If this report is to be believed, the talk about making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State is quite serious indeed, as the work and finances of former President Clinton are being checked to ensure that there is nothing that would prevent Senator Clinton from taking over at Foggy Bottom. What isn’t being vetted, however, is whether Senator Clinton would bring anything special or particular to the position of Secretary of State–beyond, of course, a famous name. No one is asking what Senator Clinton’s strategic worldview is. No one is asking what she envisions her duties and responsibilities to be in the event that she is named America’s top diplomat. No one is asking why Senator Clinton should be chosen over, say, people like Richard Holbrooke or Sam Nunn or others who actually have more grounding in foreign policy, even if they do not have the famous Clinton name behind them. Instead, there is a breathless sense of bedazzlement about the potential Clinton appointment that seems to preclude any and all questions concerning what a Clinton appointment would mean substantively for the conduct of American foreign policy.
Can we ask those questions at some point in time? Can we have an actual substantive discussion over why Hillary Clinton should be chosen over others as Secretary of State? Or are we going to continue focusing on questions of stardom and ignore questions of substance?