Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

It's time for a look at the Cabinet in the upcoming Obama administration. First up - Secretary of State, the point person - in repairing our alliances, in building on the goodwill that is already flowing in from around the world.

And it's time to choose your favorite for Secretary of State.

There are a number of excellent options - some who served in the Clinton Administration - some outsiders - and even a couple of Obamicans. For convenience, I've taken the list from a betting site (yes, it is in the order of the oddsmakers' favorite):

Richard Holbrooke
Anthony Lake
Richard Lugar
Bill Richardson
Chuck Hagel
John Kerry
Daniel Shapiro
Daniel Kurtzer
George Mitchell
Eric Lynn
Dennis Ross
Susan Rice
James Steinberg
Mara Rudman
Bill Clinton
Colin Powell
Hillary Clinton

I evaluate each option as best I can on the flip. (I had to research the credentials of a few.) I trust others will add more data. (Cross posted at OpenLeft.)

The options -

Richard Holbrooke: Career Foreign Service - starting in Vietnam. Boy wonder Assistant SecState in the Carter administration. Balkan envoy, architect of the Dayton peace accords. UN ambassador

Anthony Lake: Started in the Foreign Service. Served as National Security Advisor (NSA). Nominated for - but did not serve as CIA Director due to Republican opposition.

Richard Lugar: Conservative Republican Indiana Senator. Openly declared his support for President-elect Obama's foreign policy. His tacit support may have made the difference in Indiana. Cited by Obama in a debate. His appointment would give the Rs another seat to defend in 2010.

Bill Richardson: Current NM Gov. All star Clinton admin cabinet member (Energy, UN Ambassador). As suggested in one of the cable shows last night, has a talent for getting others to like him.

Chuck Hagel: Retiring Conservative Republican anti-War Nebraska Senator. Opposed the Iraq war for years now.

John Kerry: 2004 Democratic candidate for President.

Daniel Shapiro: Congressional foreign policy expert. Just turned 40. Obama advisor on the Middle East. Congressional liaison for NSA Berger.

Daniel Kurtzer: Career Foreign Service Officer. Ambassador to Egypt under Clinton; Ambassador to Israel under Bush. Co-author of Obama MidEast policy.

George Mitchell: Former Senate Majority Leader. Special envoy who did the scut work for the Northern Ireland peace accords ("The Good Friday agreement"). I suspect he'd love to follow his mentor's footsteps (Ed Muskie) as SecState.

Eric Lynn: Jewish Affairs staffer for Obama. I know and can find little else on this candidate.

Dennis Ross: Career Foreign Service Officer. Long time Middle East expert - Clinton's envoy to the area, criticized by both sides (which may not be a bad thing for a diplomat).

Susan Rice: Served in various NSA staff positions. Assistant SecState for African affairs. Dukakis Foreign policy advisor. If you've seen a discussion of the prospective Obama foreign policy, you've probably seen Susan Rice. No relation to Condi.

James Steinberg: Deputy NSA to Clinton. RAND analyst.  Co-author of Obama MidEast policy.

Mara Rudman: NSA staffer in Clinton administration.

Bill Clinton: He'd love the job.

Colin Powell: I don't think he wants the job.

Hillary Clinton: While I honor what Hillary has done, I have to think - are the bookmakers kidding?

Tags: clinton, Hagel, Hillary, Holbrooke, Kerry Shapiro, Kurtzer, lake, Lugar, Lynn, mitchell, Powell, Rice, Richardson, Ross, Rudman, secretary of state, Steinberg (all tags)



Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

The candidates who drop from the list quickly:

Holbrooke-questions of temperament would make him too hot

Lake-Read anything about Bosnia and you know Lake is burned out.  He would decline instantly.

Rice-Campaign flaps are going to make her too radioactive

Bill Clinton-too many constitutional issues (I don't like giving up a spot on the succession chart), not an effective spokesperson (is it Clinton speaking as a former President or as current Sec of State?).  Any Pres is a rough pick, it is not just a Pres. Clinton thing.

If one doesn't mind the Acheson model of a Sec of State, Hagel, Lugar or Hamilton would sail through (and be guaranteed an upperdown vote).

If the administration is in the mood for a mild dust up with Faux News and Senate Republicans, Richardson would be good (the Dept. of Energy stuff would come up time and time again-even if there is nothing to it).

A well known (to the Hill) bench player could work, but any 18 round (as in confirmation would require 18 rounds with the Senate) pick should be avoided especially if Senator Obama is going to heavily supervise State.

by AZphilosopher 2008-11-05 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

I like the diary and rec'd though.

by AZphilosopher 2008-11-05 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

Bill Richardson for Sec. of State. 4 time nominated Nobel Peace Prize, former UN Ambassador, Former Governor, Former Cabinet Member -

And above all. He's COOL. =)

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

I think Hillary would be a natural-no way Bill

Still sense that there might have been an implicit deal struck between Barack and HRC behind the scenes.

by ionsys 2008-11-05 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

Richardson. Ready on day 1.

by QTG 2008-11-05 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

Correct. A++

Bill Richardson is also, lets remember, the guy who got North Korea to shut down after the five party talks failed. He took time off from a presidential bid to fly over there.

Bill is a world-class diplomat.

by Trey Rentz 2008-11-05 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

Richardson has so much experience that he could transform State, rapidly recruiting and mobilizing the very best talent and bringing morale from the doldrums to the stratosphere. The results would ripple through the entire International Community - the guy is smart (really smart), experienced, respected, and a big big fan of President (President President President President - sorry it feels so good to say it) OBAMA.

I won't be satisfied if Obama doesn't pick Richardson!!!

(Si, esta es snark..)

by QTG 2008-11-05 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Cabinet Diary 1 - Secretary of State

No republican in such a high-profile post.

And, how could he seriously consider Colin Powell?  The sales and marketing director of the Iraq war?

I wish he'd consider JOE WILSON !!

by wblynch 2008-11-05 01:33PM | 0 recs


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