So it’s really going to happen: Hillary is going to Foggy Bottom. We’ve been hearing about it for weeks, of course. The idea has been beaten up, beaten down and beaten all around by the media, with the same questions asked and re-asked ad nauseum.
What’s in it for Obama?
What’s in it for Clinton?
What’s in it for America?
How can Obama pick a Secretary of State who has disagreed with him on so many fundamental issues, including Iraq? How can Clinton, for that matter, agree to serve under a man she dismissed as unqualified such a short a time ago? What about Bill — how will he fit in? And what about the Clinton’s penchant for drama compared to No Drama Obama? And on and on.
But, to be honest, what strikes me as most remarkable about this is the degree of mutual trust it displays. An act of trust, actually quite an extraordinary one, entered into by two people who, not so long ago, showed every sign of not really liking each other all that much.
There have to be a thousand ways each of these two people could now screw the other. Obama could easily minimize Clinton’s role: it’s been done before, after all — a lot. Just cut State out of the loop and handle the important foreign policy stuff inside the White House. Get yourself a Henry Kissinger type as National Security Adviser: leave Hillary to stew in splendid irrelevance.
Clinton, on the other hand, could easily go rogue, ignoring Obama’s policy decisions and branching out on her own. Politically it would be almost impossible for him to fire her. She could get away with murder, undermining him at every turn.
Each in his or her own way, these two Democratic Party giants are taking a hell of a chance here. Yet both decided to risk it.
Time will tell if it was smart. But that it was gutsy is already a given.
And who knows? Maybe, as the man in the movie said, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The only difference is that here the man and the woman are getting onto the plane together. It should be a hell of flight.