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Madame Secretary, would you be so kind as to clean up the Spill?

Submitted by Liz P. on July 2, 2010 – 7:50 pmComments

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Photo courtesy of Lumis via Flickr

With the approach of Tropical Storm Alex last weekend the need to quickly resolve the crisis in the Gulf became even more apparent. Oil is spewing forth from the well so quickly experts can not agree upon a fixed rate.  The American people are frustrated, President Obama is flummoxed, and well, Tony Hayward just “wants his life back.” Despite the commander in chief’s assertion that we’re “relying on the brightest minds and most advanced technology in the world” the leak goes on.  The situation could use a new perspective.  It’s time to call upon an outside source with a firm understanding of the domestic and international implications of the disaster, an experienced mediator well acquainted with the intricacies of crisis control. It’s time to bring in Hillary.

Alright, I’m a 26 year old feminist living on the Upper West side. I’ve only resided in blue states and am the personification of her voter base.  When Hillary held a rally at Baruch College in early June 2008, I stood in the crowd that gathered along Lexington and played a steady game of “Guess which black SUV is hers” with fellow supporters. I cast my ballot for Clinton in the last election and rumor, though denied, of a 2012 run sends my heart reeling. However, I am not suggesting that Obama needs someone to come clean up his mess for him. Far from it, the move would actually be in his best interest. The economic disaster looms large in the midst of the environmental one, and begs for the utmost attention from the executive and legislative branches.  Allotting responsibility to an individual would streamline the resolution process and allow Congress and the President to keep their focus on the country’s economic difficulties. Doing so would also relieve some of the political pressure Obama has been under since the rig exploded. Frank Rich argued that the President’s response to the spill was weak and his approval ratings have reached all-time lows. Though transferring the undertaking to Clinton would push the limits of the Department of State’s jurisdiction, the ultimate conclusion of the debacle will be rife with global repercussions, made even more complex in light of Anglo-American relations. It’s impossible to take the “British” out of BP and England by proxy has been cast as an enemy, challenging the historic “special relationship” between America and her strongest ally in the midst of two wars and a worldwide financial slump. The Secretary of State could broker a deal with BP while paying close attention to the corporation’s internal role in Great Britain as employer and pension fixture. Yet, as evidenced by her refusal to retract her statement suggesting the UK forfeit its claims of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, Clinton will not shrink in the face of imperial power nor compromise the our interests.

Clinton’s previous experience is considerably relevant to the third coast.  During her tenure at Arkansas’ prestigious Rose Law firm, she worked closely with the state’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, and later served on their board of directors. She has been on the other side of the bargaining table, and though some may dislike the company she represented, her corporate knowledge would be particularly useful in the current circumstances. As First Lady, she endured some of the worst public-relations disasters in political history ranging from “Whitewater” to her “right-wing conspiracy” and the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton is adept at the art of surviving chaos. She could handle the spill simply because she’s handled everything else. After settling in Chappaqua, she was elected to represent a state she had not previously live in, twice. Defying accusations of carpet bagging, she began her initial campaign by embarking on a “listening tour,” making stops in every county in the Empire State. She has the ability to earn the trust of others, including skeptics. While serving in the Senate and State Department, she eschewed media grand-standing in favor of building one on one relationships. She’ll skip the photo-ops on the beach and head straight for the statehouse.

Finally, Clinton seems like a wholly practical person. It’s likely the qualities that made her a less than charismatic candidate in the last election are the very same that would make her an ideal negotiator now. She’s the type who would lock the best scientists in a room, refuse to release them until they stopped the leak, all the while standing guard herself. I think Hillary is who we need. Fast.

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