I've blogged twice in the last few days about Hillary and her fraught state. No, I don't mean her injured elbow, although I'm sure it gives her both pain and political cover.
The fact is, though, that being sidelined a bit is not bad for her career. The foreign policy embarrassments of the Obama administration so far cannot possibly be attributed to her.
There's a fascinating (and to me seemingly scrupulous) article by Mark Landler putting Mrs. Clinton's ups and downs into perspective. For example, Henry Kissinger has apparently told her that he doesn't recall a time when there was less friction between the White House and the State Department. Maybe so. But there has hardly been a time when the White House has so rolled over Foggy Bottom. At least not since Dr. K. himself. Or maybe when Zbig routinely vetoed Cyrus Vance's advice. And Bill Clinton completely ignored Warren Christopher's.
Dennis McDonough, foreign affairs coordinator in the Obama campaign and now a deputy national security adviser, was dispatched to reassure her. "Secretary Clinton is a key member of a very strong team...The president values her inputs, her team's inputs." That's reassurance, isn't it?
Nothing actually is quite as clear as it seems to be. The transfer of Dennis Ross from State to the White House cannot be particularly upsetting to Mrs. Clinton. Ross is closer to Hillary's views on the Middle East than is George Mitchell who always seems to mistake Belfast with Jerusalem.
The Landler article reports, almost as an afterthought (and what a significant afterthought), that "Obama was frustrated by his trip to Saudi Arabia, when he met with King Abdullah and failed to extract any meaningful gestures towards Israel to revive the peace process." Maybe the president will realize himself that he won't get any gestures from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, either meaningful or trivial. Or maybe Hillary will have to tell him.