Is everybody recovered from their turkey tryptophan induced trance state? Ready to get back to the business of critiquing the fun and follies of the nation’s political morass? Good! Let’s get started.
There are a couple of articles recently that give us some insight into what might have happened in that meeting that Obama and Hillary had in DiFi’s parlor last June. In For Biden, No Portfolio but the Role of a Counselor, Biden will have less responsibility than Al Gore had. Gore had a portfolio on the environment and restructuring government. Biden’s responsibility seems to have been reduced to enquiring on the health of the president every morning. He will be a valued “counselor”, er, provided the Oval Office is able to work him into the schedule to council. The good news is that Michelle Obama and Jill Biden really hit it off so I think they can look forward to Thursday night pinocle games where Joe can slip some counseling in between rounds of Budweiser and 7-layer nacho dip.
The other is about Hillary herself. In Clinton is Said to Accept Offer of Secretary of State, there is a very telling passage that suggests why it took so long for Hillary to actually sign on:
“Hillary Clinton will always be seen as her own person,” said Mickey Kantor, a longtime friend who served as commerce secretary in her husband’s administration. “But you know, Hillary Clinton’s a terrific lawyer. She knows how to represent a client, and she’s good at it. And I don’t have any doubt in my mind that she’ll be a team player.”
In this case, her client is herself. And what did her client want? Autonomy.
Two advisers to Mrs. Clinton said she was concerned about establishing her role in the administration before agreeing to the job. She wanted assurances that she would have direct access to Mr. Obama and not need to go through a national security adviser, they said. And she wanted the authority to pick her own staff at the State Department.
The media will paint the sticking point in the negotiations as concerning Bill Clinton’s foreign commitments and the donors to his library. But Bill would have had to do this anyway if he had been the First Dude. We will all soon find out that there’s no THERE there. No, what we’ve got here is Joe Biden falling on his sword and Hillary Clinton getting pretty much what she wants except for the title of President. You can bet your sweet ass that with Madeline Albright, Wes Clark and other experienced foreign policy people in her corner, coupled with the assurance that she’ll be able to run the State Department (no doubt signed in Obama’s blood), that she will be one of the most powerful Secretaries of State we have seen in recent history. I envision something like a wonky Maggie Thatcher with a “butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth” style.
So, let’s imagine what happened in DiFi’s study, shall we? Hillary, feeling her cheerio’s, takes command of the situation. She let’s him know before he offers that she’s not interested in being a trusted counselor as VP. Nope. Don’t even ask. She let’s him know what her real interests are. Maybe she even holds a bargaining chip on the convention. She knows the numbers. She *could* actually challenge him in Denver. It would be messy. She might even win it. These things don’t need to be said. At least not out loud. I suspect the fix was in back then on the Secretary of State position. Joe Biden might have been a more natural choice but he didn’t get enough delegates to issue demands. So, Hillary and Biden switch places.
Post election, the Faustian bargain Obama made to get Clinton’s support is becoming a reality. It is time to pay the piper and the piper is going to extract some concessions. She could remain in the Senate. She might be low on the totem poll but she’s got lots of new friends there and her speeches will still get covered and she *will* make an impact on legislation. His appointment of Tom Daschle to HHS doesn’t phase her in the least. Or she could take what’s behind door number two. But she’s going to do it *her* way. And now, given the current condition of foreign policy, she will be a lot more visible than just the Senator from NY. While Obama is fumbling around in the White House, trying to keep the economy from falling apart, she’ll be jetting around the world, overachieving again. Bwahahahahahahahhhh!
Hmmm, I wonder what concessions she got from Reid to leave? Does she get a say in her own successor? And what of the newest rumors that it could be Bill? Whoo! Wouldn’t that be a fricking coup? Unlikely, but entertaining nonetheless. Can you imagine how that would go? The uber alpha dog in the Senate? Nahhh, I’m betting that Hillary held out for a woman to replace her. Governor Patterson says he doesn’t feel obligated to appoint a woman to replace Clinton. I disagree- STRONGLY. Women are a paltry 17% of the Senate and loss of even one of them sets us back significantly. If you feel likewise, now is the time to send Patterson a message.
Go, Hill, Go!
Update: Thanks to all of you for your kind words after the news of the sudden death of my cousin yesterday. It really does make a difference.