Secretary

Secretary of Debt
November 19, 2008

With Hillary Clinton likely to be appointed as Secretary of State in the coming days, what happens to the $22 million in debt she accrued during her run for president? One of her best options for whittling down the debt was rolling it over to her 2012 Senate reelection campaign--an option that would seem to be off the table if she accepts the cabinet post. While she could still file for debt settlement with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), that would forbid her from ever running for public office.

Obama's National Security Adviser-in-Wwaiting On Appointing Hillary
November 17, 2008

I've made a political case for appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State--which assumes that fixing the economy, in the near term at least, takes priority over foreign policy synergy--but I should underscore a major practical drawback that would attend her appointment. Obama might want to consider the advice of his own national security adviser-in-waiting, Jim Steinberg.

Insiders
August 13, 2008

Earlier this summer, when the Obama campaign announced that Jason Furman was joining its staff as director of economic policy, the storyline seemed to write itself: Centrist adviser will pull Obama to the right. Furman had first made a name for himself as a wonky twentysomething wunderkind in the later years of the Clinton administration--a period when, to the consternation of many liberals, Clinton emphasized balanced budgets, free trade, and welfare reform.

Character Flaw
May 07, 2007

Of all the low points during the Bush administration, perhaps the most surreal was the week in December 2004 when Bernie Kerik was poised to become secretary of Homeland Security. By the traditional measures used to judge qualifications for this sort of job, Kerik was not an ideal candidate. The main points in Kerik's favor were his loyal service to Rudy Giuliani, first as driver for his mayoral campaign, then corrections commissioner, then police commissioner--the last of which was commemorated by the casting of30 Kerik busts.

Bigger, Badder
January 25, 2006

You hear a lot of complaining, and rightly so, about Hollywood's tendency to churn out safe, unimaginative pabulum--the remakes, the sequels, the blow-everything-up movies. Less remarked upon is the opposite problem: The studios' inability (or unwillingness) to make B+ movies, competent, mid-sized genre films that are formulaic in the good sense. There was a time when Hollywood excelled at producing such solid but unexceptional fare--Westerns are the classic example--but no longer.

Trailer Trash
September 26, 2005

Recent headlines have offered hope that President Bush may yet do right by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. After the first days of shameful ineptitude, he secured more than $60 billion in relief, named somebody with actual disaster experience to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema), and, rather uncharacteristically, admitted his administration made serious errors in the storm's immediate aftermath. But there is one reason to think the Bush administration hasn't learned from its past mistakes: its plan for housing the people that Katrina has rendered homeless.

Pass the Fault
July 04, 2005

Ticket lines for movies are rare in Israel, and rarer still for features that have already been showing for five weeks, and unprecedented for a German production centered on the character of Adolf Hitler.

Ambassador Feelgood
November 27, 1997

Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.

White House Watch: Nixon Then and Now
February 22, 1975

A new book and news accounts from San Clemente depict Richard Nixon as he appeared to one of his White House writers before Watergate destroyed his presidency and as he is in exile and nearly total seclusion six months after his resignation. The book is William Safire's Before the Fall (Doubleday; $12.50).

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