President-elect Barack Obama's campaign was defined by a lack of drama – steady, methodical and virtually leak-proof. In the early days of the transition, however, the team that redefined stoic is finding things a little more chaotic in Washington. And no place is that more evident than the ongoing drama over the possible appointment of New York Senator Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State.
Those who thought the primary drama was left behind at the Democratic convention in Denver (or at least on Election Day) may not have seen this one coming. What is very obvious at the moment is that Clinton is indeed being "vetted" for the post. What's not so clear is whether all this fuss is worth the risks to the incoming administration.
On the surface, the consideration suggests some real reconciliation between the two former primary rivals. Clinton's level of support for the Democratic nominee continued to dog the party long after the last votes were cast for the nomination. Many of her supporters were infuriated at what they felt to be a slight when the senator was not vetted to become the vice presidential running mate. And the split in the party dominated the initial days of the national convention.
Now she's getting a serious look for one of the most important positions in the administration. But, as the New York Times and several other outlets have detailed, it's not an uncomplicated matter due to former president Clinton's post-presidential activities. Yet unrevealed sources of funding for his presidential library and the Clinton Foundation's involvement with foreign governments are but two of the potential stumbling blocks on the way to getting it done.
Which raises the question – what if she's ultimately not picked for the post? At this point it would seem less than flattering should Bill Clinton's activities preclude Senator Clinton from the job, a final blow dealt in an often rocky relationship between the past and incoming presidents. Should those issues be resolved satisfactorily, Mr. Obama could be elevating both Clintons to roles with unpredictable results (remember Bill Clinton's sometimes uneven public statements during the campaign?). Either way, it seems a high-stakes move by a usually methodical president-elect.