When it was announced that Hillary Clinton was going to give her first Sunday interview since becoming Barack Obama's Secretary of State to her husband's former advisor George Stephanopoulos, nobody envisioned a hard-hitting exchange.
However, as he tossed the softest of softballs at his guest, the "This Week" host mysteriously avoided asking any questions about Clinton's future political ambitions or the possibility that Obama, by involving Hillary and Bill in his administration, has effectively marginalized them.
As former Clinton advisor Dick Morris wrote two weeks ago in a piece entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Clintons":
Asked why he was naming some of his rivals to top administration jobs, President Lyndon B. Johnson said it best: “I’d rather have them inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” President Obama seems to echo Johnson’s management style in his handling of Bill and Hillary Clinton. By bringing them into his inner circle, he has marginalized them both and sharply reduced their freedom of action. [...]
Even though Obama appointed Hillary, he clearly has not been willing to make her a co-president and confines her to the diminished role of her department.
For his part, Bill Clinton has been asked to be a special envoy to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. Obama’s predecessor asked the former president to orchestrate the response to the Asian tsunami and then to Hurricane Katrina. Obama gives him Haiti.
Meanwhile, both Clintons are effectively muzzled and cannot criticize Obama even as he reverses President Clinton’s free market proclivities and budget balancing discipline.
As a former advisor to Clinton, it seems a metaphysical certitude Stephanopoulos was either aware of Morris's piece or has heard such sentiments from others.
With that in mind, as his interview with Hillary neared its conclusion, and Stephanopoulos asked his guest how it came to pass that Obama tapped her to be his Secretary of State, it would have been logical for him to ask her if she considered how her involvement in the new administration might hamper her own political future.
Beyond this, is she considering another run for the White House in 2016...or even 2012?
As Morris wrote:
How long will Hillary subject herself to this discipline? Likely as long as Obama is popular. Should his ratings fade, she might move away from the president and could even consider a primary contest against him in 2012. But while he is on top of his game, she’ll stay loyal.
But she is shrinking by the day. Once Obama’s equal — and before that his superior — she now looks tiny compared to the president. She doesn’t look like a president in waiting; she’s more like a senior staff member hoping to rise in the bureaucracy. No longer at the head of a movement or the symbol of rising women all over the world, she has faded into the State Department woodwork... his diminished status has got to grate on her and on him. But they are trapped in Obama’s web and cannot easily escape.
How could Stephanopoulos have totally ignored this marginalization of the Clintons since Inauguration Day, and not asked Hillary about it?