Hillary Clinton will accomplish a number of ‘firsts’ if she is inaugurated as President on January 20, 2017. She will be the first woman to ever hold the nation’s highest office, and she will be the first President to be married to a former President. She would have also been the first former First Lady ever elected to public office, but Hillary already claimed that title when she was elected to the U.S. Senate.
To complete our fantasy scenario of the start of the Clinton presidency, we’ll assume that the GOP retained control of the House of Representatives, while the Democrats picked up some critical Senate seats and now have a 51 to 49 majority. Clinton’s experience in the U.S. Senate will enable her to work more effectively with Congress than has been the case with President Obama.
Hillary promises a Cabinet that is 50 percent women
With Hillary Clinton running ahead in the polls Democrats are speculating what a Clinton cabinet might look like.
"I am going to have a Cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women". — Hillary Clinton
Other than her commitment to a Cabinet made up of at least 50 percent women, Hillary has avoided any comments on who will be in her administration. All presidential campaigns find it in their best interest to float as large a pool of potential players in their administration as possible. But, there are some names that keep coming up for key posts.
Secretary of State: While many think that the current Secretary, John Kerry would like to stay on, it is likely that Clinton will want a fresh face. Wendy Sherman’s name comes up in a Politico article, as did Nick Burns.
Secretary of Defense: Michele Flournoy was considered by President Obama and would seem a logical choice for Hillary.
Secretary of the Treasury: Some progressives are lobbying for Elisabeth Warren to assume this position, but it’s questionable if Sen. Warren would want the job. Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, who has worked at Treasury, is also seen as an exciting and innovative choice.
Attorney General: There is no shortage of names for this high profile position. Obama Cabinet member, Tom Perez is considered a strong contender and would be a carry-over from the Obama Administration. Two women, Janet Napolitano and Jennifer Granholm, have both served their state’s attorney general, also are getting support.
Secretary of Energy: Clinton campaign Chairperson John Podesta is said to be interested in this position, and Podesta is likely to get whatever he wants after Clinton’s win.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: This will be a crucial position given Hillary’s long interest in health care and the problems that Obamacare appears to be experiencing. Hillary is likely to want to implement her own version of health care.
The power behind Hillary Clinton in the White House will be former President Bill Clinton. Countless articles have been written, and will continue to be written, about the unique role the former President will play in the second Clinton presidency. The 42nd President will have no formal role or title, but will serve as a floating advisor to President Hillary Clinton.
Many consider it unlikely that Bill Clinton would return to the Clinton Foundation, as the potential conflict of interest would be too great. The first daughter Chelsea Clinton would probably also receive too much negative publicity from her closeness to the President to continue running the Foundation. Indeed, the concept of the Clinton Foundation may be too close to a conflict of interest in the public’s eye for it to continue to exist after the election.
The Clinton’s place a high value on loyalty, and the ability to be discreet. Many of Hillary’s closest aides and confidants from the Department of State have joined her campaign, and most of these will follow her to the White House. Cheryl Mills was Hillary’s chief of staff at the State Department and is the odds-on favorite to become the first woman chief of staff.
While creating several historical firsts, a Clinton presidency will seem familiar to most Americans. Of course, America has already experienced the Clinton style during Bill’s presidency between 1992 and 2000. The country has experienced eight years under the leadership of a Democrat President who shares many of Hillary’s more moderate views, although their personal styles will be different.
One can only imagine the reaction of President Barack Obama if he had to welcome Donald Trump to the White House. In contrast, the transition between the Obama presidency and the Clinton presidency will be seamless as Obama will be comfortable that his legacy has been left in good hands.