Pickled Herring?


Chris Weigant at HuffingtonPost sees a game afoot with the Hillary Clinton nomination to Secretary of State. I do too, but not the same game. Chris senses that the nomination itself is a red herring devised by Hillary to give her more stature in the senate, and that she will eventually decline.

If I am right, Hillary Clinton will be the one to hold a press conference — and not Obama — in the near future. She will say how honored she is to have been considered for the post, but that after reflection she has decided to continue serving the citizens of the great state of New York from her position in the Senate, where she thinks she will be more effective promoting Barack Obama’s agenda and helping the new president get important legislation passed, and so is therefore asking Obama to remove her name for consideration.

This move will bolster her stature and reputation among her many fans and supporters. It will show that she is the one turning the offer down, leaving her supporters feeling good about (1) the fact that she was “offered” the job, (2) the fact that Hillary’s power just seems to continue to grow, and (3) Barack Obama, for being gracious enough to allow her to make the choice about her own political future. It will almost completely remove any leftover sour grapes about the nomination race (and about the fact that Hillary was not offered the vice presidency before the convention as well).

I have a slightly different interpretation.  I think Obama offered her something of stature but that he knew she wouldn’t want in order to keep her out of his cabinet but show the proper deference to her.  His ally, Ted Kennedy, simultaneously offered her something in the senate that she would want — to head a working group focused on health insurance.  What a coinkidink.  This situation will eventually work itself out favorably for everyone.  I agree with Chris that she will decline the Secretary of State nomination and will stay in the senate to work on health care.  Meanwhile, Obama has made a good faith effort to mend the fences but gets to continue building his cabinet with the people he wants and without the conflicts that come with the Clintons.  Smooth move.



  1. sozobe  •  Nov 20, 2008 @12:10 pm

    Ha! I was just working on a blog post entitled: “Secretary of State: Making Hillary an Offer She Can Refuse?”

    I’ll scrap that and go with a silly one… ;-)

    This was an article I was gonna cite, about her hesitation:


  2. sozobe  •  Nov 20, 2008 @12:15 pm

    One thing that was giving me pause though as I was writing was that I don’t think Obama would make the offer unless he really thinks she would be good as Secretary of State. There was a really good series of Newsweek articles that came out post-election that showed that while he never really wanted her as VP, he kept circling back to the question, just to be absolutely certain. I think that he honestly thinks she would be good for the job, but yes, I think there is an element of hoping she’ll say no but getting points/ political capital out of the exchange.

  3. FreeDuck  •  Nov 20, 2008 @12:18 pm

    I like your title better. I’ll check that article out.

  4. Chris Weigant  •  Feb 14, 2011 @10:58 pm

    Looks like we were both wrong, eh?