Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 21, 2008

STOCKING A CABINET.... A flurry of cabinet news late this Friday afternoon. The New York Times' Peter Baker, for example, reports that the process has ended and Hillary Clinton has agreed to become the next Secretary of State.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat and accept the position of secretary of state, making her the public face around the world for the administration of the man who beat her for the Democratic presidential nomination, two confidants said Friday.

Mrs. Clinton came to her decision after additional discussion with President-elect Barack Obama about the nature of her role and his plans for foreign policy, said one of the confidants, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the situation. [...]

"She's ready," said the confidant. Mrs. Clinton was reassured after talking again with Mr. Obama because their first meeting in Chicago last week "was so general," the confidant said. The purpose of the follow-up talk, he added, was not to extract particular concessions but "just getting comfortable" with the idea of working together.

A second Clinton associate confirmed that her camp believes they have a done deal.

Also, MSNBC is reporting that Tim Geithner, New York Federal Reserve Bank president, will be the next Treasury secretary.

NBC News has learned that the president-elect is preparing to roll out his economic team on Monday -- and will personally announce the team and answer questions -- part of an effort to reassure markets.

Barring last minute changes, the nominee for Treasury Secretary will be NY Fed President Tim Geithner -- a career Treasury official under both Bob Rubin and Larry Summers -- who actually had worked at the Treasury in three administrations under five Secretaries -- going back to 1988.



And in still more cabinet news, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports that Bill Richardson may be headed for Commerce.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has emerged as a "serious contender" to head the Commerce Department under President-elect Barack Obama, according to a Democratic official close to the proceedings.

The Albuquerque Journal had a similar report.

Steve Benen 3:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

Richardson is owed something, and Commerce is a nice position. I'm a little surprised that Summers won't get Treasury. Hate to lose Clinton as senator.

Posted by: g. powell on November 21, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I do not understand this choice. The Clintons are political poison to a good portion of the country. And which national leader, particularly in the Islamic world, will be able to separate Hillary from the disgrace her husband brought, more than once, to their marriage?

Posted by: Jeff II on November 21, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and the Muslim world doesn't bring disgrace to their own women? As in killing them for having affairs, as in holding them back from an education, as in...oh..this is insane..

Phuleese...what a joke!

Posted by: Muslims don't disgrace their women? on November 21, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II seems to forget that Clinton's hubby Bill was one of the more popular presidents ever. But I guess he never heard that on FNC. I'm sure he's not heard that Bush's popularity has declined about since 9/11, either...

Posted by: idlemind on November 21, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

**It's all looking very good--I'm just worried about the sixty day wait here, with Bush clearly MIA--and when he is present, he's incurring even more damage it seems.

**As Krugman points out in his editorial today, things will likely get a heck of a lot worse real soon.

Posted by: Sixty days never seemed so long on November 21, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

i'm really impressed with his choices so far, although i hate to see hillary leave the senate.

on a side note, i wish people would get over their clinton derangement syndrome. it is soooo old news.

Posted by: just bill on November 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'd prefer Paul Krugman or Robert Reich at Treasury.

"And which national leader, particularly in the Islamic world, will be able to separate Hillary from the disgrace her husband brought, more than once, to their marriage?" Huh?? You think those Islamic world leaders are not known to 'sin'? Yeesh.

Posted by: bubba on November 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama, a smart centrist (see below)? So what happened to the guy who palled around with terrorists and now is being picked on by AlterNet etc, for adding too many old Clintonistas and "neocons" to his Admin?

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aYTVvFjByOfc&refer=us

U.S. Stocks Rally on Expectations Geithner to Head Treasury

By Eric Martin

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded from an 11-year low on expectations President-elect Barack Obama will nominate New York Federal Reserve Bank chief Timothy Geithner to head the Treasury.

“This news could really give the stock market a badly needed shot in the arm,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, wrote in an e-mail to clients. Geithner is a “fantastic choice to help lead the financial markets out of the wilderness.”

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on November 21, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sixty Days is correct. I don't understand why the Congress isn't passing some stimulus legislation right now. At the very least it will force Bush and the GOP to oppose it, exposing them as the idiots that they are. In some cases, like the unemployment benefit extension, Bush may give in and sign it. Modest measures are better than nothing. And anything that is rejected can serve as a blueprint for January.

Posted by: g. powell on November 21, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Sixty days never seemed so long. We need a President now. The way the economy is tanking, this is going to be an ugly holiday season.

I still wonder if the Clinton entourage can keep their mouths shut. Frankly all the leaks make me wonder if the State Department will sink into the swamp.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 21, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Geithner's been the pick for at least two weeks, iirc. The vetting, I'm sure, was especially intense.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on November 21, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I really had hopes for Hillary Clinton as Senate Majority leader. She makes a fine Secretary of state but it sure would have been nice to see her strength at the head of the Senate considering the alternative.. When Blinky and Harry may be as pliable as they are now, maybe that's the game plan. I'm very happy about Waxman's new gig!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on November 21, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

If only Clinton runs State as well as she ran her campaign...

Cabinet official most likely to completely screw up.

Posted by: lampwick on November 21, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II seems to forget that Clinton's hubby Bill was one of the more popular presidents ever. But I guess he never heard that on FNC. I'm sure he's not heard that Bush's popularity has declined about since 9/11, either... Posted by: idlemind

Idlemind (perfect screen name BTW), Bill Clinton is a dick and was actually a pretty ineffectual president who got very lucky with the economy. While he may be popular with centerist types, few people on the right or the left like him or take him seriously. He may be smart, but he was never smart enough to really get anything done, and actually rolled over on a number of Republican initiatives. Welfare "reform" comes to mind.

But more important, the right has always disliked Hillary since the health care reform fiasco during the first term. I don't like her because she was wrong about the war, never backed away from that position, and actually voted to give Bush the same sort of cover in Iran that he had for Iraq.

The carpetbagger should have stayed in the senate.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

And which national leader, particularly in the Islamic world, will be able to separate Hillary from the disgrace her husband brought, more than once, to their marriage?

Nominated for stupidest comment of the week.

Posted by: jeebus on November 21, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Geithner for SecTreas is just wonderful! Thank god that goddmaned pissant Summers and that bastard Rubin aren't on it. Geithner may not be well-known, but he is the best of the bunch. Three years ago, he gave a speech in which he outlined all the problems that existed, which all led to the crackup this fall, and he laid out a set of proposals to deal with them which - had he been SecTreas then - he could have averted this catastrophe we are now dealing with. This guy is perfect to deal with Wall Street. Plus he is not "bail out Wall Street and to hell with Main Street." Now, if they just bring along the Chairperson of the FDIC, with her proposals, we will have a financial team in place who are both bipartisan AND progressive.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

And which national leader, particularly in the Islamic world, will be able to separate Hillary from the disgrace her husband brought, more than once, to their marriage?

The ones who aren't in your comic books.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on November 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mother of Murgatroyd, TPMelectioncentral is now reporting that a Hillary aide is denying that she has made up her mind. God I hope no one needs a decision from her at 3AM.

Posted by: Danp on November 21, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I like the Treasury pick. As Andrew Leonard noted over on Salone Geithner saw the the current disater coming back in 2006 and was a lone voice in the wilderness trying to head it off.

Richardson will be fine at Commerence. Not great. But he'll be competent and he should be good and rolling back most of Bush's bad stuff.

My only real qualm with Clinton is that I would prefer her to stay in the Senate and take a leadership role in crafting healthcare reform. And I agree, I'd love it if she could take the gavel away from Harry (Mitch doesn't want it so we won't do it) Reid. Stupid seniority rules.

As for people complaining about former Clinton appointees getting jobs. Obama will set the policies and the goals. As others have said, it is clear he wants to hit the ground running and get stuff passed quickly. Having a team that knows the workings of Washington and knows how to work the congress will be an enormous asset in this regard.

Posted by: thorin-1 on November 21, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mother of Murgatroyd, TPMelectioncentral is now reporting that a Hillary aide is denying that she has made up her mind.

Not quite. The quote was this: "We're still in discussions, which are very much on track. Any reports beyond that are premature."

In other words, nothing's official yet. But, yes.

Posted by: jeebus on November 21, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

The job I don't want right now is David Paterson's. Whatever he does about replacing Hillary, he'll create 10 enemies and one ingrate. And it's difficult to find an eminence gris caretaker who can hold the seat, not run in 2012, let the wannabes slug it out, and get the Governor off the hook. Actually, there is one person who qualifies, Basil Paterson -- and the only governor who can't appoint him is his son, David.

Posted by: CJColucci on November 21, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

If Richardson is headed for Commerce, where does this leave us on Secretary of Energy?

Seems like having Daschle at the department most related to healthcare reform argues for a similarily gifted secretary for the Department of Energy. Unless, of course, a comprehensive energy policy overhaul takes a distant third to economic recovery and healthcare reform.

Posted by: Randy on November 21, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm impressed with Obama so far. Very organized, good choices. I think he might be a natural born manager. Clinton was awful.

We haven't had a president for eight years, unless you count Cheney when he hasn't been in hiding. We can handle another 60 days if we don't panic about this economic situation.

Energy policy ought to be the centerpiece of the economic recovery plan. Jobs galore, if we just embark on an ambitious alternative energy development program. Real jobs for the 21st century problems we face.

Posted by: hark on November 21, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

The single most important factor to keep in mind when wondering about Obama's cabinet choices is his embracing the theme of the book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin about the Lincoln presidency. In that book Ms. Goodwin (who worked in the LBJ administration) does an excellent job of showing how successfully Lincoln brought his rivals for the office into his cabinet. It makes great sense for Obama to employ that strategy at a time when the country is as polarized as it is now, just as it was leading up to the Civil War. That's also why he has said he will appoint at least one Republican to his cabinet. If he can manage the team as well as Lincoln did (and he certainly seems to have the same ability to keep his ego in check) then the strategy has a chance to work as well as it did the first time. I think his picks have been wise so far. Re: Larry Summers: there was a cry from progressive activists that Summers, under the Clinton administration, continued the deregulatory policies that got us into the financial mess we're in. I think he was also wise to listen to those concerns.

Posted by: Rafael P. on November 21, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

I will be sorry if Clinton leaves the Senate. I truly wanted her to replace Reid. She has twice the balls he does. But she will serve the country well in the State Department. And it will be amusing to read the rabid, irrational rants of the Clintonphobes. It's always humbling to realize that our side has as many nuts as the opposition.

Posted by: jen f on November 21, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK
And which national leader, particularly in the Islamic world, will be able to separate Hillary from the disgrace her husband brought, more than once, to their marriage?

Most national leaders (and even just "people") outside of the US were some combination of baffled, amused, and appalled by the obsession with the affair in the US at the time. By now, you could probably count the number of national leaders outside the US who care on the fingers of one hand, with several to spare.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 21, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

By now, you could probably count the number of national leaders outside the US who care on the fingers of one hand, with several to spare. Posted by: cmdicely

Maybe they don't care, but will they take her seriously given her background? That's what I doubt. The Clintons are ridiculous people.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 21, 2008 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think Hillary is an excellent choice for Secretary of State, but I think it would have been even better if Obama had chosen Bill Clinton. He is beloved throughout the world--most people never gave a flying fuck about the Monica Lewinsky "scandal." He also played a critical role in bringing the warring factions in Northern Ireland together to forge the Good Friday Agreement.

As head of the state department, Bill would be following a trail set by John Quincy Adams (himself one of the best secretaries of state before his presidency) and William H. Taft, both of whom held important positions after being president. Adams served in Congress, where he was a leading opponent of slavery), and Taft was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Obama would demonstrate enormous self-confidence in letting a former president be a leading member of his administration.

Posted by: Lee on November 21, 2008 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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