I was on NPR’s San Francisco affiliate on Friday discussing Obama’s cabinet picks.
My top point: The Clinton and Daschle picks have to be seen in concert. Sending Hillary to Foggy Bottom clears out a competing center of power from the Senate. It also sets up Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority Leader, to become the most powerful Health and Human Services secretary ever.
Daschle, who still retains a powerbase of his own in the Senate, will now be free to steward the drive toward universal healthcare — without all of the psychodrama of the Hillarycare fiasco.
The Clinton State Department appointment is not without its fallbacks. As we’ve seen in the hemming and hawing over her accepting the post, there is little that Hillary touches that doesn’t become imbued with high theatrics. Her knack for turning a simple yes-or-no question into a week-long drama is in itself a cautionary tale.
But I think State is the best place to take advantage of the Clintons, plural. Hillary is clearly not intimidated by anyone. And she’ll likely bring Bill in tow wherever she goes. She’ll be able to tap into his experience. And he’ll be serving in the role to which he’s currently best suited: Acting as America’s roving goodwill ambassador.
Both picks reflect canny poiltics on Obama’s part, but politics that work in the service of aggressive policy ends — on both the domestic and international front.
More thoughts on Holder, Napolitano, and the Axelrod echo chamber here: