Clinton in McCain's House


John McCain was asked recently in an interview whether he would offer Hillary Clinton a cabinet position in his administration. He replied with something diplomatic about how she wants to remain in the Senate where she will be an influential legislator together with whom the president will need to work. Still, I can see a place for a Clinton in a McCain administration - but not Hillary.

Last year, Bill Clinton was often floated as a possible Ambassador to the United Nations in a potential Hillary (or other Democratic) presidency. That position is probably the best one for him, and he is probably the best man for the job - Democratic or Republican. Like any ambassador, he would not be responsible for creating policy, so his presence would not give undue influence to the voters of 1992. He would, however, be responsible for diplomatic strategizing, confronting those enemies so recalcitrant they lack a Washington embassy, and being the face of the U.S.A. in Manhattan's global village.

These jobs would emphasize Bill Clinton's strengths, furthering his bipartisan disaster relief work, and letting him serve his country just a few miles from his Harlem office. It would rehabilitate his image as a statesman, tarnished in the Democratic primary (and leave him free to re-tarnish it in another bruising Hillary run in 2012).

The appointment of Clinton would let McCain emphasize his differences with the Bush administration on foreign policy - which are small, but significant. McCain agreed with Bush (and Hillary) on the need for a war in Iraq in 2003, a disastrous misjudgment in my view. He agreed with Bush (but not Hillary) on the need to win the war decisively, despite the setbacks of 2006, a vital long-term decision in my view. But McCain could show a different style in his prosecution of these policies: showing more respect for allies and working within rather than around international institutions.

Just as the Bush foreign policy style can be best characterized with the appointment of UN Ambassador John Bolton, McCain's could set the tone for a new era - and apologize to the world for defeating their darling, Barack Obama - by appointing Bill Clinton to this high-profile position.

Posted by Chops at September 15, 2008 1:45 PM
Comments
Comment #263032

Footnote on Bolton: No matter how qualified he might have been for the office of Ambassador, his unpopularity with his peers and his distrust from half the body politic essentially disqualified him as a diplomat.

That is partly the fault of those in the Senate who vilified him despite a pretty unremarkable resume, and partly the administration’s fault for putting up someone so temperamentally and ideologically unsuited to the job.

Posted by: Chops at September 15, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #263033

Republicans still have trouble understanding that Bush first presented the vote for authorization to use force as something he needed diplomatically, rather than something he intended to do without regardless of whether or not evidence warranted it.

Anyway, Bill as Diplomat? Sure. I would be even happier if McCain asked him how to handle the economy as well. While we’re at it - Hillary seems best suited to fixing healthcare. Perhaps McCain could get Obama to take over the Iraq debacle as well?

Posted by: Max at September 15, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #263036

Max -

Congress gets to write its own legislation, and the way they wrote it gave Bush carte blanche to go beyond diplomacy. My (Democratic) senators failed me, and I’m really not happy about that: a good opposition should be checking the administration when it errs, not adding the administration’s errors to its own errors (which are many).

Posted by: Chops at September 15, 2008 3:22 PM
Comment #263037

Chops, that’s a nice idea in theory because it would make a statement about bipartisanship that might be good for all parties and all Americans.

After this election, no matter who wins, lord knows there’s going to be a lot of lingering division and anger in the electorate.

The problem is that Ambassador to the United States is a job for somebody who answers to the authority of the President and has to advance the President’s policies whether they personally agree in every single instance or not.

Bill Clinton is a very head-strong person, not somebody who has had to answer to a boss for a very long time, and it’s unthinkable that he would follow directions from anybody—not even a member of his own party, much less a Republican.

He couldn’t even control his tongue when doing so was in the best interests of his wife’s candidacy for President.

The idea that’s been floated of him being a “roving ambassador” for certain specific diplomatic situations is really the best role he could play. I couldn’t see either McCain OR Obama actually risking the headaches that would come with Bill Clinton as a member of their administrations. Clinton would constantly try to upstage either of them—he wouldn’t even be able to help it. That’s just who he is (and I think that even his fans would agree).

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at September 15, 2008 3:54 PM
Comment #263038

Fair point, L.O. And it’s perfectly possible that Bill knows himself well enough to turn down a job he couldn’t do.

Posted by: Chops at September 15, 2008 4:01 PM
Comment #263040

Sure is easy for a Republican supporter to speculate on Dems in a McCain administration now that McCain has become a Democrat. Regulation, REGULATION, R E G U L A T I O N, McCain is now crying on the campaign trail. Oversight is another conversion.

Just one question, why hire a Republican acting like a Democrat when you can have a real Democrat for the same price?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2008 4:14 PM
Comment #263041

Chops, there’s another scenario that I think is not only possible but probable.

And that’s that McCain would tap Joe Lieberman for the role.

Think about it. McCain and Lieberman are extremely close, and it’s a role for Lieberman which avoids the problems he’d have with Republicans—his liberal domestic policies.

Independents would like it because it would be a bi-partisan gesture (although he’s no longer a Democrat, Lieberman still caucuses withe the Dems and nobody’s forgotten that he was Gore’s running mate).

And Democrats would like it too because it would get Lieberman out of the Senate and allow a more straight-line loyal Democrat to occupy that seat. It would pretty much be a win for everybody.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at September 15, 2008 4:17 PM
Comment #263042

L.O. - I think Lieberman’s got the inside track on State if he wants it. He could pretty much choose his title in a McCain administration!

Actually, appointing UN Ambassador Lieberman would play as bad or worse than Bolton overseas. It would look like a compromise to Americans, but Lieberman’s been a war hawk and (this is anathema at the UN) a one-sided supporter of Israel his entire career. Clinton has goodwill in the Arab world that almost no other U.S. can match.

Posted by: Chops at September 15, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #263045

William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, is pretty frail these days, and unlikely to do anything beyond the Clinton Global Initiative

The UN has been pretty useless for many years since Rwanda, mostly providing an opportunity for windbags to vent. I don’t think WJC would want to get involved with it, instead of running his own show.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 15, 2008 5:33 PM
Comment #263053

DRR
Maybe because the Republican acts more like a Democrat than the liberal you have masking himself as a Democrat.

Posted by: KAP at September 15, 2008 6:50 PM
Comment #263054

Chops,
With McCain unable to get real Conservatives to support him, I can see the need for him to reach outside his party for help. However, I do not see the Clintons or other Democratic Leadership offering to help him.

No, the McCain/Palin ticket may be good at blowing smoke up their loyal followers, but when McCain goes on national tv and states that the American Worker is ok with being screwed. Does not one have to question the Mans’ Sense of Reality?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 15, 2008 7:38 PM
Comment #263058

LO
Lieborman? What I want to know is just why Isreal gets a senator and Porta Rico does not? He would be a disaster at the UN.

Fortunately this whole piece is a mute point.After Mac’s plan to massively raise taxes on working people with employer paid health insurance and place the SS trust fund in the hands of Enron and Lehman Brothers there is not much chance of him being elected.I can’t wait for the debates.

Posted by: Bills at September 15, 2008 8:46 PM
Comment #263079

KAP, how does one mask oneself as a Democrat when winning the Democratic nomination for President? Does the word logic have any place in your comments? One registers as a Democrat, one holds elected office as a Democrat. One votes with Democrats 97% of the time (as Republicans are fond of saying of Barack). How could Obama possibly be masquerading as a Democrat?

I commend your mastery of nonsense in the written word.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 16, 2008 1:26 AM
Comment #263097

McCain should put Democrats in his cabinet. That way he can prove how ‘bipartisan’ he is. Or he could prove just how much like the Democrats the Republicans really are.


David said: Just one question, why hire a Republican acting like a Democrat when you can have a real Democrat for the same price?

Now that’s a very good question. Reckon maybe it’s because Republicans could never bring themselves to vote for a Democrat.
Personally I think they need to merge the two parties.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 16, 2008 12:51 PM
Comment #263113

I am an older adult specialist and if you look at the Center for Disease Control mortality statistics you will see that a white person in their mid-70’s has double the chance of dieing than a white person in their 50’s.

Also, there is something called, “Age Related Cognitive Decline” that occurs naturally as a person gets into their upper 70’s (sometimes earlier)and early 80’s. (Feel free to Google both for additional information.)

So the REAL question for me is, do I think Sarah Palin is qualified to run this country and the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. I live in Minnesota and know how far off the beaten path and disconnected from the world at large those of us in the far north really are.

As far as I am concerned, every person that voted for Bush should be held responsible for the sorry condition of this country and if Americans are so gullible as to elect another Republican to office we deserve what we get.

Posted by: A Concerned Citizen at September 16, 2008 3:31 PM
Comment #263115

And you think that Obama *IS* qualified?

Posted by: NObamaBot at September 16, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #263122

DRR
Anyone can mask themselves as anything they want to. Con men do it all the time. I can say I’m a Democrat and get elected to some office and agree on everything the other party represents. So the statement I made isn’t as dumb as you think. People on this blog are saying your a democrat and you say your not, so who is right?

Posted by: KAP at September 16, 2008 5:03 PM
Comment #263175

Chops,

Interesting idea. I suspect that the economic disasters cascading upon us will finally give Obama the boost he needs though, so that he will be the one making those appointments.

On a side note, I envy your ability to point to a blog post proving your opposition to invading Iraq before we went in there. All I have is a photograph which I know was taken in February of 2003, but you have to take my word for it, and it doesn’t record any of the nuance of my thinking at the time.

I wish the administration had heeded your counsel rather than that of the neocons back in 2003.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at September 17, 2008 12:27 PM
Comment #263176

Chops,

Interesting idea. I suspect that the economic disasters cascading upon us will finally give Obama the boost he needs though, so that he will be the one making those appointments.

On a side note, I envy your ability to point to a blog post proving your opposition to invading Iraq before we went in there. All I have is a photograph which I know was taken in February of 2003, but you have to take my word for it, and it doesn’t record any of the nuance of my thinking at the time.

I wish the administration had heeded your counsel rather than that of the neocons back in 2003.

(Sorry about the dup - if you get a chance, delete the one with the incorrectly formatted link along with this parenthetical apology.)

Posted by: Walker Willingham at September 17, 2008 12:29 PM
Comment #263453

KAP, I voted for Nader the last two elections. That does NOT make me a democrat. It makes me an Independent. Was a time I supported and wrote in support of John McCain right here at WatchBlog. That does not make me a Democrat, it makes me an independent voter. I have written here at WatchBlog in support of Sen. Hagel, John Warner, and McEnulty. That does not make me a democrat.

But, I understand your comment’s partisan need to cast EVERYONE who does not tow your Trunk, a Democrat, because your two dimensional comment approach can’t incorporate anything more complex than an ‘Us vs. Them’ construction.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2008 3:05 AM
Comment #263530

David Milch: “he has to put things in categories, he’s so trapped in the past that he can’t relate to the present without some kind of grid.” It’s actually more of an Us vs Us situation. There is no “them”, only “us”.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 19, 2008 4:18 PM
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