If we study history, only two elected officials have been Secretary of State(SOS) over the last 60 years. Of those two, only one held office at the time of his appointment. There was a third SOS who was appointed Senator to fill a vacancy and only was in office for 4 months. He was never elected to office. There have been as many retired Army Generals to hold the position as there have been politicians. The most common occupation on all these men and two women’s resume before their becoming SOS, has been work as a lawyer. Lets review who has been SOS. *- Former politician
George Marshall- Former Army Chief of Staff 1947-49
Dean Acheson- Lawyer. Held appointed positions in FDR and Truman administrations 49-53
*- John Foster Dulles- Former US Senator(for 4 months), Diplomat, Lawyer 53-59
*- Christian Herter- Former Governor of Massachusetts, former Congressman 59-61
Dean Rusk- Lawyer. Worked in the Truman administration 61-69
William Rogers- Former US Attorney General 69-73
Henry Kissinger- Nat. Security Advisor, Academic 73-77
Cyrus Vance- Lawyer, Former Sec. of the Army 77-80
*-Edmund Muskie- Senator from Maine 80-81
Alexander Haig- Army General 81-82
George Shultz- Academic, former Sec. of Labor and former AG 82-89
James Baker- Lawyer and former Sec. of Treasury 89-92
Lawrence Eagleburger- Career Diplomat 92-93
Warren Christopher- Lawyer, former Dep. AG and Dep SOS 93-97
Madeline Albright- Academic, former Nat. Security staffer 97-01
Colin Powell- Former Army Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor 01-05
Condoleezza Rice- Academic, National Security Advisor 05-present
No former elected politician has been SOS since the Carter administration. Talking about the appointment of a high profile politician to be secretary of state is more interesting than speculating about what lawyer or academic will get the post. How many former White House national security staffers can the average person name? I can name a few, and even know two.
I don’t think Obama will choose Hillary.
Update- Cancer or no cancer, I do have a pretty good memory. I could name all former SOS since 1947 with the exception of Herter and Eagleburger. With about half of, I knew their backgrounds before becoming Secretary of State.