“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton accepts post as Secretary of State

It could have been worse.

Senator Hillary Clinton has accepted Barack Obama's offer to become US Secretary of State, as the president-elect moved at rapid speed to assemble an all-star cabinet amid steep challenges at home and overseas. Telegraph

Friends of the former First Lady told American news organisations that she had firmly decided to give up her seat as a senator for New York and become the international face of the man who thwarted her presidential ambitions in a long and sometimes bitter battle for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Other reports said Mr Obama will nominate Timothy Geithner, 47, as his Treasury Secretary. As head of the New York federal reserve bank he has been involved with the $700 billion bail-out of Wall Street, which he will take charge of if confirmed.
As a former treasury official, Mr Geithner has invaluable Washington experience and will be considered a wise choice. Stocks soared as news of his appointment reached Wall Street.

He will probably be joined around the cabinet table by Bill Richardson, the New Mexico governor, who has been reportedly selected as commerce secretary after losing out to Mrs Clinton as secretary of state, the most prestigious job beneath the presidency.
With Mr Obama likely to name his economic team in full within a few days, and Mrs Clinton's decision clearing the way for other foreign policy posts to be filled, he is set to complete many of the most important slots in his administration at uncommonly early stage.

His choices for the positions of health secretary, attorney general and homeland security are Tom Daschle, Eric Holder, and Janet Napolitano, respectively, though they remain subject to approval by his vetting team.

Though news about some appointments has leaked out, to the frustration of the Obama camp, his transition from winning candidate to president is proceeding at a pace and with a smoothness that has impressed political observers.

Mr Obama and his aides have understood that with the financial markets very jittery and economic confidence subsiding a calm and orderly changeover was paramount.

His administration will feature veterans of the Bill Clinton administration and politicians rewarded for their early support of during the primaries, such as Mr Richardson, Janet Napolitano, the Arizona governor tipped to become head the Homeland Security Department and Tom Daschle, who will run health.

His recruitment of Mrs Clinton in particular honours Mr Obama's pledge to appoint an all-star cabinet, or a "team of rivals", of strong personalities who will speak their minds and provide contrasting views.

But some have criticised her management skills – her new department has 19,000 employees – and questioned her foreign policy experience at a time when the country is conducting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and facing growing pressure from Russia, Iran and China.

Obama supporters have also raised concerns that a politician with such a large power base would happily follow anyone else's orders. Some have been unable to forgive Mrs Clinton for her strong criticism of Mr Obama during the primaries, when she launched an advertisement questioning whether the nation would want such an inexperienced politician answering the White House hotline at 3am.

Mrs Clinton, 61, evidently had her own doubts, and was uncertain if she should give up her Senate seat from heavily Democratic New York, which she could most likely have occupied for the rest of her career.

The only hesitation about her within the Obama camp was removed after Mr Clinton co-operated fully with the vetting team's investigation of his network of overseas donors to his global charity.

The former president is understood to have promised not to conduct speaking engagements or seek funds from sources that might present a conflict of interest with the foreign policy his wife would be pursuing.


  1. ...on the other hand does blue grass get any better than Foggy Mountain Breakdown?

  2. Check out the mandolin solo right after the 3 minute mark.

  3. Nothing Is Better Than This-I Insist! A song so beautiful like a soul stirring.

    Tonight, mercifully, we get out final whipping of the year from the U of Hawaii football team.

  4. Rendez-Vous Des Cajuns

    While we're "fooling around." :)

    BTW, Deuce; Thanks for the Blog. We really do appreciate it.

  5. Bobal: Tonight, mercifully, we get out final whipping of the year from the U of Hawaii football team.

    Meanwhile the 101st Crapple Cup is being played in Pullman to find out whether the 0-10 Huskies or the 1-11 Cougars are the worst in the Pac 10.

  6. My Huskies are zero and ten? jeez I haven't been following the Pac 10--too much excitement here.

    You ever hear of a guy named Sonny Sixkiller?

    Adding it up, that would make Idaho, WSU and Washington a whopping 2 wins and 31 loses so far this year, in the aggregate.

    Third the thanks on the blog, deuce.

  7. Not even the Republicans have done that bad.

  8. Jonah Goldberg:

    "Barack Obama's signature issue in the primaries was his 'good judgment' to oppose the Iraq war. He invoked this more than any other qualification in his early battles with Hillary Clinton. She may have experience, he'd charge, but she lacked the wisdom to oppose the war. Indeed, the whole Democratic establishment was somehow corrupt or out of touch for not opposing the war, according to the Obamaphiles. So now Barack Obama is going to appoint Hillary Clinton to be the chief architect of his foreign policy..."

    The wha...?

    I understand the Secretary of State to be many things. Chief foreign policy architect has never been one of those things.


    "Moreover, he picked Joe Biden to be his running mate and 'partner' in the White House explicitly because of his foreign policy experience and judgment. But wait: Joe Biden, too, supported the war. Meanwhile, at Defense, it looks like he will keep George W. Bush's man, Robert Gates. Admittedly, Gates has always been more nuanced about the war than, say, Don Rumsfeld. But surely keeping Bush's SecDef is not exactly what the anti-war Dems had in mind as 'change we can believe in.' Heck, Joe Lieberman's sitting pretty and he endorsed McCain. It will be interesting to see how long Obama's charisma can paper over reality."

    Depends on what reality. Bush did Obama the favor of removing the woah as an animating issue in this election. The rank-and-file hopes and dreams seem to be locked on a progressive domestic agenda. A really, really big progressive domestic agenda. One that might not even leave us with anything half so nice as the Blue Ridge Parkway or Arts and Crafts lodges in Yosemite.

  9. We might look forward to a really cool WPA artistic revival, though:

  10. Bobal: Not even the Republicans have done that bad.

    Not yet. But give Americans universal health care entitlement and amnesty to 20 million ill eagles, and the GOP will shrivel up and go the way of the Whigs. From here on out the US is under one party rule, the true lasting legacy of Dubya.

  11. Someone needs to work on a way for states to secede.

  12. Either that, or you'll find many people deciding to go back to Europe. And that will be the end for America.

  13. Someone needs to work on a way for states to secede.

    I thought that was you, mat.

  14. ...And that will be the end for America.


  15. Another thanks, Deuce.

    I've found a home...that place you have to go when there's no other place to turn, and where they take you in, like it or not.

  16. ...does blue grass get any better

    Teresita's plunked herself down in a good locale for blue grass. Not as familiar with Seattle as Portland, but the PNW overall has good music. Can't say as much for their politics, but even progressives have to be useful for something.

  17. ...and where they take you in, like it or not...

    ...because when you're banned in every motel in the country, what's left to lose?

  18. Linear, my brother fancies himself a player of anything with strings, but he's got a case of Attention Deficit Disorder so bad he needs to be hospitalized. He's got a room full of banjos and acoustic bass and mandolins and guitars and such, but he'll pick something up, play a riff, and then grab something else. Anyway, he's the one steered me to Yonder Mountain String Band. They don't even have a drummer, they simulate that by striking their instrument in some way it wasn't meant to. I like that. Adapt, improvise, overcome, Clint Eastwood liked to say.

  19. Always wanted to play bass. A friend offered to teach me once, but his wife intervened, me bein' a bad influence and all.

  20. Good on your bro. May he long play his strings and bring joy to the rest of us.

  21. They are playing an exciting game, anyhow, Teresita. Washington just kicked a field goal to match that of WSU, so it's now 13-13, and going into the second overtime.

  22. How do you kill an idea?

    Which is exactly what America is.
    An idea.

    Whose time has yet to come.

    I don't see mat movin' to Vancouver BC

  23. My friend who made the offer was an exceptional picker. Learned from his daddy who used to play with Bob Wills. The friend wanted someone to back him up, and said I had good rhythm. Feature that. An old white cracker with "good rhythm".

    Ya oughta see me dance. I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld. That girl's got moves!


  24. In the first overtime WSU couldn't get it over on three tries from about the 1 yard line, so had to kick a field goal:)

    Washington just missed a field goal from the 27. WSU has the ball, all they got to do is score somehow, game will be over.

  25. Speaking of improv,

    The Jumping Jacques:

  26. 37 yard field goal try coming up for Cougars--here we go!

    Time out, to relax.

  27. Linear, if Huckabee won we'd have a bassist going into the White House. Instead we got Wall Street playing the Obama Blues.

  28. I don't see mat movin' to Vancouver BC

    I don't see Mat having slanty eyes. You might, but I don't.

  29. Snapped, held, kicked, GOOOOOOOD!!!!!

    WSU wins Crappola Bowl!!!!

    Crowd goes wild!!


  30. Thanks for the play-by-play bobal, but you're still talking about special olympics football.

  31. Which is exactly what America is.
    An idea.

    Ideas are for pen and paper.

    America is a reality. You either live with that reality, embrace it, or reject it. How many are to embrace or reject the reality that is America today remains to be seen.

  32. Queen Gregoire beat Rossi in the election by denying his charge that there would be a $3.2 billion dollar deficit, and now after the election SHE says it could reach $6 billion.

  33. We've already lost 6 Trillion in the stock market on fears of the O, and he's not even been inaugurated yet.

  34. America is a reality. You either live with that reality, embrace it, or reject it.

    Six days buildup of dirty dishes in my sink is a reality. I don't live with it, embrace it, or reject it. I just take time to do the dishes. The old fashioned way.

    You might want to visit a haberdasher, mat. Your cap seems to be fitting a mite too tight.

  35. Citation for above remark from "Obama Proves To Be Stock Market Poison" from American Thinker.

    I think these structural campaign advantages helped a lot. If one accepts Ross's argument, then the market has discounted an Obama victory and now an Obama Presidency by $6 trillion in two months. Are happy days here again?

  36. We've already lost 6 Trillion...

    A trillion here, a trillion there...pretty soon you're talkin real money.

    The Ghost of Everett Dirksen

  37. You might want to visit a haberdasher, mat. Your cap seems to be fitting a mite too tight.

    A big head is always good to have. So youz sure tiz not me propeller dat just spinning da wrong way?

  38. Ideas are dreams,
    not pen and paper
    America is an idea, mat

    The United States, on the other hand, is a reality.

    The two are not the same. Though the marketers have spent over 140 years, now, trying to convince us that they are.

    There are those that dream the old dreams of republican liberty

    Of leaving the leviathan behind.

    But then the same folksee America and the US entwined.

  39. Wind power, Mat, wind power. Point your head down, and into the wind. That's what I do:)

  40. The two are not the same.

    I wont quibble over marketing terms. The fact remains, there's only one reality.

  41. This is the fellow that was with us on the wild horse project against the Forest Service.

    Grijalva could be 2nd Arizonan in Cabinet

    by Dennis Wagner - Nov. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    Arizona could lose not one but two of its elected officials to President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet.

    Just days after officials with Obama's transition team said Gov. Janet Napolitano is the top choice for Homeland Security secretary, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., has emerged as a leading contender for secretary of the Interior.

    Grijalva, 60, is a Tucson native and son of an immigrant Mexican farm worker. He served as Hispanic co-chair for Obama's presidential campaign and has been a fierce critic of the Bush administration's environmental policies. He serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and chairs the national parks, forests and public lands subcommittee.
    The Interior secretary traditionally comes from a Western state, where management of public lands is a key issue. The Interior Department manages about 500 million acres of federal land, or one-fifth of the United States. The administration post also serves as a steward for the nation's Indian reservations.

    On Friday, the Washington Post and the political Web site said Grijalva is a top contender for the post. Both cited transition officials as sources.

    When the Federals ocntrol 50% of the land in your State, 20% of the land in the Country, it pays to know all the Federal folks, not just be a one label shopper.

    But regardless of brand, buy American.

  42. Robert Reich:

    The President-Elect has also signaled the country what he wants to do: enact an "Economic Recovery Plan" that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011. In his words (from Saturday's radio address), a plan "big enough to meet the challenges we face ... a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy." Again, I have no inside knowledge, but I'd expect it to be about $600 to $700 billion.

    Its focus will be on infrastructure of a sort that will not only put people to work but also improve the productivity of the economy. His words: "We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead."

    In short, Obama's job-stimulus plan will be a down-payment on his larger plan to increase the nation's public investment. "These aren't just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis," he says, "these are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long. And they represent an early down payment on the type of reform my Administration will bring to Washington." He could not be more specific, at least while still President-Elect.

    My simple suggestion was to pay the momentarily-down-on-their-luck to string (after first untangling) everyone's Christmas lights, and then to take them down sometime before Lent. This could, in fact, be extended to the devil-may-care Christmas-lighting of whole heretofore unfestive swaths of the country. The Grand Canyon, say. The Everglades. Acadia National Park. All the Gulf State embassies. (Oh, right. But we might get a Public Works Ninja Team to pull it off. Who wouldn't wanna pay for that?)

    No one ever reads my suggestions.

  43. Nationwide Easter Egg Hunt. Coloring AND hiding them.

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Oh, it'll be a tad more serious than that, trish.

    Or all the fear and foreboding will be for naught.

    The GOP in AZ retains the two Senate seats, gains the Governor's mansion while it has slipped in the House.
    With our Congressman Grijalva showing the opportunities still available in the United States. The family Grijalva, illegal immigrant to Congressman and Cabinet Secretary in one generation.

  46. That's what makes this country great, Rat.

    And I might add, to my assiduously ignored list of make-work, salsa lessons for the entire country. Like a Latin (the easier kind) extension program. Because a country that could salsa AND come over there every few years and seriously mess you up is...*awesome*.

  47. Speaking of ideas I was thinking of Harry Jaffa this evening and the bitter, never-to-be-resolved, disputes among conservatives. I found and really liked this:

    April 04, 2008, 0:06 p.m.

    The Soul of Buckley
    In a word, magnanimous.

    By Harry V. Jaffa

    It is with great sadness that I write of my departed friend, Bill Buckley. He was seven years my junior, and I had looked forward all these years to the office he would perform for me. I can repine however in the comfort of the Foreword that he wrote in 1984 for American Conservatism and the American Founding. He began: “If you think Harry Jaffa is hard to argue with, try agreeing with him.” If he had lived to be a hundred, he could not have found better words to express the purpose of my life. So my epitaph is part of his legacy.

    Buckley continued his Foreword: “He studies the fine print in any agreement as if it were a trap or treaty with the Soviet Union.” This was not however a negative comment. He knew that as an interpreter of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Gettysburg Address, I was concerned with subjects far more consequential than any treaty with the Soviet Union. At bottom, the disagreements concerning the American political tradition were disagreements concerning the nature of the human soul. And it did not take any argument to convince Bill Buckley that, when you came to the human soul, you did not fool around. Bill never forgot that my first book was on Aristotle and Aquinas.


  48. "We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels...

    All requiring concrete, which in turn requires Portland Cement. Guess what common material is one of the biggest generators of poisonous CO2? Will the polar bear lobby stand still for this travesty? Anyone? Bueller? Al Gore?

  49. Linear: All requiring concrete, which in turn requires Portland Cement. Guess what common material is one of the biggest generators of poisonous CO2?

    Well, let's go back to laying plank roads like they did in the Civil War era. Oh, wait! Dammits!

    Anyway, it seems to me if you lay petroleum product in the form of tar down and drive on it, you aren't burning it and it isn't turning back into CO2.

    You've never heard this kind of music before. It's called Berlin School and I have loved listening to it since 1974. I even make my own.

  50. And that 6 Trillion referenced above is just in the United States. Uncounted are the vast loses in the rest of the world, when the US gets the sniffles.



    Eat a Chicken for Thanksgiving Dinner

  51. Speaking of poisonous CO2, next Friday is the final day of public comment to the EPA as it considers listing this gas as a controllable pollutant, or whatever the plan. Get your comments in now. Tell 'em to go to hell.

    They're gonna get you so tied up, you won't be able to exhale.

  52. The damnable greenies with their anti nuclear crap have put more
    CO2 in the atmosphere with all these coal fired plants than all the rest of us combined.

  53. Bobal, unemployment is approaching 8% and they are showing more and more pictures of 1930's style soup lines. People aren't going to give a hoot about any of this global warming shit when they get layoff notices they can directly attribute to the green busybodies.

  54. Berlin School.

    Nice, T.

    Even my old deaf ears enjoyed it.


  55. Particularily when the earth is cooling right now, T., but the trouble is, election's over without a Supreme Intervention, and the people's voice no longer counts. They blew it.

    You can write to the EPA, and should, till you're green in the face, about CO2, but the decisions have already been made.

  56. Idaho's football team has developed a 'new strategy' to deal with the Hawaiians, I am being told. Something about the Pele Option, and running like molten lava through the gaps.

  57. Big game next week down in Boise, Bob. Bulldogs come up to Idaho once again to play on that ugly blue turf.

  58. If you have not read Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution, you should.

    One of the relatively few books I shipped here.

  59. And Carl Becker's The Declaration of Independence.

  60. I'll be danged, the new Pele offense is working, marched right down the field in an excellent manner, 7-0.

    Hawaii has a massive big front offensive line, average about 320 pounds. We'll see what they do now.

    I hope you beat Boise State, Linear.

  61. I read a book this year, can't recall the name, that gave scholarship purporting to show that one of the reasons for setting up a Union and Constitution was that under the older way lenders had a hell of a time collecting from debtors, mostly farmers. The legislatures were controlled by the farmers and they would always find something to pass to put the lenders off.

  62. Well, lava flows both ways, 7-7.

  63. We're getting clobbered now. Fumble, fumble, mumble, grumble and trouble. 35-10, Hawaii is way too tough for us. After our first TD series, we gained 32 yards the rest of the half.

    I'm turning it off. I've done my character building for this year.

  64. h/t Charles

    Here's an article with a picture of the interesting guy that filed the lawsuit Justice Thomas has accepted for discussion. It seems the New Jersey ballot, and other states too, had one person, the socialist workers party candidate I think it is, who isn't even a citizen, but a Nicaraguan, a resident alien:)

    We got to clean up our act, if it's not too late.

  65. Boise's always tough, Bob.

    Better luck next year. Any team that calls itself the Vandals is one to watch.

    Our coach is doing well. In his interviews. Found some new cliches somewhere, and cleaned up his catch phrases. I feel guilty ragging on him. He's a good guy.

    Now if Nebraska can just beat Colorado...

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