Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Next Dick Cheney?

So whether you agree with it or not, we are all aware of the office of the Vice Presidency greatly expanding its role under the Bush administration. Cheney was a key player in many of the major policy decisions of the past years and was privy to information and authority in many areas on par with the President. Though it appears that Biden may not have as a powerful role (symbolically, it has already been announced he will not get a daily national security briefing when the President does), we may be seeing a similar advancement happen elsewhere.

Where that may be? The Hillary Clinton State Department. The New York Times reported that a Clinton aide explained that Clinton wishes to expand the role of the State Department regarding the current economic crisis. She is even hiring one of Bill Clinton's old budget directors to by a deputy on economic issues. This is interesting because this is a role in which the State Department has in the past only been indirectly involved. Trade agreements are negotiated by the US Trade Representative and there are a list of other agencies that deal with foreign aide. Foreign activity dealing with the recent economic crisis has largely been dealt with by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

But more interesting to me is the idea that this may just be an early sign of things to come. It's commonly known and even joked about on Saturday Night Live over how much Hillary wanted the Presidency, and this is not a weak personality (think Cheney). Armed with connections all over Washington from the Clinton presidency, compared to the relative Washington newcomer, Obama,(once again think Cheney) she may be in a place to greatly increase the power of her office. If she can't have the Presidency in name, perhaps she can have it in effect. Time will only tell.