By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Here we go again

Doesn’t President-elect Obama have a problem on his hands if Sen. Hillary Clinton turns him down for the secretary of state’s post? Wouldn’t anyone else now be seen as second-best?

Obama got lucky with Rahm Emanuel. But the name-floating that’s going on right now strikes me as a significant breakdown in discipline on the part of the Obama camp.

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  1. Sean Roche

    Yes, here we go again.How is the so-called “second choice” going to feel about being picked to be Secretary of State? I’m guessing, honored to serve his or her country and thrilled to have one of the most important jobs in the country.By floating Hillary for Secretary of State, the Obama camp shows her some respect. A decision by her to stay Senator-for-life (NY-D) does nothing to diminish Obama. But, to answer your question directly, wouldn’t anyone else be seen as second-best? Is there only one qualified person out there for the post? Is there some objective measure by which candidates are ranked?

  2. Mark

    My guess is that the anonymous sources inside the Obama transition that leaked Senator Clinton’s name are Clinton loyalists that wanted to put some pressure on Obama to pick Clinton.The reason you didn’t see much of this during the campaign is because Obama’s team was made up of people who were working for Obama as their first choice. There were no conflicting loyalties.This is what happens when you bring several teams into the fold.

  3. Mike F

    I think I agree with Mark. My guess is that she’s being considered (or at least Obama is portraying it as such,) but that Clinton’s people are portraying it as if the job is hers to turn down, while the reality is that she’s amongst the candidates for the job. The fact that Bill Richardson’s name seems to come up in every story about Clinton being Secretary of State makes me think that he might already be the pick. I think that her husband being who he is probably is enough to disqualify her, without saying that she isn’t qualified.

  4. tim

    As a Republican who voted for Obama( Really could not stomach McCain )I am a little disapointed Obama has chosen all these old Clinton people I thought he was about change get some new faces with different ideas in there and not a bunch of Clinton hold overs or worse Senators

  5. Bill H.

    I think that Obama has enough self-confidence not to care if Sen. Clinton does turn him down. No one else is going to turn down the post just because he/she wasn’t the first one offered the job.

  6. Aaron Read

    I can't imagine Hillary will take the job; she'll wield more clout in the US Senate than she will as SecState. Especially considering the big shuffle of chairmanships thanks to the new members coming in.Also, Hillary as SecState means she'll never get to run for President again. I seriously doubt she's quite let go of that dream.And, not to be cruel, but whoever gets the SecState job is not going to feel second-best, because (to put it kindly) foreign policy is not Hillary's strong suit. It'd be the ultimate patronage appointment, really.Now if Obama had proposed Hillary for Health & Human Services – THAT would be a serious appointment; giving Hillary the power to finally implement the health care overall she tried to do 15 years ago. But let’s not kid ourselves either…HHS is important, but it’s an even bigger step download for a sitting US Senator than SecState is.

  7. Ani

    I don’t think the Supreme Court justices who were not first to be nominated for their seat on the bench have suffered too much in public opinion or personally, either. Think Harriet Miers (sp?), Justice Alito.

  8. Ani

    Dan,Or is it really less about whether the second pick looks second-best and more about whether Obama looks weak when someone he wants says no?

  9. Dunwich

    I don’t think being the Jr. Sen. from NY is enough for Hillary. She wants to run State at a time when we are (hopefully) leaving Iraq. As for running for President again, it’s over. In four years she’ll move on to a final job, Mayor/NYC.

  10. Peter Porcupine

    Dunwich – Mayor? Unlike the US Senate, the city has a residency requirement, which could be awkward….

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