Is Hillary Clinton dreaming of replacing Barack Obama?

Clinton Decides to Accept Post at State Dept., Confidants Say. See here.

Questions:

1. If it is true do you think it was the right decision from Obama?

2. Is she going to be good Secretary of State or not and why?

Answers:

Marty Linsky, Adjunct Lecturer at Harvard University, Owner, Cambridge Leadership Associates

It is a good choice from both a leadership and a political perspective. From a political perspective, it helps to heal the rift in the Democratic Party, although it does not resonate well with Obama’s theme of change. From a leadership perspective, it is a wise move on two grounds: first, it shows that he is willing to have close to him a strong personality with whom he has disagreed and who has her own separate constituency; and second, he is picking a person for their judgment and wisdom, not for their subject-matter expertise, which is what is needed in these times of rapidly changing circumstances and new challenges.

Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science Iowa State University

If true it is brilliant. She’s the most visible and one of the smartest politicians in the USA. She can then position herself for 2012 election. Hillary Clinton can also bring indirectly the goodwill of President Bill Clinton. For Obama it also keeps her close and can prevent her from using the Senate as political platform for herself. As Sec of State she has less room to operate.

I just talked with a VERY powerful Iowa Obama backer (from the start and who helped him win the Iowa caucuses). She said that this appointment of Sen Clinton finishes the healing process and brings ALL the hurt Clinton supporters fully behind Obama.this is VERY important for the next 4-8 years and is probably the single most significant factor in Clinton as Secretary of State.

David McCuan, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Sonoma State University

The pick and subsequent acceptance by Senator Clinton to be President-elect Obama’s Secretary of State is indeed a high-profile, high-reward pick.

She will put a compassionate, thoughtful, and helpful face on American foreign policy. Senator Clinton has a depth of knowledge about foreign policy issues, and is clearly ‘ready’ for this job.  There is no question that she will do a fantastic job on behalf of the new President as the new Administration seeks to turn the page and create a new chapter in the nation’s foreign relations, a chapter that will emphasize multilateral diplomacy over unilateral force.

Given the national economic situation, as well as the global financial crisis, the US Treasury pick is probably the most important cabinet position. Traditionally, the leader of the US Treasury Department has always been seen as one of the most important Cabinet appointments with leadership of the Department of State as a Number Two.

The Clinton pick raises the profile of importance for US foreign relations immensely, and she has always had more of an executive-type approach to politics, than a legislative approach.

HOWEVER, I think this pick is fraught with risk.  Here’s why:

Senator Clinton has a critical legislative role to play in the US Senate, especially on healthcare reform.  Given the ill health of Senator Kennedy, Senator Clinton’s role in healthcare reform is, or was, immense.

In addition, her role to carry and support critical parts of a President Obama legislative agenda would be huge in the US Senate.  That support is now gone.

Then there is the issue of her husband, his business dealings, and his presence. Senator Clinton will do a fantastic job guiding the State Department and American foreign policy in the next Administration.  However, the risk of distractions, of side shows over the Clintons at Foggy Bottom, becomes higher.

The Clintons are always about the Clintons.  If Senator Clinton takes this job, and the Obama administration lasts but one term, she would be well-positioned to run for President again.

And, that is the crux of the matter – she will do well running State, AND she is well positioned to move as she wishes even if the cards fall. That risk-reward angle for the new Administration is why this pick is both helpful and potentially difficult.

Nicholas Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy and Director of the Masters Program in Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California

My feelings about the appointment are mixed.  Whilst having a great admiration for Senator Clinton I was excited by the earlier rumours that he would offer the job a REPUBLICAN: Senator Dick Lugar, if only becuase I know he has a special understanding of the area of foreign policy I care most about: PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, and Senator Clinton didn’t really go into that much during her primary campaign.  I have heard that the job was offered to Lugar and he declined.  While Senator Clinton is quite a polarizing figure at home, she is well respected and well recognized overseas and I think that her fellow foreign ministers will work well with her.  I also think that her presence at the top of Obama’s team helps to bind some of the wounds of the primary contest within the Democratic Party.

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