All This And Analysis, Too:Keep GatesBut Mrs. Clinton at Foggy Bottom? Can they be serious?On the face of it, the apparent offering of the secretary of state job to Hillary Clinton is a clever, interesting choice: An experienced and sophisticated workhorse with her own standing in the country, and bearing a name that is popular in the world, will be the public face of U.S. diplomacy. Mr. Obama gets to put her in a subordinate position while appearing to be magnanimous, and her seat in the U.S. Senate will likely be filled by a more malleable Democrat who won't be plotting from day one to get to the White House. A threefer.But the downside is equally obvious: To invite in the Clintons—and it's always the Clintons, never a Clinton—is to invite in, to summon, drama that will never end. Ever. This would seem to be at odds with the atmospherics of Obamaland. "Loose cannon," "vetting process," "financial entanglements," questions about which high-flying oligarch gave how much to Bill's presidential library, and what the implications of the gift are, including potential conflict of interest. More colorfully, and nostalgically: people screaming through the halls, being hired and fired, attacking the press, leaking, then too tightly controlling information, then leaking, and speaking in the special patois of the Clinton staff, with the famous dialogue evocative of David Mamet as rewritten by Joe Pesci.Will she go rogue? Will the rogue go rogue?
But it will be interesting to watch. The appointment is so surprising that everyone's inner Machiavelli is working overtime. Is she floating it to box him in and leave him embarrassed if he ultimately goes elsewhere? Are Mr. Obama's people floating it knowing a) she wanted it, b) but it won't work because Bill will never give up all the information required in an FBI full field investigation, and c) hey, that's the best of both worlds, an offer that was made and a reality that thwarted it. Not our fault! And she stays in the Senate, dinged, her power undermined again.
So is this pure gut instinct? Or are her sources just that good?