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Sid And Hillary, And More Clinton-watching

Somewhat buried in a broader Laura Rozen piece about Hillary Clinton's upcoming agenda is this choice nugget:

Late last month, for instance, White House aides quietly nixed plans to bring on journalist and longtime Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal as a State Department consultant and speechwriter, an aide confirmed, after the planned appointment was reported. 

This news is less surprising than the initial leak about Blumenthal, who was a bogeyman for Obama campaign aides convinced that he was driving some of the harshest primary-season attacks against their candidate. That said, Hillary managed to bring to State at least one other aide whom I know is quite disliked at some high levels in Obamaland, so the notion that Blumenthal might come along for the ride as well seemed plausible enough.

Meanwhile, Rozen has some detail on Hillary's scheduled speech about nonproliferation at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington next week. Then she's off for a high-profile visit to India, and later in July she and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hold an important summit with Chinese officials.

Those last two events track with Clinton's vision of the Secretary of State job as laid out in my last TNR cover piece. For now, she has delegated regional crises like AfPak and the Middle East, and is concentrating on less sexy, long-term strategic relationships with emerging powers like India and China. If you talk to ten people in Washington, five will tell you that this shows how Hillary has been sidelined by the Obama team, while five more will say this reflects her own shrewd positioning and a desire to keep her head down for a while before swooping into a bigger role when things start happening like actual Middle East peace talks. I lean towards the latter interpretation. We'll see. 

--Michael Crowley