Where Have You Gone, Hillary Clinton?

Where is Hillary Clinton?  She has been out of the news for a long time, which is surprising given the foreign policy challenges that the Obama Administration is facing.   It is also strange that President Obama recently appointed two envoys: George Mitchell for the Middle East and Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan-Pakistan. Holbrooke has been very visible thus far, meeting with Pakistani and Afghan leaders to discuss the situation in that volatile region.  Why wasn’t Hillary sent to talk with them?  It would be understandable for a presidential envoy to be dispatched to deal with protracted talks and treaty negotiations given the fact that the secretary of state has many duties to attend to, including managing a large government bureaucracy, but it is odd that an envoy would be tapped this early in an administration to conduct basic talks with heads of state and foreign ministers.  Perhaps Hillary is getting briefed about a variety of foreign policy issues and doing a lot of reading, but she was recently a presidential candidate so one would think she would be well informed about such topics. 


Will Hillary continue to have a low profile?  It seems unlikely, but one never knows.  It is possible that Obama doesn’t want Hillary to have a high profile and take some of the limelight away from him.  Perhaps he appointed her merely to appease elements in the Democratic Party who wanted her to president.  If he were really Machiavellian and wanted Hillary out of the spotlight he could force her to resign a year from now; not only would she be out of his cabinet, she wouldn’t be able to return to the Senate because someone has already replaced her.  But I doubt that Obama is trying to sideline her; he doesn’t seem that insecure, politically or personally.


Maybe Hillary is just getting her bearings and will soon take on a more public role.  Hopefully that will be the case because she is clearly intelligent; although that doesn’t necessarily mean that she will be good at her job.  I predict that she will be an active member of the administration, and maybe she already has been behind the scenes.  The advisory aspect of the job is arguably as important as the diplomatic one, and the president needs all the good advice that he can get.


By the way, if Obama is going to continue to appoint presidential envoys I think I should be one.  After all, I am already “The Envoy,” so why not make it official?


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