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Who would replace Rumsfeld?

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/302 Who would replace Rumsfeld? James Forsyth Tue, 04/11/2006 - 10:28am. If there is one thing that everyone from MoveOn to
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 13, 2006
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      http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/302

      Who would replace Rumsfeld?

      James Forsyth
      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 week’s 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:
      Steve Clemons)

      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
      dinners.

      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. There’s also the question of
      whether he’d 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
      defense.

      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.

      John Warner

      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
      aren’t 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
      advisor.

      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 he’s 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
      who’ll take on a job that has become a political
      poisoned chalice.

      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 can’t 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, that’s why Bush biographer Fred Barnes
      thinks Dick Cheney is the best man for the job.
      James Forsyth
    • Ram Lau
      How about Bill Cohen? :-) Ram
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 14, 2006
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        How about Bill Cohen? :-)

        Ram
      • THOMAS JOHNSON
        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
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 14, 2006
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          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.

          Tom

          --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

          > How about Bill Cohen? :-)
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