Hillary's Back

There are plenty of plausible explanations for why Barack Obama decided to tap his former adversary, Hillary Clinton, to serve as the face and voice of his foreign policy, as his emissary to the world? But explanations that focus on the need to keep the Clintons and their supporters under control or to secure the support of women probably miss the point.

NEW YORK – So, why did he do it? What led Barack Obama to tap his former adversary, Hillary Clinton, to serve as his Secretary of State, the face and voice of his foreign policy, his emissary to the world?

There are plenty of plausible explanations. One can imagine that he is applying that old adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” In one stroke, Obama gets control of the Clinton political machine: the network, the donors, and the constituency. And he neutralizes the Clintons’ famous skill at corrosive sniping and flamboyant stage-hogging – the kind that led Al Gore and Bill Clinton to be on barely speaking terms during the 2000 Presidential campaign. With this appointment, Obama turns the big guns away from himself – and directs them outward. Shrewd tactics.

One can also imagine that he did it to secure the women’s vote. Not a single Democrat has won the White House without a substantial gender gap. But the exit polls and the data all show that Obama already has the support of a disproportionate share of American women. (The real news in his victory was that he got a chunk of white men, who rarely support a Democrat.)

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in

  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.