Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Must Set Clinton's Ground Rules

The more I think about Hillary Clinton's appointment as Secretary of State, the more baffled I become. I can't understand what Barack Obama is thinking of. Sure, she is the best known American throughout the world, but her direct foreign policy experience is negligible. That's not necessarily a disqualification for the job is the President is experienced in the area, but Obama isn't.

Secondly, there is little love lost between Clinton and Obama, so to appoint your chief political rival to such a high profile post is brave, if not foolhardy. Why? Because if Hillary Clinton reverts to type, she will try to run her own foreign policy (with husband Bill no doubt advising from behind the scenes), independent of the White House. If she does that there will be huge trouble ahead.

It is so important for America's reputation in the world that US foreign policy is seen to work. The reason the world would have voted for Obama - if it could have done - was because it saw someone who would be the direct antithesis to the Bush/Cheney years, whatever the rights and wrongs of that view are.

It is absolutely vital that Obama and Clinton understand the ground rules of their relationship, and from everybody's perspective, let's hope they were set by Obama, rather than Hillary.


Anonymous said...

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer still.

Anonymous said...

He's bring Clinton under his big umbrella!

Anonymous said...

Why Hillary Clinton? Because he's not a clever man, not at all; and because, being a leftie, it will always be party before country and politics before patriotism.

It's going to be a treat watching the lefties realise that Obama really is a dimwit, unlike Bush. (Have you got an MBA from Harvard? Can you fly a single-engined jet? No. Then shut up.) Unfortunately, Obama's lack of intellect is going to have adverse consequences in the real world. (No, I'm not saying Bush got everything right.)

Athos said...

If I recall my poor and simple learning on the subject of power in the USA, the one area where the President has unqualified control (i.e. not subject to ratification by the houses) is foreign policy.

Therefore it seems to me that he has extended the preace flag to Clinton in the one position where he can rein her in no matter how much party support she might subvert.

She gets a chunk of power and a chance to prove her self in a publicity-rich environment before 2016. He heals a rift in his party, takes advantage of the experience and support she has and, as curly15 says, keeps his enemies closer.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is a bit curious. Isn't Biden skilled on foreign affairs? To be fair she's a darned good negotiator and whilst American foreign policy is extremely important everyone knows the strategy - it's just the tactics that require attention.

Good luck I guess.

Chris - a bit hatter there son.

BrianSJ said...

One of many steps in the path from disappointment to disaster with Obama. Waxman was just as bad an appointment.

Anonymous said...

Hillary has no realistic personal Presidential ambition any longer - if the Obama presidency fails to deliver, America will not turn to her as an alternative - in 2012 or 2016. Especially as she is now going to be inextricably linked with its fortunes. Her best chance of a personal legacy is to be part of Obama's success (even though there may be times when the taste of gall fills her mouth...)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most important snag is that she is a blatant liar.

Spinoza said...

What do you mean IF Hillary Clinton reverts to type?!
The woman is almost as deranged as La Palin...OK perhaps I got carried away there.

Anonymous said...

I am certain that the President-elect will be delighted to receive your advice.

Anonymous said...

Odd appointment, unless he thinks it means she will be out from under his feet most of the time?

Anyway, she's going to have to go through some tough questioning on hubby's financial affairs, isn't she?

Alan Douglas said...

I'm just glad that she wasn't made VP - would have led to a certain Obama assassination, imo.

More that one way to skin a cat.

Alan Douglas

Bill Quango MP said...

Gives her a chance to dodge some more snipers while landing at airports?
Its probably what Judith says..
He just wants her out of the house

Mitch said...

perhaps the sniper fire will be real rather than fantasy next time!

Anonymous said...

I think for those of us who are not overjoyed by Obamamania, we will be getting some pleasure from Mrs. C's antics in the years to come ......

The Remittance Man said...

The humiliated wife of a philandering buffoon negotiating, in her best hectoring manner, with America's enemies and freinds in the Middle East.


I wonder how the those enlightened sould, the sons of the desert, are going to react to that.

The Remittance Man said...

Sorry, that should have read "souls"

Jaz said...

She eats brains too Iain.

The question is is Hilary Clinton intelligent? Yes
Can she adapt? Yes
Is she forceful? Yes
Are their foreign policy principals similar? Yes

Anonymous said...

Mr Dale, Can you ever think of any circumstance where Hilary Clinton will take orders from Obama?

That woman is certainly not for turning. It will go smoothly until what Obama wants clashes with what the Clintons want!!

Then watch the fireworks.

Like 'Chris at 11.53 I am not convinced about Obama. I think he is unable to think and speak without autocue's!

Time will tell but I fear this President, Like the Peanut farmer will prove to be a major disappointment and it will not take long for America and the world to realise they have bought a pup.

Remember the 3am telephone question?

I think Obama will sleep through it!

He has got a stooge as his vice president! I reckon it will be two years on and we shall have resident Hilary Clinton! through ill health.

evil g said...

This is nothing more than a reheated Clinton administration.

Where is the "change"?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad we're discussing this Iain. It's a very serious mistake by Obama. He is focusing on his own internal party battles and the political scene within the US. There is a long and sad history of US presidents fundamentally misunderstanding the international scene during their early years in office. Appointing the wrong people to jobs as US ambassadors, secretaries of state, UN advisors and other key posts has long been a part of this.

I had great hopes that Obama being an intelligent man would know better, but alas - it looks like we are going to get many of the same mistakes we had from Bush, Clinton, etc.

I wonder what will be the next major error?

Anonymous said...

Chris 11.53 - you have to realise something fundamental about Harvard/Yale - so long as your parents are very, very rich and powerful, it doesn't matter how much of a dimwit you are - you are welcome! And your degree is assured.

Anonymous said...

"I'm just glad that she wasn't made VP - would have led to a certain Obama assassination, imo."

She will be fourth in the line of succession behind Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Senator Byrd. So when they are tragically killed in an unfortunate and highly improbable series of events next year.....

neil craig said...

That & other appointments of old Clintonists suggests that the failure (or arguably success) of Obama in not explaining what he stood for is because he really doesn't know.

I fear he may just take the quick way of conforming to whatever the PC soundbite of the day is. Certainly his remark that catastrophic warming was "undeniable" & they were going to have to effectively close down the coal industry suggests little understanding of economic reality.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Annie Lowery:

"By selecting her, Obama would make an affirmative statement that he's selecting the very best – the most intelligent, the best decision-makers, the most transformative leaders, the highly competent – for the upper echelons of government. In his selections thus far, Obama's looked beyond personal feelings, positive or negative.

Clinton isn't an Obama crony. She isn't perfect. But she is, like Obama himself, a powerful figurehead for the world, respected internationally and committed to good policy.

She's an excellent choice, not for the weakness of her weaknesses, but the strengths of her strengths."

Roll on January 20. I can't wait!
It's time to get things fixed.

Anonymous said...

It seems Barack Obama is smart enough to understand what the Clintons are able to bring to the table.

Letterman said...

He's the President (elect) - of course the rules are set by him. The Clinton's may be a formidable political machine but they have long since been rolled under the Obama juggernaut. He ain't called 'No Drama Obama' for nothing, this will be his way or political oblivion: Hilary can't go back to the Senate if she gets sacked from an Obama administration, this gives him all the cards.

Anonymous said...

It's down to their personalities and frankly I can't see it working.

Ted Heath appointed Alec Douglas-Home, his predecessor as leader, as his Foreign Secretary in 1970 and that worked perfectly well.
Mrs Thatcher came under pressure to make Ted her Foreign Secretary in 1979 and rightly resisted, allegedly offering him the Ambassadorship to the US instead.

Clinton falls into the latter category and the sooner Obama kills the story the better.

Anonymous said...

So Sarah Palin being inexperienced in Foreign Affairs means McCain is dumb.

But Hilary Clinton being inexperienced in Foreign Affairs means that Obama is a smart dude?

There are those in the Obama camp far from happy about this. At least for Obama the media will keep the in-fighting quiet as long as possible - just like with Blair/Brown.

He promised change and delivered it - it's a NO-Change.

John Pickworth said...

Mr Iain said: "I can't understand what Barack Obama is thinking of?"

Come on guys, you're not that stupid are you? They made a deal!

Hillary could have wrecked Obama's nomination, and it looked at one point as though she might. Then, there were 'private meetings' and suddenly Clinton is quietly stepping back into the shadows.

Politically, Obama couldn't offer her a place on the ticket but he could (and did) promise her another high profile job in his administration. Secretary of State is about as high profile as they come... if he didn't owe her BIG TIME he could have offered her Health or some other two-bit cabinet role. He didn't though did he?

Also, don't be too surprised if we now see Hillary promoted to VP before the end of Obama's 2nd term or that Hillary runs as the 'experienced candidate' in 2015

Make no mistake, Obama is every bit a Washington man. If you wanted change you should have elected the other chap.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent choice! Mrs Clinton has excelled as a Senator - I have watched many of her contributions and she has outshone her fellow politicians.

You patronise her if you think that she will permit her husband to have an undue influence in her role. I have read her biography - she does not permit this. Further, whilst there may have been conflict during the campaign, I believe that much of this has been forgotten - they are no longer opponents and certainly both Clinton's made numerous appearances in support of Obama.

The confidence of any leader is trusting those you appoint. We have a clear example in this country of our Prime Minister initially hogging all policy areas and now acting as Chancellor. Somehow, I do not see the new US President trying to run everything and he obviously believes that Mrs Clinton shares his philisophy.

I for one am delighted with the appointment. She will do well.


Man in a Shed said...

Obama gets:

1) Hilary has to behave - at least for a while.
2) No other centers of power in his party.
3) She's out of the senate.
4) After a year she'll be worried he might fire her.
5) No challenger from the Democrats in 2012.