Why Obama can’t pick Clinton



President-elect Barack Obama cannot appoint Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state. Frankly, I think Sen. Clinton would do a good job. But her husband, President Bill Clinton, is too much of a liability.

I’m sad to say this, because I am, and have been, a big fan of President Clinton.

But here is the problem: President Clinton has been raising money from foreign governments for the last eight years, money dedicated to humanitarian causes that any reasonable person would approve. How can you disapprove of projects to deal with the AIDS crisis in Africa and similar catastrophes?

But you know very well that any measure taken by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be compared to the donations received by former President Clinton. And the first time there is any kind of a match, the fact that the money went to widows, orphans, starving people or desperately ill people won’t make any difference. The propaganda machines that still have many people convinced that Obama is a Muslim (in spite of all the controversy about the Christian Church he attended for decades) will spew out hate.

It is sad that initiatives undertaken by President Clinton to help the poor, the sick, the downtrodden and the disadvantaged damage his wife. But they do, they do indeed. I can just hear the screeching and raging of the right-wing radio shock jocks when it turns out that we’ve made some agreement with the country whose leader donated to combating AIDS in Africa through President Clinton’s foundation.

This truly is a sad state of affairs. However, the right-wing shock jocks know no limits. I shudder every time I think of Ann Coulter talking about how the widows of people incinerated in the World Trade Center must be enjoying their widowhood. I do not know if Coulter is married, but if she is, I pity the poor devil who is her husband. I hope she lives a long life, most of it cold and lonely. Rush Limbaugh could not think of any reason why Colin Powell would support Obama except race. That is a sad indictment of Limbaugh. Limbaugh supported McCain, another old white guy. Why was that not a racial choice just like Powell’s selection? If white people choose white people, that’s not racial, but if black people choose black people it is? Oh, and by the way, according to Rush we are in the Obama recession. Now there is reason unhinged. Rush wants to blame a recession created by Bush that is in full swing (if you don’t believe me look at the 50,000 jobs Citibank just tossed off) and say it is the fault of the guy who won’t even become president for another two months.

Is there any chance Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would fair treatment from the people you know will be combing over the donations to her husband’s foundation? All of you who answered yes need to stay after class and clean erasers. Everything she does as secretary of state would be matched to the donations that Bill Clinton’s foundation received, and the fact that neither he nor she gets a dime of that money will not matter at all.

I think she might be a wonderful secretary of state. But I don’t think that we can afford the price exacted by people like Rush, who don’t seem to care about how much damage they do to our country.


Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. The offices of Barr and Mudford, LLP, are at 1824 Court St. in Redding and can be reached at 243-8008.

Dugan Barr
Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967, primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. He can be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 243-8008, or dugan@ca-lawyer.com.
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18 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    Before Hillary Clinton can become Secretary of State:

    1) Bill Clinton must provide a complete listing of all donors to his foundation and presidential library.

    2) Both Bill and Hillary Clinton need to clearly indicate that any and all private financial dealings and other interactions with foreign leaders is now over, unless specifically authorized by the US government.

    3) Hillary Clinton needs to publically discuss exactly what her approach to the job of Secretary of State would be and clearly indicate how she would be able to perform that job without any conflict of interest whatsoever.

    If the Clintons are unwilling or unable to comply with the above requirements Hillary Clinton should not become Secretary of State.

  2. Judy Salter says:

    I agree. Bill is a liability on a number of fronts, not just financial. National and international news sources, however, say that there are some issues with appointing Bill Richardson who certainly would have been my choice. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Despite being an early Hillary supporter l, I feel the Clintons just bring too much political baggage into the selection process of what may be his most important cabinet nominee.

  3. William Palumbo says:

    This recession was not caused by Bush. Bush has enacted business friendly legislation on the whole.

    This recession was caused by government involvement in issuing home mortgages, bad legislation enacted primarily under Democrats, and poor Congressional oversight (big surprise!) of bankrupt-proof Fannie and Freddie. A lax money policy by the Fed also contributed to overexpansion and dramatic over valuation in certain industries.

    What we are seeing now is the unraveling of all this and more. The common link is bad governance. Barack Obama promises legislation that is UNfriendly to business. When your solution to recession involves the same ingredients that cause it, it's no wonder that those in-the-know would take their money out of stocks put it instead into hard assets.

  4. jason says:

    Sorta off-topic, but Ann Coulter is a Deadhead. Who knew?

  5. L.R. Watson says:

    That said, if Hillary were president elect does anyone honestly think that she would select Obama as Secretary of State or for any other position in her Cabinet?

  6. Michele E. says:

    I applaud Obama's "team of rivals" in concept – but Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State takes the concept too far, in my opinion. I'm not confident that she is capable of setting aside her own agenda to carry out Obama's, which would be her duty. The inevitable constant speculation about who is really in charge of foreign policy would be the subtext of every effort. While the financial issues are the most legitimate of the concerns about Bill, I agree that they don't stop there. How long until the next distracting scandal? How much time and energy consumed rehashing the past ones? Too much baggag is right. And there are far more qualified people available. But it sure is looking like a done deal.

  7. pmarshall says:

    I agree with most things said. I think Bill would be a real liability to Hillary. She is very smart, very capable, but there is just too much baggage, and that is unfortunate.

  8. Susan Daugherty says:


    I think that we have elected a president that will not allow the Rush Limboughs and Ann Coulters of the world dictate his actions. No doubt any appointee will keep them ranting for hours, but a person needs a stable job these days.

    I agree with Robert's post regarding the prerequisites for a Clinton appointment and I think we may just see that come to past. You have to admit, these are fascinating times in spite of the turmoil of our financial futures.

  9. First, let me agree and say that I agree with the premise of the article: Obama cannot pick Clinton as Secretary of State.

    I think, however, that the reasons mentioned in this article for why Obama cannot pick Hillary as SOS miss bigger overlying reasons.

    Bill Clinton has unfortunately cast a giant political shadow over Hillary. This has both helped and hurt Hillary immensely.

    We cannot forget, however, that the role of the Secretary is not a position that is supposed to please the public. Obama does not and should not have any inclination to stick Hillary in her cabinet to "send a message." He does not have to appease the voters by awarding such a position. The Secretary of State is much less of a political position than I believe the above comments lend itself to being.

    Instead, the position of Secretary of State is often given to one who is (at least perceived) most qualified to do the job. Currently, I believe this person is Bill Richardson. Richardson has done a lot of America's dirty work. He's negotiated with all the world's bad boys.

    I was fortunately able to meet Gov. Richardson at a barbecue/house-party in Reno. At this point, he casually told old stories of how he made cultural mistakes while visiting Sadaam Hussein. It's clear that he learned from these mistakes and is extremely cautious about how he is perceived now.

    This is the type of person we need to deal with foreign leaders. We can't have someone who exaggerates about "sniper fire" to use their position of SOS to fund their political future.

    I have to say that I respect your opinions, Mr. Barr, but I would encourage you to try to be more fair in your future political analysis. I'm surprised that Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter and his comments are even a consideration while thinking of Obama's cabinet. I can understand your frustrations with the neo-conservative movement, but it's hard to take seriously an article put forth which only seeks to explain how bad the extreme other side is. I believe this is the second article I've read that seems to be dripping with a divisively liberal tone. I'm not saying that "liberal" is a bad thing. What I am saying is that instead of taking a practical approach which offers a problem and solutions I often see comments such as "the right wing… spews hate…"

    Maybe this is just my Political Science major leaking, but I find that it's monumentally important to accept all viewpoints and work with them. In the end, it doesn't matter who's liberal or who's conservative. With the changing political environment, "conservative" or "liberal" means can mean something entirely different from day to day. Why not attack politicians based on their mistakes or flawed reasoning than their platform or their pundits? I can't say that I disagree with this article, I just had hoped for something a bit deeper from such an established writer with a great mind.

    I welcome disagreement.

  10. Hey, Rocky–

    I very much appreciate your thoughtful tone and well-reasoned arguments, and I agree with much of what you have to say. I feel it's important, as you say, to not give shock jocks and noise machines power by letting their tactics dictate our actions or decisions. I also think it's very important not to demonize members of opposing political persuasions. In my opinion, that's un-American and unproductive. Not to mention the fact that we are all complex individuals that cannot be summed up or stereotyped by our political affiliations.

    At the same time, I do think that when a commentator such as Ann Coulter makes a statement such as, "If you don't hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don't love your country," or "The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals," the term "spewing hate" is not off the mark. Being receptive to opposing points of view that are expressed in reasonable terms is one thing, but pretending that hate speech is the same thing demeans the former and hamstrings efforts to work in the direction you're advocating, in my opinion.

  11. Unabashed American says:

    It is becoming clear that the only "change" that Americans will see with this inexperienced, unqualified party hack as president is what is left in their pockets. At least we won't have to wait for the Dems to kill the economy…it is DOA after just 2 years of Dem control of Congress.

    Celeste: How would you characterize the receptiveness of opposing POV as exhibited by the homosexual lobby after their trouncing at the polls? Somehow, I think you would say "That's different".

  12. Unabashed American:

    I guess I don't understand your question. Could you clarify for me, please? Thanks. Or is it a question? Or maybe you are content to answer it for me. At any rate, if you really are interested in my response, I actually don't quite get your question and would appreciate you fleshing out your idea.

  13. Dorothy Nethery says:

    I could care less what Hannity or Limbaugh have to say. Despite their eight years of attempting to destroy Bill Clinton, he left office with a high approval rating. So stop being so fearful. After the brilliant campaign that Obama ran, I am sure he knows what he is doing. I would hesitate to second guess his decisions now. I am confident he knows exactly what he is doing if Hillary is his choice. We won, big time! Are we so used to losing, that we become frightened with success?!

    Keep hope alive.

    Dorothy Nethery

  14. Keep Paddling says:

    Now that Obama has picked Clinton, it will be interesting to see what changes Bill Clinton will make. There was a pretty interesting article over at Slate Loyalty: It's the most overrated virtue in politicswhich addressed some of Michele's issues.

  15. Dugan Barr Dugan Barr says:

    Now that it appears that Senator Clinton is the choice, I hope events prove me wrong. I just keep thinking about how well the Neo-Cons used a relationship between President Clinton and a member of his staff to, in my opinion, seriously compromise his effectiveness as President. I concede that what he did was stupid. I agree that it is, in the view of many, immoral. But it did not involve national security issues. There was not threat to the country. It was adultery, an activity that most polls show is no stranger to a majority of the people who live in this country.

    Granted, he lied about it. All of you who are guilty of adultery (and readily admitted it when asked) can pick up a rock off of that pile over there and throw it at him now. Hmm no takers. What a surprise.

    The point is that the anti-Clinton people were willing to use the most common sin known to man to try to cripple his Presidency. They could not deal with him on the merits, so they used the back door of personal attack. They will use whatever they can find, factual or not, against Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.

    By the way, how many of those who were so self righteous about President Clinton had strayed themselves and just never got caught?

  16. Dorothy Nethery says:

    Just heard the T.V. news and was quite happy to hear that 69% of people are happy with Obama's cabinet picks. This includes Hillary. Horray!!

  17. RGlenn says:

    President-elect Barack Obama made the only choice he could make for Secretary of State, former First Lady and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is the most qualified and experienced person to assume that position in this new century.

    Hillary’s role as First Lady served us well when her husband was President and it will serve us well again as Secretary of State. This only reinforces her argument when she ran for US President that as First Lady she did serve a foreign policy role. To his credit President-elect Barack Obama affirms her position and lays the ground work for future First Ladies or Gentlemen to follow in their spouses footsteps.

    Perhaps, Obama has a longer range goal in mind—seeing his wife Michele follow in his footsteps.

    No one should be afraid of what Bill Clinton could do to his wife that he hasn’t done already. There marriage is no different from any other political couple. The Republicans spent between $50-$70 million taxpayer dollars vetting the Clinton’s during the 1990’s.

    The former President has promised to keep the Obama Administration updated on previous, current and future donors. This should be sufficient for most reasonable supporters of the new Obama Administration.

    Bill Clinton is no Billy Carter. Clinton will tow the line for Hillary regarding her political aspirations.

    Barack Obama must be highly praised for surrounding himself with such highly qualified people. What a relief after eight years of incompetence.

  18. justme says:

    This is a perfect place for Obama to place Hillary. If Obama had chosen Hillary to be his running mate, she would have been unable to be such a great help to Obama. In this position Hillary is the perfect choice.

    I am very pleased with the wisdom Obama has shown in each and every one of his selections.

    The more I see of Obama the more I like the man and I have hope for the first time in years that we will have a President who cares, who is in touch with the needs of the people and one who will listen to the advice of others wiser than he, in areas of their expertise, instead of expecting a "yes sir".

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