Obama Personnel Dept

Heard here first. I’m nominating Gene Sperling, former Clinton NEC chief, Hillary campaign advisor, and tireless wonk, for the undersecretary for economic affairs job at State. Knowing Gene both from our White House days and as current colleagues at the Center for American Progress, it’ll be a blow for him not to be in the center of the action at the White House. But he’d make it a consequential post that serves Hillary’s and Obama’s ideals as well as his own. Among other things, this job is the perfect platform for the work on girls’ education in developing countries that Gene has pursued in his years out of government (a passion Larry Summer rightly shares). If you’re interested in more on Sperling, check out the profile I wrote of him in the New Republic in 1999. Amazingly, the longer original version of this profile was initially rejected by TNR because it was considered "too favorable" in its judgments about a public official, which tells you all you need to know about the mindset of political journalism. The TNR profile as it ran is here. You can also read the longer, unpublished draft and judge for yourself. I was trying to use Gene’s story as a window into the limits and possibilities of progressive policy in the Clinton era -- and, to me, at least, it stands up well.


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