How would you like to be in the position of one of the political hands working for Team Obama? You were probably responsible in no small part for having helped manage one of the best campaigns in political history, a campaign whose dispatch of the most powerful machine in the Democratic party prior to the rise of Barack Obama was no small feat and can be boasted about to one’s grandchildren.
And now . . . well . . . you are spending a goodly amount of time in coffee shops and complaining and being afraid:
In the office block in downtown Washington where Barack Obama’s White House transition team are at work, there is no time for breaks.
Lunch is taken at desks. Staff need a good reason to go out at all.
But a little after lunch on Wednesday two Obama aides went to a local coffee shop to talk. Both were veterans of the campaign, hailed as the best organised and most disciplined in US history, which has made their boss the first black president.
Both had come to believe, in the crucible of the campaign, that Mr Obama’s judgment was superior to their own. But when they met on Wednesday they agreed on one thing: “He’s making a mistake.” As one of the participants told a friend later that night: “She’ll do a good job but she’ll do it for herself, not for Barack. I can’t bear the drama again.”
She, of course, is Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, figurehead of Democratic women, presidential candidate with 18 million votes and now would-be Secretary of State.
Read on for more about how dealing with the Clintons is symptomatic of the sudden and astonishing loss of discipline and control in Team Obama’s camp. While this is all so amusing to watch, then danger is that a similar lack of discipline will attend the formulation and implementation of foreign policy–a prospect that is far less funny.
Why is Barack Obama doing this? It’s not as if there aren’t other candidates to nominate for Secretary of State–candidates who would not create as much drama as Hillary Clinton and her husband have helped create and are likely to continue to create. The White House is not the ideal staging grounds for a soap opera. And yet, it would appear that we are in for at least four years of one when it comes to the conduct of foreign policy.