Madame Secretary

So Obama has officially named Clinton as Secretary of State this morning in Chicago.

I've said previously that, all things considered, all the pros and the cons, I'm happy about this selection, and I don't have much else to say about it this morning that I haven't said previously, though I'll promote from comments my note re: why Clinton may have gone for the position:
It's easy to forget (because she doesn't look it) that she's 61. She might want to retire in the not-too-distant future. It takes a long time to work your way to the top of the Senate, even if you're Hillary Clinton. It takes one nod to agree to be Secretary of State -- a position which has a general life expectancy of 2-4 years.

And something I've not seen anyone else say anywhere: How many gazillions of times have we heard that Clinton only got to be senator because her husband was president? After the primary, I don't think anyone can reasonably argue (though I've no doubt some will try) that she doesn't have the foreign policy chops for State. And if she gets (and takes) the position, it's in spite of her husband (and his current business dealings), not because of him.

She may well feel like it's something she's done totally on her own steam.

As well she should.

That's not a small thing.
I'll also just quickly note something this selection suggests to me about Obama, aside from the "challenging his thinking" stuff that's already well-tread ground and aside from the "media-created bitter rivalry" stuff that isn't (at least outside of Shakesville) but should be: Choosing Clinton suggests that Obama looked at the international landscape and saw human rights as a key issue. And rightly so, given the emergence of China as a superpower and the continuing problems in the Middle East, many of which are, truly, human rights issues at their root. If one were looking for a Secretary of State who was already well-prepared to give due consideration to human rights as a central issue, one couldn't do better than Senator Hillary Clinton.

(In fact, the only other two names who really come to mind are veep-elect Joe Biden and Senator Dick Durbin, who, if plucked from the senate would leave Illinois with a two-senator deficit. Which is not to say Clinton was third in line; I believe she's the best of the three for the role, anyway.)

So I'm hoping that this means President-Elect Obama is going to put some much-needed emphasis on global human rights, and I daresay (with hope and trepidation) selecting Clinton suggests that he will.

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