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How To Make Hillary As Sos Work

Okay, so Frank has convinced me there's a very good case for installing Hillary at State: Obama is going to be preoccupied with domestic policy during the first year or two of his administration. He's got to pass a stimulus bill out of the gate, then it's on to health care and energy. The risk is that the rest of the world, which invested so much Hope in Obama's candidacy after those eight dark years of Bush, starts to feel neglected. Hillary is basically the solution to that problem, since only she has the star power to serve as an acceptable surrogate for Obama himself.

Still, I think the two biggest criticisms of the idea--that Hillary is basically unfireable, and that there are all sorts of messy complications relating to Bill--overshadow the benefits. That is, unless you agree in advance that Hillary will only stay at State for a fixed period of time. Suppose she privately agrees to serve for exactly one year. That would take care of your unfireable problem, and surely Bill could suspend his foreign dealings for that long. Then she leaves and runs for governor of New York and everybody's happy. ...

The biggest problem with this idea is if there's nothing for her to do after a year or two--what if she doesn't want to challenge Paterson in New York? It doesn't seem like a great deal for Hillary to give up all her influence in the Senate for a brief stint at State before heading into retirement. Two thoughts: 1.) Maybe that's part of the hold up--the reason we've been reading about Hillary's ambivalence the last day or so. 2.) Two words, which rhyme with "Bupreme Bourt."

--Noam Scheiber