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Clinton-Biden switcheroo? Not a bad idea

The continuing rumors about the ultimate White House staff shake-up--that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton might switch jobs--appears to have no weight behind it. Most recently perpetuated by Bob Woodward on CNN last night, pundits ranging from Sally Quinn to Peggy Noonan to Andy Card to Douglas Wilder have pontificated on the idea. Anne Kornblut writes today that the switch is "absolutely not" on the table, according to both David Axelrod and Clinton's supporters.

I have nothing to further the speculation, but I can ask this question: why not? Rotating executives between top jobs happens all the time in business, and is seen as good management and corporate governance. It's a natural way for leaders to challenge themselves, develop their skills and stretch different management muscles for a few years.

Indeed, corporate management headlines are filled with news about executive rotations. IBM recently shuffled the ranks of its top executives, filling out their jobs to help groom a successor for Samuel Palmisano. The same happened at J.P. Morgan in June, when Jamie Dimon switched up the responsibilities of his top lieutenants to give himself and the board time to evaluate the next potential CEO.

And the massive conglomerate General Electric--perhaps the closest corporate analogy (albeit still exponentially less complex) to managing a job with the scope of the presidency--has long made an art of rotating executives between management jobs every couple of years to help them gain a broader perspective of the company's vastness. For instance, John Krenicki, one of three vice chairman at the company, has run everything from the company's energy business to its plastics unit to its transportation company.

Obviously, the president does not engage in succession planning like corporate boards do. Were something to happen to President Obama before his term is up, it's very clear who would step in to succeed him. And whoever follows him would have to be elected by the American people.

But wouldn't we all be better off if our political parties thought more, at least in this sense, like business leaders? It seems like it's in the Democratic party's best interest--and, politics aside, our country's--to let our top national executives get the broadest experience possible while their party is in power. Plus, not only are many driven executives ready for new challenges after four years, but putting fresh minds and new thinking to work on the diplomatic and policy issues the secretary of state and vice president address could reap many rewards.

Let's put aside, for a moment, whether Clinton would help Obama in 2012, and whether or not he could actually even get re-elected, given the mood of the country and his low numbers in the polls. I'd argue that a broader resume for Hillary Clinton, come 2016, would make her not only a stronger candidate but, one would presume, a leader that's more well rounded, more experienced and more exposed to the extraordinary challenges of running the country. And isn't that what all of us, whether Democratic or Republican, want from our potential leaders?

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 |  October 6, 2010; 9:49 AM ET |  Category:  Change management , Federal government leadership , Government leadership , Succession planning , Women in leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Actually, I think the American people made a mistake in voting for Obama. Hillary Clinton would have made a better president than Obama, and if Obama has any hopes of living in the White House another term, he should consider Hillary Clinton as his VP. Otherwise, a lot of people like myself, will vote for a Republican candidate instead. I am so disappointed with Obama that the only reason I would vote for him again, is if Hillary runs with him as his VP.

Posted by: fridaolay | October 6, 2010 11:39 PM

NO, How about a Clinton/Obama switch? I voted for Obama over Clinton but she has done such a class act as secretary of state and he has not kept up with his promises, I can see her running for President and beating up the "TP".( no pun intended)

Posted by: mountainsister41 | October 6, 2010 10:18 PM

Sorry, SUM01, I'm not buying it. Out here in San Francisco, we've been planning this for quite some time. FoxNews and the GOP may have gotten wind of it, but it didn't start with them, and I'm sorry, but this can't wait until you and your Obama-supporter friends decide to act. WE HAVE TO ACT NOW! You've got your head in the sand if you think Obama is going to win in 2012. There's no way he'll win. There are too many people on both sides who destest him! He's done nothing for us on the left. He gave us empty promises! We will not wait a minute longer. We're going to work really, really hard to get Hillary Clinton to run! Don't believe for a minute what you hear in "newsclips." HILLARY NOW! HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012! DUMP OBAMA! THE LEFT IS RIGHT! THE LEFT IS RIGHT! THE RIGHT IS WRONG! THE RIGHT IS WRONG!!

Posted by: georges2 | October 6, 2010 9:12 PM

Georges2
This junk about Hillary with Obama did indeed start with Fox News back in February of this year. They work hand in hand with the GOP as is evident with Rupert Murdocks 2 million takeover of the GOP. Hillary would be great. But even I know it would never happen. Obama has indeed screwed up. He has pushed to much instead of dealing 100% of his time trying to undo what the GOP, Bush and Cheney did to this Country. But like I said, 18 months is not enough time to unravel what two War Mongers and their Political Party did to this Country. As they and their friends became richer, the rest of us were pushed to unemployment lines. If the Democrats do not stand behind their leaders now you will see such a repeal of your rights and your jobs like we have never seen before. If you want to help the GOP, keep pushing Hillary. Its what the GOP wants. They want to divide us because they know they cannot win if we stick together. So the choice is clear, if you want to hand over the reins to the GOP in November keep pushing Hillary now. But if by 2012 if Obama can't man up and turn things around then I will also back Hillary. But now is not the time to do it.
We need to stop the GOP.

Posted by: sumo1 | October 6, 2010 6:34 PM

Replace Biden switch Obama and Clinton and Democrats can claim to have had the first black president and the first woman president. I guess first you would have to place Clinton in the vice president position, the senate would never allow Obama to be vice president and I am not sure Democrats would anyway. When Agnew resigned Nixon whanted John Tower to be the vice president but the cluts from Michigan was selected.

Posted by: phjesuswarrior7 | October 6, 2010 5:37 PM

To interchange them would be ludicrous. Obama has each where their personality and skill sets are optimal.

Although some may wish to read something into the following analogy, it is not intended to personify either Clinton or Biden. One is a draft horse and the other a race horse. Put on the other's turf, each would be a disaster. We'd not only lose all the races, we'd also lose the entire farm.

Posted by: billsecure | October 6, 2010 5:33 PM

Hillary for President in 2012 is a better idea!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | October 6, 2010 5:28 PM

Biden is a potential embarrassment whenever he opens his mouth. He's safer as the 'warm bucket of spit' where he is than in a job with actual responsibilities.

Posted by: AlibiFarmer | October 6, 2010 5:18 PM

How come she was not good enough when he first went in? Obama snubed her for Biden. She should have been picked over Biden things would have been better. I think Obama felt threatened by her previous success. But it is hines sight now. Obama an Biden will go down in the History Books as the worst President an Vice President!

Posted by: JWTX | October 6, 2010 5:14 PM

Stop this coup now. The president had enough trouble from Ms. Inevitable and the husband, just now weighing in gratuitously about Mideast peace. Media celebration of such as Spitzer, Welch, Hurd and Woods (what does that say to American women?) seems to be preparing the way to return to glory of the Adulterer-in-Chief. Enough!
Send the two back to the Roaring Brook Farm's old pigsty and keep them there.

Posted by: phvr38 | October 6, 2010 5:12 PM

I thought the election of Obama had put a stake in the heart of the Hillary campaign forever. She can't be stealing and cheating as the SOS and meddling in politics like she did as the wife of a president. She got her sentate job because people felt sorry for her ...the cheating man syndrome. A liar, an uncaught felong... and lunatic to boot. She has so much corruption that has been exposed about her and crazy lying statements, she would be a sure fire way to help the Obama ticket set a record for the lowest electoral college vote ever. She can stay at SOS, can't meddle and steal too much in that position.
She's Bill's coattail politician.

Posted by: dena2877 | October 6, 2010 5:12 PM

HILLARY,HILLARY,HILLARY

Posted by: apez54 | October 6, 2010 4:58 PM

Here we go again......... There is no Grand Scheme for Hilary Clinton to become President in anyone's minds but those tired old crones who can't let it go. It's over..done...finished. Let it go and return to your Slimfast and Oprah. Sheesh.

Posted by: htimothyjones1 | October 6, 2010 4:48 PM

So, will it be, Hillary Rob the Man Clinton ?
Is the Bill coming due?

Posted by: peterroach | October 6, 2010 4:16 PM

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 1.4 Trillion says it will not work. In 24 months Barry goes back to Academia, where he belongs.
Those who cannot do, teach.

Posted by: devluddite | October 6, 2010 4:05 PM

What a great idea. Sort of like in baseball, when the same handful of managers swap jobs every so often after losing seasons.

While we're at it, maybe we could work Charles Rangel into the loop.

Posted by: jd5024 | October 6, 2010 4:01 PM

SUM01, this rumor was NOT started by FoxNews or by the Republicans. We Democrats in California have been thinking about this for months - ever since Obama was elected. He's a joke. The only way we can win in 2012 is to put Hillary on the top of the ticket. We're going to dump Obama and we're going to try to get Hillary to put one of our people on the ticket as VP. We're sick and tired of not being listened to! THE LEFT IS RIGHT! THE LEFT IS RIGHT! THE RIGHT IS WRONG! THE RIGHT IS WRONG!

Posted by: georges2 | October 6, 2010 4:00 PM

Only Clinton on the top of the ticket can beat the Republicans in 2012. DUMP OBAMA! He's toxic waste.

Posted by: georges2 | October 6, 2010 3:58 PM

I got an idea, why don't they just swap out Clinton for Obama? It won't matter, either way, BOTH parties are finished. The Republikrat victory in the fall means nothing. The banks control the money printing machine now (at the expense of U.S. taxpayers) and they will not let it go. Any real rise in true populism will be put down at the end of a gun. Martial law, coming up. Beware of John McCain, the slave of the bankers (or if Dems won in the fall – they won't - someone like John Kerry, Pelosi, etc.). He will be given the honor of imposing the "anti-belligerant" act, which will impose draconian laws ON ALL AMERICANS. It was NEVER about the red or the blue, American fools. It was ALWAYS about the green, chumps.

Posted by: shred11 | October 6, 2010 3:50 PM

I got an idea, why don't they just swap out Clinton for Obama? It won't matter, either way, BOTH parties are finished. The Republikrat victory in the fall means nothing. The banks control the money printing machine now (at the expense of U.S. taxpayers) and they will not let it go. Any real rise in true populism will be put down at the end of a gun. Martial law, coming up. Beware of John McCain, the slave of the bankers (or if Dems won in the fall – they won't - someone like John Kerry, Pelosi, etc.). He will be given the honor of imposing the "anti-belligerant" act, which will impose draconian laws ON ALL AMERICANS. It was NEVER about the red or the blue, American fools. It was ALWAYS about the green, chumps.

Posted by: shred11 | October 6, 2010 3:49 PM

Bad idea. Joe Biden, the originator of the Four Minute Question while on the Judiciary Committee, cannot shut up. Diplomatically, he's an accident waiting to happen at State. His continual gaffes as VP will doom him as a running mate in 2012. Banish him to Delaware and let him do harm there.

Posted by: 1republican | October 6, 2010 3:47 PM

Well made point by rbsher. As you know, fielding this idea at this time to see how it polls is a brilliant idea. I am quite certain that nobody expected how well recieved this 'out of the box' scenario would go over. It would be a brilliant piece of statescrafting. Although pleased to learn of Hillary's nomination at the begining of the administration I had personnaly been rooting for Joe in the SOS spot to begin with. If the roll switch were to occur Biden's international street cred would equal Hillary's and we would still have a sage in the WH in Ms Clinton.
On the home front it would make the Democratic ticket in 2012 virtually invinceable. It would also insure a unified party nomination process in 2016, The Republicans will soon discover the same lesson the lesson the Dems learned by turning leadership over to the hard left in the seventies by going hard right. They will not be ready to make the hard internal changes in time to be ready for 2012. It is going to be a harder stretch for them to run against Hillary in 2016. If I can use Joe's words Now that's " a BFD"!

Posted by: Brianwithaneye | October 6, 2010 3:28 PM

This rumor was started by Fox News with the approval of the GOP in hopes of helping the GOP in November gain both the House and Senate. And also cause outright trouble for Obama. As much as I like Hillary, I like Biden a bit more because he says what he thinks. Sometimes it comes out a bit weird but at least he is not afraid to say it or own it. The voters need to remember who the enemy of the people are, and who allowed this recession to get worse by constantly voting "NO" and using obstructionist tactics just to help Wall Street Bigwigs. With the Dow surging and the rich getting richer, you don't need to go far to see that the GOP and Wall St. firms have an alliance to destroy the middleclass and poor. I call it the reverse 'Robin Hood' mentallity. And they are playing this game very well. But in November we all need to put an end to it.
Bush had 8 years to mess things up. And giving the Democrats only 18 months to fix it is impossible. And the GOP knows it and hope that we fall for it. Giving the reins to the GOP again is udder madness.

Posted by: sumo1 | October 6, 2010 3:12 PM

GOP/Tea 2010 has chosen a Big Hate, Big Fear appeal with zero new ideas.

That energizes Progressives that Media Inc. has tried to claim for months, are apathetic. And it hands an easy case to Democratic candidates about returning wholesale to the failed Bush agenda of cut taxes / cut government / prosperity Trickles Down.

Uhm, no it didn't. Duh.

Bigger question: why had Media Inc. not understood sooner, the pratfalls of the GOP strategy? You're going to win by alienating all minorities and half of caucasians?

No You Can't...

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | October 6, 2010 3:12 PM

Good heavens that's funny - Obama was elected on his scant experience as a community organizer and short term senator but Clinton, to be considered a more viable contender, would surely benefit from a longer and more varied resume - what do you say we set HER bar at having had the experience of managing every government agency before she dares to consider herself electable - that's reasonable isn't it, I mean, for a woman?

Posted by: MaryLouR | October 6, 2010 3:04 PM

Leave Biden as VP but substitute Hilliary in the Presidential slot and you have a good ticket. Obama is toast. Drop the lame duck since he will cost Democrats the win if he remains on the ticket for 2012.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | October 6, 2010 2:38 PM

This *is* a joke, right? Biden can resign as VP but Clinton, or anyone else, can't just assume an elected office as part of a job swap scenario. And Biden would have to be approved by the Senate to be the State Secretary. Is this a Tea Party idea?

Posted by: johnk8601 | October 6, 2010 2:30 PM

This *is* a joke, right? Biden can resign as VP but Clinton, or anyone else, can't just assume an elected office as part of a job swap scenario. Is this a Tea Party idea?

Posted by: johnk8601 | October 6, 2010 2:30 PM

I believe Secretary Clinton is doing a superb job as our Secretary of State. I also believe Vice President Biden is fully supportive and fills his posting extremely well. We have to remember that VP Biden (as a Senator) did head up Foreign Relations. We must also remember that during his entire time in the Senate, he never missed that train to take him home to his family in Delaware. My guess is VP Biden would not want the extreme travel schedule the Secretary of State must have. Secretary Clinton is off into the wild blue yonder so frequently, it is hard to recall whether she is 'at home' or 'abroad.' For those who believe a 'switch' in jobs will take place, I think that is an "impossible dream" - taking the foregoing into the realm of 'is it truly possible?'

Posted by: rbsher | October 6, 2010 2:27 PM

I have a better idea: switch Hillary for Obama and leave biden where he is.

Posted by: paul2150 | October 6, 2010 1:57 PM

I'm as pro-Hillary as anyone, but this whole discussion is stupid. Biden is one of the few people in the WH providing sage advice. Hillary is doing a wonderful job as SOS. Biden is doing a wonderful job as VP. Let them stay where they are.

Posted by: ATAY1 | October 6, 2010 1:55 PM

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