Who would replace Rumsfeld?
Who would replace Rumsfeld?
Tue, 04/11/2006 - 10:28am.
If there is one thing that everyone from MoveOn to the
neocons can agree on, it's that Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld needs to go. In this weeks Time, yet
another retired general joins the chorus.
But who would or could replace Rumsfeld? I decided to
ask around among some "Washington insiders" in the
know (none currently in government). As with most
Washington gossip, it was off the record.
Here are the people who came up in the name game:
Richard Armitage Richard Armitage, Bush's former
deputy secretary of state, was tipped for the job by
the über-insider Nelson Report last week. (Hat Tip:
Why: The kind of guy who could get a grip on this
behemoth of a department. Strong reputation on the
Hill would make his confirmation relatively easy. As a
storied Vietnam vet, he would ease tensions with the
uniformed military. Would demonstrate that Bush is
prepared to admit errors on issues like treatment of
detainees. Why not: Has clashed with Condi too often
and regarded by many Bushies as disloyal, the
unforgivable sin in their eyes. Plus, does an
administration already in deep doo-doo over the Plame
affair want to add Armitage to the mix?
Joe Lieberman Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has been
tipped for the job more times than I have had hot
Why: Brownie points for bipartisanship. Chattering
classes will commend Bush for "reaching out" and some
moderates would be reassured that Bush is putting
victory before politics. The Senate would go easy on
one of their own. Why not: No war-fighting or
managerial experience. Theres also the question of
whether hed say yes and leave the cause of Democratic
hawkishness much reduced. Also, can the administration
afford to loose one of its few remaining Democratic
Senate allies on Iraq?
Gordon England is the current deputy secretary of
Why: The continuity candidate. He could hit the ground
running. Why Not: The continuity candidate. Wins
nobody Bush doesn't already have. England is unlikely
to inspire public support or give people confidence
that Bush is adjusting his tactics.
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) is term limited out of the
chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services committee at
the end of the year.
Why: As both a Congressional and combat veteran, could
help restore frayed relations with Congress and the
military. As a former Navy Secretary would reassure a
service branch that feels underappreciated. Also, the
kind of gray-beard Washington loves. Why not: Senators
arent good mangers and would it be the capstone to
his career or a millstone?
Sean O'Keefe Sean O'Keefe former NASA administrator,
now president of LSU.
Why: Plenty of DOD experience. Rated highly by those
close to Bush (whom he controversially campaigned for
in 2004) and Cheney, whom he served under as Navy
Secretary. Why not: Does the Pentagon need another
boss who is in love with management speak? Also, would
invite cracks that victory in Iraq is as likely as his
putative manned mission to the Mars.
Stephen Hadley is the current national security
Why: Has DOD experience and he's up to speed on Iraq.
With him at the Pentagon and Condi (his old -- and
some would say current -- boss) at State, the two
departments might finally get onto the same page. Why
not: Would give Condi a grip on the policy-making
process that would make even a first-term Cheney
jealous. Known to be indecisive, a big handicap at a
department where you have to make a hundred decisions
before breakfast. He's under the Palme inquiry
microscope and his confirmation hearing would bring up
the 16 words all over again.
John F. Lehman, former Navy Secretary and 9/11
Commission member, is the dark horse candidate.
Why: Would offer a strong bureaucratic hand on the
tiller. Has DOD experience and his 9/11 Commission
experience means hes up to speed on the anti-terror
side. Why not: Has he kept on top of military affairs
since he left the department in 1987? This is no time
for someone needing an on-the-job refresher course.
For all the replacements suggested, there was a
consistent theme: Rumsfeld isn't leaving anytime soon.
Some argue that the Ford administration alumni, now
the Eastern Shore vacation posse, remain too strong
for Rummy to be shown the door. Others say the problem
is that it's almost impossible to think of someone
wholl take on a job that has become a political
But when Sen. John McCain, or a Democrat, takes up the
gavel at Armed Services in January 07, there is near
unanimous agreement that, Rumsfeld will be much more
vulnerable, and may choose to resign at that time.
The 2008 race precludes serious consideration of
McCain, who cant run the Pentagon and a national
campaign at the same time. Sen. Lindsey Graham is also
out of consideration because the GOP needs him in the
Senate and he would probably like a spot in a McCain
administration (Attorney General, perhaps). Other
qualified people with ambition simply don't want to
deal with Rummy's mess, lest it drag down their
careers. Maybe, thats why Bush biographer Fred Barnes
thinks Dick Cheney is the best man for the job.
- Exactly what I was thinking.. Recently he spoke of how
astounded he was that in his briefing of Cheney
during the transition process, Cheney only wanted to
hear about Iraq.
BTW a Rove indictment is looking more and more likely.
--- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
> How about Bill Cohen? :-)
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