The Lone Ranger A Dream Team After All?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton became rivals during the past year. Now, the president-elect has signalled he wants the former first lady to join his administration. A very wise move, writes SPIEGEL ONLINE blogger Peter Ross Range.

Back in the dim mists of January, some of us thought the best route to a new Democratic government would be the “dream team” of Hillary Clinton (for president) and Barack Obama (for vice-president). It was not to be. Obama smote Clinton and climbed alone to the mountaintop. Or so we thought. Now, as the Obama administration begins to take shape, what do we see: The Dream Team.

If Obama brings Hillary on board, the Democrats will be unified for good.

If Obama brings Hillary on board, the Democrats will be unified for good.

Barack Obama is showing a level of political genius that I had not expected. His outreach to Hillary Clinton as his possible secretary of state is a stunning move that will redound to his benefit -- even if she turns him down. By moving toward her with the highest offer he can make, the president-elect has recreated the Dream Team. He has drawn Hillary, the second most important Democrat in the country, into his intimate power circle. Despite a few anti-Hillary voices in the party, he has re-cemented the Democratic Party’s internal glue.

Even if Clinton stays in the US Senate -- which might be a lot more useful to Obama than having her as secretary of state -- she could become the new president’s chief partner in reshaping the country. She may not be president, and she might not become secretary of state. But, thanks to Obama, she has been anointed co-leader of the Democratic renaissance, the coming Obama resurrection.

Clinton has to love it. This where she always wanted to be. She is a combination of high idealism and raw political realism. Her ideals are undiminished, but her realistic influence was eroded in her primary losses to Obama. Now Barack has given her realism back. He has enhanced her effectiveness in the political arena.

What’s also interesting -- and comforting to an old Clintonite like me -- is that Obama is reaching deep into the seasoned Clinton bench for the leading members of his administration. Where else should he go, after all? Clinton’s eight years cultivated a generation of super star policy makers and political operatives -- think Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin. They have been devoting their talents to other enterprises for eight years. Now they’re ready to take up the mantle they left off in 2000. In my 30 years in Washington, I don’t remember having seen such an experienced shadow Democratic government ready to take the field for a new administration.

Ironically, Barack Obama seems to be realizing the Clinton Restoration. Under his leadership, it could be even better than under Hillary’s. He has the charisma, the worldwide adulation, the support of all the non-Hillary parts of the Democratic coalition. And now, best of all, he also seems to have Hillary.


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