Clinton’s nomination is a welcome change

by Staff

Those who were exhausted by the incessant media exposure of the presidential election couldn’t wait for it to be over, but it seems as if the election hasn’t ended yet. President-elect Barack Obama continues to be primary focus of the media. His transition team is making strides, as well as analyzing and assessing the best candidates for each cabinet position. It appears Obama will be true to his word that the “good ol’ boys” politics of the past will not be returning to Washington, D.C., when he assumes office.

The buzz is that Obama’s transition team is considering Sen. Hillary Clinton, his former party rival for the presidency, to be his new secretary of state.
Obama has an amazing opportunity to bring about transformative change to the presidential office. But let’s stop and reflect on the transition team that Obama has put together. These people are indicative of the types of people he will surround himself with when he’s in the White House.

One of the co-chairs of the transition team, John Podesta, was former president Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. Also on board is Pete Rouse, Obama’s former chief of staff in the Senate. Both of these individuals are experienced, but neither should be relied on to practice Obama’s promise of new politics in Washington, D.C. Also on the team is Mark Gitenstein, a long-time lobbyist and partner at Mayer Brown, and Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic Caucus chairman and a former top adviser for the Clinton administration, who has already been appointed as White House chief of staff. With Obama’s transition team composed of Washington insiders, fundraisers and longtime advisors, the promise of change seems more and more distant.

Bringing Clinton on board as secretary of state would show a transition from the politics of the past. Clinton already has a lot of political clout and would be well-respected on a national level. She visited 83 countries when she was First Lady, and has experience dealing with diplomats, both on her own terms as a senator and in the White House. Placing her in charge of foreign affairs is exactly what this country needs. Clinton has experience abroad and hopefully will return some of the global respect and dignity that we’ve lost throughout the last eight years.

But we don’t know yet whether she’ll accept the position. Everyone is wondering what her aspirations are. She has a lot of powerful choices she could make. She could be looking for a bid to be majority leader in the Senate or go home to New York to run for governor; she could be hoping for an appointment to the Supreme Court or looking forward to 2012 if Obama has low approval ratings because of the economy.

For Clinton, all of these options seem possible. Even if she were to run again in 2016, she would not be too old 8212; she’d be 69, the same age Ronald Reagan was when he was elected, and younger than Sen. John McCain is now, at 72.
This is one reason Clinton may not take Obama’s seemingly generous offer. It could be a strategic move by the Obama administration to cause her to lose her base of power and support. If she were to take this position, she’d lose her individual political identity and be subsumed by the Obama administration, as well as losing her seat in the Senate.

In addition, the position effectively pulls Clinton out of domestic policy to focus entirely on foreign affairs. At the start of our nation’s history, many secretaries of state successfully vied for the presidency. But in modern times, no one has successfully run since James Buchanan in the mid-19th century. Obama’s offer could be a striking example of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

While Obama did promise change, some criticize how many members of his cabinet are likely to come from the Clinton administration, and this can already be extrapolated from his current transition team. His future cabinet might even include a Clinton if the appointment process goes well, which makes sense. The Clinton administration presided over a successful economy, so it’s only logical to bring the same people back to help with the current crisis.

No matter what, having Clinton on board would bring about some much needed change to the White House, especially with the support base Clinton has with women and working-class citizens. In this new administration, it’s important that all marginalized groups feel represented in the White House. If Obama can accomplish that, it would be the clearest manifestation of the change he has promised for so long.

8212;Allan Acevedo is a political science and ISCOR sophomore.

8212;This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec. Send e-mail to letters@thedailyaztec.com. Anonymous letters will not be printed 8212; include your full name, major and year in school.

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