It’s no secret late night talk show hosts and performers rue the upcoming disappearance of a stupid, mean-spirited president from the scene. Few people depend on obnoxious and unsavory characters more than comedians — perhaps only parole officers and Hummer salesmen. So until Obama shows himself to have feet of clay, comedy writers need an annoying high-profile person in the administration. Despite her intelligence and obvious qualifications for the post of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has agreed to be that person.

Barack Obama is, of course, aware of the dangers. He is pledged to Change — unfortunately, jokes about Hillary’s pantsuits show no sign of abating. No pun intended, but there is simply too much material. For that reason, she will be asked to spend $150,000 of her own money on a new pantsuit-free wardrobe. Naturally, the incoming administration hopes to keep the choice of clothing secret so Letterman’s writers don’t get too much of a leg up.

Bill Maher and his staff, now on vacation, have volunteered to write pre-emptive jokes. They are among the few people who will be privileged to look at Hillary’s new duds before the new administration takes office and she appears in public. One likelihood is she will try something that gives a nod to the countries she will be visiting in her job — a bhurka, a chador, or she might surprise everybody and go 10th century Chinese, bound feet and all. Again, “Change” is the watchword, and the public can expect to see it.

Bill Clinton will do his part, too. He and Kimberly Guilfoyle will begin a highly public affair this week. The plan is to inoculate the public — make his fucking around so obvious and tiresome that it is old news by January 20th, insuring that the comedians put their focus on his wife. One danger, Obama advisers have noted, is Mr. Clinton may not remain faithful to Ms. Guilfoyle. If the ex-president begins yet another romance in December or early January, he will take focus from Hillary.

Balancing the risks is critical, but the Obama people have done a highly credible job of it so far.

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