One aspect of the likely nomination of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State has been completely overlooked: at a stroke, it removes Barack Obama’s only serious, high-powered opposition within the party.
Consider the murmurings during late summer and early fall: that Hillary, if Obama didn’t make it, or even if he did, could engage in another run for the top job next time around. That’s not going to happen now. By offering her the senior cabinet office, Obama has effectively neutralized his main intra-party rival.
Or consider the question of money. As a Senator, Hillary could raise money to pay off her 2008 campaign debt; as a cabinet officer, she can’t.
Then, look at the fate of Secretaries of State going back to Reagan: they get replaced after a single term. Bill Clinton, for example, replaced Warren Christopher with Madeline Albright.
If Hillary takes the job, she’s going to wake up one morning in 2013 with no Senate seat, no power base, a big pile of debt, no Secretaryship, in short, nothing at all. Her big issue of healthcare reform, which she could have shaped from the Senate? Somebody else is going to take care of that.
You have to wonder if that’s the point.