The issue now playing out on the public stage is the coda to the election just finished. The fourth movement to Obama's First Symphony: The Election: Will Obama choose Hillary Clinton for his secretary of state? Why would he do such a thing that is so counterintuitive to his "no drama Obama" public visage? I can't think of dramatis personae any more dramatis than the Clintons. Nevermind about Bill's taking of millions of dollars from Dubai, Kuwait and others which will inevitably lead to questions of why she did a certain thing and what its motivation might be. Not to infer that Hillary would do anything against the interests of the United States. It's just that Bill brings more questions to this equation than Hillary might be able to answer.
But as to Hillary herself, I just cannot help but think of the people who died in Bosnia and elsewhere in the region in 1995-96. Bill wanted to go into Bosnia and save the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) from genocide. But who was at his side counseling him not to do so? Hilllary. Hillary, who was so, so concerned about the fact that a move by Bill to go into Bosnia would cost her ill-fated Health Care Agenda to consume so much political capital that it would, she argued at the time, knock her own program out of the realm of possibility of passage in Congress. This is what Obama wants for a Secretary of State? I thought we wanted change. Instead, we get a rehash of Abraham Lincoln's (channeled well by Doris Kearns Goodwin) "team of rivals" theory. This still doesn't fully explain her presence on the ticket though it does speak loudly about Obama's sense of security about his own position.
What about the political capital she brings? Does this explain it? Perhaps. What Hillary has to realize is that she is truly going to be part of a team, not the Queen-like figure I have supposed she imagined herself as transforming into after she was elected President. There's no doubt that politically, there is no other person who could go a' callin' on heads of state and hit the ground running at a time when the team needs four-minute milers. Maybe those trips "under fire" in Bosnia that were the subject of so much criticism -- remember the primary? -- will come in handy for Hillary. She is just as capable, if not more so of telling the Big Lie and and proved that she could do so more effectively than perhaps even John McCain and his running mate: she lied and lied and lied and lied and lied about her Bosnian airport experience until her fantasy became her reality.
Well, never mind that. Perhaps looking backwards isn't very helpful around now, what with the Middle East and energy policy and defense policy being essentially indistinguishable things now that we are looking at Iran getting the atomic bomb.
She has the neocon right crowing with happiness and approval about her potential appointment. Why do you suppose that is? For two reasons: first, they might want to enjoy beating her about the head, figuratively, for her past. Look at what they did to Bill over a little heterosexual sex, an activity that most sexually active Congressional Republicans we read about in the newspapers, it seems, are unfamiliar with. The second reason is that they think that she will counteract what they think are Obama's perceived leftist foreign policy tendencies.
And it is here that Hillary Clinton will give Barack Obama cover on the right to do some kind of deal with Iran and/or Syria. She can sell that deal to the Right in general and a deal with the Palestinians on Israel to AIPAC Jews in America and the ultra-Orthodox and the rest of the minority in Israel who do not think as the majority in Israel evidently does and which I do as well: that the peace process in Israel and with the Arabs bent on her destruction requires some different, more coherent thought processes. Not ideology.
The majority, according to recent Ha'aretz polling, finds agreement with the proposition that there needs to be some significant changes made in how peace is approached in light of the utter failure, indeed, the harm, caused by the policies of the recent past which have hewed to the hard-right in Israel and in the US, whether that view comes from AIPAC Jews or Christian Zionists. It is the minority's views that Hillary's presence in the State Department will salve, only somewhat, because it will be she that will be selling Obama's foreign policy to the Right, some of whom are utterly hysterical about Obama being "dangerous" for Israel, a ludicrous statement if there ever was one, but a real perception nonetheless.
There has to be a new discussion in the Middle East that is consonant with US foreign policy, energy policy and policy toward Israel, our strongest ally in the region. People are ready for change, and Hillary will give Obama the cover he needs to start those new discussions. This is sheer Machiavellian politics by Obama, brilliant to behold when you are forced to think about Hillary as Secretary of State, for it is the only explanation for her possible appointment that makes any sense whatsoever.
Then there's that issue about Vince Foster...