegate vote-count.
The same woman who claimed that somehow she, along with John McCain, had passed some kind of "Commander-in-Chief threshold" that Obama had not.
It is also the same woman who carried on campaigning long after the race was mathematically over, openly and publicly pondering the possibility that Obama would get shot and killed sometime in June - that, after all, is when Robert Kennedy was shot.
The point is, Hillary Clinton, like Alexander Haig is power hungry. She is exceedingly ambitious as well - and that's fine. But it's not the type of temperament you look for in your chief foreign diplomat.
The Secretary of State should be level-headed, reasonable and someone capable of negotiation and compromise, or at the very least, be seen by outsiders as capable of negotiation and compromise.
Was Hillary Clinton level-headed when she employed her "kitchen sink" strategy, when she frantically reached into that dirty water and wildly and indiscriminately hurled anything she could get her hands on right at Barack Obama?
Was she reasonable when she agreed to the DNC's campaign rules before the Primary season began, only to claim they were an outrage and unfair the moment they ceased to benefit her? Foreign leaders watched this happen, how can they trust a woman like this?
Is she capable of negotiation and compromise? No. It all comes back to Jwilkes' statement, Hillary Clinton "concedes nothing."
It may be healing for the Democratic Party to bring Hillary Clinton into the Obama Administration, but the health of the Democratic Party should not come before what's good for America or for Barack Obama's Presidency.
There's still time President-Elect Obama. The notion, put forth by the mainstream media, that you're boxed in to making this pick now that the story has been leaked is absurd. And you and your media savvy team should know that.
As a side note, who do you think made those leaks? Did your air-tight organization suddenly fail you? No. Hillary Clinton's people wanted to box you in and they leaked it. Don't let them succeed.
There are so many qualified candidates available to become the nation's next chief diplomat, don't waste this key position in your cabinet on someone who simply doesn't belong there.