Monday, November 17, 2008

Vetting Bill, considering Hillary

By Michael J.W. Stickings

According to the NYT, "President-elect Barack Obama's advisers have begun reviewing former President Bill Clinton's finances and activities to see whether they would preclude the appointment of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary of state."

I still think Obama is serious about this (and should be) -- and that he and Hillary could form an effective "Team of Allies." It isn't just for show.

And yet...

Questions abound -- and Michael Crowley asked some of them last Friday, including:

-- "How would Joe Biden feel? Presumably he'd feel competitive with a very strong personality at State." That's one I hadn't been thinking much about, but I do wonder about a possible Obama-Biden-Hillary triumvirate (and with Gates as SecDef, perhaps). It's not that Biden and Hillary don't like each other, it's that both are strong and determined figures. Would Biden feel threatened, or insecure, with Hillary at State? It's hard to imagine Biden in such a position, given how self-confident he is, but he did admit during the primaries that Hillary was "as qualified or more qualified" than he was to be vice president. There is already the question of whether Obama and Hillary would be able to work together effectively, given their seemingly tense relationship (in the past, at least) and the specter of Bill looming in the background (and sometimes dominating the foreground). Throw Biden, with his extensive foreign policy experience, into the mix. How would that work?

-- "How does John Kerry feel today?" I'd love to see Kerry at State. On policy grounds, I prefer him to Hillary, not to mention to establishmentarians like Holbrooke. And he's clearly campaigning for the job. If he doesn't get State, wouldn't he make a fine AG?

So... will it be Hillary? The good people at MSNBC's First Read make a good point: "Has the momentum for a Hillary appointment gotten to the point where the only way this doesn't happen is if Clinton says no? Obama can't pull the offer (even if he hasn't officially made it) at this point, right?"

Hmmm... probably right.

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