Hillary being set up to fail?

An interesting theory from Ross Douthat: …there will be difficulties – maybe a lot of difficulties – along the way, and it’s very easy to imagine a scenario in which the withdrawal from Iraq ends up dominating the foreign-affairs side of the ledger in Obama’s first term, and not necessarily in a good way. And ...

An interesting theory from Ross Douthat:

An interesting theory from Ross Douthat:

…there will be difficulties – maybe a lot of difficulties – along the way, and it’s very easy to imagine a scenario in which the withdrawal from Iraq ends up dominating the foreign-affairs side of the ledger in Obama’s first term, and not necessarily in a good way. And by putting the job in the hands of Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton – a Republican appointee and a primary-season rival who attacked him from the right on foreign policy – Obama has effectively given realists and liberal hawks partial ownership of whatever happens in Iraq between now and 2011. In a best-case scenario for progressives, Gates and Clinton will play the role Colin Powell played in the run-up to the Iraq War (except with a better final outcome, obviously): Their association with the policy will help keep non-progressives on board when things get dicey, and then once the job is done they’ll be pushed aside and someone like Susan Rice will take over Obama’s post-occupation foreign policy.

Again, interesting, but I find it hard to imagine that Barack Obama really thinks this way. Just try to picture the meeting where he and his closest advisors hash out this strategy: “Hey, David, let’s set Hillary up for failure so that Susan Rice can implement her liberal agenda in 2012!” This man has just become the president of the United States, and by all indications — like today’s announcement of his economic team — he is a serious person, not a political hack.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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