12/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Trouble with Hillary

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that the true test of a first rate intellect is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still function.

For example: "Hillary Clinton would make an excellent secretary of state," and "Hillary Clinton would make a terrible addition to the Obama cabinet."

Or: "The current drama surrounding Hillary Clinton's potential appointment to secretary of state is almost entirely the creation of the conflict-addicted media," and "Hillary Clinton would almost surely bring unnecessary drama with her to any new post within the Obama administration."

Or, now that I think about it, maybe this: "I really liked Bill Clinton and thought he was a great president," and "Bill Clinton is a narcissistic sociopath who drags trouble behind him wherever he goes like tin cans tied to a wedding limo."

With all of these disparate notions fighting for supremacy, the question then centers around whether the good to be had by appointing Hillary Clinton to a high position in the incoming government outweighs the bad. Is she really worth all the political and emotional baggage?


No, she isn't.

I won't be one of those people who spent months vociferously supporting Barack Obama only to then criticize him the moment he wins; I in no way feel "betrayed" by any of the decisions he's made in the couple of weeks since securing a landslide victory and the mandate that comes with it. On the contrary, I'm encouraged by his desire to bring former adversaries into the fold; I think it's good for the country, by and large, and fulfills the promise Obama made during the campaign to shun the mistakes of his illustrious predecessor, a man who never met a spineless crony he didn't like.

But bringing Hillary Clinton on board is an entirely different animal.

I despised the kind of cynical and unscrupulous campaign Clinton ran during the primaries, but I'm willing to chalk that up to the nature of modern politics -- particularly because it has no bearing on her capacity to represent the United States as its top diplomat. What does present a problem, however -- and will continue to -- is that with Hillary Clinton, you never get just Hillary Clinton; it's always a package deal that includes Bill.

And if you think Bill Clinton won't find a way to inject his special brand of self-obsessed melodrama -- the proudly sly, Melrose Place-meets-the-White House shtick that we endured for most of the 90s -- into the otherwise focused, serious and drama-free environment created by Team Obama, I've got a story about not having sexual relations with an intern I'm sure I can convince you of.

Bill Clinton doesn't know how to lay low and relinquish the spotlight; he'd be an albatross around the neck of his wife and therefore a 300-pound millstone around the neck of the Obama White House.

And as Obama's own campaign said in reference to its opponent in the general election, that's not change -- that's more of the same.