“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
— Mark Twain
In previous editions of The Tattler, some drunken idiot wrote piffle such as:
“Well, it’s three days after Thanksgiving and Hillary Clinton has still not been named as Obama’s Secretary of State. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Well, it did happen, last Monday, and, I confess, the drunken idiot was staring back at me from the mirror this morning. (I am now hunched into a Basil Fawlty ball, hopping around with my head between my hands in disgust with myself.)
In another edition of The Tattler posted here November 18, 2008, “The Tattlesnake Big Media Hillary Silly Season in Full Swing Edition,” I hilariously typed:
“Lost in most of their [the Big Media] circuitous gossip is any sort of common-sense analysis: Why would Hillary give up her powerful senate seat, and an excellent chance to be Senate Majority Leader, to serve as a peripatetic foreign service factotum in Obama’s government? The appointment would also proscribe her from criticizing him should things go sour, thereby tainting her bid for the 2012 nomination. Quick, name the last five Secretaries of State before Condi and look at what has happened to them. I think it’s fair to say the energetic Sen. Clinton doesn’t desire to live out her days lounging in academia, playing golf, or filling space on the board of some think tank or corporation, publishing occasional knotted-brow op-ed pieces in The New York Times.”
Those were, I felt, valid questions IF Sen. Clinton wanted to be president some day but, since then, I’ve checked with an Anonymous Source Close to the Obama Camp (just like the Mighty NYT!) and gathered some exclusive background that changes the picture considerably.
First off, my A.S.C.O.C. says Hillary doesn’t desire the presidency any longer. She allegedly feels that 2008 was her best shot and she hates ‘mass-market’ retail campaigning. (Hubby Bill is the political animal who loves that glad-handing stuff.) Although she likes talking to people in small groups, the speaking to large gatherings, the endless traveling, the repeated stump speeches, and the sheer exhaustion of running for president turned the fire in her belly into a bad case of dyspepsia that she never wants to experience again.
Secondly, while she liked the Senate, her ability to work on the issues that most animated her — health care, economic justice and children’s rights — was limited, and she supposedly got The Word: even with her national celebrity, there would be no jumping ahead in line the junior senator from New York would have to wait her turn to become Majority Leader and that could take decades. (Even NY colleague Chuck Schumer is ahead of her in seniority.) Aside from that, the appointment as SoS relieved her of having to campaign for office again, and she and Obama have actually become friends since the summer and work well together. She’s willing to respect his office and policies, so there should be no conflict there, and she’s a popular figure overseas. Her keen intelligence and ability to quickly process new information are a relief to foreign leaders accustomed to dealing with the Bush-bedazzled Condi Rice.
Speaking of Bill Clinton, he’s already turned down taking Hill’s place in the Senate (not that it was offered), but is still considering a run at the Governor’s mansion in Albany. Word is, his wife wishes he would find something to occupy himself that won’t pose any problems in her new job. Governor of New York fills the bill, or vice versa.
From Obama’s standpoint, he not only removed his major political rival, but he’s also found a smart and tenacious ally he can trust to carry out his foreign policy, so it’s a ‘win-win’ for him.
BTW, as a side note, don’t worry about the Dems not having a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate the Obamaites have been working behind the scenes with moderate-right Republicans like Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and a couple of other privately disaffected GOPers just as disgusted with the Bush years as Democrats, to keep Mitch McConnell and the Boys from Buzzkill from stopping change before it starts.
I told you! I told you! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!
Just kidding, obviously.
Not sure how well this will work. I do believe a lot of this depends on how much, or how little, he is controlled by such advisers… not as much as some claim, I suspect…
…and how much he lets it be known, to the country, that he does listen but it’s he that decides. This could be crucial to squashing some of the sickest of the Hillary bashers who, I am sure, will do all they can to use her appointment against him.
This is by far less of a Hillary problem then it’s a framing issue. This, the O’Reillys, the Hannitys, the Limbaughs and such, are very good at: only because media interests always give them the most advantageous; the least critical of their comments, platform from which to do so.
Ken, perhaps a good illustration of how Obama works is a story from his days in the Illinois State Senate. Every Friday, he played poker with the statehouse lobbyists and they all considered him a friend. Some citizens groups were alarmed at Obama’s closeness to these corporate types until he drafted and passed an ethics bill that revealed to the public the gifts these lobbyists gave to state politicians as non-cash bribes and what the lobbyists got in return. Incredibly, none of the lobbyists held a grudge against him — one even said Obama had been fair: he had called them in before bringing the bill to the floor, told them what he was going to do, and asked for their feedback. He listened and made a few minor changes based on reasonable objections, but passage of the bill put a large crimp in the lobbyists’ activities, and let the public know what was going on in Springfield. (Even his statehouse mentor, Rep. Emil Jones, was embarrassed by the bill — Jones was one of the biggest gift-takers in the state senate.)
This is why none of Obama’s appointments have bothered me — he has a history of gathering different views but making his own decisions, often at odds with the advice he’s received, and usually center-left in its effect.
I shouldn’t make predictions considering, but I will anyway: I think in 5 years most of the Limbaughs, O’Reilly’s, Hannity’s etc. will be off the air or on very few stations. Their influence peaked during the Clinton impeachment and has steadily trended downward since then, especially O’Reilly’s. At the moment, their daily pieces of neocon nuttiness just doesn’t comport with the way most of America lives — it’s hard to make someone focus on flag pins or other minutiae, or blame the Clintons, when they’ve lost their house or job or small business, or a member of the family needs health care they can’t afford. One guy who told me his Dad was a big Limbaugh fan for years — until the economy when belly-up and he got sick — said these days Pop is disgusted with RushBo, summed up as: “All he does is complain and blame, complain and blame — but he never has any answers.”