A Stately Consolation Prize

The Senate began confirmation hearings this morning on Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State. In typical Washington fashion, there were interesting subtexts to be observed. Committee Chair John Kerry wanted to be Obama's Secretary of State; Clinton wanted to be Obama. Neither got what they really wanted, but everyone was playing nice.

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It is not what she most wanted, but it was the best of the rest. Hillary Clinton went before her colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning as the Senate began confirmation hearings on her appointment to be Secretary of State. ""America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America," Clinton told the Committee. "I believe American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted." As is so often the case with the Clintons, the moment was rich with irony; Senator Clinton had hoped to be appointing the next Secretary of State, not trying to be confirmed for the job. Her primary challenge to Barack Obama generated what, at the time, seemed like an unsurpassing level of political bitterness. Still she got the coveted job over the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, who desperately wanted it and who gave Obama his big break on the national stage by choosing him as the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But hey, we're all one big happy family, for now.

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