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Matt Littman

Matt Littman

Posted: November 19, 2008 02:51 PM

What Makes For a Great Secretary of State?


Here's what you need to be a great Secretary of State: a massive ego. You need to believe that you and you alone can sit down with Hamas and Abbas and get them to agree on a peace accord with Israel. You need to believe you are so special that you can get the Ayatollah of Iran to quit his nuclear program. You need to believe that only you can get the strongman Putin to lay off the notion of missiles on Russia's border with Poland.

Would Hillary Clinton have the potential to be a great Secretary of State? Absolutely. If there is a single figure in the American political establishment who thinks as much of themselves as Hillary thinks of herself, show that person to me. Does John Kerry have Hillary's ego? Does Bill Richardson? I mean this as a compliment to Hillary. She's earned her scars, as John McCain didn't say.

The question becomes, does Senator Hillary Clinton want to be Madame Secretary? I hope so. Hillary is 61. She's the junior Senator from New York. She will not determine whether health care makes it through Congress; Tom Daschle, Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy will go a long way toward making universal health care a reality. She will not be the senior Senator from New York as long as Chuck Schumer can stand in front of a camera. She heads no committees.

At a time when the world is yearning to see America return to the forefront of global leadership, Secretary Clinton can lead the charge. She already may be a historic figure, embraced by the world community, but in this role, she would significant international achievements to her legend.

If I were Senator Clinton, I would run to this opportunity, not because the job has been offered, and not because my career in the Senate may not result in a leadership role until 2020. No, I would jump at it because Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to be Secretary of State.