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The pundit and political reporter circles have been abuzz these past few days over the possible nomination of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Obama’s Secretary of State. The talk has breezed over Clinton’s qualifications for the post and have instead concentrated on how such an appointment would keep the Clinton supporters happy, what to do with the undisclosed donors to her hubby’s foundation, and how teh title Madame Secretary this would give her the world-stage platform she’s been hoping for, vs staying in the Senate and walking on Ted Kennedy’s toes.
All of this has been maddening squabble. The Secretary position is a high-power posts: a political appointment a good Secretary does not make.
Rather, the post should be given to someone who has devoted a significant amount of their life’s work to studying and working with international political relations. It seems to make sense that this post, arguably one of the top positions in the world that deals with international political relations, should go to someone who deeply understands international political relations, from an academic and professional, experience-based standpoint.
Clinton’s expertise is in law- she was twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America- would seem to make her a better candidate for Attorney General than Secretary of State. Why all the hubbub over a position she is not qualified for?
So I was thrilled when Slate writer Jacob Weisberg put out “The Genius Cabinet: Why the president-elect should surround himself with brilliant—albeit prickly, semi-autistic, and egomaniacal—thinkers” today.
From the story:
Here’s a radical suggestion: Barack Obama should pick the smartest people he can find for his Cabinet… it makes sense for Obama to give greater weight to intellectual acumen and subject-specific knowledge than his recent predecessors have, both because of the depth of the problems he faces and because of his own style as a thinker and a decision-maker.
Brilliant! A secretary of state that would have subject specific knowledge and experience.
Imagine where our country could go if our finest, rather than politically-based appointments, were at the helm.