Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Hole Administration

Harriey Miers has quit as White House counsel.

John Cole gets it exactly right:
Basically, faced with the prospect of defending six years this President’s legal (and, perhaps, illegal) maneuverings in front of a justifiably angry Democratic majority eager to dish out some serious oversight, even this legal genius (in the eyes of Hugh Hewitt) decided it was time to go. And really, who can blame her? In the annals of history, ‘failed supreme court nominee’ sounds a helluva lot better than ‘indicted longtime Bush advisor.’
Meanwhile, the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, who is in charge of the government's nuclear weapons programs, has been fired for incompetence.

This comes on top of the weird move of John Negroponte from Director of National Intelligence to Deputy Secretary at the State Dept. - which has had everyone Kremlin watching on Pennsylvania Avenue today and for which I think BooMan gave the most likely reasons:
Scenario One: Condi Rice cannot handle her position as Secretary of State but there is no position to move her to. It would be too big of a blow for Bush to fire her but he cannot get rid of her by retasking her. Negroponte is being brought in to run the State Department, while Rice will remain a figurehead. After a period of time Rice may take a job in the private sector citing burnout or ill-health or something. Negroponte has been assured that he will take over the top spot at some not too distant point in the future, or has been satisfied that he will be in the principles meetings and this is just for show.

Scenario Two: This is another part of a Poppy Bush coup. First they forced Porter Goss out of the CIA, then they moved Robert Gates into the Pentagon, now they move Negroponte into the State Department and put former NSA chief (under Poppy Bush and Clinton) J. Michael McConnel in as Director of National Intelligence. Poppy's people know that Rice is untouchable, but they will use their old-hand Negroponte to control State and reassure our Sunni allies.

Why are they selling this as something that Rice wanted? Because it clearly indicates that she is unable to do her job and it undermines her authority. They are trying to blunt that perception by making it look like it is her idea.
(Isn't it a red flag for this president's paranoia that pundits have to do the kind of guesswork from small clues that used to be done with the totalitarian and secrecy-obsessed Soviet Union?)

But it all got me thinking.

Does anyone have a quick count-up on how many major posts are unfilled in the Bush administration? I'm thinking of the top three layers - Cabinet, deputies and department heads/ambassadors. It's definitely more than a handful.

They just can't find enough people who want to help the Decider in digging a bigger hole for the country.

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