"Gates is a great choice because of the respect he has gained from all quarters after the fiasco that went before," says Anthony Zinni, a retired four-star Marine who once headed the U.S. Central Command. "He would also provide continuity at a critical time." The key to Gates' sticking around, Zinni suggests, is how many Pentagon political appointees Obama would let Gates keep if he stays, denying Democrats those key national security positions. "I think he won't stay without his team," Zinni says of Gates, "and the [Obama] Administration can't let him keep them." Then, uncharacteristically for this particular parlor game, Zinni adds: "But what do I know?"
My point? Like Hillary, Obama gives the top dog a sjot at it, but requires sacrifice.
Hillary has to rein in her former president of a husband; Gates has to give up his advisers.
Throw a bone in the ring and let the dogs have at it in the media circus ring.
Would Gates make a decent Sec of Def? More so than not. The stain on his reputation from the Iran-Contra affair is modest, and I think his post-Reagan foreign policy stances show chastened learning from the mistakes in which he participated as a former CIA director.
But he's gotta check his weapons at the door of Obama's administration and commit to the new team.