Clinton goes to State.
I have a million thoughts on this. What do you think?
People have been thinking about this cabinet appointment too much on the level of symbolism. But this is a real job with real responsibilities. And one of those responsibilities is stocking, and managing, the government’s foreign policy apparatus. Which is why I continue to consider this a basically weird choice. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did not have many policy disagreements during the primary. Most of their disagreements, including the fight over health care mandates, were minor. They were technical fights or political disputes rather than collisions of principle. The exception was foreign policy. Iraq was a real disagreement on the level of principle. The heated argument over negotiations with autocrats was similarly fundamental. Samantha Power wrote, and the Obama campaign released, a memo entitled “Conventional Wisdom vs. The Change We Need.” …
Conventional wisdom, in this memo, was another way of saying “Hillary Clinton, her foreign policy advisers, and the people who agreed with her about things.” And Obama just appointed her to the most important foreign policy position in the US government. She will have to carry out his overarching priorities, of course, but beneath that, she will have significant managerial autonomy, and considerable opportunity to use her judgment. The very judgment Obama oriented his campaign against. Which is not to say that this is a bad pick, or that Hillary Clinton will do a bad job. But it is a very sharp break with the Obama campaign’s central message.