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11.21.08

Republicans for Hillary!

Neocons, right-wing scribes, and impeachment managers are in rare agreement with Obama —Clinton is a great choice for Secretary of State.

>Hillary Clinton has found some unlikely allies and supporters in her journey to becoming Secretary of State: neoconservatives, contributors to the National Review, even a former manager of her husband's impeachment proceedings. You might call it a vast right-wing conspiracy.

How to explain the generally positive take Republicans have on Clinton's nomination? Her willingness to veer right in international policy. While she all but—all but—apologized for her pro-war vote in the Democratic primaries, Republicans are counting on her toughness in the days ahead. As one consultant put it: "We all know that secretly, she's a hawk." Writing in The Weekly Standard's blog, Michael Goldfarb wrote hopefully about Clinton "even present[ing] the case for war with Iran to an insubordinate United Nations in the event that Obama's personal diplomacy somehow fails to deter the mullahs from their present course." His editor, Bill Kristol, responded to the news with a giddy email: "I look forward to working with her!"

Reached this afternoon as word of an official offer was spreading, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—he's the former Clinton impeachment manager—had nothing but praise about the selection. "She's got the right skill set for the job," he said, "There's no country in the world she can't go to. I mean, she's Hillary! Not many people in the world are known by their first name like that." Graham said her confirmation in the Senate should be "no problem," thanks to her knack for personal diplomacy. "She's good at giving credit to others, which works well in the Senate." As for diplomacy abroad, Graham emphasized her less warm and fuzzy side, "She's gotta pretty good view of how the Russians are drifting in the wrong direction." By "good,” Graham means a view NOT shared by all of her Democratic colleagues. Echoing Goldfarb, he added, "in the primaries, she had a tougher view on Iran than Obama."

"I look forward to working with her!" Bill Kristol wrote in an email.

Among former McCain advisers—Graham was one of the closest—Hillary's selection probably satisfies their sense that she has better judgment than Obama on foreign policy matters. McCain was respectful, even deferential to Clinton as a colleage, and staffers made no secret about their preference for Hillary as a more worthy rival. Her elevation, however, might also come with a surprising bit of schadenfreude: Clinton as Secretary of State means that Obama supporter John Kerry—once counted as a friend of McCain's—would not profit from his role as attack dog against the Republican nominee. News reports that Kerry ran after McCain to catch an escalator ride with him on his first day back on the Hill have been met with amusement by former campaign staffers, who pledge to hold a grudge even if McCain doesn't.

For her part, Clinton advisers explain her appeal to the right with an aphorism that would serve her just as well in her new role. Says a source close to the Senator, "Political pragmatism is where this starts and ends."

Ana Marie Cox is a Wonkette emerita, political junkie, self-hating journalist, and author of Dog Days. She has worked for Time, Mother Jones, Suck, and most recently, Radar. Follow her on Twitter.