Obama's fast rise had as much to do with his natural charisma and thoughtful, powerful speeches as the fact that he wasn't Hillary Clinton. The former first lady a year ago seemed like a lock for the White House, but the anti-Clinton factions in her party needed a superstar challenger. Enter Obama, stage left.
Of course that plan worked, in that Hillary is not our first Madame President. But she is heading to the executive branch anyway, and the New York Times reports that after days of speculation, her nomination for secretary of state is all but officially confirmed.
All of those idealists who made out early checks to Obama with the hopes he would forever banish the influence of the Clintons and the Democratic Leadership Council in favor of a more "progressive" (a.k.a. unabashedly liberal) direction must be hanging their heads in disbelief.
You can bet Hillary won't let him meet with hostile leaders without preconditions (an idea most folks thought was naive anyway), nor will she let him make a radically quick withdrawal from Iraq. Even Hillary supporters give some pause. As secretary of state, she won't be able to pursue her passion for fixing healthcare, and her chances of a 2016 presidential nod (if they ever existed) are now tied to the success of the Obama administration.
But Clinton haters, consider this: When you hear Obama speak, he's clearly more passionate about domestic policy, and he never seemed exceedingly well versed in the foreign stuff anyway. Letting a competent political powerhouse spearhead the State Department lets Obama focus more of his energy on bringing change within the American borders, and if anything goes awry, the press can pinpoint it on a high-profile secretary of state that it has had no problem bashing before.
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