Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama's Secretary of State Candidates

Real Clear World looks at five of the leading candidates in the incoming Obama administration for the most important of the cabinet level positions, Secretary of State.

The first is former NSC staffer Richard Beers, who served under Presidents Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes. What's that you say, a bi-partisan? No, Beers resigned his post five days before the invasion of Iraq and has now formed a progressive national security think tank called the National Security Network and was alos a campaign advisor to the John Kerry campaign in 2004.

Next under the spotlight is Richard Lugar, Republicna Senator from Indiana who has developed a close relationship with Obama in the Senate. He is the GOP's ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations committee and its former chairman. One of Lugar's signature issues is nuclear proliferation, but it is doubtful he would get the post.

"But appointing a prominent member of the opposition party to be Secretary of State, the top cabinet post in any administration, would be rare if not unprecedented since the early days of the republic. In addition, Lugar has indicated that he would like to serve out his term and then seek re-election in 2012."

The next possibility is yet another Richard, this one former UN Ambassador Holbrooke. However, Holbrooke has a long history of association with the Clintons, being a finalist for Sec State after the departure of Warren Christopher in the Clinton administration (which went to Madeline Albright) and has advised both the Kerry 2004 campaign and Hillary's this election. However, Holbrooke does have signifigant experience in both Asia and Europe, having served as Asst. Sec of State for both regions during his career.

Finally a non Richard, New Mexico Governor and former Democratic Presidential hopeful Bill Richardson. Richardson is also a former UN Ambassador and served as Energy Secretary under Clinton, but came out early with an endorsement of Obama and certainly helped Obama carry New Mexico in the election. Richardson, raised in Mexico City, speaks fluent Spanish and would be the first Hispanic appointed to Sec of State.

Then there is the final possibility, one that makes me shudder personally, John Kerry. Kerry was another early and enthusiastic Obama supporter, and is the third ranking Democratic Senator on the Foreign Relations committee. Kerry is also thought to have a good relationship with VP Joe Biden, but did just get re-elected to the Senate.

I'd have to go with Richardson or Holbrooke personally, but there may hav ealready been a deal in the works for Kerry. Ugh.

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