It is almost certain that Hillary Clinton will be Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. I think it comes to many, including myself, as a surprise.
Furthermore, I wonder how prudent the choice is. I think Hillary Clinton is a highly valuable member of the Senate. She is highly skilled in law, and I personally feel like she would have done better as Attorney General, assuming she would have taken the role.
Please recall that Hillary’s vote for the Iraq War was a big issue in the primaries. Another point of contention was the efficacy of negotiating with Iran sans preconditions. That Obama would appoint her to handle significant elements of foreign policy makes little rational sense now.
Of course, Secretary of State is a powerful position that is sure to asuage disgruntled Hillary supporters. It seems pretty obvious that the Obama team felt it politically necessary to at least offer her a high seat in the cabinet.
I certainly can’t blame Obama for not wanting such an assertive figure in the #2 spot. Rather than letting her compete with him directly over policy – better to let her fight with the Secretary of Defense over who controls foreign policy.
One thing is certain: with Hillary at the realm, look for the State Department to eclipse the DOD in authority, especially since we can be nearly certain that Obama’s foreign policy will be more temperate than Bush’s.