diet coke for breakfast

Monday, August 04, 2003

Posted by Tanstaafl
State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected (

Condi for SecState 2004, Condi for Prez 2008?

Secretary Powell has been an amazing public servant for longer than I've been alive. However, I will not complain if someone who understands that diplomacy is a means toward furthering American interests, not an end in and of itself.

My vote would be to move Donald Rumsfeld over to State, and promote Wolfowitz to SecDef. In truth, I like Condi where she is. Right now, she coordinates, aggregates and simplifies the big picture for the President. That's where I would like her brilliance and talent. We have many capable managers, but I think there are few people who can match her ability for strategic thought.

Jake -- I totally want Condi to run for President, but don't you think that a Cabinet level position (and the ensuing confirmation hearings) would bring publicity to her. I kind of feel like people don't know who she is. Besides that I don't see Rummy leaving Defense. I think the choice is between Wolfowitz and Condi for State.

James -- I don't think Condi's confirmation would take much time or energy and thus wouldn't be that great for publicity. Anyone remember anything from Secretary Powell's hearing? How about Secretary Rumsfelds? What Democratic Senator is going to attack an African American woman about whom there have been few if any complaints in the last three years? She's not controversial like Ashcroft was, so we wouldn't see much of her hearing anyway. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, I believe that he will serve where the President asks him to. I even think he might like a chance to clean-up the State department. It would be what we call a "cross-functional rotation".

Brian -- I agree that Wolfowitz would be a good Sec Def, and Rummy good at State, but do you think he'd actually accept that transfer? While I think, as you said, he'd persue the ends of diplomacy, not diplomacy for its own sake, I think that he'd never accept the post for precisely the reasons he's perfect for it.

Matt -- I'd have to agree with Brian. Rummy isn't going anywhere. He's got power at the DoD and knows how to use it. If anything, he may retire due to his age, but he's not going to move. I find it highly un-likely that Wolfowitz is going to be moving into the State Dept. because he's too controversial. While I agree, James, he'd cause a lot of publicity, do you think the Dem's would allow him to manage foreign policy?

James -- I don't think it will happen, not because Rumsfeld wouldn't take the post, but because I don't think the Bush Administration is creative enough in employing their Human Capital. Rumsfeld strikes me as a man who likes a challenge and likes to fix organizations that he perceives to be out of control. Just look behind the scenes a little bit at defense. In the last 6 months, he's turned over both the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy. As for the Democrats trying to prevent it, I'm not sure they'd have much say. First, this would be post 2004 election, in which, I believe (barring something unforseen) the Republicans will pick up more seats. The economy is improving, and the Democrats look like obstructionists. They only nay-say, they don't offer constructive plans. You can't run on what you prevented, you have to run on what you accomplished. Even if they don't lose seats, they will need to pull out the big stick of the filibuster in order stop his confirmation. I don't think they have enough political capital to pull that off. They're already stretching that ability with Judicial nominations. Furthermore, if Rumsfeld's considering retiring anyway, then they should nominate him just to force the Democrats hands. Either the Dems acquiesce and we get Rumsfeld fixing Foggy Bottom, or they put up a monster of a fight, exhaust the public's tolerance for filibustering, and make it a bit easier for Bush to appoint who he wants to the Supreme Court when the time comes. For that matter, as long as the rules allow it, appoint him and go for confirmation before he leaves his post as SecDef, that way, if the Administration does lose the confirmation battle, he's still running the Pentagon.

Brian -- Or, better yet, he keeps his post at the Pentagon, and Bush nominates him for all cabinet-level positions. An all-Rummy government!

Matt -- 5 words: "White House Press Secretary Rumsfeld"


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