General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Regarding American politics, is President of the United States a cushy job compared to Secretary of State?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) June 10th, 2016

I ask because it was my distinct impression that Hillary Clinton gave up the job of SOS because she was no longer willing/able to meet the physical demands.
I know there were a couple of spills where she variously cracked her elbow and sustained a slight concussion. Her personal appearance suffered (and yes, I would notice and note this if she were male).

Why hasn’t there been more focus on Clinton’s physical ability to withstand the rigors of POTUS given her tenure as SOS?
Full circle, if you’ve read this far:
“Regarding American politics, is President of the United States a cushy job compared to Secretary of State?”

This is not a question of age, as John Kerry replaced Clinton as SOS and is 4 years her senior (68 v 72).

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17 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

The toughest part of being SOS is the travel. But it isn’t quite like being in in economy to Europe; The Secretary flies in a plane not unlike Air Force 1, with a full bed to climb into, and decent food to eat.

But I wouldn’t equate it to the stress of the Presidency. The President needs to be up to speed on a variety of subjects, not just foreign affairs.

BellaB's avatar

On a personal level, I’d find the SOS job more difficult as there are seem to more time zone changes required as a result of travel and my body does not tolerate those well. Just staying in the same time zone more often would seem to make the job of president less physically demanding.

It takes me close to a week to adjust to daylight savings times adjustments. Visiting family in Germany was always a hellish proposition for me as I semi-sleep-walked through the first four or five days. I’d barely be adjusted before it was time to go back and then take even longer to reset my internal clock.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Anyone who thinks the presidency is a cushy job (compared to anything) haven’t paid attention to the way it ages the men who have held the office.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s think SOS is more physically demanding.

I remember seeing Biden in an interview and saying Obama asked him what he would prefer SOS or VP, and his wife and he talked and decided VP, because SOS is so much more demanding when it comes to time, specifically the travel. I know you aren’t comparing VP and SOS, but I’m just offering that as more information about how demanding it is.

As a side note, when Biden said that I was like OMG I’m sure he should not have said that. It sounded like he got to pick. Talking too much. It might have been Obama asked Hillary the same question too, but it didn’t sound that way.

jca's avatar

I’d imagine it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Very difficult and each job has its own set of difficulties that may be easier for some, tougher for others depending on the person.

Uberwench's avatar

Clinton didn’t give up the job to avoid the rigors of her office. She did it to prepare for her presidential campaign.

ibstubro's avatar

Clinton repeated and publicly denied any interest in another run for POTUS during her tenure as SOS, @Uberwench

I don’t have the time for specifics right now, but that information came from reading this yesterday.

Uberwench's avatar

@ibstubro People say shit like that all the time. And even if it was true then, she has a right to change her mind (and to quit her job to prepare for the next one if and when she does change her mind). And I don’t see anything in the Wikipedia article that supports your impression. Maybe you’re talking about the blod clot from near the end of her tenure? But the timing of that, from which she made a full recovery, is entirely coincidental.

ibstubro's avatar

Now, Clinton got too hot has pneumonia.
Is the woman incapable of telling the truth?

BellaB's avatar

Just think of her as FDR and it seems normal.

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t followed the news. Is it walking pneumonia? Is she hospitalized?

Uberwench's avatar

@ibstubro How is getting pneumonia lying?

ibstubro's avatar

Walking pneumonia, @JLeslie. 3 days rest.

Telling the media Clinton “got too hot” instead of admitting that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia is at best disingenuous, @Uberwench, at worst a lie.
Why didn’t she just admit the diagnosis and take the 3 days off her doctor recommended? She had a chance to address her transparency problem, and instead made it worse. It’s getting caught out in all these little cover-ups that makes people distrust her.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I think she should have just been honest with the people and herself and rested also. Walking pneumonia is no joke.

Darth_Algar's avatar


You think she’s the only politician who downplays illness? Hardly. Most do, as any admission of illness is usually fodder for ceaseless “are they healthy enough for the job” speculation. Hell, we had one president spend his entire term in office going to great pains to hide how sick he really was from the public.He still led the nation through the worst economic period of the last century, the biggest war in history and he’s generally regarded as one of, if not the, best presidents we’ve ever had. But if he had been truthful about the extent of his illness he probably would never have been elected to the office in the first place.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yes, FDR was disabled by polio. And, as I said, he went to great pains to hide from the public just how effected he was by it. Had the public known the true extent of his illness it’s highly unlikely that he ever would have been elected to office.

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