Putting Hillary Clinton in her place -- and that doesn't mean the State Department

Keep hiring those Clinton administration veterans, Obama. The more of them you hire, the less likely that Hillary Clinton will be named Secretary of State.

If Barack Obama does appoint her Secretary of State, he would no longer be the agent of "change." He would just be small change.

It's Obama's dime, but maybe he's simply protecting his party base and trying to assuage Congressional Democrats by making nice with her. This allows Hillary to save face — which is the most important thing in the world to her, anyway — by now accepting another post in the new administration, perhaps ambassador to the U.N.

And making it seem that it's solely her decision to not become Secretary of State.

Maybe Obama has already filled his quota of Clinton vets, and there's simply no room for Hillary. Unlikely.

More likely: Obama and his troops are simply playing the public and press by strongly intimating that Hillary will get the job while at the same time spreading the word that hubby Bill's unsavory post-presidential globe-trotting would disqualify her from the post.

It could be America's good fortune that Bill Clinton has been such a smarmy international greed hog since he left the White House. This morning's New York Times story, "Many Dealings of Bill Clinton Under Review," smacks of a clever game of "leaks" by Obama's crew to the establishment press:

Mr. Clinton’s postpresidential life as a globe-trotting philanthropist, business consultant and speech-giver poses the highest hurdle for Mrs. Clinton to overcome if President-elect Barack Obama chooses to nominate her as secretary of state, according to aides of the Clintons and Mr. Obama.

The Obama transition team is focused on the wide array of Mr. Clinton’s postpresidential activities, some details of which have not been made public. This list includes the identity of most of the donors to his foundation, the source of some of his speaking fees — he has earned as much as $425,000 for a one-hour speech — and his work for the billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle.

Propping up that suspicion of the Obama gang's sophisticated game-playing is that the future chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has in fact been always closer to Obama than to the Clintons.

Emanuel's close friendship with David Axelrod (a close friend of Obama's) matters more than Emanuel's previous ties to the Clinton Administration. Emanuel is Obama's guy, not the Clintons' guy.

And at least at the U.N., Hillary's shortcomings as a diplomat wouldn't matter too much, because she wouldn't be the person in charge of setting foreign policy.

Putting her at the U.N. would keep her out of D.C. and let her keep a New York base. In D.C., she would be overwhelmed in importance by Obama's Chicago-based gang. And she wouldn't be hovering around D.C. as a publicity- and power-seeking distraction to Obama.

On the East River, she would be the No. 1 tugboat captain. And her celebrity could even be a boon at the U.N., where the top officials from each country focus mainly on schmoozefests while U.N. bureaucrats work hard at the actual and important tasks of trying to peacekeep and feed people and issue global warnings about global warming.

Even with all her weaknesses, Hillary's presence at the U.N. could help repair relations with the rest of the world because she would be following such Bush regime schnooks as John Bolton (who is opposed to the very existence of the U.N.) and John Negroponte, former destabilizer of Latin America way back in earlier GOP administrations.

Even someone as querulous as I am would be an improvement over either of them.

"Change" does not include putting Hillary Clinton in charge of the vast machinery of the powerful State Department. Another Clinton schmuckfest is not what the voters wanted.

And why would Obama appoint his chief rival in the party to such a powerful post, unless he's merely keeping his seat warm for a future Hillary stab at the presidency?

That seems highly unlikely. After all, he won the presidency by scooting past the Democratic Party's anointed candidate and seizing the nomination. What does he really owe the party except to keep peace within it so that he can get his legislative agenda through?

In other words, now is not the time for him to piss off Democrats in Congress.

Doesn't make sense to make Hillary the Secretary of State. OK, OK, maybe I don't make sense either. But I'm not the person who has vowed to "change" things. I never promised you a new Rose Garden.

Foreclosing on this one-way conversation and moving on . . .

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Slate: 'Obama's New Toy: Snazzy new technology isn't enough to bring transparency to the White House'

Haaretz: 'Israeli official: U.S. can halt Iran nuclear program with dialogue'

McClatchy: 'Eco-urinals' problem: they're complicated (and they stink)'

Barack Obama's election as U.S. president and the world financial crisis present an opportunity to halt the Iranian nuclear drive through diplomacy, Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin said Monday.

Iran, for example, has been stung by lower global oil prices in recent months.

Bloomberg: 'U.S. Auto Chiefs Renew Aid Push With Passage in Doubt'

McClatchy: 'Company that bungled Baghdad embassy repeats in Gabon'

Haaretz: 'Killing of crime boss Alperon seen as "earthquake" for Israel underworld'

Haaretz: 'Study: Israeli bank not obliged to return cash to Holocaust victims' heirs'

McClatchy: 'Gasoline prices have plunged. So why is no one cheering?'

Slate: 'The Subprime Good Guys: These mortgage lenders loan to poor people, strengthen communities, and are still making a profit. How do they do it?

Slate: 'Five Million Dead and Counting: The disaster in Congo is all the more tragic because it was utterly avoidable'

Wall Street Journal: 'Obama Hires More Clinton White House Veterans'

N.Y. Post: 'GRANNY BEATER A BEAST: DA'

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