The Campaign Spot

What’s Going on With the Clinton-ites in the Obama Administration?

Last night, while guest-hosting Hugh Hewitt’s show, Andy McCarthy shared an observation that I think I’m going to file away. There’s something interesting going on with the Clintonites in Obama’s administration, particularly as it relates to the war on terror and national security.

Hillary Clinton has had her duties chipped away by a multitude of special envoys, special advisers, and czars; we saw her rather intemperate outburst in Africa a few weeks ago, and we hear continued murmurs that Obama won’t let her “take off the burqa”; the New York Times discusses “the nagging question of whether Mrs. Clinton felt marginalized in the Obama administration.”

CIA Director Leon Panetta has had his duties chipped away by Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence. Some tension between the two positions is pretty much baked in the cake, but the scuttlebutt is that the DNI’s authority is growing and the CIA director’s authority is shrinking. We’ve heard that Panetta threatened to resign.

Dennis Ross got nudged from Hillary’s “special adviser for the Gulf and Southwest Asia” to a spot on the National Security Council. Jim Jones wasn’t necessarily a “Clintonite,” but he definitely stands out on Obama’s team, and there have been rumors about “long knives” out for him for a while.

There are other former Clinton administration folk who seem quite comfortable in Obama’s team — Attorney General Eric Holder, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Richard Holbrooke, etc. But the ones who arguably could be called more hawkish are finding themselves in different positions, with more limited duties, than they might have expected . . .

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