In the postcript to an earlier entry, I wrote that if Senator Clinton does join Senator Obama's cabinet (she has not been officially offered nor officially accepted the position of Secretary of State as I write now), she will be the most progressive member of an Obama cabinet.
The reason I consider Senator Clinton an exemplar of genuine progressivism is that she has consistently believed in government's ability and responsibility maintain equality of economic opportunity - a constant shared baseline chance for all to achieve economic gains during their lifetimes. Thus, it made sense that as soon as Senator Clinton noticed the subprime mortgage problem brewing, she started expecting the government to get involved to protect individuals from a systemic disaster.
To review this aspect of Senator Clinton's economic progressivism from March 2007 until now, go here for her views on subprime mortgage lending. See here for Senator Clinton's call on President Bush, which she issued in March 2008, to name a foreclosure working group to focus on the housing crisis. Or here, for her discussion, in Nevada in January 2008 of the stimulus package she was talking about implementing, were she elected President.
The reason I would like to see her as Senate Majority Leader is because I believe she could marshall votes to pass progressive proposals focused on maintaining the baseline equaliy of economic opportunity President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal originally envisioned: a New Deal for laborers was Roosevelt's promise in 1932. It is not clear to me that equality of opportunity for the working or middle class is a priority for the new executive administration or the current Democratic Party leadership. This is a signature issue for Senator Clinton and having her available to take the lead on it in the Senate might restore, at least to some measure, Americans' deeply diminished confidence in the U.S. Congress.
At this point, it would take nothing less than Senator Harry Reid renouncing his the Majority Leadership specifically in favor of her becoming Senate Majority Leader for her to assume the role I think she could play in reviving a Congress that Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid have led to record lows in approval rating. I do not anticipate this happening. But I take this opportunity to open the door to a discussion of what makes an American politician progressive (as opposed to right or left; Democrat or Republican): that fundamental commitment to government's ability and responsibility to maintain equality of economic opportunity for all of the governed.
True American progressives include, off the top of my head, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follete, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Mario Cuomo, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.