The appointment of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state tomorrow is supposed to be a salute to Lincoln's history of selecting Cabinet members who disagreed with him. Of course, Clinton and Obama disagreed on everything from whether it was right to talk with Iran and Cuba to whether the former First Lady was under sniper fire at a Bosnian airport.
So following the the advice of the Godfather Vito Corleone of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer may work in Mafia maneuvering, but it is poor policy to effectively govern the people of this nation.
If we go back to Lincoln, remember that his chief general, George McClellan, ended up running against him in 1864. And he would have beaten Lincoln if not for another general, Ulysses S. Grant, who was able to match Robert E. Lee on the field of battle because he didn't mind sacrificing great numbers of his men. Lee was a bit more compassionate.
Obama will suffer some embarrassment when the Clinton presidential library is forced to release names of its donors, which will include a lot of foreign governments that we should have been scrutinized instead of solicited for funds. And the Clinton administration is infamous for its failure to intervene in the greatest human atrocity since Pol Pot. Clinton failed to act while 800,000 Rwandans were being murdered.
The best candidate for secretary of state was New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who bravely deserted the Clinton machine during the Democratic primaries for Obama. Richardson, who has a helluva lot more foreign policy experience than Sen. Clinton, deserved the secretary of state job for the good of the country.
Obama will regret his strategy of surrounding himself with a lot of Clinton people. The only thing that may save him if he can find a Grant like Lincoln did.