They’ve got the Power

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER…. There was a spate of campaign resignations earlier this year related to controversies over intemperate rhetoric. The most unfortunate of these was the departure of Samantha Power, who had served as a top foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama.

I’m delighted to see she will, at a minimum, have a role in the transition.

Samantha Power, the Harvard professor who was forced to resign from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign last spring after calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton “a monster,” is now advising the president-elect on transition matters relating to the State Department — which Clinton is slated to head.

Power is listed on Obama’s transition Web site as part of the team reviewing national security agencies. Her duties, according to the site, will be to “ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.”

In short, she is part of a team that is likely to work directly with Clinton, a potentially awkward situation for the two women.

I appreciate that this might appear to be an awkward dynamic, but it’s worth remembering that to consider Power’s career and accomplishments with only one stray campaign comment in mind is a ridiculous mistake. We’re talking about a Pulitzer-prize winning scholar who has spent most of her professional life combating genocide and raising awareness of human rights abuses and global humanitarian issues.

Yes, in March, she said something intemperate. She’d hoped it would be off the record, and when it wasn’t, Power apologized immediately and profusely, before resigning a few hours later. But here’s the thing to remember: Americans are better off if Power has a role in our government.

The obvious story here is that Power offered a rude comment about Clinton during the heat of the campaign, Clinton is poised become the Secretary of State, and Power will now have a transition role at the State Department. But if I’m not mistaken, this political season is supposed to be about magnanimity and graciousness.

Kevin noted, “If we accept the conventional wisdom that Obama’s choice of Clinton as Secretary of State is a generous gesture meant to help unify the party, then there would be few more forthright ways for Clinton to reciprocate than by nominating Power for some kind of meaningful position at Foggy Bottom. It would be a good sign that those hatchets have been well and truly buried.”

I couldn’t agree more. The nation and the world would be well served by Power’s public service. Here’s hoping soon-to-be Secretary of State Clinton agrees.