Hillary Rodham Clinton is now the officially the nominee for Secretary of State. It took quite a bit of what the Brits call jiggery-pokery on all sides of the equation. There are reports that Ms Clinton parlayed a Obama request for help at State to an announcement of her nomination to State, not exactly what Obama had in mind. There was perhaps some push-back by the Obama team on the Big Dogs extra-curricular activities. Bill was basically required to place his manhood in a blind trust by the Obama transition team. Still, it all worked out in the end and we now have a beautiful photo op. with a smiling Hillary and a beaming Barack. All the cutlery has been safely locked away in a vault at an undisclosed location; both Hillary and Barack can pat each other on the back without worrying about stilettos being delivered into the ribcage.
With Biden and Hillary on his team plus the further coloring in National Security team Obama is to borrow a phrase ready from day one. Hillary does present instant gravitas that must be recognized by friend and foe alike. Our allies are heartened whilst the mullahs in Iran are most likely not getting a restful nights sleep. Deep in his cave Osama is ordering up several donkey-loads of Ambien.
The only flies in this particular ointment are one, the nomination process and two, the current administration. Right now the only active Hillary haters are trolling around at Daily Kos but the right-wing noise machine and parts of the MSM still are lurking in a deep sulk. Will Chris Matthews be able to contain himself? What about the vast right-wing conspiracy that helped initiate the impeachment of Bill Clinton? Some jackass will bring up Vince Foster and Whitewater and the Blue Dress one more time; old obsessions never die they just get more ingrained.
The Obama team has done its best to keep the Clinton Haters at bay. Bill Clinton has had his plumage several trimmed back. Obama has ensured that Big Bill does not so much as pass gas without White House approval. In exchange Hillary gets access to Barack and gets a guarantee that she will not become Obama's Colin Powell. She will have a real role to play at State. As Obama will be heavily engaged in rescuing the economy and other domestic chores expect Hillary to take the foreign policy ball and run with it. Obama will set the tone and the general outlines, Hillary will provide the nuts and bolts.
The real question with Hillary remains, is she what she claims to be? One of the reasons she barely lost her primary run was her inability to make the hard decisions. She let her campaign team drift and squabble. Her run lacked discipline. There was no message control, the campaign leaked like sieve. In the bright lights of State Hillary can not afford to go off track or off message. She has a huge bureaucracy to control or have have spin out of control. State is several sizes larger than her presidential campaign , she has to establish control early and often. She can not allow the indiscipline of her campaign to infect her role at State. Did Hillary finally learn the real lesson of Mark Penn, that of cutting off your losses early? Hillary never really did deal with Penn in the ruthless way that was required. She let personal loyalty overrule practical considerations. Her Achilles heal was just the opposite of what was advertised. Neither of the Clintons were as ruthless as advertised. A colder more calculating person would have shot Penn out of a Canon right after Hillary's near death experience in New Hampshire.
Did Clinton learn to modulate her sense of loyalty? Can she make the hard choices at the right time? She can stick to her guns in certain instances-- it was incredibly difficult for her to acknowledge that her run for the president was lost. She played her run to last possible second and perhaps beyond. Can she show the same fortitude when an old loyalist needs to be cut loose? Has she learned the hard calculus of when to cut her losses? At State she is going to make some very hard calls. She can not equivocate and she can not let old loyalties interfere. Obama has already put a marker out for her; Bill Clinton has got to be controlled. As loyal as she is to her husband, she has to understand there is a greater loyalty to the president and the Nation. She really does have to control her first instinct which is to protect her husband.
Hillary has a very full plate in front of her. As noted earlier she and Obama have to wait some fifty odd days for the Present administration to get the hell out of Dodge. There is still a chance that the Dark Lord of the Sith ,Dick Cheney, might still managed to further screw up the foreign policy of the United States. Dead eye Dick might still be beavering away at the levers of powers to affect policy decisions. Fortunately for the republic the main leaver Cheney is yanking on seems to be out of service. George W. Bush has gone into a sort of Catatonia of late; unable to motivate himself to do anything other than turkey pardoning. It is still a sad day for our Nation that we have to rely on the "pragmatism" of Condoleezza Rice to keep us out of catastrophe. We won't be truly safe or at least less endangered until we have team Obama in full control.
There is an old Chinese proverb "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it." Hillary wanted State. Her protest to the contrary were so much eye-wash. Her role at State will either make or break her. She will either soar like an eagle or crash and burn in spectacular fashion. There really is no middle ground for either of the Clintons you get either diamonds or rust from them. "Average" or "mediocre" is just not in the Clinton vocabulary. She has the stage; she has if not her hearts desire a close approximation of that desire. She has always wanted to make her mark; her ambition is both obvious and justified. Few politicians of either gender has brought as much talent, intelligence,passion, and desire to the political scene. Other than the man who narrowly defeated her; there is no politician who has Hillary's skill set. As a pure political animal she is sue generis . At State these qualities will come in handy. The only real question is the Administrative skill set. Ready from day one? Let's hope so. If she is not it will become quickly and painfully obvious. There is no do-over for this role, no super-delegates to plead her case to. She is operating without a net. She stands or fails on her own merits. While there is no way to actually know her mind about this or any situation one suspects that she is happy to accpet the challenge. May she excell at the position and do herself and her nation proud.