Obama’s Cabinet Could be Announced Friday, November 7th

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john_kerry.jpg
I can’t validate this and probably won’t try for the time being. But I will report a reasonably high quality rumor that reached me from a high quality source.
The rumor is that McClatchy News is trying to report a story that should Barack Obama win the election, most of the key members of his Cabinet will be announced on Friday, November 7th.
And the two most likely candidates for the job of Secretary of State, according to the rumblings are. . . . .Senator John Kerry and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
I’m not sure where this leaves Richard Holbrooke, Senator Chuck Hagel, Senator Richard Lugar, former Senator Sam Nunn and others with sights on that job. I like Senator Kerry and think he brings some real strengths — but Hagel would bring nuance, no “false choices”, energy and some legs on the political right. Richard Holbrooke would also be someone of progressive, cut-throat skill in the job — and would be someone I’d want around twisting arms and delivering results. Richard Lugar is the hard core favorite of a lot of foreign policy veterans.
If it really is John Kerry or Bill Richardson and not a head fake — Obama has to choose Kerry.
I won’t go further than that for the time being into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the contenders, but I did want to share that this news story, which could just be fluff, is reaching some very high placed media stars.
If folks know more, fill me in — and send me your tips.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

66 comments on “Obama’s Cabinet Could be Announced Friday, November 7th

  1. mimi says:

    Have you seen http://www.obamascabinet.org – while their
    predictions may not be very realistic, this was entertaining – be
    sure to click on the clock and the ash tray.

    Reply

  2. kelly fingrme says:

    obama sucks

    Reply

  3. rufus Foshee says:

    If Obama start appointing has beens or nearly beens to key jobs it
    will be a great mistake.
    Certainly, John Kerry would be one of the worst mistakes.
    I think the picking is slim in most instances.
    I urge the appointment of Rubin again though he was there before.
    He is still very young and these are dire times.
    I think picking both Secretaries of State and Treasury will be
    treacherous.

    Reply

  4. Soon I will tell you says:

    Obama has already picked Bill Richardson for Secretary of State. Its already in place.

    Reply

  5. monkeyman says:

    President: Barack Obama
    Vice President: Joe Biden
    State: Bill Richardson
    Treasury: Sheila Bair
    Defense: Wesley Clark
    Attorney General: Janet Napolitano
    Homeland Security: Anthony Zinni
    National Security: Richard Clarke
    Agriculture: Tom Vilsack
    Commerce: Kathleen Sebelius
    Education: Colin Powell
    Energy: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Absolutely ridiculous idea…but so was a “black man” as president
    HHS: Hillary Clinton or Howard Dean
    HUD: Shaun Donovan
    Interior: Al Gore
    Labor: Dick Gephardt
    Transportation: James Oberstar
    VA: Max Cleland
    UN Secretary: Susan Rice
    EPA: Kathleen McGinty
    Council of Economic Advisers: Austan Goolsbee
    Chief of Staff: Tom Daschle
    Supreme Court nominee (when available): Hillary Clinton

    Reply

  6. Jon Aitken says:

    I like Richardson for the job. He has vastly more international experience than Kerry. Kerry is a sexy choice, and should land a post position somewhere, just not SOS.

    Reply

  7. Diana says:

    Bill Richardson is the best qualified and loyality
    should count for something. He took a beating in supporting Obama and Obama should reward him. If the Hispanic Vote is as strong as already predicted for Obama – it would be saying a lot to have a highly qualified individual from this demographic in his Cabinet. It would send a strong message and of inclusion and diversity.

    Reply

  8. Vanessa says:

    I hope Holbrooke has not been counted out entirely. He was an extremely effective diplomat representing the US at the UN during the latter part of the Clinton Admin. He has a forceful personality, but this does not mean he is off-putting to foreigners. Quite the opposite: they take him seriously as he does them. The job of putting US foreign policy back on course is herculean. He has the kind of energy and determination necessary to get it done. His former staffers are incredibly loyal, which says something about what he might be able to achieve at State. He has also evolved over time, so that whatever old grievances exist ought not rule the day now.

    Reply

  9. Kathleen says:

    Scott Horton’s interview about the Aipac Rosen Weissman investigation and trial. Going where Firedoglake, Huffington Post merge with the MSM and will not report about. Too Chicken Shit
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2008/10/25/grant-f-smith/

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    Kerry would be my vote. Have watched Kerry in many Senate hearings. Clear, on point, brilliant and articulate. Kerry for sure
    Richardson head of EPA

    Reply

  11. Retired LTC says:

    What’s with all the cries of put a Republican in charge of Defense? One reason Americans tend to elect Republicans to the presidency is because they see them as “the tough guys” who are better able to defend America. Will Democrats once again admit that we are the “mommy party” and that it takes a Republican to handle all that military stuff?
    It is also naive to believe that military issues can be divorced from domestic politics, even (and maybe especially) in time of war. Bill Clinton’s biggest mistake after Monica was finding his SecDef in Republican senator Bill Cohen, whose first loyalty remained with his buddies on the Hill. Sadly, Obama will probably make the same mistake.

    Reply

  12. Ivan says:

    Richard Holbrooke = a better dressed John Bolton. He has no
    business in an Obama administration looking to mend fences with,
    then re-engage, the world. Leave him in the cold – for a long, long,
    long time.

    Reply

  13. Ajaz says:

    Picking Senators for Secretarial positions will be a mistake as Democrats need every single Senator to stay put. So John Kerry is unlikely as a Secretary of State. Holbrooke could go to the UN or appointed as Special Envoy for Mid East.
    Many good choices remain for Secretary of State including Hagel, Lugar & Richardson.

    Reply

  14. Ted Waldron says:

    I don’t see Senator Kerry taking the job. He just ran for re-
    election, Massachusetts is going to go from two Senators with Forty
    six years of seniority and twenty four years to zero in seniority,
    with two new appointed Senators, who have to run for re-election
    in 2010. Kerry right now, is better off gaining more seniority in the
    Senate, and throwing his weight around after Senator Kennedy
    passes away.
    I can see someone like Hagel being in an Obama Cabinet, I don’t
    see Holbrooke being Sec. of State, given his temperment, nor
    Richardson

    Reply

  15. carsick says:

    Interesting. I’m surprised Hagel wasn’t mentioned as well because it seems Obama and Hagel have a mutual admiration and trust (which he doesn’t seem to have with Wes Clark – for whatever reason)
    On second thought though, there will eventually be some major military reforms in both budget and deployment, Hagel, as Sec.of Defense, might give folks confidence when tough decisions are made.
    Of course, we all may just be playing fantasy cabinet like fantasy football. Still, I’m pretty sure Richardson will get something because he came out so early (UN?). Likewise, Kerry. Politics includes a lot of favors and payback.

    Reply

  16. Craig says:

    IF he gets elected, I think Barack Obama is going to have to get
    innovative with his foreign policy team. The United States and
    the world is in a deep economic crisis that requires global
    leadership. But we also have Iraq and Afghanistan to deal with.
    Then, there’s the general Middle Eastern and Iran issues to deal
    with. As much as the American right would like to discount it,
    there’s also the issue of energy and global warming which are
    growing more critical with each passing month; this too is an
    issue that can’t be put off and both issues must be dealt with on
    international levels. These are too many issues to put in the
    hands of a Secretary of State. We’re going to need some special
    envoys with real clout. So I would suggest something like Bill
    Clinton on the economic issues and I would suggest Richard
    Holbroke as the special presidential envoy on Iran and the
    MIddle East. Energy and global warming may require Barack
    Obama’s special attention if something in that area is to get
    accomplished.

    Reply

  17. Cee says:

    Kerry should stay where he is.
    Chuck Hagel for Sec. of Defense.
    Richardson for Sec. of State. I like the role he played in the past in negotiating the release of hostages in Sudan and again in Columbia.

    Reply

  18. DeeDee says:

    Do you really think it would be a prudent idea to pull another
    Democrat out of the Senate? Kerry doesn’t make sense-
    Richardson is the better choice.

    Reply

  19. Zathras says:

    George Mitchell is 75. As with Sen. Lugar, Sam Nunn and Warren Buffett, we need to make a distinction between people who have none notable things in the past and can now get op-eds published, on the one hand, and people with the energy needed to guide a major Cabinet Department through what is likely to be a stressful and difficult period.

    Reply

  20. Dan Kervick says:

    This rumor just doesn’t smell right to me at all. I’m thinking someone is feeding it to Steve just so that it can be shot down vigorously on his blog, with the shoot-down then used as ammunition to get the political boosters and handlers of these two men to pipe down.
    Of all the appointments Obama has to make, Secretary of State might be the most important. I like both Richardson and Kerry, and think they both have many virtues that could be put to work in an Obama administration. But to put it bluntly, I don’t think either one measures up in terms of the brain power, international prestige and command of the global scene that is needed for the extremely, extremely demanding period in US diplomatic history that is about to unfold. And appointing either one would be seen by many around the world as a mere political appointment – a reward for campaign services rendered. I would think Obama would want to start off with a stronger, bolder, more compelling and more confidence-building pick.
    I’d like to see someone with more international stature, dynamic smarts and diplomatic polish. Holbrooke is the right *kind* of person. But personally, I don’t trust him or feel confident about the direction in which he would lead us. He also sometimes carries himself with the kind of arrogance and impatience for views he disagrees with that has so turned off global audiences during the Bush administration. We need someone who is trusted as a good listener.
    Is George Mitchell available? He has a record of significant prior accomplishment in the international arena, and is highly respected around the world. He’s very bright, and expresses himself in a very sober and incisive manner. His very fair and deft earlier work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would signal the US was going to get very serious about that conflict once again. I also like this quote from him:
    “I believe there’s no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended. They’re created and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. No matter how ancient the conflict, no matter how hateful, no matter how hurtful, peace can prevail.”

    Reply

  21. Mr.Murder says:

    John Kerry voted for the Iraq war, same as Hillary. Drink that Schadenfreude down.
    Yes, run the Clintons off and let the fumblers run things. Who among us does not love Kerry?

    Reply

  22. Yoichi says:

    Vincent Bugliosi for Attorney General.
    Joseph Stiglitz for Secretary of Treasury.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….but we’ll work constructively with Bill if he is appointed”
    Uh, Steve, just curious….
    Who is “we”?

    Reply

  24. chopper says:

    “Let’s try something new. How about putting someone in the job
    who actually gets things right the first time. You know, we really
    don’t have time to wait for do-overs. I say it should be Wes Clark.
    He not only was ahead of the curve on Iran, listening to him
    recently, I think he also is on the mark about Afghanistan and
    Pakistan too.
    The names you’ve listed give me great pause.”
    In complete agreement with the sentiment of this post.
    If he does indeed win the presidency, the very first thing Obama needs to do is to not reward neo-con enablers and beltway lifers like Hagel, Kerry, etc. If they are indeed capable and visionary leaders, where were they when we were being lied to about Iraq?
    I’ve never understood Clemons’ fascination with Hagel. Hagel has shown zero leadership when it counted, only coming out against Iraq when it was politically safe to do so. Either he truly believed it was the right move, in which case we was incredibly wrong. Or he was simply covering his ass politically, in which case he is no type of leader we need. Of course, so far, Mr. Clemons’ has not addressed these irresponsible and dangerous errors on Hagel’s part and why we should overlook them.
    We need to stop rewarding pols and insiders based upon years spent in the beltway, and bring fresh blood, blood that has been CORRECT, into leadership positions.

    Reply

  25. Robert M says:

    Do not believe the hype! Next you will be going on about the agent from the 8th level of hell as Secretary of Health.
    I do not like any of the choices mostly because politically I do not want to give the left of the Democratic Party more power bases.

    Reply

  26. Philip True says:

    Richarson is probably the safest choice, considering his experience
    in dealing with foreign leaders. Holbrooke is certainly well
    qualified, but he’s sort of a one-man band and seems to be
    pumping for the job, as indicated by his fawning references to
    Obama on Morning Joe this past week. Don’t think current State
    people would welcome Holbrooke…I’m not certain Hagel is a good
    choice; seems brusque and set in his ways to be Sec. of State. A
    veteran State Dept, though in his mid-70s, his Amb. Tom Pickering
    who has been in all sorts of negotiations since his retirement as
    Amb. in 2001. Susan Rice, former Clinton NSC appointee, and
    Obama advisor is a possibility, but more likely a second tier
    position….

    Reply

  27. alan says:

    Richard Holbrooke will bring the requisite hard edge and Wes Clark may draw Europe and the ME in. As Russia, China, India and Brazil need attention, too, I am back to RH. Sen Kerry: something missing; gaffe prone. Bill Richardson: back to the UN.

    Reply

  28. Will says:

    Passing over Hagel would be a strategic error on day one. All of
    these other picks either are Wilsonian hawks (Holbrooke, Kerry,
    Ross), or don’t carry the type of intellectual/personal heft (Lugar,
    Richardson, Nunn) necessary to keep this administration from
    straying back into non-interest based interventionism.
    If Hagel is not chosen, I think that will very quickly damage the
    support that Obama is receiving from some Republicans.

    Reply

  29. Steve Clemons says:

    MB — thanks for the good comments about Bill Richardson. I do think it’s good to hear from you and others who have experienced working for and with him. I still have concerns — from those who have worked with him in New Mexico — but we’ll work constructively with Bill if he is appointed.

    Reply

  30. bob h says:

    I will be disappointed if it is not Holbrooke. As for Defense, who in his right mind would want it? It is a job you should try to get a Republican for.

    Reply

  31. carol says:

    Whoever Sen Obama chooses..should he become President…don’t want to tempt fate here, will be a smart, intelligent selection of people and together they will serve this country well.
    We have not had that for the past 8 years and it’s long over due…this country deserves much better than it’s been handled under Bush and it would fare no better under McCain.

    Reply

  32. Rob says:

    I wonder about the wisdom of pulling any Dem out from the Senate, particularly if real control of that body is close. Is it more important to have a great SOS or control of the Senate?

    Reply

  33. MB says:

    I worked for Bill Richardson and I loved every second of it. He’s loyal and respectful. He has great vision, ideas, and a fire to get in there and make change happen — a great fit for a new Obama Administration. I also know John Kerry and think that he would be a terrific UN Ambassador.

    Reply

  34. Mawc says:

    I can’t think of anyone more qualified for this position of SOS than Senator Kerry. This is the man who should be our president now and lead the fight in the Senator for a time table to bring our troops home from Iraq. Senator Kerry has been on top of the security issues that most affect us for years now and has warned us about the situation brewing in Afghaistan well over two years ago. One of his passions centers on the foreign policy decisions that affect this country. He spoke at length about his ideas and concerns in 2004 and his opinions and ideas have been widely praised and promoted since then. A president needs loyal and trusted cabinet members- and Senator Kerry is definately loyal and can be trusted. Also, Senator Obama and Senator Kerry share similar ideas on what needs to be accomplished overseas. It is very important that the SOS understand and be able to speak for the President. Frankly, I think Senator Kerry would be a wise and comfortable choice for “President Obama” in a position that is so important at this point in our history.
    Maybe this is just talk, but I hope not. I believe Senator Kerry will excell in this position.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    Oh goodie, another tattle tell….maybe Obama needs to do some reading before he makes any appointments. If he apoints the same old Israelis to office we will know where he is headed in his adm.
    In “Guilt by Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War”, former counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Jeff Gates chronicles a long tradition of corruption and treason at the hands of foreign agents bent on furthering the Zionist cause.
    “America’s credibility on the world stage has deteriorated due to a small group of elites and extremists who pledge allegiance to Israel,” says Mr. Gates. “And our entangled alliance with Israel-with its known history of stealth and deceit-has led us to war.”
    In Guilt by Association, Mr. Gates accuses Israeli agents and their “assets” in the U.S.-and in the U.S. government-of pushing for war with Iraq and now Iran, and of operating a transnational criminal syndicate with roots in Russia and other countries.
    The depth of corruption and treason Mr. Gates chronicles inside the government is a result of years of neglect by our own so-called watchdogs. Expanding on the ideas in such books as The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, Mr. Gates notes, “This book reveals how complicit parties displace facts with beliefs to wield political clout from the shadows.”
    Guilt by Association, endorsed by Ambassador Edward L. Peck, Congressman Paul Findley and M.I.T. professor Noam Chomsky, exposes the many realms in which this transnational organized crime syndicate operates today, including:
    • Politics
    • Media
    • Academia
    • Think tanks
    • Popular culture
    Mr. Gates documents how even the 2008 presidential campaign has been influenced by the Zionist state, fueled by massive campaign finance corruption.
    A widely acclaimed author, lawyer, investment banker, political advisor and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide, Jeff Gates is also former counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. His previous works include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. Endorsers for these earlier books include CEOs, heads of state, legislators, commentators and Nobel laureates in peace and economics.

    Reply

  36. Carroll says:

    Wes Clark would be a good choice too.
    Kerry? No, he’s too neither here nor there. State needs someone with more fire in the belly.

    Reply

  37. Carroll says:

    Posted by ptw Oct 24, 9:40PM – Link
    Off topic, Steve, but I don’t know of a better way to get this info to you. Have you read this?!!!
    http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=198
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I did. It’s good to keep up with what the zio-neos are up too.
    Snips…
    Top Obama Adviser Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran
    If you haven’t seen it already, check out the op-ed by former Sens. Daniel Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post today, entitled “Stopping a Nuclear Tehran.” It is the summary of a report issued last month by an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center (at whose website you can find the full report), and it amounts to a roadmap to war with Iran to which a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama campaign — namely, Dennis Ross — has apparently signed on.
    [UPDATE: Make sure you also read in this connection today’s New York Times article by David Sanger, particularly the part about the purported e-mail from Obama that was routed through an unidentified “aide,” who I presume to be Ross. The coincidence of the appearance of this article with the Coats-Robb op-ed suggests an effort to box Obama into a pre-election position. The Iran part of the story by Sanger, who considers himself a foreign-policy player, as well as a reporter, tracks the report’s narrative quite nicely.]
    While Coats and Robb were the co-chairs of the task force that produced the report, “Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development,” the main authors appear to have been the Center’s project director, Michael Makovsky, and Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), who listed the report as his work on the AEI website earlier this month. Michael, who reportedly emigrated to Israel in 1989, served under Doug Feith at the pentagon where he was part of the team that helped manipulate the intelligence to facilitate the path to war in Iraq. Rubin, of course, also worked in Rumsfeld’s office at the same time.
    Now, you would expect a report like this, which is clearly aimed at the transition team of an incoming president, from hard-line neo-cons with a distinctly Israeli Likudist bent like Makovsky and Rubin, or, for that matter, task force member Steve Rademaker, the spouse of AEI’s Danielle Pletka, who also worked under John Bolton in the State Department. But what really drew my attention to the report when I first heard about it two or three weeks ago, was the fact that Dennis Ross, who is a senior foreign-policy to Barack Obama, also signed on to the report as a task-force member.
    According to a variety of sources, Ross was the main drafter of Obama’s pander (except on the settlers) to AIPAC’s annual convention here in May and has since raised his hopes for a top post in an Obama administration, possibly even secretary of state. Frankly, I doubt that the latter prospect is realistic, but — and here’s the main point — I have it from several sources close to the campaign that he is more eager to gain control over the Iran portfolio (possibly special envoy) than to work on the problem that he knows best from his long experience, the Israel-Palestinian conflict. If he succeeds in his quest and if this report is any reflection of his views, then the U.S. could very well find itself at war with Iran within a remarkably short period of time.
    I leave it to you to read the column or, better, the executive summary of the report. But I would highlight just a few of its major points on which Ross should be closely questioned if Obama should win the election and considers Ross for any post that would have anything to do with Iran policy:
    – A strategy of deterrence, if Iran became a “nuclear-capable” state, would not necessarily work because of the “Islamic Republic’s extremist ideology.”
    — No agreement can be reached that would permit Iran to enrich uranium on its own territory under any circumstances, including even under the strictest international inspections regime.
    — A “grand bargain” with Iran cannot be worked out in the time that remains before Iran builds a stockpile of 20 kgs of highly enriched uranium 6 kgs of plutonium which would make it technically “nuclear weapons-capable” and which thus must be unacceptable to the U.S.
    — The U.S. should be willing to suspend all bilateral nuclear co-operation with Russia in order to pressure it to cooperate on Iran; that is, lending Washington full diplomatic support and refusing to provide additional assistance to Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs or to sell it advanced conventional-weapons systems.
    — The U.S. should maintain a constant dialogue with Israel because “…only if Israeli policymakers believe that U.S. and European policymakers will ensure that the Islamic Republic does not gain nuclear weapons will the Israelis be unlikely to strike Iran independently.” In other words, unless the U.S. is prepared to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel will likely do so without seeking a green light from Washington.
    — If the next administration agrees to enter into direct talks with Iran without insisting on its suspension of enrichment, it must set a pre-determined deadline for compliance with its demands, after which it should be prepared to enforce a blockade of Iranian gasoline imports, followed, if Iran still does not agree, by a blockade of its oil exports. If that does not have the desired effect or if Iran retaliated in some way, the U.S. should be prepared to launch a military strike that would “have to target not only Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but also its conventional military infrastructure in order to suppress an Iranian response.” Such an attack would be followed immediately by “providing food and medical assistance within Iran…” [!!!]
    — To convey his seriousness both to Iran and to the international community, the new president should begin building up the U.S. military presence in the region “the first day (he) enters office…” Specifically this would involve “pre-positioning additional U.S. and allied forces, deploying additional aircraft carrier battle groups and minesweepers, emplacing other war material in the region, including additional missile defense batteries, upgrading both regional facilities and allied militaries, and expanding strategic partnerships with countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia [!!!] in order to maintain operational pressure from all directions.” The report goes on to note that “the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan offers distinct advantages in any possible confrontation with Iran. The United States can bring in troops and material to the region under the cover of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, thus maintaining a degree of strategic and tactical surprise.” [Emphasis added in light of recent concerns raised in Iraq about the Status of Forces Agreement.]
    In other words, if Tehran is not eventually prepared to permanently abandon its enrichment of uranium on its own soil — a position that is certain to be rejected by Iran ab initio — then war becomes inevitable, and all intermediate steps, even including direct talks if the new president chooses to pursue them, will amount to going through the motions (presumably to gather international support for when push comes to shove). While I would certainly not be surprised if such an approach were adopted by a McCain administration, what is a top Obama adviser doing signing on to it?”
    >>>>>>>>>>
    I think Ross as Sec of St would be far fetched..but I have to hand it to Lobe for doing more than anyone in the US to name names and keep ringing the alarm bells on the Lukid Israeli zios and the neo’s never ending war plans for Iran.
    I still hold out hope for Hagel.

    Reply

  38. Zathras says:

    Kerry and Richardson present a choice between a show horse and a showboat. So I’d be grateful if this particular rumor is off target.
    Actually, Sen. Obama would be best off taking some time after the election to consider appointments to offices like State. Treasury, not State or Defense, will be the critical Cabinet position at the beginning of his administration. Obama has developed a reputation for being well organized himself and for communicating his strong preference for organization to those who work for him; the first test of whether this reputation tells us anything about how his administration would run will be how quickly he is able to get his team on core economic and financial markets issues together.
    State presents a different problem, as I’ve written here before. It is a department badly in need to strengthening both its capacity and its bureaucratic position in the foreign policy making process, at the same time it faces several serious substantive policy challenges. In an Obama administration, a role for the Vice President will have to be negotiated as well; any question about the Secretary of State and not the Vice President running foreign policy and speaking for the administration would be damaging to the Secretary and demoralizing to the Department, but on the other hand a Vice President with Sen. Biden’s experience and strong views can’t be kept out of the room completely. All these are important matters, but they are not so urgent as to demand an instant post-election nomination announcement. The urgency is about how an Obama administration would hit the ground running in taking over from Sec. Paulson.
    As to the names in Steve Clemons’ post here, I’ve said what I had to say about Kerry, Richardson, and Hagel. Richard Lugar is 76, which is really pushing it for the kind of job the next Secretary of State will have to do. And Holbrooke certainly has the talent and experience; the key question about him, as about other potential nominees, is the state and potential of his relationship with Obama. About that I have no information.

    Reply

  39. Jason says:

    “But I will report a reasonably high quality rumor
    that reached me from a high quality source.”
    Wonkette while sober?
    But seriously, the rumors are fun. Thanks for
    sharing them.

    Reply

  40. ptw says:

    Off topic, Steve, but I don’t know of a better way to get this info to you. Have you read this?!!!
    http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=198

    Reply

  41. leo says:

    Sorry, I should have said:
    “and especially hypocritical… after scolding the Obama people for prematurely using a pseudo-Presidential seal and, more recently, “taking a victory lap” in Philly.”

    Reply

  42. haypops says:

    Unfortunately Wes Clark is ineligible for Defense until 2010. I think he is really overqualified for that position anyway. As Secretary of State, he would bring immediate European and Middle East approval.

    Reply

  43. JohnH says:

    I’m all for Kerry–Teresa Heinz Kerry. Forget her husband. Teresa would be a great representative for America.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_Heinz_Kerry
    As for Holbrooke–who needs another thuggish hawk? Why make someone who instigates S-O-S become the SOS? What we need is a diplomat in the job.
    As for Hagel–he has such poor leadership skills that he can’t even convince himself to vote for the positions he advocates. How is he going to convince others?

    Reply

  44. Scott Hopkins says:

    I think Kerry would be an excellent choice. I hope it happens.
    And I know its a longshot, but….Wes Clark at Defense?

    Reply

  45. Mo12 says:

    I’ve long suspected that Obama would tap Kerry for Secretary of State, since he’s been an effective surrogate for most of this year, and because diplomacy and restoring America’s reputation abroad was a central part of Kerry’s 2004 foreign policy platform. Kerry also has diplomacy in his lineage, as his father was a diplomat.
    From the political side of things, the appointment would make a lot of sense. Kerry endorsed Obama right after New Hampshire, when many Democrats thought Clinton would win the nomination. He’s campaigned hard for Barack, and has pushed back in the media against Bill Clinton (primary) and John McCain’s (general) campaign tactics. The fact that Kerry is also close to Biden helps his chances.
    I suspect many of you are underestimating the quality of a potential Kerry pick. Kerry would probably be one of the better choices out there at the moment (certainly better than many of the Clinton retread bandied about). He has a strong international reputation from his years in the Senate and from his Presidential run, and has a long, distinguished progressive record on human rights.
    He’s been more outspoken against the Iraq War for longer than Holbrooke, Lugar, or Richardson. He, alongside Russ Feingold, were out front in the Senate pushing for a timeline for withdrawal in Iraq in early 2006 when others weren’t so ready to do so (Just for the record, Hagel and Lugar both voted against the Kerry-Feingold bill and the subsequent Levin-Reed amendment).
    Another aspect of the Kerry pick that could play out long term would be in regards to a possible Grand Bargain with Iran. Don’t forget Kerry has pushed for direct diplomacy with Iran for some time, and actually met (much to the chagrin of the far right) with Khatami in Davos last year on a foreign policy panel. There is still a chance that Khatami runs in next year’s Presidential election, and if he happens to win (I suspect he would if he decided to run), that’d potentially open up a huge window of opportunity for some kind of major settlement.

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  46. beachmom says:

    As you say, this is only a rumor. And right now John Kerry is running for re-election in Massachusetts so I guarantee you that even IF he were going to be Sec. of State, you’re not going to hear anything affirmative on it. It seems to me that most of the posters on this thread don’t know what a Sec. of State does; otherwise “boring” wouldn’t be used as an argument against a potential candidate. A Sec. of State is not there to entertain you but to be the First Diplomat for the country. In that regard, you won’t do better than John Kerry.
    But at this point, I don’t even know if he is interested, as he is in line for Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been working on a comprehensive rail bill which is creating a lot of buzz, and just in general, will be a very powerful Senator. Nevertheless, the negativity on him serving in the cabinet here is really ridiculous.

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  47. DonnaZ says:

    Let’s try something new. How about putting someone in the job
    who actually gets things right the first time. You know, we really
    don’t have time to wait for do-overs. I say it should be Wes Clark.
    He not only was ahead of the curve on Iran, listening to him
    recently, I think he also is on the mark about Afghanistan and
    Pakistan too.
    The names you’ve listed give me great pause.

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  48. daCascadian says:

    A big NO on Kerry (much for the reasons others have already posted, no real bureaucratic management experience) & a nervous “maybe” on Richardson.
    My preference, worthless as it is, would be to offer it to Bill Clinton before anyone else (notice I wrote offer…).
    Don`t know enough to have an opinion one way or another on Hagel but it seems risky at least. I think Steve is a little too fixated on Mr. Hagel given the last few years of posts etc.
    (BTW…your captcha tool REALLY, REALLY sucks; it doesn`t seem to actually know what is being displayed or how)
    “If the world isn’t going to make sense, we’d better.” – John Perry Barlow

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  49. reader1 says:

    I second the support for Hagel. He’s been a great voice in the Senate re: foreign policy, he’s a credible across-the-aisle pick, and he has an international reputation as a statesman.
    And on top of all that, he has executive experience as the former head of a financial institution. Pretty important stuff, considering the number of “do not” case studies that have come out of the executive branch in the last few years.

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  50. Matthew says:

    Dennis Ross would be a disaster. Although he is very charming, he works from a false premise: Peace in the ME will only occur when Israel feels secure and sure of American support.
    Well, that’s been our policy for the last two decades and the Occupation is not ending and the Settlements are expanding.
    About 300 people are supposedly Obama’s foreign policy advisors. He’s too smart to appoint someone who has their own agenda, and not his, at heart.

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  51. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    John Kerry would put the whole world to sleep with his rambling droning..Futher, I think the world has had enough of US armtwisting…I think we need something else in the State Department…
    I actually like Senator Lugar…when I helped Lt. Ehren Watada’s father draft the Appeal to Congress, requesting Congressional hearings on the Consitutional issues raised by the Watada case, Senator Lugar was the only one who didn’t just shuffle it off to Senator Inouye, as though this was strictly a Hawaiin issue. Lugar requested authorization from Watada to begin an inquiry.. he lost the chairmanship of SFRC at the midterms and Joe Biedn had no interest whatosoever, as former ranking member or the new Chair.. I think Lugar has a keen concern about the Constitution, especially as it pertains to war.
    To see the text of the Watada Appeal to Congress go to http:///www/ipetitions.com/petition/watada
    Just this week three of the charges against Lt.Watada were dropped, but two remain. http://www.truthout.org/102208R.

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  52. DonS says:

    “Richard Holbrooke would also be someone of progressive, cut-throat skill in the job — and would be someone I’d want around twisting arms and delivering results.”
    Holbrooke is pretty identified with certain substantive policies. I’m not the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to knowing all he’s, but isn’t he pretty well in there with the neocons? It does matter what results we want the SecState to deliver.
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2008/09/12/neocons-form-new-anti-iran-group/

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  53. BigRed says:

    Obama must name a Democrat to State as well to most og the other major positions. It is waht is expected by the Party. No Republican would get it right after this election.

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  54. J says:

    While Richardson would be a disaster, I’m not sure Kerry is the right choice either. Do two U.S. Senators really want to name a third Senator as Secretary of State? Has Kerry demonstrated the managerial chops to lead a large, somewhat demoralized State Department?
    If President Obama wants things done, he should pick Dick Holbrooke. End of discussion. My sense is that the Vice President-elect will be pushing Holbrooke hard.

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  55. velvet says:

    Barf. I repeat, barf.
    John Kerry? No, god no.

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  56. Jorge says:

    As a Cuban-American the issue I care the most about is the reform of our disastrous and failed Cuba policies. Either one would be great to steer us in a new direction.

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  57. Linda says:

    The President-Elect will need to select immedialy key Cabinet posts including State, Homeland Security, and Treasury at a minimum in order to participate in a very different transition process than has been the case in the past.

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  58. Spunkmeyer says:

    Kerry? Jeez, I hope not. Kerry is a good, smart and well-
    intentioned man, but cripes, he is the complete embodiment of
    “meeting Biff and Winky at the club for gin and tonics after the
    polo match.” Less of his brand of uptight, uncharismatic mojo is
    needed in the foreign policy arena.
    Letting Colin Powell actually operate without the influence of the
    Cheney regime would be an improvement over what Kerry could
    do.

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  59. Bill R. says:

    I’m betting it’s Richardson. Obama will make a major effort to strengthen relationships in the hemisphere. Having a Spanish speaking, Latino origin Sec. of State would make a huge difference. Richardson also made a pivotal commitment to the Obama campaign at a crucial time. That counts! Loyalty matters.

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  60. Chasseur says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for the inside view, that makes me understand your view better. I also have reservations about Richardson. I also would like Hegel over either of the two, but from what I’ve seen I don’t think Kerry has the skills to manage the State Department…

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  61. DonS says:

    Ex Senator Coats and Robb, in Washington Post –
    LET’S ATTACK IRAN !
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/22/AR2008102203005_pf.html
    Moon of Alabama has some good analysis of why these so-called bipartisan sabre rattlers, their shill in the Obama camp, Dennis Ross, and their so-called bipartisan think tank back up are pushing for MORE WAR:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/10/dennis-ross-pre.html
    Are they simply trying to hem in Obama, or doing his bidding? Haaretz-linked story mentions Ross as “a leading contender – among some 300 candidates – for the post of secretary of state in an Obama government” Let’s hope not.
    Perhaps we can push this to the top and get some discussion about what fools and knaves these very serious ‘bipartisan’ folks be?

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  62. leo says:

    I’ll just say that pushing these “fitting the draperies” rumors isn’t helpful — especially after scolding the Obama people for prematurely using a pseudo-Presidential seal and, more recently, “taking a victory lap” in Philly.
    No doubt this story-line will now show up on Fox news tonight.

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  63. Steve Clemons says:

    Rob — thanks. I can’t validate the above. As I said, it’s a rumor — but it’s important to know I guess that the Obama transition team is really in full gear.
    Chasseur — Meant to thank you as well for being such a long term reader. I respect your and other views on Bill Richardson. As I said, I’m not dead set against him….I just have concerns. I know he’s got great strengths — but he’s got some large scale issues that make him a complicated choice (for me)…but I respect alternative views.
    best, steve

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  64. Rob Salkowitz says:

    I suspect Kerry would probably have less of a confirmation problem. That said – State? Really?

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  65. Steve Clemons says:

    Well…I’d go with Hagel actually. I’m not totally opposed to Bill Richardson who has a long roster of jobs he has done. I agree with many of his views — but I want someone who is going to build the capacity and morale of the Department of State and make the case for other kinds of ‘soft power’ deployment. Richardson has yet to do the things that I think he needs to do to assure someone like me — who has known him over the years — that he will make his next job about the cause, about America’s interests, and not his own whims and personal obsessions. He’s mercurial, rough to work for — and doesn’t tend to treat his staff in ways that I think his excellent staff deserve. I have written about this before — and until Governor Richardson reaches out and assures those of us commenting on his role and those who might put him in charge of thousands of staff members who work hard for the interests of this country under tough conditions, then I find it tough to be enthusiastic about his potential appointment.
    But I am reporting what I heard. Bill Richardson seems to be high on the list whether I like it or not.
    – Steve Clemons

    Reply

  66. Chasseur says:

    Steve,
    I read your blog everyday and while I don’t always agree with you I’ve always understood your reasoning. Until now. Kerry over Richardson? Huh? Why? This baffles me…

    Reply

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