Huffpost Politics

Hillary Clinton As Secretary Of State? What The Pundits Think

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Here is a roundup of the views of prominent pundits on Hillary Clinton as a possible Secretary of State:

Thomas Friedman:

Mrs. Clinton is a serious person. She is smart, tough, cunning, hard-working and knows the world -- all key qualities for a secretary of state. She would also bring a certain star quality to the top of the State Department that can be useful. I don't know if she is the best person in America for that job right now, or if she'll get it, but if one is just looking at qualifications, Senator Clinton certainly passes the bar...

The important question, the answer of which is not at all clear to me, is about the only relationship that matters for a secretary of state -- the kind of relationship he or she would have with the new president. My question: Is Obama considering Mrs. Clinton for this job in order to get her off his back or as a prelude to protecting her back?...

When it comes to appointing a secretary of state, you do not want a team of rivals.

David Broder:

Clinton is the wrong person for that job in this administration. It's not the best use of her talents, and it's certainly not the best fit for this new president....

The last thing Obama needs is a secretary of state carving out an independently based foreign policy. He needs an agent, not an author...

Even if Hillary Clinton were ready to play such a subordinate role, which she might be, in return for a promise that her voice would be heard in the most serious policy debates, the presence of Bill Clinton makes that a doubly difficult assignment. The former president has, through the Clinton Global Initiative and his own extensive foreign travels and worldwide contacts, made himself a force in international affairs. It would be unfair, and unlikely, for him to shut down his own private foreign policy actions because they might conflict with his wife's responsibilities. But foreign leaders would inevitably see Bill Clinton as an alternative route toward influencing American policy. And he would be unlikely to remain silent.

Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow at New America Foundation:

Her top, top, top advisers told me, 'Steve, she will animate things in the Middle East--she will deliver a Palestinian state. Gold-plated'...

She criticized him so much for going to meet foreign leaders without preconditions; now she is the one who is going to have to go and get all the preconditions sorted out.

Charles Krauthammer:

She's a reasonably good choice. But what's so sort of cynically brilliant and impressive about this is that with her out of the way, Obama is not going to have to show up in Iowa or New Hampshire in 2012. He has now cinched the renomination.


Maureen Dowd
:

It says it all that, at the moment Washington became obsessed with news that Hillary was a contender for State, Bill was getting a half-million for an hour's worth of chat sponsored by the National Bank of Kuwait, delivered from behind a podium with a camel and Arabic lettering on it. Last year, Bill made $10.1 million in speaking fees.

If Hillary gets to be the Mistress of Foggy Bottom, Bill's guilt over his primary tirades, which hindered her chances of becoming president, would be alleviated...

One person who famously opposed Hillary's presidential bid thinks she'd make a great secretary of state.

"She's smart and tough, a lot better than any of the old hacks like Holbrooke, Albright, etc.," says David Geffen. "Barack Obama is going to run policy, and Hillary will be an effective communicator. It also takes Bill out of the game. It completely turns him into an ally -- and probably a help to both of them. I think Obama is very smart to get as many smart people into the room as he can, to bring in Rahm and keep Lieberman and get Hillary into the cabinet. It brings an enormous amount of good will his way, and he's going to need every ounce of it, given the wars and financial catastrophe America is facing. It's getting bleaker every day. There are many, many, many more bubbles to burst."