Saturday, November 15, 2008

SoS Hillary...

Hillary may have been at the bottom of my preference list of Presidential candidates, but this is a bit different though I am reminded of "the cat that came back." I don't find the media frenzy odd, I do find the "leak" odd. This serves somebody's interests, but I'm pretty darn confused as to whose. Hillary Clinton has a power base to be envied, it is spread across the nation in the electorate, it is in the halls of Congress, it is in Agencies, it is in think tanks, it is in the media, and it is in the money heavy movers and shakers. A Cabinet position would separate her from all that, those officials do the will of the President in a manner he approves or they find another job. The President is your power base, you may have allies to make your case in persuading the President but they won't keep your job safe or advance you. Where do you go from SoS during an Administration? There is no upward mobility.

Hillary Clinton is the Junior Senator from New York and as far as titles go SoS is a step up. That step up ignores political realities, effectively Hillary can wield more power than Schumer. Her broad appeal can mean a lot more than seniority in the Senate, if she makes use of it. Laws with your name on them are a more lasting monument than an SoS can leave.

The question that is begged in this, is what is it that appeals to Hillary most? Real power for her lies in the Senate, but it may not be power that it is about. If her desire is to affect the policies of an Administration through direct input, SoS is the ticket. It certainly means she's in competition with Joe Biden in making her voice heard, but it is a seat right at the table, not from down the street.

For Barack Obama having her in the SoS would bring her into his orbit, in the end it is his will that would be carried out. In the Senate she is a free agent, within realistic limitations. I don't care to make an analysis of what she brings to the office versus others, she has the tools and that isn't what this article is about. This is politics being played at the very top of the scale and somebody or somebodies take benefit from this even being discussed. The PUMA/Hillary supporters thing is a dead issue, Barack Obama is going to be President for four years and if he does a respectable job, for eight. This isn't about electioneering, it is about something else. I don't like not being able to see clear benefits to both parties, I see a very mixed bag. Hillary is not the person to be satisfied with a limited role, not with the Senate as an alternative, and that could pose some rather large distractions. There is a difference between hiring someone with good ideas and a willingness to call BS and hiring someone who prefers to be the boss. None of these people are something other than ambitious, you don't get anywhere near these positions without a large dose of that, but there is a bit of a difference between, say, Bill Richardson's campaign and Hillary Clinton's both in outcomes and conduct. Rahm Emmanuel is a powerhouse player and no shrinking violet, but he wasn't making obvious moves for the top job. The 'chutzpah' involved in going after that particular ring is immense and I don't care if your name is Barack, Hillary, or John.

I want to watch how this unfolds very carefully because I'm missing something I should see. Now since these people don't consult with me, there may be factors I'm completely unaware of, but these people live pretty public political lives. I'm not in the least interested in the celebrity of the people involved, I'm interested in the "why" of it. It may be my mechanical background, I'm interested in how the gears fit together and why a particular solution was chosen over another. I know how a small thing can lever a large result and it counts to see it before it happens.

It is certainly possible that this is nothing more than a media driven tempest in a teacup and there really is nothing there other than noise. It's possible, but all that discipline demonstrated by the Obama operations make me wonder. I think this one is going to be fun.

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