I think there are 3 reasons for her appointment:
1. Better to have a powerful and devious enemy inside the tent pissing out, than in the Senate pissing in. The Dems didn't get 60, and it is predicable that Hillary would have manipulated the complex Senatorial power structure to put her name on two issues. Health Care. And Middle East peace. But she might have been in a position to support Obama, while ensuring "no cigar" unless their campaign differences were closed in her favor.
2. Hillary is about the last person I would send out to manage the complex issues of Middle East real politic. But her husband is another matter. The great unfinished business of Bill's administration was Arafat's refusal to sign on to Bill's brokered peace. Some one is going to need to sell Israel on some serious concessions. This will be his last chance to put his name on a giant "next step" past Oslo.
3. All of our Secretaries of State have, to one degree or another, parlayed their foreign relationships for economic advantage. (Remember Albright and the Iraqi/Kuwaiti debt? Henry the K. and the Shah? Baker and anybody with a buck? Everybody and the Saudi's?) But Bill and Hillary's influence is only as good as Obama's approval. And, I suspect, whatever influence they may "pedal" will also need Biden's approval.
Before the election Obama needed Hillary. Now she needs Obama. And, make no mistake, she will run again.
Your comments on Iraq are well taken. The point of the surge was reconciliation, not military stalemate. I don't pretend to understand the "real" agenda of the Carlyle Group, but there are some strange things going on outside the purview of the public.
1. The Kingdom is brokering a peace between the Taliban and Karzai. Gates appears to approve of the process.
2. Every knowledgeable expert (Michael Weir) on Iraq admits that Iraq is simply a civil war waiting to happen. We seem to be declaring victory on our way out the door.
3. It would appear that the US (and the Saudi's) will provide sufficient support to the Sunni militias to underwrite a counterbalance to the Shia controlled government. If we are lucky Iraq will morph from a nation state to an oil company.
At the end of the day, one must ask, what was the point? Is there any scenario that doesn't leave Iran in a stronger position than it was before the invasion? Given it's history, what plan will produce a positive result in Afghanistan?
"...taxing people for the purpose of redistributing wealth is un-American and wrong."
3 comments are in order:
1. When we start taxing people, rather than borrowing from China, you might have an argument under the heading of "wrong."
2. We already take money from the treasury via a tax exemption for employer health plans. This is a subsidy to insurance companies. Your choices are limited to those that give your employer the best deal.
3. "Un-American?" If that's so, why did the founders encode "Promote the General Welfare" into the pre-amble, and give Congress almost unlimited powers to regulate the economy? The question is better debated on the facts (is it wrong?), rather than first principles.
It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. Hydrocarbons have finally taken a firm place on the political agenda. Those who want to reverse our carbon consumption have the wind at their back. Sometime in the not distant future we may really offer equal educational opportunity without regard to income. And, a Presidential candidate actually declared in a debate that health care was a right. Finally, we may finally (to borrow from John Lewis) lay down the terrible burden of race.
Our international influence is actually quite strong. But it's all bad. Our influence is so strong that we almost pulled down the entire free world economy. It took a Scottish socialist to lay out a plan that has appeared to staunch the flow of blood. (Yes, it drips with irony.)
Greenspan and Bush dangled home ownership in front of the lower middle class, then forgot to raise salaries. We reformed Bankruptcy Law, then shoved 1/2 of America into Bankruptcy. We flooded the market with empty homes; pets; broken toys; and, dreams.
We must cut our losses in Iraq. We must pour money into the middle class and small business. Someone must lead us out of supply side economics. Trickle down. Herbert Spencer. How will we do that? Obama and a 60 + Democratic Senate.
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