Obama's Most Successful Cabinet Pick?

Watching Andrea Mitchell positively gushing over Hillary Clinton today on her MSNBC show makes clear that, to date, President Obama's choice of Clinton for Secretary of State has been his most successful one. While many of us believed Clinton could make great contributions in the Senate (and no doubt she would have), it is becoming quite clear that President Obama better understood the great advantages that a Secretary of State Clinton brings to the table. In short, after President Obama himself, the United States has no more powerful messenger in the world than Hillary Clinton.

At daily kos, diarist Working Class Hero provides some very interesting coverage of Secretary Clinton's trip to Indonesia. More . . .

The diarist makes some good points about Clinton's deft performance but the most powerful evidence comes from Clinton's appearance on a popular Indonesian music show:

Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton arrives in Beijing. There is no doubt in my mind that this is where her most important work on this trip will occur.

Speaking for me only.

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    First woman to get Hardball (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by oldpro on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    award from Tweety.  His 5th award.  Ye gods.

    Wierd watching him eat crow.

    Something I'll never see (5.00 / 6) (#23)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:16:41 PM EST
    wouldn't tune into that network if it was the last one left, and never, ever, ever to Hardball. That man shouldn't have a job in anything that is considered credible.

    He can keep his stupid awards.


    Agree. I never watch it... (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:34:51 PM EST
    It's on You tube...think I saw it (or saw it mentioned) on Shakespeare's Sister or Allegre'e Corner or some such likely spot.

    It was on Shakespeare's Sister (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by starsandstripes on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:49:35 PM EST
    that is now called Shakesville

    Matthews (none / 0) (#3)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:10:25 PM EST
    never really changes- I'm betting if we go back far enough, he talked about how Bill Clinton was a "smooth-talking hero."  The guy just vacillitates between love and hate with no real balance because moderation is bad TV- Think about he flipped on McCain and Bush, or how over a 3 week period he basically went from laughing at Palin, to thinking she was the future, to laughing at her again- he's the concentrated essence of CW.

    Backhanded Compliment (none / 0) (#18)
    by aeguy on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:48:36 PM EST
    As in, Hillary Clinton is FINALLY putting country before self.

    It's interesting (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:08:42 PM EST
    to see rabid CDS'ers turn themselves into pretzels and fall all over themselves.

    Interesting that of the high profile nominees (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:12:09 PM EST
    she generated among the last controversy. One of the premises of her campaign is thus confirmed: everything negative that could possibly be said about Hillary has already been said.

    Too bad (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:22:32 PM EST
    it's too late for all those nay-sayers who said a)she could never win the primaries with all her baggage; b)she could never get elected with all her negatives and what the Republicans would throw at her; c)she could never govern effectively because she'd have to deal with all these "scandals"; d) she would never get confirmed; and e)she will bring taint and stain to the pristine Obama administration with all her "baggage".

    It really should never be too late (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:37:19 PM EST
    for them to admit they were wrong, but I would guess that the naysayers will always take refuge in the rationale that Secretary of State is not the same as President, and no matter how well Clinton functions in the Cabinet, it will forevermore remain to be seen how she would have functioned as President.

    It's a small harbor, but there is some truth there, if we want to be honest about it.

    I am sorry we may never know what kind of president Hillary would have been, but spending a lot of time in What-If Land is kind of useless at this stage.

    She's going to do a spectacular job as Secretary of State, which is good, because that's what we, and the world need.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by aeguy on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:46:22 PM EST
    We will never know how she would be as President (that is of course if she decides to run again in 2016). But I never bought into the idea that she's a terrible manager. Her campaign had problems, but she was able to rebound and adjust, an important quality imo. And being a campaigner and an executive are two different things (case in point: George W. Bush won two elections, terrible governor).

    From my viewpoint, the state department is running very smoothly.


    Not sure (none / 0) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:48:11 PM EST
    how this disproves "A" I mean she didn't lose due to baggage- she lost because she ran against a superior canidate- but this doesn't disprove that by any means.

    Without revisiting the primaries (5.00 / 7) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:05:03 PM EST
    She got more votes than the "superior" candidate.  Apparently the 18 million + people (more than any candidate in history of any party) didn't find her "baggage" (real or made up) to be a problem.

    Wow (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Steve M on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:24:38 PM EST
    That was really cute.  And the part where she talks about winners and losers in democracy was powerful.  It's a story that anyone in the world can understand, how these two rivals fought a really really tough campaign, and now they're working together on the same team.  It's very symbolic.

    And the question they asked her at the very end - I won't spoil it - priceless!

    Boxers or briefs??? ;) (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:36:08 PM EST
    LOL!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:12:47 PM EST

    Yeah (5.00 / 7) (#15)
    by lilburro on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:46:05 PM EST
    I really can't imagine John Kerry being so gracious and, as WorkingClassHero puts it, skilled in using soft power.  If people are excited when the US SoS comes to their country, that is a good thing for us.

    She gets what good PR does. (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:46:06 PM EST
    Nicely done.

    Clinton and AIDS prevention (5.00 / 12) (#21)
    by souvarine on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:11:40 PM EST
    Michelle Goldberg has a good article on Clinton changing our international AIDS program's focus to prevention. She rejected Obama's initial inclination to work with people like Rick Warren, who had kept the focus on treatment and abstinence rather than effective prevention and women's health. She appears to be asserting herself in very productive ways.

    Thanks! (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:25:16 PM EST
    Terrific article.  I'd been wondering about that business of firing Dybul and what it was about, and this article makes it real clear he was working actively against women's interests and against any prevention efforts, even after Obama was elected.  Hillary tossed the guy overboard.  Good for her.

    She would have been an even better President. (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by masslib on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:26:14 PM EST

    Amen (none / 0) (#25)
    by mogal on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:38:04 PM EST
    The only other person in the administration (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by DFLer on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:43:57 PM EST
    whose "touch" is equally moving people AND reinvigorating gov. agencies is Michelle Obama, as seen in her visit to the Dept of Ag today.

    They are two very impressive women, I say.

    No offense to Michelle Obama.... (5.00 / 8) (#28)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:55:25 PM EST
    ...but I don't see how these two things can be put into the same category. Michelle Obama "reinvigorating" and agency with a vist and Hillary Clinton reinvigorating an agency that she heads with substantive policy changes are two vastly different things. Not saying that Michelle Obama isn't capable of great things, but we have hardly seen what she is capable of at this point in time.

    Michelle Obama (none / 0) (#52)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:48:44 AM EST
    IMO, seems to be taking it slow.  But her leadership is already apparent.  

    Andrea can gush over Hillary (5.00 / 7) (#27)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:45:50 PM EST
    ...because she knows Hillary will never run for president again.

    If Hillary were, say 50 years old, Andrea would most likely rip her apart for anything she does.  Hillary would need to be destroyed before she attempts to run for prez again.

    Clinton would be a better president than Obama. Clinton should have won the nomination, because it was her only chance and she was better at the job.

    Sorry, I will never forget that.  And it will always p*ss me off.

    What? Are you trying to tell us (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:10:15 PM EST
    a 68-year old Caucasian woman is not a viable Democratic candidate for President?  <snk>

    If Obama succeeds, Hillary (none / 0) (#42)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 06:30:11 PM EST
    would be a favorite for 2016.

    And, if he doesn't? (none / 0) (#44)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 06:54:40 PM EST
    Who would be a favorite in 2012?

    Jindal--unfortunately (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:02:19 PM EST
    He's Republican, who would be the (none / 0) (#46)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:08:33 PM EST
    favorite Democrat?

    Even if he fails, (none / 0) (#48)
    by Lil on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:15:01 PM EST
    which I don't think he will, he would be the nominee in 2012.

    A picture of South Korean (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by lilburro on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:21:32 PM EST
    citizens awaiting her arrival is now on the front page of the NYT.  Making a splash.  Or at least staging one well!

    What makes a person great? (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Missblu on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:22:52 PM EST
    Like anyone who has achieved success after success, Hillary Clinton has practiced. She has learned the art of communication well over many years.  She has especially perfected the technique of interaction and careful response. Aided by a superior intelligence she skips through the program where ever it may be. Those of us who were lucky enough to attend one of her appearances in the primaries felt the soul, the caring, and the integrity.  I feel lucky she is out there in the world.  Maybe it was supposed to be that way.

    Mitchell can gush all she wants about Hillary (5.00 / 7) (#40)
    by Radiowalla on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 06:25:26 PM EST
    but she will never erase the memory of her bilious reporting on the Clintons when they left the White House in 2000.  For days on end Andrea rattled on about all the White House furniture the Clintons "stole" as they were moving out.

    To this day she has never corrected the record, at least to my knowledge.  

    So forgive me for discounting everything Andrea Mitchell says.

    she's successful for two reasons: (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:06:22 AM EST
    1. she's very, very smart.

    2. there are no skeletons in her closet, that have gone unpicked; nothing to distract from her actual job.

    we're quite fortunate she agreed to take the position, condi rice will end up looking like a rank amateur next to her.

    In terms of change (none / 0) (#5)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:13:05 PM EST
    I'm thinking Solis, the DOE, and the Science head guy will be the most dramatic breaks from the past- I think Clinton will be ultra-competent but she doesn't really represent a break from the normal American foriegn policy consensus (the fact that she seems like one right now, just shows how far off the reservation the Bush admin was).

    We weren't talking about in terms of change. (5.00 / 9) (#8)
    by Teresa on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:27:26 PM EST
    It's about success. I like many of his picks but I don't give a hoot right now who came from "the past". Oh no, the past! When my friends and I had jobs and health care. Save me from my past!

    To me, it is pretty astounding (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:02:06 PM EST
    she is attending the conference in Egypt re getting humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    Night and Day (none / 0) (#37)
    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:43:31 PM EST
    The difference between Bush's foreign policy with Condi Rice and how things are (and will be) with Obama and Clinton is like night and day.  I can hardly think of a sharper contrast.

    Hillary Clinton (none / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:30:33 PM EST
    seems really happy now.  As if she is glad she has left behind tough domestic politics and can now focus on big pciture issues that allow her to use her talents while being above the fray.

    Obama, on the other hand, always seemed to want to rely on a silky smooth outside jump shot, but is now mired in the grubbing and scratching for rebounds....He has had to jump in the ditch to wrassle with the Republicans....He will have to beat the Republicans....they will not be reasonable until they realize they have been beaten....it can and should be done.

    Interesting switching of roles....

    Secretary of State (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by JThomas on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:36:38 PM EST
    is a better job than President right now. She should be happy. She has the total support of a President that mirrors her vision of the world.
    She has a lot of challenges but she comes in with a clean slate to a world that is eager to embrace her as opposed to the domestic opposition that the President confronts.

    She is a great choice for SoS..nice job,Mr.President.


    I think that speaks to the occupant of (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 06:53:20 PM EST
    Secretary of State (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by JThomas on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:36:38 PM EST

    is a better job than President right now.

    the SOS position. Ever seen any person ever who was more capable of making lemonade out of the lemons thrown at her?


    One of her many gifts... (5.00 / 12) (#14)
    by sj on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:39:55 PM EST
    ...is to grow where she is planted.

    Hillary Clinton ... seems really happy now.

    Bingo (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:15:15 PM EST
    You said it exactly, precisely right.  She grows where she's planted.  We should all have such a combination of flexibility and determination.

    Bravo (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:52:42 PM EST
    I had never thought about it quite that way.  But you said it so well.

    When she sets her mind to it, she is the best you can get.  I think Pres. Obama will be glad, many times over, that he chose her.  He can basically hand off to her and she can run with it, freeing him to focus on the most critical tasks at hand.  He can choose how much he wants to get involved in various things because he's got a peer in the State Dept.

    As I've said before, she's a much better woman than I am.  She shows no signs of resentment after all that was done to her.  When this whole 2008 thing started, I was hoping that Hillary wouldn't run because I knew we'd go through a whole new cycle of obsessive Clinton bashing, and because I thought we needed someone more to the left than what I perceived Hillary to be.  But by the time the primary was halfway through, I had gained great respect and admiration for her, and it has only continued to grow since then.


    I think (none / 0) (#51)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:45:51 AM EST
    one of the most interesting things about Hillary Clinton is that she won 18 million votes, sure, but she still has the loyalty of many of those people.  How many people here speak highly of her (just read this thread!)?  And how many people can criticize HER (not her husband) for what she has done?  Her policies may not always be progressive, but her persona is very capable of being so.  She deserves her criticism, but in this role, it's clear what she says is what Obama says.  Her visibility as a successful woman, very good at navigating the halls of power in perhaps the world's most powerful country, makes her an excellent selection as SoS.

    I think she will lend this role the charisma that goes along with "change we can believe in."  Due to her career, there is a greater likelihood of 3 billion women paying attention to her than some white dude.  That's a lot of people.  


    Excellent observation (none / 0) (#47)
    by ding7777 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:45:16 PM EST
    (don't mind to say it again)

    One of [Hillary's] many gifts...is to grow where she is planted


    She has a sign in her (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Amiss on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:15:47 AM EST
    entranceway, I remember from one of her interviews after the primaries where she said she really believed in "bloom where you are planted". She had said she didnt know where she would land but she fully expected and planned to bloom, that she had always tried to ascribe to do that in her life.

    I think (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:36:38 PM EST
    That's a very astute observation.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#41)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 06:27:58 PM EST
    The "Awesome" show, (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 02:04:39 PM EST
    according to AP, is similar to MTV.  But some of the questions were substantive and the questioners let her answer them w/o interruption.  Refreshing.