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Even The MSM Gets and Admits It

Damon's picture

Yes, even the habitually and expectantly imperceptive MSM admits and gets that Hillary has more than Obama to lose in her accepting the offer of Secretary of State:

Hillary Clinton prepares to relinquish independence for high-profile diplomatic post

The key and telling phrase being "relinquish independence." They realize like many others that a great deal of her power as a politician comes from her independence. And, they are both loving that she gets boxed in and loses a measurable amount of it, and hating that the box isn't as small as it usually has been in the past for many cabinent-level appointees.

They rehash all of the memes to get their usual digs in:

Among the issues: Why would Obama choose someone he repeatedly criticized for voting for the U.S. invasion of Iraq to be the face of his administration's foreign policy? Why would he abrogate his famous "no drama" policy and embrace Clintonian theatrics?

And, here is what they are dreading:

But advisers said the discussions got back on track after he promised she would have considerable input on staffing decisions and plenty of access to him.

And, this should be an alarm for anyone thinking that Hillary gets as much out of this as Obama does: She gets the vaunted kiss of death from none other than Axelrod, himself.

Obama's advisers said the matter is simple: The strengths Clinton would bring to the job would outweigh the drawbacks.

"Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person who can help ... advance the interests of this administration and this country," Obama strategist David Axelrod said Sunday in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

Just my opinion, but if one's initial reaction was one of "this doesn't feel right", it's probably because it's not. A leash is still a leash if even encrusted with jewels and stretching from Washington to Kindgom Come. I think in something as complicated and relationship-based as a presidential administration, it simple isn't enough to ask if the appointee will be capable of executing the duties of the office.

But, if you subscribe to the "Team of Rivals" theory that's become a popular Village narrative as of late, than this is sure to work for America.

Have at it...again.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I wish she'd passed, but I can't exactly say why.

OTOH, she's a huge upgrade to what we've had as SoS. I just hope she's learned her lesson about the bullshit that comes out of U.S. intelligence and that Obama doesn't hang her out to dry.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...I've come to like the idea more and more despite my initial pause. The way I see it, she can't do anything in the Senate -- her seniority is too low and with the incumbency rate what it is that won't change any time soon. What we will miss dearly is a vocal advocate for the right domestic policies *but* at the same time I don't recall her getting that much attention for her policy positions --as opposed to the soap opera attention/staple tabloid CDS from the M$M-- save once she started to campaign for POTUS. If she returned to the Senate, I'd imagine that the media attention she'd draw would return to the high drama Clinton Hate with a healthy helping of demented court intrigue along the lines of "what Machiavellian plan has she hatched against Obama today in preparation for 2012?" as soon as Obama was sworn in. The best of her policy proposals --when they were discussed at all-- would probably be slanted and discussed solely in terms of how her plan for X (HOLC, health care, etc.) served to undermine President Obama.

Kennedy's health care rebuff really indicated to me that the good ole boy hierarchy in the Senate is much more concerned with preserving their hierarchy, seniority, and archaic traditions than making sure that the right Senator (with national clout and the ability to draw enough public support to leverage against the opposition to boot) is best utilized to forward a democratic agenda. Sen. Kennedy is dying and his refusal to empower her as a successor on this issue spoke volumes and I think we all know that Sen. Reid is no friend on this matter.

The last NYT article I read on this indicated that she'd negotiated for complete control over hiring at State and that she'd been granted total access without the need to go through NSA. It sounds to me like she's been given much more power than the press wants to acknowledge and IMO they're fantasizing about her being under Obama's thumb in order to make themselves feel better.

Also, she was never going to run in 2012 short of President Obama stepping down or dying in office. State adds to her resume in the unlikely (but hopeful) event that she runs in 2016. It's a sad thought to lose her as a Senator and free agent but at the same time I don't think she's ever had the power there that she deserves. I really don't want to give her up as a campaigner either -- I think that's what I'll miss most if she takes it. However, I go back to perception versus reality and I think at this point in time the reality may well be that she'll have more power to effect the country and the world positively at State rather than in the Senate.

makana44's picture
Submitted by makana44 on

This is a team of peers. At the moment, she is his only peer. And he knows it. And they make a real team determined to work in concert. She will not be a quiet conduit of Obama-speak, she will be an equal co-creator of foreign policy. But she shall properly represent and speak for Obama to the world.

Remember - On a level playing field she beat his bony butt to a pulp. But then she graciously bowed out to avoid an intraparty war. She could have taken it to the convention and possibly prevailed. But she supported him instead, worked twice as hard on his behalf as any other campaigner and raised more money for him than anyone else in the party.

She kicked ass FOR him during the campaign, the same way she's going to kick ass as his Secretary of State. He has every reason to trust her. She is an absolutely team player. Let all the nattering bobheads on TV chatter and op editors twitter all they want. They want gossip but all they'll get from these two is effective foreign policy.

She enters the world stage at a moment of such enormous potential for improvement and so many areas that have been poisoned, polluted, and ineptly mishandled by the Bushites. She will be welcomed and embraced by our allies, and respected and even feared by our foes. She can and likely will be an historically great Secretary of State. Her two predecessors are already forgotten. Enter a Great Woman.

Axelrod spoke the simple, powerful truth: "Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person who can help ... advance the interests of this administration and this country," Amen. Fuck yeah! Hillary!

And go read Marc Rubin. He's got it right...how Hillary got what she wanted, exactly what she dealt for and that Obama promised her in June.

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

Selfishly, because, as an expat, the State Department is the one branch of the U.S. government that I have the most contact with. And in my experience, I have found that it is filled with mostly really great, very enlightened and progressive people. Foreign service professionals who understand other cultures, and have good, on the ground information about the places they're in (information that went largely ignored under the Bush reign).

Apparently Colin Powell maintained the professionalism of the foreign service corps--it is one governmental department that didn't get the crony-unqualified "heckuva guy" Bush makeover.

With Hillary at the helm, my guess is that morale in the foreign service will soar. More empathetic and qualified people recruited. And good morale will mean more energy for all those little foreign U.S. projects that make people around the world feel good about America--the libraries, cultural exchanges, etc.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Given the realities of the last year, and even more so, the last few weeks since the election and Obama's very public display of desire for her in his administration, Hillary's only role in the Senate would have been as a potential focal point for Democratic "refusenik" sentiment towards Obama. Being independent (and especially after having been seen to "reject" Obama's kind offer to let her out of the wilderness), she couldn't possibly return to the Senate in a role advancing his agenda. Now that's not nothing, since there is no one of any stature within the Democratic Party who is capable or willing to take on the role of check to Obama's ambitions (or incompetence - the "accountability" thing again), but it is not a great role either, very negative, and very lonely and she would be unlikely to advance any of her causes.

So for Obama, it is vital she not be that focal point (why would he want on?), and for Hillary, that is not only a thankless job, but an ineffective one (just ask John McCain). Certainly they will each negotiate hard to arrange the best deal they can, but I see now this is clearly in both of their interests, and it was Obama who pushed for it.

A gilded cage, yes, but apparently Hillary feels it beats being in the wilderness.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I agree that a leash is still a leash. Heck, I don't even call this a nice looking leash.

Sure Hillary is capable of doing everything with diligence, and will be a capable SoS. But there were many issues where Hillary was the biggest or only voice against abuses: HOLC and the FDA/Plan B/abortion stuff. With her out of the Senate, these "small" issues have no champion with clout. I wouldn't be so disappointed if I were convinced that someone in the Senate would take up those issues with any efficacy.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Yeah, as I've stated, there is no doubt she can do the job and do the job well, but that's never been the issue for me, anyway. If it was just about the capability to do the job, we wouldn't have elections. We'd simply select the most qualified and capable. But, this is not a business, and there are more intangibles to be considered. I'm not going to try and rationalize this move, because it doesn't make sense. The whole narrative-spinning seniority argument just doesn't cut it. If she cared about seniority, she'd have never run for the Senate at the age she did. And, seniority starts to look less impressive when you can call upon 18 million supporters for help in putting pressure on the legislature to do the right thing. This idea that she goes back to the Senate a loser is bunk and pathological rationalization, especially after all of the opinion immediately after the primaries about her going back to the Senate as its most sought after member.

She'll be a great SoS...for the wrong administration. Even in the best scenario for the both of them it's not the scenario best for us.

I'm not surprised in the least that no one brings up the fact that of all of the positions in the cabinet, SoS is easily the one most directly tied to the president image and ideologically wise. SoS doesn't just reflect the policy of the president, but also the image of the president. She can demand as much independence she wants until she's blue in the face; at the end of the day the office of SoS is inextricably tied to the presidency the closest.

She hasn't just accepted the offer to carry the president's water; she's also promised to put on a mask of his likeness for him while she's carrying the water, too.

At least Al Gore had sense enough just to say no. **sigh**

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

and the problem for Clinton (especially since Obama stoked it) was that whether or not she wanted to be, she was going to be the speculative center for Democratic opposition to Obama in a time when nobody in power in the Democratic party wants to be in opposition to Obama.

That might be good for the nascent minority (tiny, let's face it) of people who call themselves liberal, progressive, or Democrat, who are going to be openly skeptical of Obama over the next 2-3 years, but it is not good for Clinton and what she wants to accomplish.

It also isn't good for Obama (though he could have defussed this by "pronouncements" to the Senate like he did to Holy Joe) to have a powerful catalyst like that waiting to be used. What is important to all of us is that wasting her talents in that situation is not good for the country.

I have come full circle. I am displeased that Obama is so cowardly to either force, or acquiesce to Clinton in his camp, but fully expect Clinton to be one of the most powerful SOS's in our nation's history.

It is the way things should be given what is available.