Thursday, December 04, 2008

What's wrong with Hillary Clinton?

Mostly I'm watching the Obama cabinet choices with resignation, knowing I'm not going to like them a lot. He's not a lefty -- he's a cautious centrist. He'll put similar people in office, at least at first. Since he's a pragmatist, we may get better ones if these don't work out.

In particular, I'm not much worried by Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Her foreign policy instincts seem far more bellicose than Obama's (and my foreign policy instincts are always to restrain our rulers), but she grew during her Presidential bid and he'll call the shots. That's what Presidents (functional ones) do. She's smart and able to absorb difficult, unfamiliar realities. That's to the good.

What worries me about Clinton at State is that we have no reason to believe that she can manage a large institution. If she could, she'd probably be President right now. The chief thing we learned from her campaign was that she could not manage a complex enterprise, despite enjoying vast early advantages. So I'm interested in who gets put in at State to do the day to day running of the department. Her success will depend on getting the right managerial talent under her.


Kay Dennison said...

You have put your finger on exactly why I have misgivings about her, Hopefully she will choose someone who can handle the scur work well.

Jane R said...

I'll ask my Foreign Service friends what they think. They're not at Foggy Bottom, they're in the field being career foreign service people (and doing it well, I might add, with great zest and with fluency in multiple languages) but they may have some thoughts.

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