What to make of Hillary SOS appointment.

A lot of talk has been going on over Hillary Clinton’s appointment to Obama’s Secretary of State Office. Kimberley Strassell of the Wall Street Journal says it is all political. Read it here. Excerpts below:

The actual motivation? Short term, Mr. Obama understands his real struggles are going to be in the Senate, where he will need 60 votes. Left there with nothing but a potential future run against Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton would be tempted to use her position to highlight her differences with the sitting president. Even as a junior senator, she could gum up his works. Mr. Obama does not need that. The job at State all but eliminates this threat. As the nation’s top diplomat, Mrs. Clinton will be barred, both by law and by custom, from partisan politics. She’ll have to dismantle her extensive political operation, and end the patronage that has earned her continued loyalty. There’s arguably also not enough time for Mrs. Clinton to make her mark as secretary of state, and find a reason to break with her boss, and piece back together her empire, and get into a presidential race….

His onetime rival will also have plenty of leeway to go rogue. The State Department is traditionally hard to rein in, and Mrs. Clinton has insisted she also be free of traditional constraints. She’s demanded the right to staff her department with her own people. And while national security advisers are often more powerful than secretaries of state, she wants the ability to circumvent that position and go directly to Mr. Obama. This is the stuff ugly internal disputes are made of….

The Obama team is combing through the hundreds of thousands of donors to Mr. Clinton’s foundation. Those papers surely contain compromising conflicts. There was good reason the Clintons have always refused to make that information public.

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Posted by at 04:09 | Posted in Measure 37 | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • John Fairplay

    “She’ll have to dismantle her extensive political operation,”

    This is hopelessly naive.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    You cant undermine an administration from within?

    Patronage stops upon appointment?

    Look, we saw how a “Who’s Who” listed CIA clown could get her husband, an expert tea drinker and little more, sent on a mission to discover if Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. We then got treated to these two running to Vanity Fair or some other idiot magazine within seconds to whine about how the publicity had ruined their lives. The patronage was so blatant that not once did anyone ask why the CIA didn’t have someone on staff qualified to check on nuclear materials.

    “Oh gee, we are the CIA, and we have no one around here who knows nuthin about no nukes……..hey Bambi…. how’s your hubby Joe Shmo doin? still drinkin tea?…..is that right? He has seen both Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe?….Okie dokey… I guess he is as good an expert as we are gonna get….. tickets to Niger for Bambis hubby, chop chop”

    The idea that someone cannot undermine an administration from within, or that patronage ends upon appointment is simply wrong. The Plame incident shows that the patronage as well as sabotage can be done under the most blatant of circumstances and no one will ask any questions if its done right. Mrs. Clinton is many things, but lets face it she’s an expert at this. The fact that she could dodge jail time with such classic hits as “Law files In The Map Room” or “1000 FBI Files” or “Who Hired Craig Livingstone” is testament to that.

    • dean

      Rupert…Wilson was a career diplomat, previously posted to Iraq and Niger (supposed source of the uranium). He had in other words more than tea drinking expertise. Also, since he was not paid for the trip, it was hardly patronage.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Rupert…Wilson was a career diplomat, previously posted to Iraq and Niger

        One of the poorest Dean dodges yet. I point out Wilson had no expertise in tracking nuclear material, you point out Wilson had no expertise in the area either. Big Whoop.

        Why not try addressing the question as to how the CIA has no one competent to check on nuclear material procurement so they have to hire a guy like Wilson, who has no expertise in the area.

        >He had in other words more than tea drinking expertise.

        Wrong. Wilson had no expertise in nuclear material proliferation which was the matter at hand. He was a diplomat who by his own admission simply sat in the hotel lobby, drank tea and interviewed a few people. His incompetence was later demonstrated when he was caught lying in congressional testimony because he couldn’t even get his own story straight.

        >Also, since he was not paid for the trip, it was hardly patronage.

        Wrong. Patronage does not require someone to be paid. Patronage, in this case, refers to the power to appoint people to positions for reasons other than competence. Wilson was hardly picked for his expertise, he had none, he was picked simply because he was Plames husband, thus patronage.

        • dean

          You said he was “an expert tea drinker and little more.” My response was that he was a lot more than an expert tea drinker. The CIA chose him due to his ties in Niger, not for his expertise on tracking nuclear material.

          Plus, the US had already sent other experts to Niger, including General Carlton W. Fulford, Jr. He and the IAEA (later) both concluded Niger had not sold anything to Iraq. Wilson’s findings simply confirmed this. The CIA knew there was nothing to it, they told the administration, and Bush ended up lying about it anyway as part of his argument for the necessity of war now. Why you want to re-fight a long settled issue is beyond me.

          Your understanding of patronage and common definitions are at variance. It means “the granting of favors.” What was the favor granted? An all expense paid trip to Niger to sip tea? Oooh boy. Now that is tempting I admit.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >The CIA chose him due to his ties in Niger, not for his expertise on tracking nuclear material.

            Bingo – My God man, you have stumbled upon the obvious, he had no expertise in nuclear material! BRAVO!!!!!!

            >Why you want to re-fight a long settled issue is beyond me.

            Well, first of all because it is an example of patronage from within, which was the subject at hand, obviously you missed that.

            Second it is clearly not a settled matter as you seem to be completely wrong about a major fact of the case:

            Bush has never been shown to have lied about the Niger issue, although Joe Wilson has, rather publically in congressional testimony. Pesky dates got in his way when he cited as evidence for some of his conclusions a document that had not been released at the time he made them. Mr. Wilson quickly exited stage left at that point.

            Are you completely ignorant that Bush is currently president and that if it had been shown he had lied as it was with Clinton, he would have been impeached long ago? You seriously cannot be that out of the loop.

            >It means “the granting of favors.” What was the favor granted?

            Ok, this is too funny because its a case of the Dean Dodge, changing the definition, coming back to bite you.

            Last go round you said patronage required someone being paid and if they weren’t then clearly it was not a case of patronage. Now you are saying something different? You are seriously going to correct me on word usage when you have said patronage means one thing in one post, and a different in another post?

            You are going to get this one wrong a second time?

            Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary:

            Patronage – ” the power to make appointments to government jobs especially for political advantage ”

            My copy of the OED ( Oxford English Dictionary, it is considered the standard reference. You would not be familiar with it, but it is a really really big dictionary about as big as an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia is a really big set of books )

            Patronage – “The right of control of appointments to offices privilege , etc. in the public office”

            Gee, none of those mention patronage required someone get paid, which was your contention.

            Ouch, another Dean loss. That’s our Dean, Mr. Pratt Fall. We need the Dick Van Dyke theme for when you post.

            Maybe next time best not to make such a big deal about someone’s word usage.

            Ok – So lets add it up. On point one you stated the obvious, confirming my contention. For you that is pretty damn good. On point two you seem to think it is a long settled issue that Bush lied, which would constitute an impeachable offense, as we know the last president to lie to congress was impeached for it. Ok, so wrong on that one. Point three, not understanding the word “patronage”. Ok, this one is a doozy, because it comes as a second correction to your misunderstanding of the word.

            Yeeesh what a flop. I think the major reason for your loss here was insisting in one post patronage required someone be paid, and then completely contradicting yourself in this post by saying it now had to involve favours. At that point, it’s not to hard to make mincemeat of you, simply show the definitions and point out your changing definitions.

            Suggestions for future Dean strategy:

            Try being superior ” well, if you don’t know Bush lied you really are naive”. Avoid the obvious logical flaw that if Bush was capable of lying to get us into a war, he would have planted evidence of WMD’s as well.

            Try the teen angst girl approach – “Well, if you don’t understand how “Patronage” is commonly used its not my problem, and I don’t care what any dictionary says you’re wrong”

          • dean

            Rupert….what Bush said was: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

            We can agree on that much. Maybe we can even agree on the following: Wilson called Bush out on that statement in a NY Times op ed, saying that Bush’s statement was misleading at best. And the Bush Administration subsequently said that the 16 words should not have been in the speech, Tenet took the blame, and was rewarded with the medal of freedom or something. Agreed?

            Were those 16 words an “impeachable offense? Probably not. But what would it matter? The Repubican party controlled BOTH houses of Congress at the time, and they would not have impeached Bush in any case. In Clinton’s case, the Republican controlled House decided to go to the mat over Clinton’s nuanced lie about a quickie. But let’s get real. Presidents, like all politicians lie all the time. Read your Machiavelli. It goes with the job description, which is why Jimmie Carter was such a lousy president. If Congress impeaches presidents for every public lie or truth stretching we will be like Italy, a new government every other month. on the other hand, there is a lot I like about Italy. Hmmnnn…..

            My on line OED (much less cumbersome and less of a tree killer) defines patronage as: *noun* 1: support given by a patron. 2: the power to control appointments to office or the right to privileges.

            Again Rupert…what was the “privilege” in this case? A trip to Niger?

            If your assumption is that the CIA or Plame or both plotted to send him there, months before the war, in order to gather evidence against Bush (who Wilson donated $1000 to in 2000) they could use later as “political advantage” or sabotage….that seems a real stretch. And if that is not your assumption then what is it exactly?

            As for your “teen angst girls” comment. Its very sexist, and as one who enjoys casting bigot stones, you of all people should avoid such statements, you sexualist you.

    • Tim Lyman

      CIA and State worked almost as hard to undermine the Bush administration than they did to destroy Al Quaida. Unfortunately, they were far more successful at the fomer than at the latter. That’s what happens when you inherit agencies packed with Clinton loyalists and do nothing to purge them.

      If Obama thinks he’s got Hillary on a leash he may want to look at which end he’s on.

  • Reper

    She almost won.

  • Richard brown

    keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

    • RA

      So you can shank them when they aren’t looking.

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