THE GATEKEEPER WHO PUSHED FOR GATES
In my view, was Secretary of State Condi Rice
, whose warm working relationship with Robert Gates
goes back to the days of Bush I, when both were key deputies to National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft
. Assuming confirmation, the two will work in tandem, not in opposition, on Iraq and they will eventually dominate the foreign policy process in the last two years the way Cheney and Rumsfeld did in the first.Dr. Barnett
today had a take that attributed the nomination of Robert Gates to the rising grey eminence of former SecState/SecTreasury/WH Chief of Staff, James A. Baker III
:"Consensus growing that Rumsfeld had to go to clear way for Baker's solution set to fly.
No big surprise there. Real clearing is Cheney's, with Rummy as surrogate.
Missing in the analysis so far: with caretaker in Pentagon, Baker now takes over de facto control of the war, as almost his own national security adviser, SECDEF AND SECSTATE.
No big whup for Gates. He knew that coming in. Quiet Hadley will do as told, as will Rice, but in reality, Rice's been replaced without leaving office. Imagine being SECSTATE and kicked off the one foreign policy issue that defines the administration.
Yes, yes, expect many protestations to the contrary and watch Baker go out of his way, using the study group as cover, not to upstage her.
But make no mistake, we now have caretakers (and not the real players) in both the Building and Foggy Bottom"
I don't disagree here with Tom so much that I am pointing out that Baker's newfound premiership rests on the sand of George W. Bush's desperation. Gates and Rice will have the bureaucracies, levers of power that will endure even when Bush's gratitude to his father's mentor/alter ego does not.
Baker's best move is to strike hard and fast, effect some substantive policy changes while everyone is casting about for a life preserver, and then get the hell out of town with his dealmaker reputation intact. Sticking around will only mean twisting in the winds of shifting political fortune.ADDENDUM:
Veteran journalist Robert Novak posts the first " hit piece" on Gates
- full of a fair amount of misinformation. Gates the anti-Soviet hardliner at Bill Casey's CIA was a "liberal" ? WTF ????