Armstrong Williams: Hillary Clinton's "antics and brokering of deals ... have signaled the beginnings of a rogue element"December 8, 2008 10:30 AM EST ››› TOM ALLISON
In his December 8 Washington Times column, Armstrong Williams claimed that secretary of state nominee Sen. Hillary Clinton's "antics and brokering of deals on how many times she gets to stand with Mr. Obama have signaled the beginnings of a rogue element." Williams then asked: "Does she see her powerful position as some shadow Oval Office when it comes to international diplomacy?" Williams also asserted: "I fear the incoming Obama White House will be forced to engage in hours upon hours of groveling and hand-holding down in Foggy Bottom."
Media Matters for America previously noted that several media figures similarly speculated that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, with at least one pundit speculating that she would attempt to set up a "parallel government" while another claimed that Clinton "[i]s not a team player" and claimed that "Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new 'Clinton Doctrine' of foreign policy."
From Armstrong Williams' December 8 column:
The position of secretary of state is not a consolation prize. Mrs. Clinton certainly won't treat it that way. Her antics and brokering of deals on how many times she gets to stand with Mr. Obama have signaled the beginnings of a rogue element. Does she see her powerful position as some shadow Oval Office when it comes to international diplomacy? I sure hope not. And while we're on the subject, has anyone seen Joe Biden lately? I thought he was the foreign-policy heavyweight on this ticket?
Don't misunderstand; my concerns surrounding this relationship are grounded not in the rapport between the two, but in the shared respect. One side has it, while I fear the other has yet to fully express it. And assuming that a Secretary Clinton will publicly express her support for the president's final decisions when the private exchanges are through, you still have to contend with the bickering at the staff level, and we know how vicious those can get. Similar shenanigans occurred with her own nomination and vetting, and that means it could happen again.
Worried about Bill Clinton? Don't be. After all of his escapades, he understands the importance of letting his better half shine and soak up the limelight. You can bet he'll mind his manners, and probably even enjoy himself on the taxpayer's dime again.
I've said before that Hillary Clinton will be a strong voice for restoring America to its rightful place in the world, as the talking point goes. But in order to elicit that achievement from her camp, I fear the incoming Obama White House will be forced to engage in hours upon hours of groveling and hand-holding down in Foggy Bottom. This is not the Department of Agriculture, where a federal department has sole jurisdiction of an issue (or close to it). America's national security and diplomatic functions are a complex network of multiple layers. Does anyone think for a second that a Secretary Clinton will quietly acquiesce to decisions out of OMB, or the NSA, for that matter? After all, they both play important, if not low-profile, roles in foreign policy.